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!

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Report of Marriage (ROM) by Mail

The process is a piece of cake, but the information posted online is not that sufficient. I even had to call the Philippine Consulate in Osaka several times to make sure that we were doing things right. Mind you, it takes forever for them to answer a phone call, and I wish to help you guys save time and of course, MONEY!

Anyway, based on the website of the Philippine Consulate in Osaka, these are the requirements:

  1. Four (4) Report of Marriage (ROM) forms, filled out legibly in block letters or typed out and signed individually. Please make sure that your signature matches the one on your passport data page. Being in Japan for two years, where we stamp our hanko (personal stamp that acts as signature) instead of affixing our signatures, it felt a little weird. I actually thought I already forgot how my signature looked like. Good thing my hand remembers. And as for my husband, like most Japanese people, his signature is his way of writing his name in kanji, so it was rather easy for him.
  2. This is tricky. The website says that
    • if submitted by mail, ROM forms must be notarized by a Japanese notary public (Koshonin Yakuba)
    • BUT it did not mention that you do not need the forms to be notarized if you already personally appeared at the consulate to get your Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage (LCCM) Certificate. Note that it costs about 11,000¥ to have one document notarized. Hence, four documents would cost about 44,000¥ . So I am glad that I called the consulate to clarify this.
    • Honestly, I see no reason to say that the ROM forms need to be notarized because
      • FIRST, LCCM is required to get married here in Japan and
      • SECOND, LCCM is only granted to couples who personally appear at the consulate.
    • In other words, people are bound to secure an LCCM certificate and go to the consulate anyway. Hence, skip the DATE, SEAL and NOTARIAL AUTHORITY part if you have been there for your LCCM.
  3. Four (4) photocopies of valid passport (data page), that goes for you and your spouse
  4. One (1) original and three (3) photocopies of the Kon-in Todoke Kisai Jiko Shomeisho, marriage certificate from your town or city hall. Just make three copies of the certificate itself. No need to photocopy the attached files.
  5. If your spouse is Japanese, one (1) original and three (3) photocopies of his Kosekitohon, family register with details of the marriage.
  6. If your spouse is a foreigner but not Japanese, one (1) original and three (3) photocopies of Kon-in Todoke Juri Shomeisho.
  7. Self-addressed return envelope : A4-size envelope with 930¥ worth of postage stamps or Letterpack 510, which you can buy at the post office. The consulate will use this to send you your marriage certificate.
  8. If you are reporting your marriage beyond one (1) year, you need to submit an Affidavit of Delayed Registration of Marriage.
  9. How much do you need to pay?
    • Report of Marriage – 6,500¥ (including the 3,250¥ fee for the translation of the Kon-in Todoke Kisai Jiko Shomeisho)
    • Affidavit: 3,250¥ per document
  10. Since we reported our marriage just two months after we filed the documents at our city hall and our wedding ceremony, there was no need for an Affidavit of Delayed Registration of Marriage, and we only paid a total of 9,750¥ . We put the money inside a (A) genkin kakitome envelope and sent it to the consulate via JP post, while the rest of the documents, including the self-addressed return envelope: A4-size envelope with 930 yen worth of postage stamps or Letterpack 510 , was put inside an (B) A4 envelope (the stamp cost depends on its weight).
    • Address:
    • Philippine Consulate General in Osaka
    • Attn: Marriage Section
    • 〒540-6124 Osaka, Chuo Ward, Shiromi, 2 Chome−1−61 ツイン21MIDタワー
    • Phone: 06-6910-7891
  • There are additional requirements necessary like your NSO birth certificate etc. But then again, if you have been to the consulate for your LCCM, you don’t have to submit them anymore.
  • How long did it take for them to process the documents? We received our marriage certificate from the consulate by mail in just 10 business days.

Good luck! 🙂

Filipino-Japanese Marriage Procedure in Japan

Happy Reiwa!

It’s the very first day of our new era, and I wrote this post to share with you how easy it is to get married here in Japan.

Here’s how!

The first thing that you should find out is if you need to apply for LCCM or your legal capacity to contract marriage either in Tokyo or Osaka. It depends on where you live. Since I am based here in Ishikawa, I am under the jurisdiction of the Philippine Consulate General in Osaka.

Then, I prepared the documents and went there with my fiance. Note that personal appearance of both parties is required.

So aside from yourself and your partner, what else should you bring to the consulate?

Things that a Philippine National need in order to secure an LCCM:

  1. Application form
  2. Valid passport and a copy of the data page
  3. Original PSA Birth Certificate authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
  4. Two (2) passport size photos, mine had blue background, and they were accepted at the Consulate in Osaka, but if I remember correctly, it has to be white for the Embassy in Tokyo
  5. Proof of visa status in Japan :  One (1) copy of the residence card or Japanese visa
  6. One (1) self-addressed envelope with stamps worth 930 yen or (one) self addressed Japan Post Letter-pack 510 envelope with your full name, mobile number and address on it
  7. If you are single: 
    • Certificate of Non-appearance in Marriage Registry (CENOMAR) issued by the Philippine Statistics Office (PSA) and authenticated by the DFA. When you request it, please write “FOR MARRIAGE” as its purpose.
    • If you are between 18-20 years old, submit an Affidavit of Parental Consent (together with the copy of the passport of the parents).  Your parents may either file the affidavit with you at the consulate or submit an affidavit notarized in the Philippines and authenticated by the DFA.
    • If you are between 21-25 years old, submit an Affidavit of Parental Advice (together with the copy of the passport of the parent).  Same as above, your parents may either file the affidavit with you at the consulate or submit an affidavit notarized in the Philippines and authenticated by the DFA.
  8. If you are a widow:
    • Please submit a PSA death certificate of the deceased spouse authenticated by the DFA or a death certificate issued in Japan and a copy of the Kosekitohon of the deceased.
    • Include, a PSA Marriage Certificate with the previous spouse authenticated by the DFA
    • Also, you need an Advisory on Marriage issued by the PSA and authenticated by the DFA
    • Lastly, you have to remember that widows can only apply for the LCCM if 300 days has passed since the date of death of the spouse.
  9. If you are divorced or annulled:
    • Philippine Judicial Recognition of Foreign Divorce or Judicial Decree of Nullity of Marriage with a Certificate of Finality issued by a Philippine Court and authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs
    • Annotated PSA Marriage Certificate with the previous spouse authenticated by the DFA
    • Advisory on Marriage issued by the PSA and authenticated by the PSA

As for your Japanese Partner:

  1. Passport or driver’s license (present the original and submit 1 photocopy)
  2. Application form
  3.   Kosekitohon
  4.   Juminhyo 
  5. 2 passport size photos

Now that you already have an idea of what you are supposed to bring, let me share with you the experience of going to the Philippine Consulate General in Osaka.

Well, honestly, our train ride, which was almost 5 hours was longer than our actual stay at the office. Last March 06, it was a Tuesday, we left our town around 10:15 am and arrived there at around 4:00 pm, and it was not busy at all. I only saw one person who applied for passport renewal, and another one applying for LCCM.

Just a tip though, you might see some staff on the glass window for passport renewal, but none for LCCM. If that’s the case, don’t just sit at the waiting area forever. You’d need to go to the empty glass window and call someone in that room to assist you. Then, give all the documents; they will verify it while you and your partner fill in another form. After that, you’d just have to pay. Once you’ve settled the bill, which is approximately 16,500¥, you may leave. It was really quick; I remember staying there for only 30 minutes.

In the span of two weeks, you will receive the document by post.

As you can see, translation is already included in the document itself, so you don’t have to worry about it. It’s part of what you’ve paid for.

Having the LCCM in your hands, you and your partner can go to your city hall anytime within 120 days.

My husband and I did it after a few months, and the whole process of filing marriage documents at our city hall only took us 15 minutes maximum, but of course, we made sure that we had all the documents necessary beforehand.

Don’t forget to bring everything inside the envelope sent by the consulate/embassy to you. Also, bring your passport, residence card, hanko and application form. On the other hand, your partner needs his residence card, kosekitohon and hanko.

By the way, you definitely have to get the form at the city hall a few days before. Fill it in with your partner, and ask two Japanese witnesses to write their names, address and stamp their hanko. You can choose anyone of legal age, but I think, if you prefer foreigner witnesses, they have to go with you when you submit your marriage documents, but Japanese Nationals don’t have to come. This is why Susumu and I asked two of his closest Japanese friends to do it for us.

One last thing, when your partner requests for kosekitohon from his hometown, tell him/her to ask for two copies because you need it for both (1) the consulate for your LCCM and (2) the city or town hall where you intend to get married.

Best wishes!

And don’t forget to have fun in between!

For more details on the requirements or for the Tagalog version, please visit the Philippine Consulate General’s link below: https://osakapcg.dfa.gov.ph/consular-services/civil-registry/lccm

For downloadable forms, click the link below: https://osakapcg.dfa.gov.ph/testing

Sponsoring your Relatives to Visit Japan

Good news!

My aunt and my sister’s visas have been approved, and I’d like to give you some tips on how to be a sponsor and guarantor of your relatives who would like to travel to Japan.

A lot of articles online say that it is now quite easy for Filipinos to get a visa to Japan.  They claim that a Philippine passport holder can secure a temporary visit visa by just submitting the necessary documents and by showing a bank certificate that has at least 60,000 PHP, which I guess is lower than before.

However, I did not want my family to risk it by applying as a tourist. I wanted to make sure that they would be able to attend my wedding; it’s my big day anyway, and I really need their presence on that once-in-a-lifetime event. Hence, I decided to sponsor and guarantee their stay in Japan.

What are the requirements?

Based on the Embassy of Japan’s website, the visitor should provide the following:

(1) Visa application form

(2) Pictures

(3) Passport

(4) Documents to prove kinship (for visit to relatives)

・Birth certificate

・Marriage certificate

(5) Bank certificate (optional)

On the other hand, the guarantor in Japan should provide the following:

(1) Letter of reason for invitation

(2) Schedule of stay

(3) Letter of guarantee

(4) Documents on the guarantor B

(a) copy of residence card

(b) residence certificate. There is a specific format for this, and it was not clear to me even after reading the list given by the embassy. Just show this note to the city hall or your town hall staff officer when you request one, so you won’t have to come back and forth.

(c) certificate of income/taxation,

(d) certificate of tax payment, or copy of the final tax return with the seal or PROOF OF TAX EXEMPTION

(e) bank certificate

(6) documents to prove kinship (for visit to relatives)

Note that even if you have the same last name, such as the case with me and my sister, I still needed to submit a birth certificate. Likewise, my aunt had to include my father’s birth certificate to prove that we are really related by blood.

Now, you might wanna ask how much money should a sponsor have in her bank account. Well, based on my friends and my own experience, you should have at least 1,000,000¥ in your bank account for the guest to be approved. Also, I asked my aunt and my sister to submit a bank statement although it was optional. We kinda over killed it because I badly want their company on my wedding day.

Actually, I really wish that I included my birth certificate and knew the right format of the residence certificate early on. Had I known that my birth certificate was necessary despite that our family names were the same, and that there is a very specific format of residence certificate for sponsoring a relative, we would have gotten their visa approved earlier and booked plane tickets way cheaper that what they had paid for.

Lesson learned, (1) submit your birth certificate and (2) show the note on the picture above, so you’d get the correct format of the residence certificate.

For complete details on the requirements, please visit this link:
https://www.ph.emb-japan.go.jp/files/000236579.pdf

To download the forms necessary, kindly go to this page:
https://www.ph.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_en/00_000035.html