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"Marriages of foreigners in Japan ②" Aug 4, 2003

 Good evening.. Last month, we did talk about themes that need to be attended 
when foreigners plan to get married in Japan. Today, we will focus on issues 
regarding changing residence status after a foreigner got married in Japan and site 
a few cases.

  Let's first look into a case involving a female foreigner who has been living in 
Japan and got married to a Japanese national in accordance with Japan's law. 
Changing her resident status to that of the spouse of a Japanese national won't be 
difficult because their marriage must have been reflected in the family register of 
her husband. The family register of the husband hence can certify her marriage. 
Other documents that she needs to prepare then are the proof of her husband's 
identity with his certificate of residency, her certificate of alien registration, and 
the letter of guarantee from her husband. The letter of guarantee must be 
executed, signed, and sealed by her husband. These documents will serve as proof 
of cohabitation with her husband. Proving that she is residing under the same roof 
with her husband is major requirement for applying the resident status of spouse of 
Japanese national. Aside from the documents I just mentioned, she will need to 
present documents certifying their income and able to prove their financial 
capacity and credibility as residence of Japan. If the husband is an employee of the 
company, she needs the certificate of employment. If her husband owns a company 
or runs a company as a manager, she needs to have a copy of the company's 
registration. If she is also an employee, she will then need her employment 
certificate. Also, she will need to prepare the certificate of payment of residential 
and income tax, a copy of the withholding taxes with and final tax return. Once all 
the documents are prepared, she must submit them to the Immigration Bureau and 
apply for a change of resident status to that of spouse of a Japanese national.  

 However, when applying for the spouse visa, submitting only the required 
documents will not be sufficient. What is most important to prove, the integrity of 
their marriage, is a bond out of love. As fraud marriages and marriage out of 
convenience are on the rise in Japan. The immigration officials take time to 
scrutinize their relationship of the couple applying for the spouse visa. The 
applicant and the spouse will be asked with questions like how they met, what 
makes them decide to get married, how is the applicant's relationship with the 
spouse family and relatives and many more. The immigration officials will also 
confirm the credibility of the applicant as a residence in Japan. They will go around 
asking the neighborhood about their relationship, how does the applicant cope with 
the members of their neighborhood. They might even call the family and the 
relatives of the spouse to know how they think about the applicant and his or her 
relationship with the spouse. There are documents that can be prepared to prove 
the integrity of the marriage. The documents include photos of the wedding 
reception、photos with the family members of both sides, photos of your daily life or 
during the trip and the letters from a friend or family member describing their 
relationship of the couple and the characters of the couple.

  Now, let's look into another case. This time, a female foreigner is married to a 
Japanese national, but is residing in her home country. So, how could she join her 
husband and live in Japan. For such case, her husband or Japanese husband must 
first apply to the immigration Bureau for the certificate of eligibility for obtaining a 
resident status in Japan, in Japanese, "Zairyu shikaku nintei shoumei-sho". Once 
the husband got hold of the certificate of eligibility, he should then send it to his 
wife who is living outside Japan. The wife should then submit to the Japanese 
embassy situated in her country, the certificate along with the other requirements 
and her passport. If all the documents she submitted are in orders, she will be 
issued a resident status of spouse of a Japanese national, which will give her the 
right to enter Japan legally.

  In applying the certificate of eligibility for obtaining a resident status in Japan, the 
documents that the husband must prepare are almost the same as that in the 
previous case we talked about. To recall, the husband needs to prepare a copy of 
family register, a certificate of residency, a letter of guarantee, an employment 
certificate if he is working in a company or a certificate of business registration if 
he owns a company, a copy of tax withholding statement, a copy of final income tax 
return, a certificate of payment of residential taxes, photos of their wedding 
ceremony, and pictures with other members of each own side of family. As of the 
application form the husband must fill in the questions regarding each family's 
background and their personal background as well. Above all, it is very important to 
prove, the integrity of marriage with the Japanese national.