[Administrative Scrivener Supervision] Change in Status of residence and the Necessary Documents

2022-07-25 VISA

This post is also available in 日本語

Previously, we explained Vol.09 “Visa Renewal (Extension of Period of Stay) ”. On this occasion, we would like to explain when it is necessary to change your status of residence and the necessary procedures for doing this.

What are the procedures for changing your status of residence?

Previously, it was explained in Vol.07「[Explanation by an Administrative Scrivener] Status of residence Types and Rules, that status of residence is categorized according to activity, status, and position. In other words, the purpose of your stay in Japan and your status of residence must match.

However, the purpose of your stay may change if you are staying in Japan for the medium- or long-term. For example, you may come to Japan as a foreign student, but when you gain employment after graduation, you will be unable to work full-time and earn remuneration if your status of residence is still “student”. It is necessary to change to a status of residence that allows you to work.

In this way, every time your activities in Japan and purpose of stay, such as finding employment, changing jobs, and getting married, etc. changes, you need to change your status of residence at immigration before the previous status of residence expires.

Points regarding change of application

  • It is not the case that “if you obtain a work-related status of residence, you can do any job you want.” The “jobs you can do” and “jobs you can’t do” are clearly determined for each status of residence. If your status of residence does not allow you to do the job you want to do, consider changing your status of residence.
  • To change your status of residence for work, the basic steps are:
    1. Find a job
    2. Enter into a contract of employment
    3. Change your status of residence
    Failure to meet the requirements for change of status will mean loss of permission. Incomplete documents or lack of explanation may delay the screening process and hence the start date of working. Prepare the documentation carefully with your company.
  • In general terms, those with “temporary visitor” status of residence (for business trips, sightseeing, or visiting relatives or acquaintances for a short period of time) are not allowed to change their status of residence while in Japan, unless there are special unavoidable circumstances.
  • If you change from other status of residence to “Permanent resident”, you need to make an “Application for permission for permanent residence”, rather than “Application for change of status of residence”.

Documents required for the application

  • Status of residence change application form
  • Photo of the applicant (3cm×4cm, taken within the last 3 months)
  • Passport (to be presented)
  • Residence card (to be presented)
  • Handling charge payment slip (with 4,000-yen revenue stamp attached)
  • Documents determined for each type of status of residence (hereafter, refer to the website of the Immigration Bureau of Japan)

What if your application is rejected?

If your application is rejected, you have the following four options.

  1. Stay on your current status of residence (in case you can continue that activity until your status of residence expires)
  2. Fix the problem that caused you to be rejected, and reapply
  3. Consider changing to another status of residence
  4. Return to your own country

In the event you are rejected, a 30-day or 31-day preparation period for leaving Japan might be specially given under the “specified activity” status of residence. In such a case, you should look into which of the above four options to take as quickly as possible.

If there is something that you do not understand or you have a problem, please consult with an expert, such as an administrative scrivener.

This article in Japanese by Immigration Lawyer Yumiko Kasama (Gyoseishoshi Kasama Yumiko Office)


Deputy Director of the International section of Kanagawa Administrative Lawyers Association (Kanagawa-Ken Gyoseishoshikai)
After engaging in the support of developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America as part of international humanitarian aid NGOs, she changed her life course, and became an immigration lawyer to support foreign nationals in Japan. In addition to supporting foreign nationals with their residence status (visa) or nationality procedures, she provides consultations to small- and medium-sized companies on utilization of human resources from overseas countries.
As an immigration lawyer who is specialist on residence status/nationality, she provides legal support regardless of country or visa type. She likes to tackle with difficult cases under special circumstances, and she is actively challenging on procedures of special type of visa such as “Technical Intern Trainee” and “Specified Skilled Worker” etc.

  • Civil member of Human Rights Policy Promotion Council at Kawasaki City Civic Cultural Rights/Gender Equality Participation Department
  • Member of Professional Group for supporting companies on employment of foreigners at Kawasaki Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Management Consultant (employment of foreigners) at Kawasaki Institute of Industrial promotion
  • Volunteer of Kawasaki International Association
  • Coordinator of research on Specified Skilled Worker visa at Kanagawa Federation of Small Business Associations
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