Getting a Spouse Visa in Japan

Thursday, December 5, 2019


Japanese Torii
In today's article, I will talk about the process of getting a Japanese Spouse Visa.

My First Two Years in Japan

Japanese station
I lived in Japan for two years while on a work visa. I wrote about my experience of getting my work visa in a previous article.
I met my husband during my second year in Japan. He moved to the Philippines, but we decided to get married. When we decided to get married, he was in the Philippines, but I was still in Japan. We got married in March, but my job had already ended. In Japan, if you are on a working visa, you have three months from the last day of your previous job, to find another job. It's quite a generous amount of time.
I thought about finding a new job, but as I stated, my husband was in the Philippines. Therefore, we decided that I would move to the Philippines. I went to the City Ward office to inform them that I would be leaving the country. You need to do this to so that they can know to stop your pension and health insurance. I sent my health insurance card back on my last night in Japan. You are also supposed to tell immigration at the airport that you will not be returning. When you tell them, they will punch a hole in your residence card. I DID NOT. The reason was just in case we would return to Japan. Americans CAN come to Japan and stay up to three months on a visitor’s visa. However, I didn't know how complicated that procedure would be. I did know that getting a COE (certificate of eligibility) was quite tough, and I didn't want to have to go through that again.

On a side note, if I had been thinking clearly, I would have gone to immigration to ask for a re-entry permit. However, I was only away from Japan for five months. My case was definitely a strange one. Usually, you don't need to apply for a re-entry permit IF you will return within a year, but I hadn't been working in Japan for about 2 months when I left. My visa wasn't technically expired, but I WAS on a working visa, so I should have been working. It's all too complicated.

Going Back to Japan After a 5 Month Hiatus

Going Back to Japan After a 5 Month Hiatus
Let’s get back on topic. I was out of Japan, in the Philippines, for about five months. My husband and I came back to Japan. I searched for a job for about 2 months, and then we decided to change my visa. My husband called immigration to ask about my case, and they said we should put in my application right away. I had technically been there "illegally", so it was urgent. We had to write a letter on how we met, including dates of when I met him and his family... Also, if we had been living together before, and if we were living together during that time. We also needed to include pictures, with the date is best, and pictures with us and our families were also best. They wanted to see my husband's family registry (Japanese family tree), I guess my name is included after marriage. They wanted to know my family in the US, my husband's family. They needed our income, and they wanted to see a copy of our bank book. It was stressful, but not as hard as say the US Green card process. Oh, they also needed a picture of me, a copy of my passport and my resident card.

Getting My Spouse Visa and Renewing it

Getting My Spouse Visa and Renewing it
When I got my work visa, I was blessed with three years. And my spouse visa?? I was still lucky to get it, but I only got one year. They sent me a letter stating that I needed to come to see the results, and to bring a certain amount of yen (I forgot how much). I don't mind at all... BUT...I don't want to go through the process again. I feel like I just did this!! We don't need to write how we met again, thank goodness, but basically everything else we need to do again. More copies, more family registries, more pictures, more headaches. I only hope that I can get more than one year this time, if I can even get it at all. My coworker said that her friend and her husband had to do an interview when getting the spouse visa. I didn't have to do that, thankfully. I'm not sure if only big cities do that or what. It could be a case by case thing. Just know that it COULD potentially happen. Overall, the process is not too bad. It's at least doable. I can't say the same about my own country, so I can't complain.