Meet the story of a woman from Thailand who crossed paths with her Japanese husband in their homeland.
He was seconded to a subsidiary of his Japanese company for two years. They both worked for the same company, engaged in a common project, and over a year and a half of dating, decided to tie the knot. Their wedding was celebrated, and their marriage duly registered in both Thailand and Japan. After completing his two-year assignment, he returned to Japan ahead of her, making arrangements for their new life together, including housing and other necessities.
Now, one might wonder, can his wife smoothly relocate to Japan to join him?
While their marriage is undoubtedly genuine, Japan faces the unfortunate reality of reported false marriages each year. These fraudulent unions involve criminal activities, such as false entries in notarized deeds, where fabricated documents (false marriage registrations) are submitted to authorities. Perpetrators of such acts could face penalties, including up to 5 years in prison or a fine of up to 500,000 yen.
For the wife to embark on her new married life in Japan, she must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility for “Spouse or Child of Japanese National” from her husband in Japan. Armed with this certificate, she can initiate the application process for a spouse visa in Thailand. Throughout the Certificate of Eligibility acquisition process, the immigration office scrutinizes the authenticity of their marriage and the legitimacy of her reasons to relocate to Japan. Although it may seem cumbersome given the sincerity of their union, this procedural step is essential for her to commence her new life in Japan alongside her husband.
1. Conditions for Entering Japan
Even if you are married to a Japanese national and have the right to live there, it’s crucial to ensure that you meet other requirements for entering Japan. Here are the key conditions:
- 1. Hold a valid passport issued by the government of your country.
- 2. The purpose of your visit/stay is true and aligns with one of the visa types.
- 3. The requested duration of stay falls within the legal limits.
- 4. Provide personal identification information such as fingerprints and pictures.
- 5. The applicant does not meet any of the conditions restricting entry into Japan, such as:
- You are suffering from any infectious disease, like a new or reemerging influenza strain.
- You have been sentenced to imprisonment in Japan or any other country for a year or more, or to equivalent penalties, including suspended sentences.
- You have been convicted of violations related to the control of psychotropic substances and have been penalized in Japan or any other country.
- You have been deported from Japan within the past 5 years (or deported twice within the last 10 years).
- You have departed from Japan under a departure order within the past year.
- You have been denied landing within the past year.
- You have engaged in prostitution or any other business directly connected with prostitution.
Please note that these are the major conditions. As evident, meeting the appropriate visa requirement is just one aspect. Failure to meet any of these conditions might result in the refusal of entry to Japan, even if you have a Japanese spouse awaiting your arrival.
2. Moving to Japan
2-1. Who Can Bring Family Members as “Dependent” to Japan
If you are a non-Japanese person working or studying in Japan and considering bringing your wife and children, you need to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility for “Dependent” on their behalf.
The following types of visa holders can apply for their family members:
- Religious Activities
- Business Manager
- Legal/Accounting Services
- Medical Services
- Skilled Labor
- Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services
- Intra-company Transferee
- Cultural Activities
- Student (University Student)
- Specified Skilled Worker II
- Nursing care
Please note that you can bring only your wife and children; siblings and parents are not eligible. The duration of stay aligns with yours, and it’s imperative that you financially support them.
“Dependent” visa holders can apply for part-time jobs with prior permission, but relying on this for income is not advisable.
If you need to bring your aging parent: If there’s a need to bring a parent who requires care, they should initially come to Japan as tourists and attempt to change their status to “Designated Activity.” This process is intricate, so thorough preparation is necessary.
For same-sex married couples: Refer to this link for specific information.
For “Designated Activity” visa holders: Not all can bring their families; eligibility depends on the nature of designated activities. Each case should be examined individually.
2-2. Who Can Move to Japan as a “Spouse”?
If you are married to a Japanese national, your spouse in Japan can apply for a Certificate of Eligibility for “Spouse or Child of Japanese National” on your behalf. In the case where you are married to a non-Japanese person with a “Permanent” visa, your spouse in Japan can apply for a Certificate of Eligibility for “Spouse or Child of Permanent Residence” for you.
If you are married to a non-Japanese person holding a “Long Term Resident” or “Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident” visa, then your spouse in Japan can apply for a Certificate of Eligibility for “Long Term Resident” on your behalf.
Once again, it’s crucial for your spouse in Japan to demonstrate financial capability to support you. Even if the marriage is genuine and the reason for moving to and residing in Japan, the immigration office may reject the application if they believe your spouse in Japan cannot provide adequate financial support.
3. How and where to apply for this?
To initiate this process, you’ll need to secure a Certificate of Eligibility from Japan.
Let’s delve into a real-life example, considering the case of a woman from Thailand which we checked at the beginning.
In her situation, the couple resided in Thailand and dated for 1.5 years, providing ample evidence to substantiate the authenticity of their marriage through photographs and other supporting documents. Their marriage was legally recognized in Thailand, and they subsequently registered it in Japan, allowing them to easily obtain a marriage certificate (or equivalent) from authorities in both countries. With the husband already employed and having secured a place to live in Japan, he was well-prepared to fully support his wife.
The responsibility of applying for a Certificate of Eligibility for the “Spouse or Child of Japanese National” rests with the Japanese husband. He completes the application form and compiles all necessary documents.
Subsequently, he visits the local immigration office to submit the application. The processing time typically spans from one to three months, contingent on the immigration office’s scrutiny of the application and attached documents.
Upon the certificate’s issuance by the immigration office, the Japanese husband dispatches it to his wife. She, in turn, proceeds to the Japanese embassy or consulate to initiate the spouse visa application. Once approved, the spouse visa is stamped onto her passport.
Embarking on the path to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility requires thorough preparation, customized to your distinct situation. Given the intricacies and demands of the process, the required documents vary for each individual.
Our dedicated team, situated in Hiroshima, specializes in meticulous consultation to identify the optimal approach for each case. It’s essential to note that our services extend beyond location constraints. Whether you reside in Hiroshima or elsewhere, we can efficiently manage your case, providing seamless support regardless of your geographical location.
Contact Us: Expert Guidance at Your Fingertips
If you’re seeking guidance on acquiring a Certificate of Eligibility, feel free to reach out. Complete the form on our Contact Us page, sharing details about your situation. Anticipate a response within a few days.
Your journey towards obtaining the Certificate of Eligibility commences with the right support.