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Visa for a short-term stay

illegal stay (overstay)

What is special permission for residence?

Special permission for residence is a measure to specially grant, based on the discretion of the Minister of Justice, permission to live in Japan to foreigners who are staying illegally (overstaying, etc.). The question of whether or not special permission for residence will be granted is influenced by the family relationships and history of staying in Japan of the foreigner who is staying illegally (overstaying), as well as by policies. The criteria for permission are not clearly indicated.


The three cases below are ones in which it is ordinarily easy to obtain permission.


●The person is married to a Japanese person.

●The person is married to a permanent resident.

●The person is raising a Japanese child.


* Saying that there is a strong possibility of permission does not mean that permission
will be granted without fail. Although there are no clear criteria for special permission for residence, it will be quite difficult to obtain permission if the person has violated the Penal Code, conducted bad behavior, or undergone procedures for forced deportation in the past. In addition, even if the person is married, special permission for residence will not be allowed if it is a fake marriage.


A question I am often asked is, “I am considering marrying a Japanese person in the near future. Is it possible to marry a Japanese person and obtain a visa?”


Stating the conclusion first, it can be obtained in most cases. However, that is based on the condition that a specialist is used to thoroughly conduct the procedures and create documents with no mistakes.


Basically, even in an illegal stay situation, marriage procedures can be completed in Japan without returning to your home country.


After the marriage to a Japanese person is established, an application for special permission for residence will be made, and in the end a “spouse or child of Japanese national” visa can be obtained.


Sometimes the officer in charge at the Immigration Bureau strongly recommends that the person should temporarily return to his or her home country and then be brought back again by his or her spouse because it may be difficult to obtain permission, but in actuality there is no guarantee that you can come back to Japan again once you return to your home country.


There are some people who believed what they were told at the Immigration Bureau and returned to their home country but then ended up not being able to return to Japan. Therefore, although I think it depends on the case, I can assert that there are many cases in which it is advantageous to apply for special permission for residence rather than temporarily return to your home country.

For a foreigner who has overstayed or is staying illegally, the situation of a violation of the law will not be resolved no matter how earnestly he or she is conducting daily life in Japan. There is always a risk of being arrested.

Therefore, if you intend to marry a Japanese person and live in Japan, applying for special permission for residence will be necessary whichever path you take.


As for the question of how to obtain permission, first please note that you will not be allowed special permission for residence simply by submitting things as you are told by the Immigration Bureau.


You must prepare, on your own responsibility, evidentiary materials that will be advantageous for your application.


For someone who is doing this for the first time, I think most things such as, in the first place, how to conduct marriage procedures in a situation of an illegal stay, what documents to prepare, how to create documents, and procedures for applying for special permission for residence are unknown. Our office provides that support.


For special permission for residence, it takes approximately ten months to one year from the time an application is made until the result is received. However, when there are special circumstances, there are also cases that require a period of 2 to three years until the result is received.


Please also note that it is not possible to leave Japan during the application process.


Please learn about the process for special permission for residence.


I will explain the process up to acquisition of an official visa in the event that a foreigner who is illegally staying in Japan and living within the jurisdiction of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau has married a Japanese person.


Enter the front entrance of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau and take the elevator up to the sixth floor. In the elevator there is a sign that says “No entry to the 3rd floor or above without permission,” but go up to the sixth floor without minding that. After getting off the elevator, enter the room in front of it (Investigation Department 3 Waiting Room). When you enter the waiting room, there will be a reception counter in the back on the right side. Please line up there.

●Hours for making an appearance (reception hours)

The hours are from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday (except Wednesday) every week. There is no reception on Wednesdays, so please be careful to not go by mistake. The front entrance of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau opens around 8:45.

●Documents to bring with you

This pamphlet explains the documents to bring with you when you make an appearance, so please refer to it.

●Investigation on the day of making an appearance the first time

After reception at the counter in the back right side of the waiting room has ended, you will receive a slip of paper with a number on it and go sit in a chair and wait until your name is called. When your name is called, take the slip of paper with the number on it and the documents you brought and enter the room together with your spouse and child (if you have one).


An immigration control officer will conduct the investigation.


Usually it is the foreigner who is asked about the circumstances, but sometimes the foreigner is asked to leave the room and only the spouse is asked about the circumstances, and sometimes both the husband and wife are asked about the circumstances together.


The content of the questioning includes the facts of the violation, the background leading up to marriage, and the current state of daily life, as well as questions about what you ate for dinner the previous night and what color the curtains in your home are.


The time for the investigation on the day you make an appearance will be approximately 2 to 3 hours.


When the investigation on the day you make an appearance ends, the immigration control officer will explain the necessary documents and matters to note, and then you will go home. Approximately one year after the application for special permission for residence will be the screening period, but the Immigration Bureau will instruct you to make an appearance approximately once every 2 or 3 months.

Information about free consultations

If you have any concerns about for a visa, we recommend that you first consult an immigration lawyer who has detailed knowledge about visa applications. Making an early consultation is the key to ensuring visa permission.

Samurai Immigration Law Firm accepts consultations about visa applications. We will search for measures that correspond to the circumstances of each client and suggest a path to obtain permission.

We conduct free consultations, so please feel free to consult us first.
There are two methods of applying for a consultation. * All consultations require an appointment.

1. Make a consultation application by telephone

2. Make an application through the website

We have offices in Tokyo's
Ikebukuro・Shinjuku・Shibuya・Ueno and Nagoya.
Thank you.

English : 080-4941-0978

Tokyo : 03-3831-2505

Nagoya : 052-446-5087