By marrying a Japanese citizen, a foreign national becomes eligible to apply for a Japanese spousal visa. However, the application for the visa does require some preparation and is not automatically granted just based upon marriage. In addition to an application form, the new couple will need to submit the Japanese’s spouse’s family register and residence registration certificate to show that the couple is truly married. A foreign marriage certificate may also be required if the couple married overseas. Next, the couple will need to submit financial information, usually in the form of a residence tax certificate, for either spouse in order to show that the couple has enough money to support itself. The Japanese spouse must then write a letter of guarantee for the foreign spouse. The couple must also fill out a questionnaire regarding their relationship and history together. Finally, the couple will also need to submit two to three photos of themselves that clearly establish their marital relationship. These photos can be of the couple on vacation or on a date but ideally they should be taken at various locations and times.
The spousal visa is one of the most versatile visas in Japan as there are no restrictions on employment or visa activities. Therefore, the visa conditions listed above are intended to establish that the married couple are in fact truly married and not pretending to be in a relationship to obtain a Japanese visa. If review of the above documents suggests that the marriage may be fake, the immigration department may send an inspector to the couple’s home to check whether the couple is living together as a married couple. This may include checking to see if both spouses have shoes and clothes in the closets or if there are two sets of toothbrushes.
If you have any questions about marriage in Japan, please contact our office to set up a consultation.