Changes to the Alien Registration System in Japan

A bit of an unusual update today. You have heard that the residence management system in Japan will be undergoing some rather big changes from July 2012. The current alien registration system will be abolished, and foreign nationals will be given a new ‘residence card’. They will also for the first time be able to obtain a certificate of residence to show proof of address and other important information.

Up until now only Japanese nationals were able to obtain such a certificate and foreign nationals had to obtain a copy of their alien registration card showing their address. This also meant that foreign nationals married to a Japanese national were not included on the family certificate of residence, but from next year, they will be. Re-entry permits will no longer be required for foreign nationals leaving Japan and returning within a year, and the maximum length of a visa extended from 3 to 5 years. All in all then, some pretty neat changes, but still not perfect (there are a lot of problems with foreign nationals not being eligible to be included in a Japanese family register).

But anyway, today I will be providing a translation and original Japanese text relating to these changes. I hope it’s informative and educational at the same time, especially for the more advanced students.



☆ 中長期在留者となる人

・ 入管法上の在留資格をもって中長期間在留する外国人で、次の1~6のいずれにも当てはまらない人

1 3月以下の在留期間が決定された人
2 短期滞在の在留資格が決定された人
3 外交又は公用の在留資格が決定された人
4 これらの外国人に準ずるものとして法務省令で定める人
5 特別永住者
6 在留資格を有しない人


Attention foreign nationals living in Japan!
From July 2012 the residence system will change.

★ Persons who will be subject to the changes
・ Under the Immigration Control Act, persons who do not fall into one of the categories below will be classed as “”medium to long-term residents”” and be subject to the new residence management system.”

(1) Persons granted permission to stay for less than 3 months.
(2) Persons granted the status of residence of “Temporary Visitor”.
(3) Persons granted the status of residence of “Diplomat” or “Official”.
(4) Persons whom the Ministry of Justice recognises as equivalent to the foreign nationals in (1) (2) or (3).
(5) Special permanent residents.
(6) Persons with no status of residence.


☆ 主な変更点



★ Main changes

・The alien registration system will be abolished and a new residence card will be issued.
・ Persons changing registered information at the City Hall must bring their residence card with them.
・ Persons moving to a new address outside the city must notify the City Hall.
  ※ A change of address certificate from your previous municipality will be necessary.
・ It will be possible to change an address and obtain a certificate of residence from Branch Offices.
  ※ Staff speaking a variety of languages are available to help directly at the Citizen’s Affairs Division in the City Hall.
・ It may be necessary to show proof of relationship with the head of household when changing the address.
・ A copy of the certificate of residence will be sufficient to show proof of an address in Japan.
  ※ For households with both foreign nationals and Japanese nationals, it will be possible to obtain a certificate of residence showing all the members of the household.


☆ 在留カードの切替交付

・ 施行日に有効な「外国人登録証明書」は、一定の期間「在留カード」とみなされます。
  『永住者』 ― 施行日から3年以内、又は16歳の誕生日のいずれか早い日まで
  『永住者以外』 ― 在留期間の満了日、又は16歳の誕生日のいずれか早い日まで





★ Issuing the new residence cards

・ Existing alien registration cards will continue to be effective for a period of time after the new residence card system has been implemented.
  Permanent residents – current cards will remain effective for 3 years or until the 16th birthday, whichever is sooner.
  Non permanent residents – current cards will remain effective until the end of their period of stay or until the 16th birthday, whichever is sooner.



・ Residence cards are issued at the Regional Immigration Bureau.
・ A card will be issued when the period of stay or status of residence on your existing card changes.
・ You can apply directly to update your details and have a residence card issued.
・ You can apply up to 6 months in advance to receive a new residence card when the new system starts.
・ Persons applying for an alien registration card at the City Hall within 1 month of the new system going into effect will be deemed as having applied for a residence card.


☆ 主な届出・届出先







☆ Changing registered information


  Registering a new address within the city
  Changing the registered address to one inside the city
  Changing the registered address to one outside the city
  Changing the registered name, nationality, birth date or sex
  Changing a place of work/study that affects the status of residence
    E.g. Persons on an “”Engineer”” or “”Student”” visa”
  Changing a status of residence that is dependent upon a Japanese national
    E.g. Upon the death of a spouse or divorce ”
  Changing the status of residence
  Renewing the residence card or having it re-issued

    ※ For procedures relating to birth, death and marriage, please first visit the City Hall or a Branch Office.
    ※ For procedures other than changing the registered address on the residence card, please visit the Regional Immigration Bureau.
    (There is no need to notify the City of changes to your place of work, flight tickets, status of residence or period of stay).


  City Hall / Branch Offices
  Regional Immigration Bureau


☆ 円滑な住民票作成のためのお願い

  ※ 仮住民票の記載に誤りがある場合は、必ず施行日までに窓口へお申し出ください。




★ Obtaining a copy of your certificate of residence

・ If the name on the alien registration card and the name in your passport do not match, please correct them before applying for a residence card.
・ If there are any unregistered changes to your address, the head of household or the relationship to the head of household, please visit window 8 at the Citizen Affair’s Division to compete the necessary forms.
・ Registered foreign nationals will receive an example certificate of residence in spring 2012. Please check the information is correct.
  ※ If there are any mistakes on the example residence certificate, please visit the City Hall to correct them before the new residence cards are issued.

Information on the certificate of residence
・ Name
・ Date of birth
・ Sex
・ Address
・ (If head of household)
  Shows head of household
(If not head of household)
  Shows name of head of household or relationship to the person
・ Date of citizenship
・ Nationality
・ Status of residence
・ Period of stay
・ Date of expiration
・ Residence category (medium-long term, etc.)
・ Registration card number


Read up more about the changes in Japanese here:
Or in English here:


9 Responses to Gakuu. Studying with Real Japanese

  1. Sabrina September 29, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    This is pretty cool! Right now I’m studying on Textfugu which is great! I belive Gakuu can be really helpul too. What I like most is that its for pre-intermediate to advanced level students. So you can’t say its the same thing over and over again… students can actually improve their knowledge here. Thank you very much for creating this site. Have a nice day :)

    • Gakuranman September 30, 2010 at 1:09 am #

      Hi Sabrina! Thank you for your comment :).

      That’s definitely our aim. I love Textfugu for beginners and really getting students a solid grounding in the language, but afterwards (and even while) studying the basics, it can really help to encounter raw Japanese material. You don’t have to understand everything at first, but feeling challenged and picking up little bits here and there that are extra to your learning the basics helps expand your mind. Let me know if you have any more questions! More demonstration material will be up soon! We are currently having a special launch sale price for early adopters, so check out the pricing page if interested :).

      • Sabrina September 30, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

        Thanks for your reply. :) Unfortunately I’m even still miles away from the intermediate level. But I’ll definetly return to Gakuu when I get to this point. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the extra demonstration material. :) Keep up the good work.

        • Gakuranman October 1, 2010 at 12:21 am #

          Sure thing :). Let me know if you have any other questions or suggestions for things you’d like to see on Gakuu!

  2. missingno15 October 1, 2010 at 7:31 pm #

    When I looked at this, I first thought to myself, “aw hell no, gakuranman is doing the same thing as koichi…even the website layout is similar”. But then I realized “it’s aimed at pre-intermediate to advanced level students” which is perfect for my situation right now because I now really want to excel way past beginner. So basically, Gakuu really complements Textfugu. Can’t wait for more lessons to see how this is gonna be like so I can decide if its worth getting.

    • Gakuranman October 1, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

      Hey there! Thanks for dropping by :). No way – Koichi and I are buds. I’ve always loved teaching the more advanced stuff so it worked out perfectly. I’ll be adding more stuff in the coming days, so please stay tuned!

      • Lee Aloy October 23, 2016 at 5:20 am #


        I am sorry to ask this silly question. Are you Japanese?
        am hoping to find a Japanese friends here please shot me an email:

  3. DumbOtaku (percent20) October 3, 2010 at 12:58 am #

    This is really cool. I am glad to see more online content going beyond just teaching hirigana and katakana. That is what I try to do on my blog, but with to little consistency. Glad to see an expert do it, btw already a signed-up paid member now. :)

    • Gakuranman October 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

      Glad to have you man! Look forward to hearing any suggestions you have for the site and future lessons :)

Leave a Reply

Need a break? Have an adventure on