Opening a Bank Account in Japan
Required processes for opening a bank account
For foreign nationals to open bank accounts in Japan, they are required to be residents in accordance with foreign exchange and foreign trade law. In this case, resident refers to an individual working at a company or office located in Japan or has been living in Japan for 6 months or more.
However, individuals with medium- to long-term residence qualifications cannot open bank accounts if their residence period ends within the next three months. If this applies to you and you are planning to continue living in Japan, first complete the procedure to extend your residence period, then wait for your new residence card to arrive and apply when you have more than three months remaining.
At Japan’s major metropolitan banks (Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, Mizuho Bank, Resona Bank), trust banks (Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking, SMBC Trust Bank Prestia, etc.), and local banks which have physical locations, you can carry out the account opening procedure either in person at the teller window or online.
However, since all documents of the above banks are generally in Japanese, even from internet, we suggest that foreigners first consult with SMBC Trust Bank Prestia (formerly CITI Bank) for getting a bank account as most foreigners in Japan do. (The time required to open a bank account is 2 to 4 hours.)
On the other hand, for banks such as Rakuten Bank and Japanet Bank which operate solely online, the account opening procedure is somewhat simpler compared to other options such as major metropolitan banks. For these options, account opening can generally only be carried out online. (Basically in Japanese)
Required documents for opening an account
When actually applying to open an account, confirm the type of bank where you would like to open an account (bank with a physical location or internet-only bank) or the bank where you are required to open one, then check the applicable bank’s website and confirm the process for opening an account and the documents required.
Although the requirements for opening an account vary from bank to bank, the following are generally required for foreign nationals.
- Residence card or special permanent resident certificate (for confirmation of your identity).
- Invoice or receipt for a public utilities payment (for confirmation of your address).
- Personal stamp (required for bank transactions; some banks allow you to use a signature instead).
- Phone number
The required documents for online procedures and in-person procedures differ from bank to bank, so be sure to confirm these requirements in advance.
Cautionary points for opening a bank account to receive wages
If you are working in Japan with a residence qualification that allows you to do so, payment of wages is generally carried out by wire transfer to workers’ bank accounts on a specified date. Since you may be asked to open an account at a specific bank or branch for receiving your wage payments in some cases, confirm this with your company prior to opening an account.