行政書士法人第一綜合事務所

Requirements for permission of a permanent resident visa

In this article, we would like to explain as to the regular requirements for permanent resident visa, as well as the special requirements for permanent resident visa.

1. Regular requirements of permanent resident visa

The Immigration Act sets forth the requirements of permanent resident visa as follows (Article 22, paragraph 2, the first sentence).

“the Minister of Justice may grant permission only when the Minister finds that the Foreign National conforms to the following items and that their permanent residence will be in accordance with the interests of Japan”

Each item of paragraph 2 of the same Article further specifies the requirements, by stating that “the Foreign National’s behavior and conduct must be good” and that “the Foreign National must have sufficient assets or skills to make an independent living”.

To summarize above, 3 requirements must be fulfilled to obtain permanent resident visa, which are the requirements of:
1) good behavior and conduct (Article 22, paragraph 2, item (1) of the Immigration Act);
2) independent living (Article 22, paragraph 2, item (2) of the Immigration Act); and
3) conformity with the national interest (Article 22, paragraph 2, the first sentence of the Immigration Act).
According to “The Guideline for Permission for Permanent Residence” published by the Ministry of Justice, each requirement can be defined as follows:

1) The requirement of good behavior and conduct specifically means that “(t)he person observes Japanese laws and his/her daily living as a resident does not invite any social criticism.”
2) The requirement of independent living specifically means that “(t)he person does not financially depend on someone in the society in his(/her) daily life, and his/her assets or ability, etc. are assumed to continue to provide him/her with a stable base of livelihood into the future.”
3) The requirement of conformity with the national interest specifically means that “(t)he person’s permanent residence is regarded to be in accord with the interests of Japan,” and the following items are further required.
a) In principle, the person has stayed in Japan for more than 10 years consecutively. It is also required that during his/her stay in Japan the person has had work permit (with an exception for those with the “Technical Intern Training” and “Specified Skilled Worker (i)” residential status) or the status of residence for more than 5 years consecutively;
b) The person has been never sentenced to a fine or imprisonment. The person adequately fulfills public duties (duties such as the payment of taxes, public pension contribution and public health insurance contribution, as well as notification in accordance with the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act);
c) The maximum period of stay allowed for the person with his/her current status of residence under Annexed Table 2 of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act is to be fully utilized; and
d) There is no possibility that the person could do harm from the viewpoint of protection of public health.
Please note that regarding above (c), the Guideline also provides that “for the time being, any person whose period of stay is ‘three years’ shall be regarded as a ‘person who is allowed to stay up to the maximum period of stay.’”.

2. Special provisions concerning the regular requirement of 10 years of stay

As explained above, the requirement of conformity with the national interest requires you to have continuously stayed in Japan for 10 years or more for application for a permanent residency, in principle.

Regarding this point, have you ever heard that you can apply for permanent residency without living in Japan for 10 years?

That is actually true. There are many foreigners who are granted a permanent resident visa by fulfilling not the regular requirements but the special requirements. The Guideline for Permission for Permanent Residence sets forth the exceptions to the regular rule of 10 year residence. It’s not a few people who are subject to these exceptions.

Among such exceptions, we would like to explain the types of exceptions that are most used in real practice.

3. Special provisions concerning a spouse and a child

The Guideline for Permission for Permanent Residence provides as follows:

“The person is a spouse of a Japanese national, special permanent resident or permanent resident, and has been in a real marital relationship for more than 3 years consecutively and has stayed in Japan more than 1 year consecutively. Or, the person is a true child of a Japanese national, special permanent resident or permanent resident, and has stayed in Japan more than 1 year consecutively.”

The period of stay required for a spouse and a child (including special adoption) of a Japanese national, permanent resident, or special permanent resident is shortened to 1 year.
In case of applying the special provision concerning a spouse, it must be proven to the immigration office that the marriage has been “a real material relationship” for 3 years or more and not perfunctory.

Besides, under the Immigration Act, a spouse and a child of a Japanese national, permanent resident, or special permanent resident are not required to fulfill the requirements of 1)good behavior and conduct and 2)independent living (Article 22, paragraph 2, proviso of the Immigration Act).
Nevertheless, the comprehensive examination is performed for permission for permanent residence,and the residence of whole time in Japan is subject to such examination. Plus, the requirements of good behavior and independent living overlap with the requirements of conformity with national interest.
Due to such reasons, it is necessary to test the requirements of 1) and 2) in actual practice.
In addition, the income requirement is relaxed in case of applying under this special provision than the income required under the regular requirements.

4. Special provisions concerning a long-term resident

The Guideline for Permission for Permanent Residence provides as follows:

The person has stayed in Japan for more than 5 years consecutively with the status of long-term resident.

The foreigners staying in Japan with the status of long-term resident only need to stay in Japan for 5 years before applying for permission for permanent residence.
The “status of long-term resident” in the special provisions includes the long-term resident listed in the public notice and the ones not listed in the public notice.

This special provision only set forth the period of stay and other requirements are the same as regular requirements in principle. As such, the requirements of 1)good behavior and conduct, and 2)independent living are required to be fulfilled as well.

5. Special provisions concerning a highly skilled professional

The Guideline for Permission for Permanent Residence provides as follows:

The person has a total score of 70 points or more based on the points calculation criteria prescribed in the Ordinance to Provide for the Criteria in the Right-Hand Column Corresponding to “Highly-Skilled Professionals as Specified in Appended Table I (2) of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act” (hereinafter referred to as “Ordinance of the Ministry of Justice”), and comes under one of the following.

a. The person who has continuously stayed in Japan as a “Highly-Skilled foreign Professional” for 3 years or more.
b. The person who has continuously stayed in Japan for 3 years or more, and who is deemed to have a total of 70 points or more when calculating with reference to the situation at 3 years before the date of the application for permission for permanent residence.

The person has a total score of 80 points or more based on the points calculation criteria prescribed in the “Ordinance of the Ministry of Justice”, and comes under one of the following.

a. The person who has continuously stayed in Japan as a “Highly-Skilled foreign Professional” for 1 year or more.
b. The person who has continuously stayed in Japan for 1 year or more, and who is deemed to have a total of 80 points or more when calculating with reference to the situation at 1 year before the date of the application for permission for permanent residence.

【Summary points】
The special provisions are applied to those who are staying in Japan on the status of high-skilled professional or have more than certain points based on the points calculation criteria prescribed in the Ordinance of the Ministry of Justice.
[High-skilled professionals]
70 point or more: The person has continuously stayed in Japan for 3 years or more with the status of high-skilled professional.
80 points or more: The person has continuously stayed in Japan for 1 year or more with the status of high-skilled professional.

[Holders of a work visa (except for highly-skilled professionals) ]
70 point or more: The person has a total of 70 points or more as of the date of the application for permission for permanent residence as well as 3 years before the date of such application, and continuously stayed in Japan for 3 years or more.
80 points or more: The person has a total of 80 points or more as of the date of the application for permission for permanent residence as well as 1 year before the date of such application, and continuously stayed in Japan for 1 year or more.
The person continuously stayed in Japan for 1 year or more and has a total score of 80 points or more based on the points calculation criteria prescribed in the Ordinance of the Ministry of Justice.

If you are using this special provision to apply for permanent residence, you are required to submit prima facie evidences which prove your scoring of the relevant points to the immigration office.

6. Summary

Years of stay required for application for permanent residency vary depending on the type of status of residence the applicant has and the applicant’s personal status.
Besides, since July 1, 2019, the record of health insurance and public pension are examined, and so the number of documents required to be submitted has increased.

Because of such complication, there may be people who cannot proceed to submit application as they wish because they are not sure of when to apply or which documents to submit.

We advise you on when to apply and which requirements to fulfill, in accordance with your specific situation. If you are thinking about applying for a permission for permanent residence, please feel free to contact us!