What is Japan Residence Card?

residence card

What is a Residence Card?

The Residence Card or Zairyu Card (在留カード) is an ID card issued by the Ministry of Justice (Hohmusho 法務省) for foreign residents of Japan. It serves as a formal and legal proof that other nationalities are permitted to live in the country.

To whom the residence card is issued?

A residence card will be issued only to those foreigners residing legally in Japan for the mid to long-term and who have granted a residence-related permit. Whom who acquired the resident’s status by marrying a Japanese or those nikkeis, those who work in the company, interns, international students, etc. However, if you’re any the following, then you will not be issued with such card:

  • Those with Temporary Visitor status
  • Those granted with Diplomat or Official status
  • Special permanent residents
    *Special permanent residents will be issued a Special Permanent Residence Certificate, not a residence card.

The information listed on the residence card

The residence card is equipped with an IC chip to prevent falsification. Besides a photo (for over 16 years old), all of the following information is also shown.

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Nationality/Region
  • Place of residence or address
  • Status of residence including the period of stay and date of expiration
  • Working permits
  • Working restrictions (if any)

The card validity period

For those permanent residents and highly skilled professionals (ii) who are 16 years old or older, the residence card is valid to 7 years from the date of the issue. While those under 16 years old the residence card will be valid until the 16th birthday.

For those non-permanent residents and non-highly Skilled Professional(ii) who are 16 years old or older, the residence card is valid until the expiration date of the period of stay. While those under 16 years old the residence card will be valid until the expiration date of stay or the 16th birthday, whichever comes first.

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Notifications or applications regarding a residence card

In the event of changing information recorded in the residence card during the period of stay, the residents are required to notify the authorities. The following changes of details can be:

  1. Notification of a place of residence

    Foreign nationals (mid to long-term residents) must visit their municipal office to file a notification of a place of residence within 14 days of setting a place of residence. In the case of changing to a new address must visit their new municipal office to file a “notification of the place of residence” within 14 days of moving to the new residence.

  2. Notification of change of name, date of birth, gender, nationality/region

    Go to the Regional Immigration Bureau.
    Notification must be filed within 14 days.

  3. Application to update the period of validity of the resident card

    If the resident card due to expire on his 16th birthday, it is required to apply to renew the period of validity of the residence.

  4. Application for re-issuance of a residence card

    In case of loss, stolen or damaged residence card, apply for re-issuance as soon as possible.

Why the residence card is important?

The Residence Card is necessary for every situation. It is one of the requirements when applying for credit cards, bank accounts, mobile phone contracts and other items necessary for living in Japan.

The place of issuance is at the following locations:
Narita Airport
Haneda Airport
Chubu Airport
Kansai Airport
New Chitose Airport
Hiroshima Airport
Fukuoka Airport

But, if a foreigner will arrive via another port, the Residence Card will be sent via Simplified Registered Mail to the municipal office of the reported place of residence upon his entry.

What if you decide to leave and plan to return again? You do not have to reapply for a Residence Card again, as long as you return within a year or before the expiration of your card.

Please refer to this article on issuing Visa.

Procedure for applying for Japan Visa

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