What happens to a spousal visa upon divorce in Japan?

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Spousal visas are usually granted in 3 or 5 year terms and can be renewed over and over again to allow the spouse of a Japanese national to remain in Japan for an extended period of time.  However, a lot can happen in a span of 3 or 5 years and in some cases couples may decide to divorce while the foreign spouse still has time remaining on his or her spousal visa.  However, even if the foreigner spouse’s visa is still valid, once the couple divorces, the foreign spouse has a responsibility to report the divorce to immigration and apply for a new status of residence.

Once divorced, the foreign national is no longer performing the requirements of his or her visa/status of residence because he or she is no longer acting as the spouse of a Japanese national.  Recently, immigration authorities have started enforcing this restriction more strictly and now require foreign nationals on a spousal visa to report a divorce within 14 days.  Thereafter, the foreign national is expected to acquire a new status of residence in Japan in order to remain in the country legally.  Some common examples of new status of residence include employment-based status of residence or one based on the foreigner’s long term stay in Japan.

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