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Uniting couples and families

Last Friday was Valentine’s Day. Some of you, who got a job offer in Japan, might want to apply for a visa for their partner and family members. In today’s blog, I will write about the status of residence (visa) for family members.

Stone statues near Aioi-no-Yashiro in Shimogamo Shrine, Kyoto


”Dependent” is a visa for family members of foreign nationals with certain types of visa. As of June 2019, the Japanese government lists 191,017 people who live in Japan on “Dependent” visa.

The activities authorized to engage in are “Daily activities of the spouse or unmarried minor supported by the foreign national staying in Japan, with the visa excluding “Diplomat”, “Official”, “Technical Intern Training”, “Specified Skilled Worker (i)”, “Temporary Visitor”, "Trainee", “Dependent” and “Designated Activities”.

“Dependent” visa holders are not allowed to work full time, but they can work part time up to 28 hours a week if they ask for the permission in advance at the Immigration Office.

Designated Activities (No.47)

This is a visa for the spouse or unmarried minor of those who are in the “Designated Activities (No.46)” visa category. “Designated Activities (No.46)” is a new visa established in May 2019 for those who graduated from universities in Japan with high Japanese language proficiency. This visa is part of the Japanese government’s push to retain students who have studied here. As a Kyoto immigration lawyer, I think this is a great visa because there are many excellent, foreign students who study in Kyoto. Japan should do as much as possible to help them obtain visas / work rights here.

Points to be noted

  • The “Dependent” visa is for the foreign national’s spouse and unmarried minor. Therefore, a foreign national cannot apply for this visa for their elderly parents in their home country and need to take a different process.

  • Same-sex marriage is not legally recognized in Japan under national law. So the foreign national cannot apply for “Dependent” visa for their same-sex partner. However, it is possible to apply for a “Designated Activities” visa as long as their marriage is legally recognized in their home country.

Recently, I had dinner with a Nepalese couple who I helped with their visa application. It was nice seeing a happy couple! I was grateful that I could help them apply for the dependent visa. A happy couple will mean a happy society.

We provide visa and immigration consulting and documentation services to those who want to apply for a visa for their family members in Kyoto and other areas in the Kansai region. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions and concerns about the visa process or any other immigration procedures!

Plum flowers blooming in Kyoto!


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