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How to get a Japanese visa extension and the list of documents you need to apply

Everyone who wants to remain in Japan for longer than the duration their visa is issued for has to get a Japan Visa Extension, technically known as an Extension of Period of Stay.

So, if you are in Japan on a Student Visa or Work Visa or any other type of long-term visa, and you want to stay past its expiry date, you have to apply for a Visa Extension at a local Immigration Office.

Who Can Submit an Application for a Japan Visa Extension?

You can submit the application for a Japan Visa Extension yourself or, if you have a sponsor, they can submit the application on your behalf. For example:

  • If you are an international student, representatives of your school can apply on your behalf
  • If you are employed in a Japanese company, your employer or a company representative can apply on your behalf
  • A relative, if you are living in Japan as the dependent of a Japanese citizen, can apply on your behalf
  • A legal representative or lawyer can apply in your behalf

When Can I Submit my Application for a Japan Visa Extension?

You have to apply to extend the period of your stay in Japan before your current visa expires. You may submit a Japan Visa Extension application up to three months (90 days) before the date your visa is set to expire.

Where do I Submit my Application for a Japan Visa Extension?

You can submit the application for a Japan Visa Extension at the Immigration Office that represents the region of Japan in which you live and work/study. You can find a list of the locations of Japan’s Immigration Offices on the website of the Immigration Services Agency of Japan (here).

What are the Documents I Need for a Japan Visa Extension?

When submitting an application for the Extension of Period of Stay in Japan, you must have several documents to support your application. The documents change depending on the specific purpose of your stay. You need:

  • A completed Extension of the Period of Stay Application Form (you can download it from the website of the Japan Immigration Services Agency)
  • Your passport
  • Your Residence Card
  • Passport-size picture of yourself, with the following specifications:
    • Dimensions: 4cm x 3cm
    • Taken within the last three months
    • Plain and light-colored background, without any patterns and shadows
    • You must be starting straight ahead, with a neutral facial expression
    • Your face has to be fully visible
    • The picture must be good quality (focused, clear, and sharp)
  • Proof you meet the financial requirements to continue living in Japan
  • Any additional documents, as related to your purpose of travel, such as:
  • For a Japan Student Visa:
    • A copy of your Registration Certificate issued by your educational institution
    • A copy of your Results Certificate issued by your educational institution
    • Proof you can meet the financial requirements related to your stay
  • For a Japan Work Visa:
    • Proof of continued employment which states the details of your employment, such as the salary, position, and duration
    • The company’s registration documents
    • Proof of the annual income and tax payment
  • For a Japan Spouse or Child Visa:
    • A copy of the family registration of the Japanese citizen or foreign resident
    • A copy of the Residence Card of the Japanese citizen or foreign resident
    • Proof of the income and profession of the Japanese citizen or foreign resident
    • Letter of Guarantee from the Japanese citizen or foreign resident

All the documents you submit have to be in A4 size paper. You should ask your local Immigration Services whether to submit originals of the documents or photocopies, since in many cases they may not be returned.

How Much is the Fee for a Japan Visa Extension?

The fee for a Japan Visa Extension of 4,000 Yen, which you have to pay through revenue stamps.

How Long Does it Take to Receive a Japan Visa Extension?

The application process for a Japan Visa Extension takes from two weeks to a month to be processed, starting from the day the local Immigration Services receive your completed application.

What Happens if the Application for Japan Visa Extension is Rejected?

If your application a Japanese Visa Extension is rejected, you will receive a Temporary Stay visa in order to make the necessary preparations for leaving the country. Applications are rejected if you do not meet the necessary requirements for a visa extension, for example:

  • You do not have the necessary financial requirements to finance your stay
  • You have not had good behavior during your time in Japan
  • You have not fulfilled your tax obligations
  • You have not conformed to the criteria of your visa or residence status as set by the Japanese Ministry of Justice
  • You have not met the required attendance for your studies (if you have a Student Visa), etc.

You can re-apply for an Extension of Stay (but you are not likely to be successful) or you could see if you can change the category of your visa (e.g. to the dependent of your spouse).

Can I Extend a Japan Tourist Visa?

The Japanese Immigration Services do not normally issue Extensions of Japan Tourist Visas, unless under extraordinary circumstances, such as an accident or a sudden illness.

However, citizens of Ireland, UK, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Mexico, Liechtenstein may be able to extend their visa-exempt stay for up to six months, provided they satisfy the requirements of the Immigration Services of Japan.

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