How long do you need to live in Japan to apply for Japanese citizenship if you are married to a Japanese citizen?

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Foreign nationals who marry Japanese citizens do not need to live in Japan for the full five years normally required to obtain Japanese citizenship. The Minister of Justice has the discretion to grant Japanese citizen to a foreign national spouse of a Japanese citizen if he or she has lived in Japan for three years. Alternatively, citizenship may be granted for foreign nationals if three years have elapsed since the start of their marriage to Japanese citizen and the foreign national has lived in Japan for at least one year. Obtaining Japanese citizenship in this way allows a foreign national married to a Japanese citizen to bypass the normal 5 year wait. This path to citizenship is also available to foreign nationals under the age of 20 who normally would not be able to apply for Japanese citizenship.

If you have any questions about becoming a Japanese citizen, please contact our office for a legal consultation.