1. Overstay in Japan
Staying in Japan beyond the permitted period of time could mean you may be deported from Japan.
In the following 3 cases which do you think lead to deportation from Japan?
Case 1 : A man from South America
He came to Japan with a passport bearing the name of another person, pretending to be a third-generation of Japanese descent and stayed holding a “ Long Term Resident “ visa. 5 years later he met a woman who was also from South America with Long Term Resident visa holder and stayed another 6 years with the same visa and had a baby with her. But at the same time, it was found out that he had disguised himself as being of Japanese descent and his application for extension of period of stay was rejected. 3.5 years later he was arrested for violation of the Immigration Control Act as well as a Road Traffic Act and was sentenced to two years and 6 months in prison suspended for 4 years.
Case 2 : A woman from Southeast Asia
She came with forged passport and smuggled herself into Japan. After 2 years, she gave birth to a boy with a Japanese man. She got married to this man 7 years later and the boy was acknowledged by this father and was given “ Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident “ visa. She continued to stay in Japan without applying for extension of period of stay. A year and a half after her marriage, she was arrested for shoplifting and was sentenced to two years and 8 months in prison suspended for 3 years for theft as well as violation of the Immigration Control Act. Her Japanese husband went missing after he acknowledged his son and she was looking after her son on her own.
Case 3 : A family from South Asia
Parents came to Japan with short-term stay visa of 15 days and 90 days separately. But they continued to stay in Japan and in 2 years time, they let their daughter use a forged passport to enter Japan. A year and a half later, a son was born and 4 of them were making a living by running their own business. But after 5 years, they appeared at the immigration office to declare their changes, hoping to stay in Japan legally.
2. What if you overstay your visa?
If you forgot the expiry date of your visa and accidentally overstayed, the best option you have got is to go to the immigration office. ( It would be better if someone from your company can accompany you ) Most probably you will be allowed to submit the application to renew your visa following their instructions, providing that the period of overstay isn’t too long and you have a regualar job or you are in a stable marriage.
However if you have stayed in Japan after the expiry date of your visa intentionally, it is a different story. You will be deported from Japan.
Instead of worrying about when / whether you are going to get caught by the immigration office, it is advisable to go there voluntarily and declare the charges by yourself. This is also encouraged by the Immigration Bureau of the Ministry of Justice.
2-1. Departure Order System
If you are deported from Japan, you are prohibited from re-entering Japan for at least 5 years. But if you leave Japan without detention under the departure order system, the prohibited period is reduced to 1 year.
If you would like to return to your country using this system, you have to:
- appear at the immigration office voluntarily with the intention of leaving Japan as soon as possible
- not to fall under any category of deportation except that of overstaying
- not have been sentenced to imprisonment for crimes such as theft during your stay in Japan
- not have been deported nor left Japan under a departure order in the past
- be able to leave Japan for sure at the earliest possible timing
Even if you don’t satisfy these requirement to use a departure order system, you can leave Japan without detention by obtaining permission for provisional release if you appear at the immigration office voluntarily with the intention of leaving Japan.
2-2 Special Permission to Stay
If you wish to carry on your life in Japan, you still need to appear at the immigration office and declare your charges and state the reasons why you would like to continue living in Japan.
Special Permission to Stay is not something you have the right to apply for. This is exceptionally granted through the deportation process and it is up to the Ministry of Justice whether to give it or not. They look into the individual cases thoroughly, the marital status, family members, family abroad etc and through this process, they try to look at the positive / negative elements of your case. Based on this, they will make their decision. If they consider your case is a mostly positive one, then Special Permission to Stay will be granted, if not you will be deported.
Here are the examples stated on the guideline of Positive Elements and Negative Elements from the Immigration Bureau, Ministry of Justice.
Particularly considered to be positive
if you are:
- a child of Japanese nationals or special permanent residents
- raising a child who was born between you and Japanese nationals or special permanent residents ( the child should be a legitimate child or an illegitimate child but acknowledged by his / her father ) and meet with all the below conditions:
● the child is a minor and unmarried.
● you have parental authority over the child.
● you have lived with the child for a satisfactory period of time and are taking care of him / her.
- genuinely married to Japanese nationals or special permanent residents and also meet with both below conditions:
● you have lived together with your spouse for a satisfactory period of time as a proper married couple.
● your marital status is stable and firm, for example you have a child and are raising him/her together.
- living with your own child who goes to a Japanese elementary school / junior high school for a satisfactory period of time and are taking care of him / her
- required to receive medical treatment in Japan due to severe illness or the one who is looking after a relative receiving such medical treatment
considered to be positive
- You appear at the immigration office voluntarily to declare the charges
- You are married to a person who holds either Permanent Resident visa ,Spouse or Child of Japanese National visa, Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident visa or Long Term Resident visa and also meet with both below conditions
● you have lived together with your spouse for a satisfactory period of time as a proper married couple
● your marital status is stable and firm, for example you have a child and are raising him/her together
- You are raising a child whose visa ( residential status ) is either Permanent Resident visa ,Spouse or Child of Japanese National visa, Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident visa or Long Term Resident visa and also meet with all the below conditions:
● the child is a minor and unmarried
● you have parental authority over the child
● you have lived with the child for a satisfactory period of time and are taking care of him / her
- You are a minor and unmarried child being looked after by your parents whose visas ( residential status ) are either Permanent Resident visa ,Spouse or Child of Japanese National visa, Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident visa or Long Term Resident visa
- You have lived in Japan long enough to say that you have settled down
- There are humanitarian grounds / other special circumstances to be considered
Particularly considered to be negative
- if you have been punished for serious crimes such as smuggling of firearms, illegal drugs, illegal receipt or issue of passports, prostitution, human trafficking etc
considered to be negative
- have entered Japan illegally
- were deported from Japan in the past
- have committed other violations of penal law
- had any other issues during your stay in Japan that may be regarded in a negative light.
Bearing these in mind, the immigration officers examine the individual cases and make a decision whether to grant a Special Permission to Stay or not. If it is decided to not give permission, a written deportation order will be issued.
Now, regarding the 3 cases introduced at the beginning, do you think they had more positive elements or negative ones?
Actually, they were all granted Special Permission to Stay after all. All three of them. So in those cases, positive elements outweighed the negative.
3. Outline of the deportation process
As I mentioned earlier, there isn’t a so called procedure to obtain a Special Permission to Stay , this may be granted “ Specially “ by Ministry of Justice during the deportation process. This might sound a bit nerve wracking, but it is the only way to make your stay legal again.
3-1. Preparation of documents prior to appearing at the immigration office
There aren’t any specified documents to submit, it depends on your situation and you need to gather all the documents to be able to explain why you have to stay in Japan.
Here are the basic documents in the case that you have been married to a Japanese national
- A written note to explain the reason why you would like to have special permission to stay and to state how regretful you are.
- A plea for permission from your Japanese spouse, friends, company.
- A document to identify yourself such as : a passport, residential card, driving license, ID card ( from your country ) etc
- Documents to prove your marital status :
● A certificate of Family Registry ( Koseki tohon) for your Japanese spouse which states your marriage and any children you may have.
● A certificate of Acceptance of Notification of Marriage (Konin Todoke Juri Shomeisho)
● A certificate of Marriage Report (Konin Todoke Kisai Jiko Shomei Sho)
● A certificate of marriage issued by your home embassy / consulate or equivalent document
- Document to prove your living status:
● A residence record of the entire family ( Jumin hyo ) from your Japanese spouse.
● A certificate of employment ( Zaishoku shoumei sho ) of your Japanese spouse.
● The latest statement of earnings for earned income ( Gensen choushu hyo ) from your Japanese spouse * This is to show the latest yearly income
● A certificate showing the of receipt pension / welfare assistance ( Nenkin jukyu shomeisho / Seikatsu hogo jukyu shomeisho )
● A certificate of registry for house / land in which you and your Japanese spouse live ( Toukibo touhon ) or a copy of the rental agreement ( Chintai keiyaku sho )
● A simplified map from the nearest station to your house.
● A resume of your Japanese spouse.
● Mother and Child Health Handbook ( if you have a child ).
● A certificate of student status of your child ( if you have a child ).
● A copy of your bankbook * all the pages from the currently used book
● 4 portrait photos ( 5 cm x 5 cm )
● A couple of photos, ex wedding, with your Japanese spouse and his / her family * Please put the date of when the photos were taken
* The documents you submit will not be returned to you.
* If any of the documents are written in another language, please attach the Japanese translation.
* If you have got a job, you can also get the latest statement of earnings for earned income.
* Please use documents / certificates which have been issued within the 3 months prior to your application.
If there are any other documents which can support your case, please add them to the above.When you go to the immigration office with these documents, it would be better to be accompanied by your Japanese spouse and children.
3-2 Deportation process
When you go to the immigration office and declare your charges, the process will begin. You might think that you will be detained but unless they think that you might run away, they won’t detain you.
- Examination of violation by immigration control officer
An immigration control officer examines the documents you have brought and asks you many questions. The officer will tell you if you have to prepare more documents and you will be called in for the investigation several times more. ( They might even visit your house to check if you actually live there with your family without notification as part of the investigation)
- Provisional release
When the immigration control officer completes the examination of the case you will be called in to confirm that your case falls within the reasons for deportation. As you are in the middle of this process of deportation then you are to be detained, however since you appeared at the immigration office voluntarily, in most cases they will not physically detain you there. Officially, documents will show you as being ‘detained’, but once you fill in the relevant paperwork at the immigration office you will be granted a provisional release.
- Investigation of violation by an immigration inspector
An immigration inspector investigates the examination result conducted by the immigration control officer and asks you questions again. When the officer confirms that you fall under the reasons for deportation you have to request the hearing process, which means that you move on to the second stage of the examination.
- Oral hearing by a special inquiry officer
A special inquiry officer goes through the results of the examination and investigation by asking you questions. When the officer confirms that you fall under the reasons for deportation you file an objection to the Ministry of Justice, which means that you then move on to the last stage of examination.
- Decision by the Ministry of Justice
Even if the Ministry also finds that you fall under the reasons for deportation yet you have certain reasons to stay in Japan, you will be granted Special Permission to Stay by the Ministry of Justice. But if you are found to have no certain reasons to stay in Japan, they will issue a written deportation order for you.
Please be reminded that appearing yourself at the immigration office for the special permission to stay is the start of the deportation process. If the negative elements of your case outweigh the positive and they decide not to give you permission to stay, they will execute the deportation and you will be prohibited from re-entering Japan for 5 years. So if you don’t think that your case is strong enough, then using the departure order system is also an option as the period of prohibiting re-entry is one year.
Appearing yourself at the immigration office is a positive step, but this doesn’t mean that they will give you permission to stay. They will take every single aspect into consideration and make a comprehensive decision.
Changing status from “ illegal “ to “ legal “ is not easy and it is not the immigration office, but yourself who has to prove that you have special reasons to stay in Japan. The immigration office don’t need to find the special reasons for you.
With the above information, you should have a basic idea of what to do when you overstay.
- You don’t want to go to the immigration office on your own
- You are still not confident enough to do this on your own
- You want to do it on your own, but you want the prepared documents to be checked
In these cases, Visa Navi Japan can offer you the exact support you want.
We accompany you to the immigration office, we can check the documents that you prepared, and we can help to prepare the documents as Visa Navi Japan is a nationally licensed immigration lawyer ( gyoseishoshi ).
If you want to make an inquiry about overstay in Japan, please fill out the form on the Contact us page and send it to us. We will get back to you in a few days.
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