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Your misunderstanding on Permanent Residency in Japan

I’ve got many questions about getting PR in Japan. Most people ask me about how and when they could get Permanent Residency and what kinds of documents you need to submit to an Immigration Bureau. Most people care about the process to get PR and whether they meet the requirements to get the permissions to stay in Japan for life.

Some clients also ask me about “after getting Permanent Residency in Japan”. It is better what the PR in Japan give you and what you need know about your status in Japan after the Immigration Bureau issued the Permission of Permanent Residency in Japan. Since you are not granted for the citizenship of Japan, your right as Permanent Residents are not equivalent to those of Japanese.

But I also find that people who seek PR has so many misunderstanding or misinformation about merits of Permanent Residency. It is true that you get so much advantage over the people who’ve just have working VISA, Spouse VISA or students VISA. But sometimes, these advantages are misunderstood or overwhelmingly informed through the media. So, in this article, I’ll show you the fact about misunderstanding about Permission of Permanent Residence in Japan.

1. You are not be a target of Deportation

You might hear that if you get PR in Japan, the government of Japan could not terminate your Permanent Residency and order you to leave the country. But actually, the Immigration Law does not exempt Permanent Residents from the targets of deportation in case of sentenced in prison for violation of law.

2. You need to speak Japanese to get PR in Japan

Some people ask me whether there is the requirement on their language ability. There is the rumor that you can’t get Permanent Residents if you can’t speak Japanese. For so many foreign citizens, Japanese is one of the most difficult language to master especially in case of writing. So, People have concern on whether they need to go to a language school to enhance their ability to speak, read, hear and write in Japanese.

The answer is NO. you don’t have to spend your time to master “Kanji” to apply for Permanent Residency in Japan. The Immigration Bureau just check the application and attached documents and your data. They usually don’t ask you to show up to an Immigration Bureau to hold the interview.

That would be the case if you would like to apply for naturalization. To get citizenship in Japan, you need to proceed at a Legal affair Bureau. You are required to speak Japanese when you take the interview by an Inspector of a Legal Affair Bureau. You might be required to take the test for Japanese to measure your language ability.

3. There is no economical demerit on getting PR

You might think there are only merits on getting PR in Japan. Permanent Residency give you so much credits in Japan. Some banks only allow foreign citizens to open their bank accounts if they have PR. The number of banks is higher when we are talking about loan. So it is true that PR will give you so much choice and flexibility in term of your economic activity.

But it is also true that there is economical demerit. That is the case when you are diplomats or employees for diplomatic mission to Japan or International Organizations. If you are diplomats or employee of an International Organization, you get exemption from the duty to pay tax to Japanese Governments. But if you get Permanent Residency or the citizenship of Japan, you lost the immunity from payment of tax to Japan and the Government of Japan will collect tax from your salary.

Note: in some cases, you can’t get immunity for tax payment even though you are employed for diplomatic missions or International Organizations.

In this article, I’ll explain the misunderstanding about the Permanent Residency in Japan. Getting Permanent Residency in Japan will be one of the most important choice for you. I recommend you to consider these facts when you plan to apply for Permanent Residency in Japan.

Daichi Ito

Immigration Lawyer (Gyoseishoshi)



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Kamakura International Legal Service is the boutique firm on Immigration Procedures. We are also eager to support foreign citizens who get rejection for their VISA application from the Immigration Bureau so they could get VISA again.

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