This year, I’ve realized that from now on, March will be the month I dread.
Japanese tax declaration, US tax declaration, and, perhaps most frustrating, the extension of period of stay process (sometimes erroneously called “visa renewal”).
I’d been spoiled before. All of the above procedures were done by my company and family in previous years.
While taxes are frustrating and confusing, by far the most difficult has been getting together all of the extension of period of stay paperwork for Japan.
I currently have a specialist in humanities/international services status of residence. You can read about the different statuses of residence in the Appended Table I of the Immigration Control and Refugee Act. The specialist in humanities/international services status covers a wide range of professions. These professions include English school (“eikaiwa”) teachers, translators, and administrative work.
A ton of paperwork is necessary in order to renew your period of stay in Japan. To submit, I first went to Immigration in person. Then, I submitted additional required documents by mail to Immigration. For both the benefit of future-me and others who are going through the same procedure for extension of period of stay, I’m going to list the necessary paperwork for renewing the humanities/international services status.
I’ll list all the documents I ended up submitting. I’ll also add comments about how I got the document and what the Immigration website says about the document. Keep in mind that:
- This is the paperwork needed for renewing a specialist in humanities/international services status of residence. Different procedures (change of status of residence, etc.) and different statuses of residence (student) may require different paperwork.
- The documents needed from your company will probably depend on the size/status of the company.
- My job title will change with my new contract, so I had to submit additional paperwork. What you submit will be based on your unique situation.
- The ultimate decision of what paperwork will be needed might depend on the officer you talk to at Immigration. You may have to submit more paperwork if higher-ups later decide that it is necessary.
With that out of the way, let’s look at the items necessary for renewing your period of stay.
Extension of Period of Stay Necessary Documents
1. Application form, 1 copy
Pages 1 and 2 are filled out by the applicant (you!). I pasted the photo from #2 in this list to this document.
Pages 3 and 4 are filled out by the company (your employer).
DO NOT make the application double-sided. Each page must be on a separate piece of paper. Immigration wouldn’t take page 3 and 4 on the same piece of paper when I tried to submit it.
Also, make sure you and your company fill in ALL the details on this application. If a blank is not applicable, indicate this by putting a line across the blank or writing “なし” (basically means “N/A”).
2. Photo (4cm x 3cm), 1 copy
Lots of ID photo booths are scattered throughout Japan, often near stations and supermarkets. These booths are not to be confused with purikura booths, which are much more fun. The photos will usually cost between 700 yen and 1000 yen.
3. Documents certifying the activity, its duration and position of the person concerned
These documents are not listed in English on the Immigration website. The Japanese version of the Immigration website talks about the company categories and necessary documents for each category. What you have to submit is based basically on the size of your company. What I was asked to submit doesn’t seem to 100% match up with the website. At least I could submit the supporting documents by mail to Immigration.
Details of company finances
For this, I submitted a quarterly published by my company. The magazine had a section entitled “finances” (財務状況 in Japanese). I think a copy would’ve been fine, but I just sent the magazine itself.
I’m staying at the same company, but my job title is changing. The officer told me I should write an explanation about why. He gave me an official form. I wrote the explanation in English.
Proof of Employment
My company gave me a Proof of Employment (在職証明書, zaishoku shomeisho), which listed my current working conditions. I was told by Immigration that it probably wasn’t needed, but they took it anyway.
Proof of Intention to Hire
My company also gave me the Proof of Intention to Hire (採用予定証明書, saiyoyotei shoumaeisho). This document proves that they intend to renew my contract. The paper also lists my working conditions for the renewed contract. Again, I was told by Immigration that this document wasn’t necessary, but they took it anyway.
4. Documents certifying an annual income and tax payment
Proof of Residence Taxation
In Japanese, this is called 住民税の課税証明書 (juuminzei no kazei shoumeisho). The residence tax paid to the city you lived in January 1st of the same year and is based on your income from the previous year.
For example, I lived and worked in a different city on January 1, 2013. My 2012 income was used to calculate the residence tax I’d have to pay to that city starting from late 2013.
This means that I had to get proof of residence taxation for 2013 from my old city, even though I currently live in Tokyo. I got this document through the mail from the city hall of my old city. It cost 300 yen for me. I paid with a “fixed amount money order” (定額小為替, teigaku kogawase). The price and procedure may vary by city.
Proof of Residence Tax Collection
The Proof of Residence Tax Collection is called 住民税の納税証明書 (juuminzei no nouzei shoumeisho) in Japanese. This document proves that I actually paid the 2013 residence tax. I may have been able to receive this by mail, but time was running out. Tokyo is about 2.5 hours from my old city by train, so I took a day trip to get this document. The proof of residence tax collection cost me 300 yen, but may vary by city. I’m still a little bitter about this one.
Copy of Statement of Earnings
Copy of Statement of Earnings (源泉徴収票, gensenchoushuuhyou) is a paper from your company stating your earnings from the past year. The Immigration officer didn’t seem to think this was necessary, but took it anyway.
Your passport is of course, very necessary. In Japanese, a passport is called パスポート (pasupoto) or, more officially, 旅券 (ryoken). I only have one passport (not a dual citizen, haven’t had to renew my passport), so I just took that one. They made a copy and gave it back.
6. Residence Card
Be sure to take your residence card (在留カード, zairyu kaado). They made a copy of mine and gave it back.
After submitting all of this paperwork, you have to wait a while. You’ll receive a postcard in the mail telling you to come to the Immigration Office to claim your extension of stay. One time, I got my renewal in less than a week, but it can apparently take up to a month or so. All in all, my first extension of period of stay paperwork experience has been less than fun. At least next year I will know what to expect! What has your experience been with renewing your period of stay in Japan?