Foreigners living in Japan as temporary or permanent residents and who want to leave Japan and return may have to apply for a Japan Re-Entry Permit. The purpose of the Re-Entry Permit is to allow foreigners not to lose their visa status if they depart Japan.
Who Needs a Japan Re-Entry Permit?
You need a Japan Re-Entry Permit if you will be leaving Japan for a period longer than one year, and you intend to return and continue the activities permitted by your visa.
If you intend to leave Japan but return within a period of less than one year, you do not have to get a Re-Entry Permit. Instead, you are eligible for what is known as a “Special Re-Entry Permit”.
What is the Special Re-Entry Permit for Japan?
The Special Re-Entry Permit is the re-entry permit system of Japan which was introduced in 2012. Under this system, if you are going to leave Japan but return within one year, you don’t have to go to the Immigration Services in Japan and get a Re-Entry Permit – you can get it from the airport just before you depart.
What you need: To get a Special Re-Entry Permit, you need to be in possession of a valid passport and a Japanese Residence Card.
How to get the Special Re-Entry Permit: As you are departing Japan, while at the airport, you have to complete a Special Re-Entry Permit form (ED card for Special Re-Entry Permit) and express your intent to leave the country temporarily (tick the adequate box). You have to enter your personal information, how long you will be away, and when you will return.
A slip from this form is then placed onto your passport, which you have to present when you go through Immigration at exit and re-entry.
Note: You are not eligible to get a Special Re-Entry Permit is you fall under one of the following categories:
- The status of your residence is under procedures for revocation
- The confirmation of departure is in the process of being deferred
- You have received a written detention order
- You are in Japan under the residential status of “Designated Activities” while you are applying for recognition of your refugee status
- You have been specified by the Minister of Justice as a threat to Japan’s national interests or public order
What Documents Do I Need for a Japan Re-Entry Permit?
When you apply for a Japan Re-Entry Permit, you have to submit the following documents to the Immigration Office in Japan:
- A completed and signed Application Form for Re-Entry Permit (which you can download from the website of the Japan Immigration Services).
- Your valid passport, which must show your current visa.
- Your Residence Card.
- If someone else is submitting the application on your behalf: Authorization to do so, as well as a document proving their status.
When Should I Apply for a Japan Re-Entry Permit?
You should apply for a Re-Entry Permit at any point before you intend to depart Japan when you know that you will be out of the country for over a year.
Where do I submit my application for a Japan Re-Entry Permit?
You have to submit the application for a Japan Re-Entry Permit at a local office of the Japanese Immigration Services (the Immigration Office in charge of the region in which you live and work/study).
Can Someone Else Apply for a Japan Re-Entry Permit for Me?
Yes, if you are unable to appear at the Immigration Office in Japan yourself, an authorized proxy can submit the application on your behalf. This includes:
- A lawyer whom you have authorized
- A relative with whom you live (if you are under the age of 16 or you have an illness or another condition preventing you from submitting the application yourself)
- Representatives from the school in which you are enrolled (for Japan Student Visa holders)
- Your employer or a representative from the company in which you are employed (for Japan Work Visa holders)
- An accredited travel agent
For How Long is the Re-Entry Permit for Japan Valid?
The Japan Re-Entry Permit can be issued for a period of:
- 1 to 5 years for Temporary Residents of Japan (as long as it does not exceed the duration of the current visa)
- 1 to 6 years for Permanent Residents of Japan
Additionally, Japan Re-Entry Permits are divided based on the number of entries:
- A single Re-Entry Permit allows you to depart and re-enter only once for the duration that it is issued
- A multiple Re-Entry Permit allows you to enter and depart multiple times for the duration that it is issued.
How Much Does a Japan Re-Entry Permit Cost?
The cost of a Japan Re-Entry Permit is:
- 3,000 Yen for a single Re-Entry Permit
- 6,000 Yen for a multiple Re-Entry Permit
You have to pay the fee for the Re-Entry Permit through revenue (tax/fiscal) stamps onthe day you apply.
How Long Does it Take for the Japan Re-Entry Permit to Process?
It only takes one day for the Japanese Immigration Services to process your Re-Entry Permit. You will usually get it within the same day you applied.