Is it OK to keep a residence card after leaving Japan?

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When a foreign national leaves Japan with the intent to come back, they are allowed to keep their residence card during their trip overseas. However, the residence card needs to be returned when the foreign national decides to stop living in Japan. Usually the residence card will be taken by the customs agent upon the foreign national’s departure from a Japanese airport.

A problem arises when the foreign national makes the decision not the return to Japan after leaving the country. Since the foreign national intended to return to Japan when he or she left the country, the customs agent will not collect the residence card, but the foreign national still has an obligation to return it. In these circumstances the foreign national should mail the residence card to the Japanese immigration bureau within 14 days of deciding not to return to Japan.

If you have any questions about residence in Japan, please contact our office for a legal consultation.