There are many foreigners who want to change their visa status from a 「Working visa to a Permanent residence visa」, and we often receive inquiries about this.
Compared to a Working visa, a Permanent residence visa has advantages such as no restrictions on work, no need for renewal, and easier access to loans for purchasing a home. However, it is a difficult visa to obtain due to its strict requirements.
In this article, we will discuss the requirements for applying for a Permanent residence visa from a Working visa in seven points. We will also introduce some examples of rejected applications as a reminder.
If you are thinking of getting a Permanent resident visa in the future, but not right now, please refer to this page.
① Must be connected and living in Japan for at least 10 years.
・Your visa must not have expired. It is necessary to apply for renewal or change of status within the period of stay.
・In addition, the applicant must have resided in Japan for at least five of those years on a "Working visa". A working visa is the common name for a status of residence for the purpose of employment. If you do not have a Working visa, you will not meet the requirements. For example, the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services " visa is one of the Working visas. A "Student" visa, a "Dependent" visa, and a "Temporary Visitor" visa do not apply because they do not allow employment.
※If you have had a Student visa in the past, please be careful.
The period of study abroad is not counted as a period of employment. To be more specific, you must attend a vocational school or university as a college student, and then work in Japan for at least 5 years before you are eligible to apply for Permanent residence.
Working part-time on a Student visa does not count as work experience.
② The visa you currently hold must be for at least 3 years.
・The period of stay for a Working visa can be 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, etc. However, even if you request 5 years or 3 years, in some cases, only 1 year is allowed.
・Whether or not the desired period of stay will be granted depends on the situation on the part of the company (size of the company, management stability, etc.) and the individual (whether or not the company is complying with obligations such as notification and tax payment, etc.). When applying to the Immigration Bureau, you will need to prepare documents to prove these facts and provide an explanation.
・In order to apply for a Permanent residence visa, you should first continue to apply for an extension of your period of stay until you are granted your current visa of "3 years".
③ The applicant must not have lived abroad for a long period of time immediately prior to application and must be able to say that his/her home base is Japan. ・If you travel abroad frequently or spend a long period of time abroad, you may be denied a Permanent resident visa. ＜Examples of Permanent Resident Visa Applications Denied＞ I was denied because I had been living abroad for more than six months out of the year just before apply the application, and home base may not be in Japan. 【One Point Advice】 In some cases, you may have to leave the country frequently or for long periods of time for work reasons. Be sure to clarify the reason for your departure and explain the frequency and duration of your departure. We have obtained Permanent residence permits by asking for the cooperation of employers and preparing business trip orders and documents that explain business trip records.
④ That we have been doing the appropriate activities to accommodate the visas that we have been waiting for.
・You must not have overworked（※１）when you were on a Student visa, and you must have been engaged in activities（※２）that are permitted under a Working visa.
※１ International students who have Permission to engage in activity other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted are allowed to work part-time for up to 28 hours per week, or up to 40 hours per week during school vacations. However, if you work more than these hours, you will be in violation of your Permission to engage in activity other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted. Even if you have more than one part-time job, the total hours must not exceed 28 hours per week.
※２ For example, the "Engineer/ Specialist in Humanities/ International services" visa permits "work requiring knowledge in the fields of science, engineering, and other natural sciences," but engaging in bagging products on a factory production line is not relevant and does not apply. In that case, you will have engaged in an activity outside of your qualifications!
⑤ Have never missed a payment of resident tax, health insurance premiums, or pensions. Have never been late in payment. ・Previously, pension payments were not subject to review, but from now on, pension payment status will also be subject to review. If you are a member of social insurance at your company or have automatic withdrawal from your account, you will be relieved. ＜Examples of Permanent Resident Visa Applications Denied＞ ・It was pointed out to me that I had paid my residence tax and health insurance premiums after the due date and they were disapproved. 【One Point Advice】 In this case, we recommend that you reapply for a Permanent resident visa after you have established a track record of paying your fees on time for at least 1 year. ＜Examples of Permanent Resident Visa Applications Denied＞ ・The pension has not been paid and has been disallowed. 【One Point Advice】 Pension insurance premiums that have not been paid or are in arrears can be paid 2 years retroactively. Before applying for a Permanent residence visa, you should first pay any unpaid or overdue pension contributions. However, it is not true that you can apply for a Permanent resident visa and get it just because you have paid all the outstanding or overdue pension insurance premiums. It is recommended that you apply for a Permanent resident visa after you have paid your pension premiums on time for a certain period of time to prove that you have been paying your pension regularly and without delay.
⑥ Annual income must be at least 3 million yen. ・It is important to have an amount of income that allows you to make a stable living. ・If you have many dependents, your annual income of 3 million yen may not be enough. （Dependents such as spouses and children are determined by household income.） ＜Examples of Permanent Resident Visa Applications Denied＞ ・When I submitted the certificate of taxation of resident tax for the last 5 years, my income for the last 3 years did not meet 3 million yen and my employment status was judged to be unstable, so I was rejected. 【One Point Advice】 Some people consider their income to be stable even if it is less than 3 million yen because of their income and savings abroad, but it is difficult to obtain a Permanent residence permit. This is because the annual income requirement for Permanent residence is based on the premise that the applicant will have a living base in Japan.
⑦ In addition, the applicant must be in compliance with all other legal obligations (especially the various notification obligations under the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act) and have not committed any violations or crimes.
・If you are applying for a Permanent residence permit with a family member, the family member's compliance with the law will also be evaluated. If a family member is not behaving well, the applicant may also be denied permission as a joint responsibility.
※Under the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, you are required to report any changes in your name, nationality, region, date of birth, gender, organization to which you belong, divorce from your spouse, etc.
That is all.
Please make sure that you understand the requirements properly, and in particular, be careful not to leave out any omissions, such as the actual example above.
Even if you don’t meet the requirements right now, I hope you can keep these points in mind as you go about your life so that when you want to get a Permanent resident visa in the future, your application will go smoothly!