What happens after someone is detained by an immigration officer in Japan?

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A Japanese immigration control officer can temporarily detain a foreign national if he or she reasonably believes that the foreign national has committed a deportable offence such as overstaying a visa or committing a crime.  However, this temporary detention is only allowed in situations that require urgent action and once the foreigner has been safely detained, the immigration officer must deliver the foreigner and any evidence relating to the offense to an immigration inspector within 48 hours from the start of the detention.

The immigration inspector will then examine whether the foreigner really does qualify for deportation.  If the immigration inspector finds that the foreigner has indeed committed a deportable offense, the foreigner can choose to return to his or her country or file an objection claiming that the immigration inspector’s decision was wrong and the foreigner is not eligible for deportation.  On the other hand, if the immigration inspector does not find that the foreigner has committed a deportable offence, the immigration inspector should immediately release the foreign national to return to his or her residence in Japan.

It is always advisable to contact a lawyer as quickly as possible upon being detained by the immigration authorities.  Having legal counsel at your side will not only help ensure that your rights are protected but also help you understand what is happening in your case.

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