You may want to live in Japan as a Japanese national. This process is called Naturalization. The Naturalization process takes more than just declaring your eagerness to become a Japanese national. The legally required conditions are described below.
1.Duration of Stay
You are required to have a valid visa (Status of Residence) from the Immigration Bureau of Japan at the time of application and you must have been living in Japan for at least 5 years. Also the bureau confirms whether you have been living in Japan at least 80% of the 365 days every year. The time spent on a Student visa cannot be counted in this 5 year period.
You are required to be 20 years of age or older and have reached the official age as an adult in your home country. However, this age restriction is not strictly applied to dependent children under the age of 20, applying with you.
You should be of good character in your daily life. It is important that you have not been involved in any crime or been a nuisance to society. Even a minor traffic offence may affect your application. Whether or not you have been paying tax properly reflects your duty as a would-be national and is another assessment factor. You also need to have a certificate of your enrolment into the Japanese National Pension System that shows the record of your levy payments. You cannot apply for Naturalization if you are not enrolled in the Japanese National Pension System and cannot provide this document. You are judged on whether you can live in Japanese society like an ordinary law-abiding Japanese national.
You need to have sufficient income: whether you can work and earn an income will be checked. If you can make a stable living by the financial capability of your spouse, this is allowable. If you are a student, approval can be made if you have regular sufficient allowance from your parent(s). If you are married to a Japanese national, you need to prove that the marriage is genuine and that you live together.
You need to be a person with no nationality or else forfeit your foreign nationality when approval is given for your Japanese nationality.
6.Conformation to the Japanese Constitution
You must be of a nature to abide by the Japanese Peace Constitution. Any person who is even slightly likely to become a terrorist will not be accepted.
7.Japanese Language ability
You need to have Japanese reading and writing skills at least equivalent to an ordinary 7 to 8 year old Japanese primary school student. You need to understand basic “kanji(漢字)” besides “katakana(カタカナ)” and “hiragana(ひらがな)”. You need to be able to have smooth Japanese oral communication with an officer in charge of your case. As a potential applicant, you need to ask yourself, “Can I satisfy these conditions?”
Further conditions and things to note for the Naturalization
Another point is that if you are a businessman who travels overseas 100 days or more per year, then it is difficult to apply for Naturalization. This is because of the criteria requiring you to be in Japan 80% of each year.
There are many documents required, and what is required differs in each case. Besides the Application form for Naturalization, you may need the following: a document that proves your previous nationality; an abstract of income; a summary of business; a salary payment statement; a document that proves your social status; a summary of your relatives; an Certificate of Residence, a resume; a document that clarifies your motive to be naturalized, a document of oath; a certificate of tax payment; maps that show the locations of your residence and workplace; certificates of skills and qualifications; etc. It is a huge task to prepare all these documents.
For processing purposes, the assessment of a Naturalization application is done on a household basis. The application can be made to a Bureau of Legal Affairs office that governs the area where you live. The assessment may take 10 months or more than 1 year. Of course this duration varies in each case.
When a successful assessment process is completed, the Minister of Justice announces his approval in the official gazette and an officer of the Bureau of Legal Affairs calls in the applicant. Then the officer of the Bureau of Legal Affairs hands in the approval notice and a personal identification card is issued. Then you report your new nationality at your local municipality office, by the specified date. Once your Japanese nationality is formally approved and you got your own Family Register, you return your Resident Card to the Immigration Bureau. This is how you gain Japanese citizenship.
Once you are a Japanese national, there is no need for a Resident Card, or a “minashi” Resident Card (Certificate of Alien Registration). You will have the right to vote at elections as well. You may obtain a Japanese passport and may go in and out of Japan freely.
To obtain approval for Naturalisation, you have to make an application that requires considerable time for gathering information and preparing documents. Even if you have given up making an application for it, please think again. We are here to help, so contact us.