How to Renew Your Spouse Visa in Japan

I just went to the immigration office to get my Spouse Visa renewed and I’m writing this blog post for two reasons:

  • To help you renew your Spouse Visa in Japan
  • To refer to next time I need to do it since it’s so darn hard to find info on what you need.

I always plan on just making two trips. Trip #1 is where I forget something or screw something up or there’s a mysterious document/photo/form nobody told me about. Trip #2 is where you get her done. Hopefully next time I can make it all in one trip.

First of all, there’s a form you have to fill out. This is the standard Spouse Visa renewal form and you can get it from your nearest immigration office. It asks about your basic contact info, your job status, and info about your spouse. There’s also a page called mimoto-hoshousho (身元保証書) which your wife or husband has to sign and stamp.

Then, you need to bring your spouse’s koseki-tohon (戸籍謄本) and your juminhyo (住民票). Both are available from your local ward office (区役所 – kuyakusho).

Probably because I’m self-employed, I needed two bits of paperwork that show I paid my taxes. These are nouzei-shoumeisho (納税証明書) and kazei-shoumeisho (課税証明書), and both are available at your ward office.

You have to buy a 4,000 yen stamp from the post office. Most (maybe all) immigration offices have one nearby that they use.

By the way, in Japanese the word Spouse Visa is haigusha-biza (配偶者ビーザ).

Next time, I’m going for the Permanent Resident Visa. I’ll write a short book about that probably.

I hope this is helpful and it saves you from having to go twice like I did. It’s tough to find this info anywhere so I thought I’d offer it up. If there’s anything I forgot, please add it in the comments!

20 thoughts on “How to Renew Your Spouse Visa in Japan

  1. Greg, years ago I was sailing and had to renew a Visa in the Kingdom of Tonga… felt sort of like reading all the Japanese words.

    Good on you.

  2. Hi Greg,
    Just came across your blog.
    Your right, this kind of info is hard to track down. Thanks a lot for posting it, its very helpful.
    I also liked your entry on the prison system. A little bit scary. I sometimes perform music on the streets of Osaka, which isn’t exactly permitted, although lots of Japanese people do it. I often get moved along by the police so this will be in the back of my mind next time. I will be extra nice.

  3. Hi Robert, I’m glad to hear it was useful. This post came about just because I had to do it and wished there was a simple blog post… like this one!
    It’s cool that you play on the streets of Osaka and I hope they never do anything more than move you along. I’m always courteous and cooperative when I deal with authority figures here. I don’t want any trouble! It works for me.

  4. Thanks for the info. I am planning to go to the immigration office to renew mine in about 2 weeks. My last renew was a success with only one trip. Maybe because my wife is Japanese and she was able to find the info we needed quickly here.

    I heard it is harder to get a permanent visa now and a max of 5 yr is all they will issue to us. Although it would be nice for a permanent status so we don’t have to worry about this every time.

  5. Hi ducsu, thanks for your reply. Is it harder now to get a PR because of the changes in the registration system, with the new Id cards and stuff like that? It was supposed to make things easier. Do you know anything else about it?

  6. @greg
    Somewhat. I am sure you got the package back in February. We looked it over and visit their site to find out a little more about it. It is suppose to make it easier for Japanese to keep track of ‘us’. In the past, if we need to leave Japan, we need to get an extension permit. With this new system, we are doing away with that and this new card is proof we are legal to stay in Japan.

  7. Hi there, thanks for the info, very useful! Just one quick question…does your spouse have to attend the meeting with you to update it? I remember my husband did one time, but is that just for the initial application? Also, how soon/late can one apply for it when it is about to expire, do you know?

    Cheers again!

  8. Hey Nicky,

    I’m not exactly sure when you need to do it. It seems like they told me within two weeks of it expiring. I believe there’s a grace period in case you miss it as well… but don’t.

    To renew your spouse visa, your spouse doesn’t need to go with you. You just have to submit the papers. Of course, he/she has to get some of the documents for you and they need his/her stamp, etc.

  9. That’s good. I hate those extension permits.

    I know the new ID is supposed to put all of your info in one place to make it easier, but I don’t like that they have RFID chips. That’s a little creepy for me. I bought an RFID-free wallet (that blocks the signal) so that I have to take it out and hand it to somebody each time. I don’t want anybody with a scanner to pick up my personal data, especially in a country like Japan that has so much high-tech crime and scams and things like that.

  10. Here is some more new news I’ve found out while I was there to renew my visa. We didn’t know it at the time, but the officer told me I was qualify to apply for a permanent status after I have submitted my paper work for 5 years. Since my documents were already submitted,examined, and pre-approved, I couldn’t re-apply for the permanent that same day. When I go back to get my new card in about 3 weeks, I will re-apply.

    Greg, if I am qualify, I am sure you are too. Why not give it a try? The waiting period for a permanent status is 6 months. Quite long, but hey, we don’t need to come back ever again. The requirement pretty much the same with additional paper(s) depending on your status. I’ve uploaded the paper if you want to take a look at it. Good luck.

  11. Thanks so much for sharing this information. I’m sure it’ll be helpful for other readers.

    I know that I can qualify but I just renewed my visa in a pinch a few months ago and didn’t have time to put together the paperwork. I’ve been here 8+ years, I have a family, I’m enrolled in the hearthcare system and I’ve paid my taxes… I’m sure I can get the PR but I didn’t have time to deal with all the paperwork and everything before my visa expired. I’ll definitely do it well ahead of my next visa renewal in 2 1/2 years.

    Thanks again for the info!

  12. Thanks for this info. Im going to okinawa to live with my japanese gf after marrying here in the philippines. How long does a spouse visa last? And can u work any job u like under a spouse visa? Thanks again!

  13. Hi, thank you for all the information.
    I just realised that my current Visa is going to expire in 2 weeks… and I may be late..
    I need to run to my ward office and collect all the papers.
    Do you know if I can get all of them directly, without my wife’s presence? Even the spouse’s koseki-tohon (戸籍謄本)?
    I guess the office will give me a receipt while waiting for the actual visa.
    Do you know if I can leave Japan for few days with this receipt?
    Thank a lot for any input you can share.
    Have a nice day

  14. Hi Ema,

    Run to the city office and ask them these questions. I know that there’s a grace period but I don’t know any details about it.

  15. Hi Greg, if you have managed to find my posts on other parts of your blog you know that I am working on attending school in Japan. Is there a student visa? If so how long does it last? What does it cost? and any other helpful information about it would be much appreciated.

  16. please help..i need your advice..i am married to a pure japanese man but born and grew up in peru which made him a peruvian, we are both here in japan now..i renewed my visa last jan29,2014, and my visa expired last feb18,2014, i still didnt receive any call from the immigration since i didnt sign any “postcard” or “hagaki” during my extension..but they gave me a paper saying that if i wont receive any feedback from them in two months i have to report at the immigration expired alien card was stamped at the back saying “shinseichu”…is this the new procedure in extending visa now? it’s been 4 weeks already, and i havent received any call yet since there is no hagaki signed during the extension…i have to go back to my country for my sister’s wedding at the end of the month of march… (sorry kinda panic, please help) :(

  17. Thanks for your information regarding the renewal process, I still have a few more months to go before I go through the process, I just want to confirm with you that providing you have all the correct documents you can have the whole process done that day and they issue you with your new gaijin card after a few hours wait? No need to fill out a postcard and wait for about 2 weeks then head back to the offices?

    Thanks again

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