13/12/2021

Your Guide to Visa Extension in Japan

So you have a visa to stay in Japan, whether it be a tourist visa, work visa, family visa, etc. And you’ve decided you want to stay for longer and you want to extend the period of stay on your visa. Well here’s a quick guide to extend your stay!


Table of Contents

  1. Requirements for Extending Your Current Visa in Japan
  2. Process of application for visa extension
  3. Why was my Visa Extension Application Rejected and other FAQ
  4. Summary

Requirements for Extending Your Current Visa in Japan

So the period of stay on your visa allowing you to stay in Japan is nearing the end, and you want or need to stay longer! (Happens to a lot of us!) Do you have everything you need to extend the visa? 

First, please note that this article is for extending work or long-term visas. For extending short-term visas (usually not allowed), please see the FAQ section. Also if you are changing to a different type of visa, then you must apply for a Change of Status of Residence. You can read our brief article about it here.

Required Documents when applying for Extension of Period of Stay 

How long you are allowed to legally stay in Japan (granted to you by your visa) is called the “period of stay”, so this process is applying to extend your period of stay.

Here’s a list of documents that you must have:

  • Application for Extension of Period of Stay (printed on A4 size paper)

  • Your passport or Certificate of Eligibility (if you can’t, you need a note about why you cannot produce these materials)

  • 4cm x 3cm picture taken within 3 months of sending the application and with your name written on the back (in case it falls off the application); not required for applicants under 16

  • Your current Residence Card

  • Supporting documents and/or statements that will prove that you are eligible to continue your stay in Japan*

*Since the supporting documents vary per visa, here are just some of the examples.

Student Visa

For those who have a Student Visa, you must also prepare the following:

  • Certificate of Enrollment in university, school or language/vocational school

  • Certificate of School Attendance

  • Certificate of Academic Record

  • A copy of your original Registration Certificate

  • A copy of your original Results Certificate 

  • Supporting documents that will prove that you can fund your extended stay in Japan

Please check for specifics here (as to what additional documents you must submit varies based on your school and level of education).

※Immigration Services Agency of Japan, “Student

Work Visa

For those who have a Work Visa, you must also prepare the following (these are just the basics and may require additional documents depending on your company and type of work visa):

  • Certificate of Employment

  • Employment contract

  • Certificate of Tax Payment

  • Supporting documents about your current employment status like current position, current salary, and the duration of your employment

  • The registration documents of your current company (may or may not be necessary depending on the type of company you work for)

As the requirements may vary based on your job, please check the
Immigration Services website for the specific type of work visa you have.

Spouse of Japanese National

For those who have a Spouse of Japanese National visa, you must also prepare the following:

  • Family registry (Koseki Tohon) of your Japanese spouse that proves you are married

  • Residence Certificate (Jyumin-hyo) of Japanese national showing every person that lives with them including you

  • Tax certificate and tax payment certificate (needed to show taxes calculated based off of income and to prove that you and your spouse have been paying your taxes accordingly) 

  • Letter of Guarantee by the Japanese citizen or foreign resident that you're currently residing with

Please note that if you’re applying to extend your status as a “Child of a Japanese National” on the same type of visa as Spouse, then the materials required are slightly different. 

For other examples of materials needed, please check this page
here.

Note:

  • Keep in mind to apply for the extension period of stay is 3 months prior to your visa expiration. Don’t wait until the last minute as you might be informed you are missing something when going to apply. 

  • Try to provide as many documents as you can to try to support your ability to stay in Japan rather than the bare minimum

  • You will not be getting most of these documents back (aside from your passport) so please supply the appropriate copies

  • If you have other inquiries, you can call or visit the nearest Immigration Services for clarification and other information.

※ Immigration Services Agency of Japan, "Application for extension of period of stay"
※ University of Tsukuba, "How to extend your stay in Japan"

Process of application for visa extension

The process for extending your visa is usually quite easier than getting one, especially since it takes less time and you aren’t required to submit as many documents as the first time.

Once you have compiled every important document and other requirements, you can simply visit the nearest Regional Immigration Services Bureau from your current location in Japan. You will submit all your requirements there along with the required revenue stamp which costs 4,000 yen or so. You can usually buy the stamp at the immigration center.

It would usually take about 2 to 4 weeks before you hear about the results of your application. If approved, you will have to go pick it up.

※ Immigration Services Agency of Japan, "Application for extension of period of stay"

Where to apply for extension

There are 17 different Regional Immigration Services Bureau, District Immigration Services Offices, and Immigration Centers throughout Japan. Head to the one closest to you to apply. 

You can check Immigration Services Agency of Japan's list of the various Regional Immigration Services Bureaus and Offices in Japan if you are having trouble finding one. Here is a link for your convenience.

Why was my Visa Extension Application Rejected and other FAQ

Why was my visa extension rejected? 

As we stated, it’s usually simpler to extend your period of stay than to apply for a new visa, but there are times the application is rejected. Here’s some of the common reasons::

  • The purpose of your stay is already fulfilled and the Immigration Bureau deemed it unnecessary to extend your stay.

  • Your financial status isn't sufficient to fund your stay in Japan according to the financial documents submitted.

  • You failed to pay your taxes.

  • Something in your application is contradicting and/or inaccurate or false

  • You can't extend your Student Visa if you failed to comply with the required attendance.

  • You can't extend your Spouse Visa if you're not living with your spouse, your marriage has ended, or it shows that you're actually married for convenience.

Can I apply for a visa extension while overseas? 

No, you have to apply for the extension while in Japan. 

What if I have a short-term visa and I want to extend my stay?

Most of the time, you will not be allowed to extend your short-term stay past the alloted period of time. You are expected to leave at the end of your stay, and you can always choose to come back. There are only very select circumstances under which the Minister of Justice may grant extensions (such as being stranded in Japan during the pandemic), but most cases are not approved.

Also please do note that Japan has become much stricter about allowing tourist visas to be changed to a long-term visa - many applications for the change of status of residence have been rejected under stricter conditions in recent years. (Exceptions have been made for people having to stay due to the pandemic but otherwise, you will have to leave to reapply for a long-term visa.)

Summary

A visa is an important permit for foreigners to stay within another country like Japan. And you don't have to worry about promptly ending your stay in Japan thanks to visa extension! Hopefully this article was helpful in showing how to navigate through visa extension applications as well as providing sources for more information. 

You don't have to worry alone anymore A Q&A community about Japan

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