Friday, September 13, 2013

Entry to Japan: difference in VISA and Status of Residence ("Zairyushikaku")

When you are entering Japan, you must have valid passport with valid Visa corresponding to the purpose of entry issued by Japanese embassy or consulate general. Upon entry, you must then receive a landing permission stamp from an immigration officer; the office will determine your Status of Residence and period of stay at this point, except for those who are nationals of countries with which Japan has reciprocal visa exemption arrangements for temporary visitor visa or having re-entry permission.

What are VISA and Status of Residence ?

Visa is a “recommendation” required for entry into Japan, issued in advance by a Japanese diplomatic mission abroad certifying that your passport is valid and that there are no impediments to authorizing you entering within that Visa scope.

Upon landing on Japan soil and entering Japanese immigration counter, receiving landing permission, your “actual status of residence” in Japan will be determined. The Status of Residence constitutes the grounds on which you are legally permitted to stay in Japan; it is a qualification enabling you to carry out the activities stipulated in the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act and to reside in Japan for the purpose of carrying out those particular activities. The scope of activities in which you may engage during the stay is determined according to this Status of Residence. You must not, in principle, engage in any activities generating an income other than those permitted by your Status of Residence.

In rare case, you may be refused to enter Japan by the immigration officer at the counter even if you have a valid passport and Visa. Visa is not the guarantee for entering but is simply an initial necessary document for entering Japan.

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