Visa Extension


It's time to renew my work visa again. The last time was in 2012, and the process is essentially the same. Here is the official documentation here and here by the Ministry of Justice.



There is a bunch of paperwork. If you've done this before, you'll know the routine. Do it early, visit various offices to get everything you need, and check it again to see what you forgot. They might not require some of these forms, but it's better to bring them anyway.

Unnecessary Documents

It's not obvious what is needed. Here are some things they wanted in the past that they didn't want this year. Because the required documents are not clearly delineated in the law, vary over the years, and vary based on the mood of the person at the counter, there's no way of knowing what you'll need on any given visit. The good news is that if you're missing a document, you can mail it in later without negative ramifications.


Tachikawa Immigration Office

The nearest immigration office is the Tachikawa Branch of the Tokyo Immigration Office (東京入国管理局 立川出張所; tokyo nyukoku kanri kyoku tachikawa shuchojo). The phone number is 042-528-7179, and the address is 〒186-0001 東京都国立市北3-31-2 立川法務総合庁舎. The lat/long is 35.703515, 139.429915. It's open Monday-Friday 9AM-4PM.

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Day One

This was a day to read a book. I took the train, took the bus, got to the office, and grabbed a number from the machine. There were forty people ahead of me in the queue, which was relatively low. By the time I left, the queue had grown to fifty-nine! To be precise, there are two queues. The first is for people dropping off their application. This is what I was in, and this is the long one. The second is for people whose applications have been processed and is generally much shorter. Anyway, I sat down on the bench to wait, read a book, studied Japanese, and drank a can of coffee. Three hours later, the person at the window called my number, and I went over there with my documents.

The man took my application, my other application, and looked at my passport and Residence Card. He then asked what was up with my second application, and I explained to him the situation just like it was, where I have two contracts for one job (why?) and how it's the same as it was the last time I renewed my visa. Then he asked for a copy of my contract with my company, told me to write my address on a postcard, and said they'll send me the postcard when the new card comes.

Day Two

The postcard came about two weeks after I applied. The things you need are listed on the postcard.

I went down the to the visa office with my soon-to-expire Residence Card, my passport, and the postcard. After grabbing a number I walked down to the local post office to purchase the ¥4000 payment stamp. You can buy the stamp at any post office — show the post card to the postal workers and they'll sell you what you need. There's nothing special about the post office near the immigration office; any post office is fine. I just wanted something to do instead of sitting on the bench and waiting. After I got the stamp, I returned to the Immigration Bureau, sat down, and waited. Cellphone reception in the waiting area is spotty. The best reception is found at the front near the windows. After thirty minutes, the man called me over. He gave me a form, told me to write my name and put the stamp on it. He took my old Residence Card, punched a hole in it, and returned it. He put a sticker in my passport that says I'm approved to do part-time work. Then he gave me my new Residence Card and said thank you.

The new card has a term of three years, and my part time work approval permit is good for two. Success!