What is the Japanese PR Approval Timeline?

Scan of a Japanese permanent resident card with fake information
Resident card (zairyu card) for permanent resident in Japan

For many visa holders in Japan, getting a Japanese permanent resident visa is a major goal. One major worry applicants have is how long the approval process will take. Luckily, I recently received my own permanent resident permission in Japan.

So as reference, I’d like to share my overall permanent residence application timeline.

Permanent Resident Application Timeline

Application Document Gathering

  • April 2021
    • First, I hired an immigration lawyer (technically called a “Certified Administrative Procedures Legal Specialist” / 行政書士 in Japanese).
    • Hiring a lawyer isn’t necessary for most people. I’ll list my reasons in another post later.
    • The lawyer suggested that I apply under the highly skilled foreign professionals point system.
    • (For reference, I have a different type of work visa in Japan. However, I was still able to use this HSP point system.)
  • April 2021 through July 2021
    • Then, I collected the needed documents based on a list from the immigration lawyer.
    • In addition, the lawyer collected some documents for me.

Permanent Resident Application to Approval

  • End of July 2021
    • The lawyer submitted the application to the immigration office for me.
    • A few days before the lawyer submitted my application, he collected my passport and resident card.
    • He also gave me a document about why I did not have my passport and resident card in case I was stopped by police, etc.
    • A few days after the lawyer submitted my application, he returned my passport and resident card.
  • End of July 2021 through end of December 2021
    • Just waiting.
    • I received no contact from the lawyer or immigration office during this period.
  • End of December 2021
    • The lawyer contacted to say my application passed!
    • Then, he collected my passport and resident card again.
    • After collecting these items, he picked up my new permanent visa resident card from the immigration office.
    • We then met again a few days later so he could give me my old resident card, passport, and of course my new permanent resident visa!

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Overall Time Needed

In all, this is how many months the permanent resident visa application process took.

  • Document collection: about 3 months
  • Application submission to approval: about 5 months
  • Total: about 8 months

Comparisons

Overall, I feel really lucky. In the past, the waiting period from submission to approval could be from 6 months to over a year. However, I’ve heard that time has drastically decreased. At the same time, I’ve heard the conditions for approval have also gotten a lot stricter.

Future Plans

I don’t have any big plans right now. But just having the freedom and security from permanent residence is a huge relief. Someday, I’d like to look into buying property or starting a business in Japan.

Other Permanent Resident Details

I am thinking of writing a few other posts regarding my status at application, such as type of visa, etc. I’d also like to write about my reasons for hiring an immigration lawyer. So keep an eye out for those posts.

Conclusion

Are you thinking of applying for permanent residence in Japan? If you’ve already applied, how long has the wait been? Let us know in the comments!

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