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residency

Some foreign nationals who have been living in Japan for a long period of time and plan to continue living in Japan may be thinking of obtaining a Japanese citizenship or permanent residency. The reason behind this is most people do not want to go through the hassle of having to apply every few years for a renewed residence status.

In this article, we will introduce the application for naturalization and permanent residence for foreign nationals. We will explain in detail the differences between naturalization and permanent residence, what the requirements are, and address other important areas.

Contents

  1. The Differences between Naturalization and Permanent Residence Status
  2. Characteristics and Main requirements for Naturalization
  3. Characteristics and Main requirements for Permanent Residence Status
  4. Important Matters when Applying for Naturalization and Permanent Residence Status
  5. Conclusion

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1. The Differences between Naturalization and Permanent Residence Status

First, we will define what naturalization is and what can be considered permanent residence status.

Naturalization is the process of acquiring Japanese nationality. If your naturalization is approved, you will be treated as a Japanese national under the Immigration Control Act, and you will have neither status of residence nor period of stay. However, you will no longer be able to have dual citizenship, hence you must forfeit any other citizenship if you wish to obtain Japanese citizenship.

A permanent resident is a person who has acquired the status of “permanent resident” without changing his or her nationality. A permanent resident status has no expiration date, so you can stay in Japan for an unlimited period of time.

The differences between naturalization and permanent residence are summarized in the table below:

Naturalization Permanent Residence Status
Procedures Application for Naturalization Application for Permanent Residence Permit
Where to Apply Legal affairs bureau Immigration Services Agency of Japan
Nationality Obtaining a Japanese citizenship Remaining a Foreign Citizen
Passport Acquire a new Japanese passport. Continued use of foreign passport
Obligation to Carry a Resident Card None (The resident card will be returned to the Immigration Bureau) Applicable
Family Registration Can be Obtained Cannot be Obtained
Right to vote Applicable None
(Exceptions may be made in some municipalities)

The main difference between naturalization and permanent residence is citizenship. While considering what you want to do with your nationality in the future, choosing whether to choose naturalization or permanent residence is not an easy choice.

2. Characteristics and main requirements for naturalization

As mentioned above, when naturalization is granted, your previous nationality will need to be forfeited and depending on the case, it may be difficult to reacquire the lost nationality. Before applying for naturalization, it is necessary to carefully consider your plans for the future.

In addition to the aforementioned condition to prevent dual citizenship, naturalization requires that the applicant has lived in Japan for at least five years continuously. At first glance, applying for naturalization may seem easier than applying for a permanent residence permit, which requires more than 10 years of continuous residence. However, the application process involves a lot of work in preparation and during the application process. You will need to prepare documents that resemble your life from birth to present, and you will need to attend multiple interviews in Japanese after the application.

3. Characteristics and Main requirements for Permanent Residence

permanent-resident

The “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services,” “Business Administration,” and “Intra-company Transfer” statuses allow you to work only on a limited basis, while the “Permanent Resident” status allows you to work without such restrictions allowing you to do simple labor or part-time work, and change jobs freely.

Also, if you have a “Spouse or Child of Japanese National” status, you will need to change your status of residence if you are separated from your spouse by death or divorce. However, unlike naturalization, as a foreigner with “permanent resident” status, you are subject to the following systems stipulated by the Immigration Control Act.

  • You need to renew your resident card every seven years.
  • When you leave Japan, you need to apply for a re-entry permit.
  • If you commit a crime or otherwise violate public order and morals in Japan, your status of residence may be revoked, and you may be asked to return to your home country.

There are strict requirements when becoming a permanent resident, such as having resided in Japan for more than 10 years at the time of application and having worked continuously for the last 5 years. During the screening process, all of your residency history starting from you first came to Japan will be checked again, so you will need to plan your preparations accordingly.

4. Important Matters when Applying for Naturalization and Permanent Residence Status

Both applications will take several months to review. If your current status of residence expires during the examination period, you will need to apply separately to extend your period of stay. If you do not apply for extension and your period of stay expires during the examination period, you will be considered an illegal resident which is something you want to avoid.

5. Conclusion

In this article, we have introduced the basics of naturalization and permanent residence for foreigners, what the differences are, and key areas to consider. Make sure that you are aware of the characteristics of both and make your choice after comparing them with your future life plans.

If you are a company that employs foreign nationals, you may be asked for advice on acquiring either naturalization or permanent residency.

If you have any questions regarding hiring a foreigner, please feel free to contact us. We provide total support for foreigner visas and employment.