Types of Visas for Family Members (Family Residence Status)
What visas allow family members to live in Japan?
Foreign nationals with medium- to long-term residence status qualifications can apply for “family residence” qualifications when they want to bring a dependent spouse of child to Japan.
However, among the different medium- to long-term residence status qualifications, there are some for which this application is possible and some for which it is not.
1.Residence qualifications allowed to apply for a family residence visa
Individuals with any of the following residence qualifications can apply for a family residence visa to bring family members to Japan.
Professor, Artist, Religious Activities, Journalist, Highly Skilled Professional (HSP), Business Manager, Legal/Accounting Services, Medical services, Researcher, Instructor, Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services (ESI), Intra-company Transferee, Nursing Care, Entertainer, Skilled Labor, Student, Specified Skilled Worker (ii)
2.Residence qualifications not allowed to apply for a family residence visa
Individuals with any of the following residence qualifications cannot apply for a family residence visa.
Diplomat, Official, Designated Activities, Specified Skilled Worker (i), Technical Intern Training (TIT)
The family members of foreign nationals with Diplomat and Official visas are eligible to apply for their own visas of the same type.
For example, the family members of a foreign national with a Diplomat visa will also apply for their own Diplomat visas, while those of an individual with an Official visa will apply for the Official type.
For Designated Activities visa holders, since the procedure required for family members to acquire residence status differs depending on the type of activities, it’s best to consult with an administrative scrivener or lawyer specializing in visa applications regarding your specific case.
For Specified Skilled Worker (i) visa holders, family residence applications are not permitted, so family members have to apply separately for their own residence qualifications to live in come to Japan.
Cautionary points when considering a family residence visa application
Requirements for applications
Family residence visas are only granted to dependent spouses or children of applicants. For this reason, documents certifying the occupation and income of the supporting applicant as well as their marriage and parent-child relationships with the applicable family members are required. In addition, additional documents may be required in some cases depending on the residence status and economic solvency of the supporting applicant. When considering this application, it’s a good idea to consult with an administrative scrivener or lawyer specializing in visa applications regarding your specific circumstances.
1. Application for a Certificate of Eligibility for Resident Status
2.Photo (4 cm high x 3 cm wide)
3.Self-addressed stamped envelope
4.One of the following to verify the relationship between the applicable family member and supporting applicant for the family residence visa
(1) Official copy of the family register
(2) Marriage Acceptance Certificate
(3) Marriage certificate (copy)
(4) Birth certificate (copy)
(5) Another document comparable to one of the items in (1) to (4) above
5.Copy of the supporting applicant’s resident card or passport
6.Documents verifying the employment and earnings of the supporting applicant
(1) If the supporting applicant is running a business generating earnings or engaged in wage-earning activities
- Copy of a certificate of employment, business permit, or other document certifying these activities
- Municipal tax taxation certificate (or tax exemption certificate) and tax payment certificate
(2) If the supporting applicant is not engaged in the activities in “(1)” above
- Certificate of a bank balance or certificate specifying the payment amount and payment period for scholarship benefits in the name of the supporting applicant, or other comparable proof of financial status
- Documents certifying that the supporting applicant is capable of paying the living expenses for the applicable family member based on “a.” above
- Documents verifying the supporting applicant’s identity (photo ID, etc.)
Again, it is advisable to consult with an administrative scrivener or lawyer specializing in visa applications regarding the required documents for your specific circumstances.
Working with a family residence visa
If you come to Japan on a family residence visa, although you are permitted to conduct salaried activities (work) up to 28 hours per week if you obtain a Permission to Engage in Activity Other than that Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted from the Immigration Services Agency, failure to comply with this rule could put you at a disadvantage for future Extension of Period of Stay applications, so be very careful not to exceed the permitted hours.