The Japanese Residency Management System

  • Advice

If you are moving to Japan for longer than 90 days, you will need to know about the residence management system that is implemented here in Japan. You will need what is called a "residence card" (在留カード Zairyu card) to stay here legally. The residence card will act as your new ID while in Japan. It will contain information such as your name, visa status, period of stay, and address. This card lasts 7 years, or at the end of your period of stay. 

Residential Registration

Within 14 days of moving to Japan, you will need to report your address to your local city office. Here you will receive your address printed on the back of your card with an official stamp. Until you have this stamp, you can not do things such as making contracts for internet or phone services. Once you have this card, you can freely travel in and out of Japan (at intervals no longer than a year) without having to prepare a re-entry form each time you come back into Japan. 

Once you have the residence card, you will need to keep it with you at all times. When you start services such as banking and phone contracts, you will have to show your residence card to verify your identity and address in Japan. Police officers may occasionally stop foreigners in order to make sure they are here legally. In these cases, they will ask to see your residence card. If you have your information up to date and the card is not expired, there will not be any problems. If you engage in any healthcare services, you may also be required to show your residence card. Lastly, the residence card with the proper work permission is essential for getting a job in Japan. 

If you move at any point while living in Japan during your visa period, you must update your address within 14 days of moving. You will receive a new stamp and updated address printed on the back of your card. Make sure to update any contracted services or banks of your address change, as it will be vital if you need to make any changes. Depending on your location, you will need to bring additional documents, so check your local city office's website for more details specific to your area. 

My Number Card

My Number is the nickname for the “Social Security & Tax Number System”, which provide a unique number to registered residents in Japan. Your card will be needed for things such as payment from work and other verification purposes. You do not need to carry this card around at all times, but please do keep it in a safe space and bring it whenever you go to city office to make changes. 

Now that you have your residence card filled out with your address of residence while in Japan, you can use the card freely as verification in any of the situations below:

Official Identification for verification

  • Online applications

  • Seal registration & public services

  • Various private online transactions

  • Contracting services

  • Renting property

  • And much more...

But be careful not to lose your card, otherwise, you will have to contact the Individual Number Call Center, to request a temporary suspension of your card and new card which may take around 2 weeks to arrive.

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