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Renewing Your Residence Card in Japan: A Guide for Foreigners


If you’re a foreigner living in Japan, you may need to renew your residence card when it expires. A residence card is a crucial document that serves as proof of your legal status in Japan, so it’s important to take the renewal process seriously. As foreigners, we cannot walk around without it! When it is time to renew your visa, make sure to be prepared. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps you need to take to renew your residence card in Japan.

Table of contents

1. Determine when your residence card expires

Your residence card has an expiration date printed on it, so make sure you know when that date is. You can renew your residence card up to three months before it expires, so be sure to give yourself enough time to complete the process. Complete all necessary documents and requirements before going to the immigration office. What you can do is set a schedule on your google calendar so you will be reminded of the expiration date and you will have enough time to prepare.

2. Prepare the necessary documents

To renew your residence card in Japan, you’ll need to prepare several documents. These include:

  • Application for Extension of Period of Stay (available at immigration offices or online)
  • Your current residence card
  • Passport
  • One photo (4 cm x 3 cm, with a plain white background and no headwear)
  • Any additional documents that may be required based on your specific circumstances (e.g. proof of employment, tax documents, etc.)

Make sure all your documents are up to date and that your photo meets the necessary specifications. 

3. Make an appointment at your local immigration office

You’ll need to visit an immigration office in person to renew your residence card. To avoid long wait times, it’s best to make an appointment in advance. You can do this online or by phone. 

4. Visit the immigration office and submit your documents.

On the day of your appointment, bring all your documents to the immigration office. You’ll need to fill out the Application for Extension of Period of Stay form and submit it along with your other documents. An immigration officer will review your application and may ask you additional questions about your stay in Japan. 

5. Wait for your new residence card to be issued

If your application is approved, you’ll be issued a new residence card. This process typically takes around two to four weeks. If you need your new residence card urgently, you may be able to request expedited processing for an additional fee.

6. Pick up your new residence card

Once your new residence card is ready, you’ll need to return to the immigration office to pick it up. Bring your current residence card with you, as it will be collected when you receive your new one.

Renewing your residence card in Japan may seem daunting, but as long as you prepare your documents and follow the steps outlined above, the process should go smoothly. Keep in mind that you should start the renewal process well in advance of your residence card’s expiration date to avoid any issues.

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