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How-to: Extend Your Period of Stay (AKA Your Visa)

Jamie Ota (Updated 7/2015 by Sam Corpuz) 8 July 2015 No Comments

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When JETs arrive in Japan, they are given a three year visa. This visa is good for three years as long as you do not leave your job or change professions. So the question is, what happens when you’re in your third year on JET and you have decided to continue your job for another year?

For JETs going onto a fourth year, an “Application for Extension of Period of Stay” is necessary. The immigration offices start accepting these applications 3 months before your visa expires. Just remember that you need to have your visa renewed before your current visa expires – if you even go one day over your visa expiration date, you run the very real risk of losing employment status in Japan.

The visa extension process is a bit time-consuming and involves a lot of paperwork. You must make a minimum of two trips to the immigration office. The second trip is usually two or three weeks after your first trip, provided that there was no issue with your paperwork. So I recommend that you make your first trip at least a month and a half before your current visa expires.

Taking Leave for Visa Renewal:

What kind of leave you have to take to renew your visa will be up to your contracting organization. It may be special leave (tokkyu, 特休) or it may be paid leave (nenkyu, 年休). The immigration office can be pretty crowded, so it’s best to take the entire day off and arrive in the morning (the office opens at 9:00a.m.).

Note for ALTs:
You will need to check with your contracting organization if you are classified as full-time (joukin, 常勤) or part-time (hijoukin, 非常勤), as this will determine what paperwork is required for the process. You will also need check if your BOE or school needs to fill out the “For organization” page of the application form.

Materials Needed for your First Trip:

For Full-Time/Joukin ALTs:
1) Application Form: http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001138356.pdf

  • “For applicant” pages should be filled out by the visa holder. “For organization” pages should be filled out by your contracting organization or school.

2) 4 cm x 3cm Photograph which fulfill these requirements:

  • Applicant must be alone and be facing forward without any head covering
  • Background should be plain with no shadow
  • Must be sharp and clear
  • Must have been taken within 3 months prior to submission
  • Approximately these dimensions (in millimeters):

000099242

3) Passport
4) Alien Registration Card or Resident Card

For Part-Time/Hijoukin ALTs:
1) Application Form: http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001138356.pdf

  • “For applicant” pages should be filled out by the visa holder. “For organization” pages should be filled out by your contracting organization or school.

2) 4 cm x 3cm Photograph (same requirements as above)
3) Passport
4) Alien Registration Card or Resident Card
5) Kazei Shoumeisho (課税証明書) — available at local tax office or tax/revenue department in your municipal office
6) Nouzei Shoumeisho (納税証明書) — available at local tax office or tax/revenue department in your municipal office

For CIRs:
1) Application Form: http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001138363.pdf

  • “For applicant” pages should be filled out by the visa holder. “For organization” pages should be filled out by your contracting origination.

2) 4 cm x 3cm Photograph (same requirements as above)
3) Passport
4) Alien Registration Card or Resident Card
5) Documents certifying the activity, its duration and position of the person concerned  (please ask your supervisor and the immigration office for details). These could include:

  • Reappointment Intention Form
  • Employment Terms & Conditions/Contract in Japanese
  • Statement of Earning for previous year (gensen choushuu hyo, 源泉徴収票)
  • Certificate of Employment (zaishoku shomeisho, 在職証明書).

At the Immigration Office, Part I:

When you arrive at the immigration office (in Gunma, it will be the Takasaki Branch Office — see the map below), head to the counter and take a number. When your number is called, submit the necessary materials. If you end up missing any documents, the office may allow you to mail it in, but this is not a guarantee. If you submit your paperwork and everything seems to be in order, they will give you a postcard to write your name and address on. They will send this postcard to you once they are ready for you to come back to finish the visa extension process.

Note: When you submit your documents, only your passport and Alien Registration/Resident Card will be returned to you — the rest will be sent for processing. If you need to make copies, make sure you do so before you go to the immigration office.

Invitation for your Second Trip:

About two or three weeks after your first visit, you’ll receive the aforementioned postcard in the mail. The postcard will state the date by which you need to go back to the immigration office (e.g. 2015年6月30日, June 30, 2015). It’s highly recommended you go by this date, but if you absolutely cannot, please call the immigration office to reschedule. The Takasaki Branch can be reached at 027-328-1154.

Materials Needed for you Second Trip (All ALTs and CIRs):

  • ŸPostcard from the immigration office
  • Passport
  • Alien Registration Card/Resident Card
  • ¥4,000 Revenue Stamp (shunyu inshi or 収入印紙).
    • You have to get this from the post office, NOT at the Immigration Office.

At the Immigration Office, Part II:

After buying a ¥4,000 revenue stamp at the post office, go to the immigration office and take a number. When your number is called, give them your postcard, passport, and Alien Registration Card/Resident Card. They will give you a paper titled “Certificate for Payment of Fee” (this can also be picked up after your first visit). Place the revenue stamp on this form in the space provided, fill out how much you paid for the stamp (¥4,000), what the payment is for (in this case: “2 Extension of period of stay”), and sign the bottom.

You’ll likely have to wait a bit again as they make your new Resident Card. Once it’s finished, you’ll be called to the counter and get your old card, your new card, and your passport.

Congratulations! Your visa had been renewed and extended. If you look at your Resident Card, it states how long your renewed visa is and when it expires. Your old card is no longer valid, and a hole should have been drilled into it by the immigration officer. However, be sure to dispose of it securely, as it still contains your personal information!

IMPORTANT NOTE: No new visa stamp will be placed in your passport. Basically, your Resident Card is your visa. They’ll likely explain this to you again once you’ve received your new card.

Tokyo Immigration Office Takasaki Branch:

There is only one immigration office in Gunma, and it is located in Takasaki.

〒370-0829群馬県高崎市高松町26-5
高崎法務総合庁舎1階

Takasaki Ministry of Justice General Office, 1st Floor
26-5 Takamatsucho, Takasaki-shi
Gunma 370-0829

Phone: 027-328-1154
Fax: 027-324-3122
Hours: 9:00a.m. to 4:00p.m.
Closed: Weekends and holidays

Directions to the Immigration Office from JR Takasaki Station:

  1. Leave Takasaki station from the West Exit (西口).
  2. Go straight on Prefectural Route 31.
  3. At the intersection with the ガスト (Gusto), the road will become Prefectural Route 29. Continue along Route 29.
  4. Pass the Gunma Music Center and Symphony Hall on your right and the Takasaki City Gallery on your left. At the light (保険福祉事務所前), turn left.
  5. Pass the courthouse on your left (前橋地域裁判所高崎支部) and turn left at the next street.
  6. Go straight until you see the immigration office on your left (if you reach the hospital, you have gone too far).

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