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Spouse of Japanese National visa

I work as an immigration lawyer who specializes in making visa applications to the Immigration Bureau, but I also receive many inquiries about visas related to international marriage.

 

The type of inquiry that I frequently receive is that a non-Japanese person married a Japanese person and now wants to obtain a visa, but recently I have been receiving many inquiries in which the person applied but was not granted permission and wants to commission us for reapplication.

 

In order for a foreigner who has married a Japanese person to live in Japan, it is necessary to obtain a “spouse or child of Japanese national” visa.

 

This visa cannot be obtained by a “fiancé,” and therefore it is absolutely necessary to register the marriage. The flow of events for the visa application will be registering the marriage and then making an application.

 

Therefore, conversely there is a possibility of cases occurring in which the person cannot obtain a visa or permission for a visa was not granted even though a marriage was registered.
A marriage itself can definitely be done in terms of procedures, but it is not the case that a spouse visa can invariably be obtained because a marriage took place.

 

I think that not being able to get a visa even though a marriage was registered is the worst thing because the people cannot live together in Japan.

The reason why there is a possibility that permission will not be granted is that the person might not pass the screening. The screening at the Immigration Bureau. The screening is strict because there are many fake marriages for the purpose of obtaining a visa. I think you have probably seen this in the news.

 

Therefore, in order to obtain a visa it is necessary to properly prepare the materials and make the application in order to have the Immigration Bureau judge that the couple’s marriage is a genuine marriage and not a fake marriage.

 

It is necessary for you to prove that your marriage is genuine and not fake.

 

Then what happens if the method by which you make an explanation or proof is not good?
A characteristic of the spouse visa is that permission ended up not being granted even though it was not a fake marriage.

 

Therefore, I want you to keep in mind that you are responsible for submitting the explanation, for making that explanation carefully, and for proving that explanation, and I want you to proceed with procedures without thinking about the application too lightly.

 

Cases in which it is particularly easy for permission to not be granted follow the nine patterns below.

When there is a significant age difference between husband and wife

When the marriage was the result of an introduction for prospective marriage partners by a matrimonial agency

When the couple met through an online dating site

When the Japanese spouse has a low income (part-time worker, job-hopper, unemployed, etc.)

When the Japanese spouse has a history of multiple divorces from foreigners in the past, or the reverse pattern

When the couple met at an alcohol-related shop such as a bar or a hostess bar

When the period of dating was quite short

When the couple took almost no photos that can prove the dating period

・When the couple did not have a wedding ceremony

Next, I would like to explain the methods of procedures for a visa for a spouse of a Japanese person.

I think that the patterns of international marriages can be broadly considered in two types.

 

The first is when the foreign spouse is still in another country.

 

And…

 

The second is when the foreign spouse is already living in Japan.

 

In the first case, in which the foreign spouse is living in another country, he or she will be brought to Japan.

 

In such cases, the ways the couples met can be broadly divided into two types. The first is when the Japanese person was stationed in another country for work or was studying abroad and the couple met in that country and got married.

 

The other types are cases in which the couple met by introduction by a matrimonial agency and got married.

 

In the event that a couple got married in another country, the foreign spouse has no visa; therefore, he or she can enter Japan for something such as tourism, but the situation is that he or she does not yet have an official long-term visa.

 

In such a case, the first thing to do is apply for authorization of resident eligibility at the Immigration Bureau.

 

If the screening is passed, the person can receive something called authorization of resident eligibility, and that is to be sent to the husband or wife in the other country. That certificate is then attached to an application to be made at the Japanese Consulate in that country, and a visa will be received in that country. The spouse will then come to Japan.

 

The next case is when a foreigner living in Japan has gotten married in Japan. Students and adults from other countries fall under this. This is a case where a foreigner who is already living in Japan has gotten married.

 

In such a case, the foreign husband or wife already has some type of visa, such as a working visa or a student visa. In this case, the type of visa will change. The visa that the person currently has will change to a visa for a spouse or child of a Japanese national. This will be an “application for permission to change status of residence.” It is a change.

 

As for the question of how many years the visa and status of residence will be, screening will be conducted for the marriage period, the credibility, stability, and continuity of the marriage, and the family structure (whether or not there are children), and a result will be given, but ordinarily it is one year at first. Then three years are sometimes given when the next renewal is made.

“What will I be asked about for a spouse visa application?”

You will be asked about all of the background of your relationship. This will be to the extent that there is almost no privacy.

 

You will not be asked orally, but rather in the form of answering documents. For example, for an application for a spouse visa there is a document called a “questionnaire,” and you must reply to that.

 

The content of those questions includes the time and place you first met, the background up to marriage, whether you were introduced by someone, the background to that introduction, and whether or not you have ever been divorced, and it will be in a form of explaining those and other things in documents while indicating the dates of events. In reality, photographs of the couple together are essential documents.

 

The Immigration Bureau asks detailed questions in order to prevent acquisition of spouse visas for fake marriages, so please do not be offended.

What will I be asked during an application for a visa for a spouse of a Japanese person?

You will be asked about the background to your relationship. This will be to the extent that there is almost no privacy. You will not be asked orally, but rather in the form of answering documents. For example, for an application for a spouse visa there is a document called a “questionnaire,” and you must reply to that. The content of those questions includes the time and place you first met, the background up to marriage, whether you were introduced by someone, the background to that introduction, and whether or not you have ever been divorced, and it will be in a form of explaining those and other things in documents while indicating the dates of events. In reality, photographs of the couple together are essential documents. The Immigration Bureau asks detailed questions in order to prevent acquisition of spouse visas for fake marriages, so please do not be offended.

When you had been living in another country but you will move the base for your daily life to Japan

There are various patterns of international marriage, and here we will consider the case of a Japanese person living in another country and marrying a foreign spouse in that country. In this case, they were living as a married couple in that country but then they moved their base of daily life to Japan. The procedures in this case will involve the Japanese spouse or a relative on the Japan side making an application to the Immigration Bureau for issuance of authorization of resident eligibility. In terms of procedures, it is possible for the parents on the Japan side to bring the couple to Japan; therefore, it is not necessary for the Japanese spouse to return to Japan first. However, the procedures are a lot of trouble and will probably be a significant burden on the parents. This is because the parents are probably of somewhat advanced age. There are many documents to be prepared in advance. Before an application is made it is necessary to prepare documents that prove the marital relationship, such as a copy of the family register, materials related to family relationships, whether or not there are children, the residence after coming to Japan, information related to the company where the person plans to work, written explanations about how the person will support his or her livelihood in Japan in the near future if there is no place of employment, and about the current circumstances of daily life. For those reasons, it is also possible to commission our firm, which specializes in visas, to make an application on your behalf.

When husband and wife are living separately

Sometimes people who want to newly obtain or to renew a spouse visa ask us whether it will be okay if the husband and wife are living separately. In principle, for a “spouse or child of Japanese national” visa, it is necessary for the husband and wife to be living together. First, in the event that you will bring your spouse from another country to Japan on a certificate of eligibility, in the first place, you are not currently living together; therefore, it is okay to state that you “plan” to live together. In the same way, when an application for permission for change will be made in the case of newly obtaining a spouse visa, in other words when the foreign spouse is already in Japan, it is basically necessary for the couple to live together. If you do not live together simply because you do not want to live together, visa permission will not be allowed. However, in the event that there is a reason, for example when you are forced to live separately due to work circumstances, it will be necessary to make a written explanation of the details of why you are in a situation in which you must live separately. (It is expected that both the husband and the wife can go to the place of work for which an appointment was made.) In addition, an appointment by the company will be necessary as proof of that reason.


In the case of applying for renewal, if the period of living separately is only a few months it is possible that it will be allowed based on an explanation, but something in particular that frequently becomes a problem is when the husband and wife have been living separately for several years, because there is no “actual situation” of marriage and there is a strong possibility that permission for renewal will not be granted.

What should I do if I cannot prepare a certificate of my income?

I think there are cases in which it is not possible to prepare a certificate of salary because there is no income when the Japanese person is currently unemployed, or when it is not possible to obtain a certificate of tax payment or a certificate of taxation from a government office because there was a period of unemployment one or two years earlier or because the person was living in another country and was not paying taxes in Japan. Even in such cases, that does not mean that it is completely impossible to make an application because not all of the documents can be gathered. As measures to handle such cases, there are methods of either submitting a certificate of the balance of the savings that you currently have or, if you can receive aid from your parents, explaining that fact. Of course, the screening will be stricter compared to a case in which a proper certificate of salary, certificate of tax payment, or certificate of taxation were submitted, but it does not mean that permission will not be granted for that reason. The bottom line is that it is necessary to explain and prove that you can maintain your livelihood.

For a visa for a spouse of a Japanese person, is it necessary for the couple to live together?

In practice, a married couple living together is considered important for obtaining the status of residence “spouse or child of Japanese national.” Therefore, in the event that the couple is not living together when a new application is made or at the time of renewal, it will be necessary to take meticulous care and make a written explanation to the Immigration Bureau. In the case of bringing your spouse over from another country (approval), the premise is that the spouse is in another country; therefore, the situation will be that you plan to live together.


However, the form of marital relationship differs for each married couple, and there are also marriages in which the couple only lives together on weekends and those in which the husband and wife live separately and visit each other sometimes, although they are probably in the minority. The most common form of living separately is probably when one of the people is posted somewhere for work unaccompanied by his or her spouse. However, considering the premise of obtaining a spouse visa, we recommend that you avoid a marriage in which you only live together on weekends or only visit each other sometimes. Either permission will be refused straight away or you will be painstakingly investigated. Even in the case of being posted somewhere for work unaccompanied by your spouse, considerable caution will be necessary because of the fact that you are living separately. To put it the other way around, it is necessary to have a rational reason why only one spouse is living in the place of the posting despite the fact that there is the option of both people living near the spouse’s place of work rather than one person living there alone.


 The bottom line is that the Immigration Bureau has an aspect of imposing the idea that it is common sense for a married couple to live together, and that is because even now there are people who try to obtain spouse visas through fake marriages. It is expected that there is no love in a fake marriage and that it would be miserable for two people who do not love each other to live together. Also, this aspect prevents the crime of obtaining a visa through a fake marriage.

Schedule for applying for a visa for a spouse of a Japanese person

Next, I will explain about the support schedule for applying for a spouse visa.

This is the application schedule for how to proceed for application. If our firm provides support, a visa for the spouse of a Japanese person can be obtained, so please first confirm the application schedule.

 

(i) Meeting

First we will hold a meeting and ask about your daily life circumstances. We will ask you things about yourself, such as the background of your first meeting with your spouse, when you came to Japan, and what kind of work you do.

(ii) Presentation of necessary documents

After listening to what you tell us, we will tell you what documents are necessary for an application and give you a list of the necessary documents. The necessary documents differ according to the person. Nationalities are different and occupations are different. Family circumstances also differ according to the person; therefore, we will give you a list of the necessary documents after being sure to listen to what you tell us.

(iii) Document collection

We will give you a list and then either have you collect those documents or, in the case of full support, also help with document collection.

(iv) Preparation of set of application documents, written reason for application, written explanations for application, and each type of evidentiary materials

We will prepare all of these documents at our office. Basically, it is not necessary for you to prepare documents. We do not merely create application documents, but instead create application documents that fulfill the necessary permission criteria in order to obtain visa permission.

(v) Application on your behalf

Our firm’s administrative scrivener will make an application at the Immigration Bureau on your behalf. It is not necessary for you to submit the application.

(vi) The screening period is approximately one month.

Sometimes there is contact from the Immigration Bureau during this screening period. Such contact includes questions about the content of the application, requests for more detailed explanations, and requests for submission of evidentiary materials. Our firm will handle all of such things.

(viii) Notification of result

Basically, it is expected that an application made through our firm will be granted permission with no problems.

Information about free consultations

If you have any concerns about for a visa, we recommend that you first consult an immigration lawyer who has detailed knowledge about visa applications. Making an early consultation is the key to ensuring visa permission.

Samurai Immigration Law Firm accepts consultations about visa applications. We will search for measures that correspond to the circumstances of each client and suggest a path to obtain permission.

We conduct free consultations, so please feel free to consult us first.
There are two methods of applying for a consultation. * All consultations require an appointment.

1. Make a consultation application by telephone

2. Make an application through the website

We have offices in Tokyo's
Ikebukuro・Shinjuku・Shibuya・Ueno and Nagoya.
Thank you.

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