How is the “Period of Stay” decided? Part1.

The Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act stipulates 29 types of “Status of residence (zairyu shikaku)” depending on the activities of each foreigner in Japan. Of these, for status of residence other than “Permanent Resident” and “Highly Skilled Professional (ⅱ)”, a “Period of Stay (zairyu kikan)” such as “5 years”, “3 years” and “1 year” is set. If one would like to stay in Japan longer, he/she must apply for permission to extend the period of stay.


In today’s blog, I’d like to write how the “Period of Stay” is decided for those who have a status of residence “Spouse of a Japanese National”.

Yamabuki, commonly known as Japanese rose, at Matsuo Taisha shrine

The “Period of Stay” for a status of residence “Spouse of Japanese National” is either “5 years”, “3 years”, “1 year” or “6 months”. The “Period of Stay” is decided as follows, based on the Immigration Services Agency’s guidelines.


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Five years

When the applicant meets all the following criteria.

  1. The applicant fulfills notification obligation.

  2. The applicant fulfills public dues.

  3. If the applicant has a child who is in a compulsory education period, and the child currently goes to school.

  4. The family’s main wage earner fulfills tax obligations.

  5. The couple has lived together for more than three years after their marriage, and it is expected that the applicant and his/her Japanese spouse will continue to live as a married couple in the future.

Three years

When any of the following applies.

  1. The applicant held a five-year period of stay previously. However, he/she lacks any of the criteria (1 to 4 in the five-years section) at the time of extension, but it is expected that the applicant and his/her Japanese spouse will continue to live as a married couple in the future.

  2. In case it is not applicable to five years, one year or six month.

One year

When any of the following applies.

  1. The applicant held a three-year period of stay previously. However, he/she lacks any of the criteria (1 to 4 in the five-years section) at the time of extension.

  2. The Immigration Services Agency considers it is necessary to examine the couple’s circumstances and the applicant’s residential status once a year.

  3. The applicant’s planned period of stay in Japan is over six months and within a year.

Six months

When any of the following applies.

  1. The applicant is in the middle of a divorce mediation or divorce suit.

  2. One party of the couple has a clear intention to divorce.

  3. The applicant’s planned period of stay in Japan is six months or less.

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The “Period of Stay” matters in applying for a permanent residence. Although the requirement of the 10 year consecutive residency is shortened, it is still required for “Spouse of a Japanese National” visa holders to have the longest period of stay possible, which is “five-years”, or at least “three-years” when applying for a permanent residence.


In order to aim for the longest possible period of stay, please notify the municipality within 14 days when you move to a new residential address, and pay taxes and insurance contributions accordingly.


The decision on the “Period of Stay” is ultimately left to the discretion of the Minister of Justice, and such decision is made in consideration of various factors. However, please feel free to contact us if you need help in applying for permission for a Spouse of a Japanese National status of residence, or any other immigration related inquiry.