What happens if a spouse won’t support his or her spouse’s visa renewal?

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Certain visas to legally stay in Japan are based upon being married to a resident of Japan.  This can include foreign nationals who are married to Japanese citizens and receive a spouse visa, or for foreign national couples where one spouse who has legal status in Japan is supporting the other through a family based visa.  As these visas depend on the marital status of the couple, it is often critical for the spouses to work together to obtain a renewal of these visas.  However, if the sponsoring spouse decides to withhold his or her cooperation in renewing a visa, there are two options:  try to work through the marital problems and regain the spouse’s support or apply for a completely different visa.

When a spouse refuses to help renew a visa, it is important to first try to communicate with him or her to re-establish trust and support.  Sometimes having a third party, such as an attorney, relay messages is a way to avoid unnecessary contact and reduce the role of emotions in decision making.

However, if the sponsoring spouse absolutely refuses to help, there is no option but to acquire a new visa not based on the marital relationship.  Depending on the length of time the applicant  has spent in Japan, a Long Term Visa may be possible.  Alternatively, if the applicant is currently working, he or she may be able to apply for an employment based visa.

If you have any questions about marriage in Japan, please contact our office to set up a consultation.