Period of Stay Extension Paperwork

Waiting in line to extend period of stay in Japan
Waiting in line at Japanese Immigration // Photo by Ignat Gorazd

This year, I’ve realized that from now on, March will be the month I dread. Extending your period of stay is a nightmare.

For me, March means 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.

Added March 4, 2023: Please note that this article is very old. So much of the information is probably outdate. Please double check all information with the official websites before attempting to renew.

Specialist in Humanities/International Services Visa

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.

Japanese Visa Renewal Paperwork

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:

Period of Stay Caveats

  • 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 officer you talk to at Immigration will have the ultimate decision over what paperwork will be needed. 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.

Necessary Documents for Extension of Period of Stay

To help clarify what I submitted and add comments, I looked at both the Japanese and English versions of the official Ministry of Justice/Immigration Bureau website.

1. Application form, 1 copy

You (the applicant) will fill out Pages 1 and 2. I pasted the photo from #2 in this list to this document.

Your employer will fill out Pages 3 and 4.

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”).

Application form (#7) for Extension of Status of Residence (PDF and Excel available)

2. Photo (4cm x 3cm), 1 copy

You can find ID photo booths scattered throughout Japan, often near stations and supermarkets.

Don’t confuse these booths with purikura booths, which are much more fun. You will usually pay between 700 yen and 1000 yen for these photos.

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.

Explanation Sheet

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.

Immigration told me 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, Immigration told me 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.

5. Passport

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 Submission of Period of Stay Paperwork

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?

5 thoughts on “Period of Stay Extension Paperwork

  1. Rosie says:

    Hello! This is an old post so you may not be able to reply, but I’m taking a shot here.

    Im a student who just got the job last June with a 1 year visa, but I’m renewing it now. But I’m still confused about the tax stuff, but it said that its needed in the list. What do I do?

    1. Rosie says:

      Sorry, I just wanted to clarify.

      I had a student visa before and changed the visa type when I got the job. But since I was a student, I didn’t have income for them to base my taxes on. I’m getting passed around saying to go to the ward office then go to the tax office.

      1. L. says:

        If you did not work or have a part time job last year, you might want to try getting last year’s Certificate of Non-Taxation, typically called 非課税証明書/hikazei shomeisho. You generally can have it issued by the ward/city office of the location where you lived on January 1, 2018 (same as the taxation certificates mentioned in the post).

        If it is not this, your best bet is to try asking at the Immigration Office again for the name of the documents you need after explaining your situation (maybe asking them to write it down to take to the ward office), try calling the official foreign language help desk (the number is on the Immigration Office website) and also consider asking a visa specialist.

  2. PieNae says:

    I went through this two times already. I am married with a Japanese and had to apply for the spouse visa this year in April again. I have been staying in Japan since Nov. 2013, since May 2014 with the spouse visa. And guess how many years the immigration approved last time? Only one more year. I was hoping to get the visa for three years since I am working for a big American company here in Japan. But it seems that does not count for them..?

    1. L. says:

      Isn’t that frustrating? While there are theories on how 3-year visas are granted, there doesn’t seem to be an official answer. I do remember reading that after 3 years of marriage to a Japanese national, you become eligible to apply for permanent residence. Good luck at your next renewal.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.