A Residence Card will be issued to newly arriving foreign nationals who intend to reside in Japan for more than three months. This card is your main identification card while in Japan. It includes information such as your name, date of birth, nationality, address in Japan, residence status and period of stay.
You are legally required to carry your Residence Card at all times. If you fail to carry your Residence Card, you may be sentenced to a fine of up to ¥200,000. If you are asked to show your card to the police or Immigration officers, you must do so. Refusing to show your Residence Card is punishable by imprisonment for not more than a year or a fine not exceeding ¥200,000. If you lose your Residence Card, you have to re-apply for a new card at the Immigration Bureau within 14 days. If you fail to do so, you could face imprisonment or a fine. If you fail to give notification of your address or submit a false notification, your residence status may be revoked. If you are sentenced to imprisonment for false notification, you may be deported.
Your First Residence
When your Residence Card is issued, you must bring the following to your ward office/city hall to register your place of residence within 14 days of moving into your new place:
- Residence Card
- Address in Japan
- Application Form
When You Move
If you move to a new location, report to the Residents Section (住民課 Jyumin-ka) of your old AND new ward/city office within 14 days of moving to a new address. First, go to your old ward/city office. They will issue you a certificate of moving out (転出証明書 Tenshutsu-Shomeisho). Then take the certificate to your new ward/city office to register your change of address. The office will update your address for all government services automatically. Also, if you are going to be outside of Japan more than one year or are permanently leaving Japan, you need to notify the Residents Section of your ward office or city hall.
Re-issuance of a Residence Card
In case your Residence Card is lost, stolen, or severely damaged, you need to re-apply for a new one at Immigration within 14 days of damaging or losing your card. If your card was lost or stolen, you first must go to the nearest police station (Koban) or police department to submit a "Report of Stolen Property" or "Report of Lost Articles." Please bring the report of loss/theft certificate issued by the police department with you when you go to Immigration.
For Alien Registration Card Holders
Your Alien Registration Card is equivalent to Residence Card, so there is no immediate action needed for an Alien Registration Card that is currently valid. You will be asked to exchange your Alien Registration Card for a Residence Card when filing for applications such as extension of your period of stay or changing your status of residence. If your Alien Registration Card will expire before your period of stay does, you need to apply for Residence Card at Immigration before your current Alien Registration Card expires.
A Certificate for Status of Residence (Jumin-hyo)
A Certificate of Residence (Jumin-hyo) is a document that proves the validity of the registration information on your Residence Card. A copy of your Certificate of Residence can be issued at your local ward office upon request for a small fee (¥300 - ¥350 per copy). Please make sure to take your Residence Card when you go to your local ward office.