Blog - Renewing my visa, part 1

Japan Renewing my visa, part 1

On January 15, I went to apply for the renewal of my visa, which expires in March. An engineer work visa lasts 3 years, and mine will soon be up. I heard that about 2 months before expiration is the right time to start the procedure. It's the first time that I renew a visa.

What I hate about this kind of official procedures, is that what you need is not quite documented anywhere, so you're likely to have some surprises. Getting prepared before going to immigration isn't obvious. There doesn't seem to be some decent documentation at a governmental site telling you what you need to bring.
This time I had done some searching on the Web, and this Q&A on Hiragana Times is what was most helpful, since the Procedures for Renewing and Changing Visas page said that, since I have a work visa, I'd have to submit a certificate of employment (在職証明書, zaishoku shōmeisho) "as well as tax documents" which after some more searching I figured out should probably be a certificate of tax payment (納税証明書, nōzei shōmeisho)).

So a week earlier I had asked my employer for a certificate of employment, which took about 2 working days to arrive, and I also went to the ward office to get my certificate of tax payment, which costs ¥300 to prepare.

Then I went over to the new Tokyo Immigration Bureau in Shinagawa. Before there were a few immigration bureaus in Tokyo, including an easy access one in Shibuya, and the largest (and most hectic) one in Ōtemachi, but they were all replaced by this one that's a bit far.

Instead of using Yamanote-line to Shinagawa station, I took Saikyō/Rinkai-line to Ten'ōzu Isle (天王洲アイル) station, and instead of taking the bus as it is suggested, I decided to save about ¥400 by walking to the immigration bureau, which is a 10 minute walk from Ten'ōzu Isle station. It was a bit confusing because from that station there are like no signs saying which way to go for the immigration bureau, there was no decent map to be found either around there. I had brought a map printed from the Web site and it was very useful.

When I got there, I went to the visa renewal application area (2nd floor). It seems like everyone has to tell the lady at the information desk what kind of visa they're renewing in order to get the correct forms. Since I had changed jobs during the period of my visa I also had to fill a form about the company I currently work for.

Then I had to take a number and wait about an hour, even though I had went first thing in the morning there were a lot of people waiting, over 50 numbers to go before mine. Then it went pretty quickly, I gave the forms, and waited a few minutes. I had to write my address on a postcard that would later be sent to me to inform me that my application has been processed.

The postcard just arrived yesterday, which means that it's time for me to go back there once again on Monday. I hope it's good news and that there won't be any surprise in the process.

I'll be glad when this is all done with!

Posted on January 24, 2004 at 12:20 | Tweet |


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I hear ya! Renewal of visa is the worse thing in the world, made even worse now that we have to go to such an none-obvious place (I used to go to the Shibuya offices). It's happened to me more than once that I had to go back because I didn't have all the necessary documents (and sometimes I would go and ask, come back, and find out that the person before had forgotten to mention a document). I used to have to do this every year because of my spouse visa, but last time they finally gave me one good for 3 years. If you just got a card saying to go, then no worries, it just means you go there and pick it up. If you were missing something they would write it on the card.

Posted by Jean on January 24, 2004 at 12:57

Whew, good news! Nothing written on the card. :)

I guess it's still a bit less stressful when you're renewing a spouse visa, since you've got the best indisputable reason for staying here.

Posted by Patrick on January 24, 2004 at 13:05

i hope picking up your visa goes without event. i hate renewing visas, it's always so stressful. i always become extra paranoid especially after getting at least one phone call where they said "they rejected the paperwork". that of course got worked out in the end, but still...

Posted by william on January 24, 2004 at 16:54

I just got to Japan like 6 weeks ago. And came here on a tourist VISA. The thing is that I found a job, but it changes all the time, about the pay I mean, so one time I'd get like 175000 Yen for a job, and maybe the next time I'll get 125000 instead. But still, as a composer... I do believe I need to have the ARTIST VISA, Entertainment VISA or the Media VISA. As a freelancer.. I do think Artist VISA is the way to go. But can someone tell me any info about how long it lasts? Since some of the VISAS has changed to ever 3 years of renewal. Please help!

Posted by Daniel Lindholm on March 17, 2005 at 01:16

Great info. I am up for renewal. Did you need to leave the country to pick up the renewal in your home country?

Posted by c on January 16, 2007 at 15:30

I don't think you need to leave the country for a renewal, actually I think you must not.

This morning I went to apply for my own renewal, as it's been three years since last time. I'll post details later but it was pretty much along these lines.

Posted by Patrick on January 16, 2007 at 15:33

I'm up for renewal for my visa as well, but my passport is up for renewal as well... due to the length in time to get my passport renewed (for some reason it is a very lengthy process - almost 5 weeks), my application for renewal will be submitted 2 - 3 weeks before the visa expires... I know this is really cutting it close, but has anyone ever experienced a cut this close before?

Posted by Jonathan on May 15, 2007 at 14:49

I got my passport renewed at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo last month, and it only took only 8 working days until I received the new passport in the mail. I think they can hurry things a bit if you tell them (I had got my previous passport in about a week).

As for your visa, they do recommend to apply to renew about a month before expiration. But I believe that even if it would take longer than your visa's expiration, it should still be ok. As long as you apply _before_ the visa expires, of course.
You should ask at the immigration bureau to see if you need to get an extension (meant for people who have a good reason to overstay).

For the record, it took 12 working days until I received the postcard saying my visa is ready.

Good luck, and I'd be interested if you'd post again to say how it went.

Posted by Patrick on May 15, 2007 at 15:21


Good news for you. I am going to renew my 1 year work visa soon. Problem is that I have changed my company and the earlier company is not happy with me at all since I left. They are saying that they would give me the tax certificate at the year end only. I didn't pay any residence tax (as I was told that in the first year I don't need to) and my company didn't deduct also, but they deducted Income Tax.
I have heard that I can get the tax certificate from the ward office. I have changed residence also during the year (left the company accomodation after leaving the job). Can anyone guide me as to where I can go and get my tax certificate.

Posted by Dev on June 13, 2007 at 23:53

I'm not an expert and I haven't been in such a situation before, but I think the first thing to do would be to go to the tax office and pay what you owe if any. Then you can get your tax certificate at the ward office.

The company change should just mean one more form when renewing your visa.

You may want to also get more opinions from other people.

Good luck!

Posted by Patrick on June 13, 2007 at 23:57

Thanks Patrick. One more question, would the ward office provide me the certificate for only residence tax or also the income tax. If they can't provide me with the certificate for income tax (since they mainly deal with residence tax), does anyone have any idea which authority can provide me with the income tax certificate, since my previous employer said that they would only issue it end of the year

Posted by dev on June 14, 2007 at 19:00

So... update. I got my passport. It was very quick. (only a few days). Still haven't received my post-card from immigration yet and that has me worried. I was told I shouldn't apply for it without a 納税証明書(tax document). So, I went to the local office to prep the document, only to be told that I can't have one because I haven't been in Japan 1 year yet. So, I went to the immigration office anyway with a copy of my tax return forms. I submitted those (originals) and they didn't refuse them at all. They also took a copy of my pay-stubs... nothing was said, just looked at the documents and took them. I have no idea if this is good or bad yet... My visa technically expires this Friday, so first thing Friday am, I'm heading to the immigration office to kindly inquire if I was accepted or rejected -- or if still in process then apply for an extension.

Posted by Jonathan Reinfelds on June 19, 2007 at 14:16

Thanks for sharing your experience! I'll be looking forward to what follows. Hopefully you're all set!

Posted by Patrick on June 19, 2007 at 14:25

am having engineer visa now valid up to jun 2008
and i want to renewal,
tel me wen shal i apply
if any rules is there to renewal of visa with in 2 months

Posted by santhosh on April 17, 2008 at 14:36

Just go to the immigration now, 2 months is short.

Posted by Patrick on April 17, 2008 at 14:41

but am not in japan
am in india
shoud i travel this month or next month?

Posted by santhosh on April 17, 2008 at 15:00

Important detail... I'm sorry I don't know that much. First try asking your local Japan embassy maybe. Good luck!

Posted by Patrick on April 17, 2008 at 15:04

pls what do i need to renew my visit visa from 6 month to 2 years

Posted by akinola on August 12, 2008 at 02:51

good morning.

i would like to ask for advice pertaining to a first time renewal of a spousal visa. my husband is a japanese national. we have been married one year and my visa will expire in one month.

i understand that several documents are necessary and i am worried because i don't have tax paperwork due to the fact that both of us were undmployed last year. he is a full-time college student and i had been looking for a job after receiving the visa 3 months late (it seems they mistakenly sent the postcard to the wrong address and we had been waiting patiently all that time!)
by the time i finally got the visa it was the wrong time of year to be job hunting. i did what i was supposed to do and waited until i was legally able to work.

so i am hopefully about to start a full-time position. i can submit that paperwork but still no tax documents.

what should i do?

i have not filled out any forms yet..

Posted by bonbon on February 5, 2009 at 08:14

This is not the best place to ask for advice.

You should ask your ward/city about tax documents necessary for your visa. Then don't wait and go to immigration, they will tell you if you're missing anything and you can explain your situation too.

Good luck.

Posted by Patrick on February 7, 2009 at 08:59

Hello Patrick,

To be honest this is the most helpful site I have found on the web in regards to visa renewal.

This is my first year working in Japan, although I have studied here and travelled here before, and I have about one month before my visa is up. My company pretty much put all the responsibility on me to do all of the visa work before, and so once again I have to figure out how to renew it all by myself.

Last time, I just walked right into Immigration and asked how to get a working visa, told my boss and ... well there was a lot going on, but long story short, I got it eventually. Here I have a very busy schedule without many days off to visit Immigration when it's open and didn't even realize that I now only have a month left!!!

So, from your post you said you only needed the certificate of employment and the tax documents, then when you got to Immigration they had you fill out some forms? which were.. not a big deal? No passport photo or fees or letter explaining why you need to stay in Japan, in Japanese (I found that one online somewhere..)? Hopefully since this is getting so late in the process, they can give me some kind of form showing that the renewal is in process or something.

I still have copies of my contract and all that, but I suppose I need something new...

Please any advice, as detailed as possible... I'd grately appreciate it, sensei!!

Posted by Jessica on February 10, 2009 at 20:16

I really don't remember much about the procedure except what I wrote here, in part 2 and in my 2007 renewal entries. Here are the other links. (re: fees) (re: form company details)

The best is to go to immigration as soon as possible and apply right away, and also tell them your situation that your visa is expiring soon. I think it can take from a few weeks but up to a few months.

Good luck!

Posted by Patrick on February 10, 2009 at 21:27

Thanks for the quick reply! This was a lot of help.
My boyfriend just found the Japanese page for those application documents - my boss wanted to see it.

Last time I basically went to the immigration office, asked, and took notes as best as I could, all in Japanese.

What do you do by the way? I assume you don't teach English.

Posted by Jessica on February 11, 2009 at 00:10

I had applied for visa renewal now its almost 2 months but i hadn't received the postcard. it means my renewal application has been rejected?
Any advice it would be helpful for me.

Posted by Santosh on June 3, 2016 at 11:15

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