There are three steps to applying for naturalization in Japan: filling out the application, review by the local branch of the Ministry of Justice and final certification of the documents in Tokyo. Each of these stages can take months to complete so applicants should be forewarned that citizenship is not granted quickly in Japan.
In the first stage, the applicant should work with a lawyer to prepare all of the necessary documents and fill out the necessary forms in Japanese. Various supporting documents must also be translated into Japanese and attached to the application. These documents should be delivered to the Ministry of Justice and an application number will be assigned to the case.
During the second stage, the Ministry of Justice will review the documents and ask for corrections or additional documents as necessary. Furthermore, written affidavits and oral interviews may be scheduled. The applicant should work closely with an attorney to prepare for these. It is usually best to visit the Ministry of Justice to have them review the application multiple times to ensure that everything is in order.
Finally, if everything goes well, the third stage involves the Ministry of Justice sending all of the documents to Tokyo for the final review and certification. If successful, the applicant will be notified by mail.
If you have any questions about becoming a Japanese citizen, please contact our office for a legal consultation.