Change of Status of Residence: from Work Visa to Spouse Visa

My husband and I saved a lot of money by not asking the help of a gyouseisyoshi (行政書士) to process my VISA. We just read lots of articles online, prepared the necessary documents and submitted them by ourselves at the immigration office in our prefecture.

Based on our research, here is the list of documents that you need. You can get all of these from your city or town hall:

  1. Residence Certificate: Juminhyo (住民票). This is a proof that you live together.
  2. Marriage Certificate: Koninjiko Kisai Syoumeisyo (婚姻事項記載証明書)
  3. Family registry of your spouse: Kosekitouhon (戸籍謄本)
  4. Taxable income of your spouse: Juminzei Syotokukazei Syoumeisyo (住民税所得課税証明書) *current year
  5. Residence Tax of your spouse: Juminzei Nouzei Syoumeisyo (住民税納税証明書) *previous year

Other documents that you have to turn in:

  1. Copy of your Marriage certificate from the consulate/embassy
  2. Copy of your residence card and passport
  3. Copy of your spouse’s passport
  4. One Application form (PDF, Excel) with a clear photo taken within three months. It should be 4cm×3cm with a plain background and no shadows. Also, in this picture, the applicant should be alone facing to the front without any head covering.
  5. One Guarantee Form (English, Japanese)
  6. One Interview Form
  7. Three pictures or more. Don’t forget to include your wedding photos; they are extremely important to show the immigration officers that it is not a marriage of convenience! At least one group shot and 2 couple shots are required.

Supporting documents that are not required, but would definitely help your VISA approval:

  1. Bank statement of your guarantor/spouse: Ginkō torihiki meisai-sho (銀行取引明細書). You definitely need to prove that your guarantor/spouse can support you.
  2. Copy of your certificate of employment from your previous employer
  3. Copy of your JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) Results

Remember, everything that you submit won’t be returned even the photos, so I, myself, printed a new set of pictures solely for this.

After 5 business days, I was asked to return to the immigration to pay the fees. It only cost us 4,000 JPY. Then, they released my new residence card right away! It was really quick; we only spent twenty to thirty minutes at the office.

Here is the thing, they gave me a 3-year work VISA for JET, but only 1 year for spouse VISA. Of course, we asked them why, and they said that it is pretty standard.

For newlyweds, they only issue 1-year VISA, then another 1 year for the second time. After that, they can give me 3 years. Then, permanent residency. So in other words, they are strict, and they want to make sure that my husband and I stay married for at least two years before they issue anything longer than a year. Well, I get it.

The good thing is now that I have SPOUSE VISA, there is no limit to the kind of work that I can engage in unlike my INSTRUCTOR WORK VISA before. I think, that is something to celebrate! Cheers to more freedom!