Top page >Legal procedures for your stay in Japan
Resident card (required to carry all the time)
Following the implementation of the new resident management system on July 9, 2012, the former alien registration card (gaikokujin toroku shomeisho) issued by local municipal governments has been replaced by a new "resident card" (zairyu kaad) which is issued by the national government.
The resident card is issued to mid- to long-term legal foreign residents as a permission pertaining to their residence in Japan, including landing permission, permission for residential status change, and permission for extension of the period of stay.
Your current alien registration card is considered valid as the resident card until your currently-permitted period of stay is expired (but before July 8, 2015 or the 16th birthday of the card holder, whichever comes earlier).

How to obtain your resident card

If you are currently a mid- to long-term resident holding the alien registration card and would like to have your new resident card issued, please apply at a nearby immigration office.
For permanent residents, it is required to submit the application for the resident card within three years of the implementation of the new resident management system.

Requirement of carrying the resident card

The resident card must be carried by its holder all the time. Make it a daily habit to take the card with you.

Resident registration system for foreign residents

The registration of the residential address of foreign residents was formerly included in the alien registration process. With the new resident management system being implemented, foreign residents are now registered in the national resident registration system (jumin kihon daicho seido) in the same manner as Japanese citizens. Accordingly, registered foreign residents are eligible to be issued a residence record (juminhyo)
In case of an address change due to moving, etc., please report it to local municipal offices of both old/new addresses.

Key facts about new resident management system

  • A resident card is issued to a foreign resident who has been permitted for a period of stay of three months or longer in Japan
  • The former alien registration system has been abolished; foreign residents are now registered in the national resident registration system along with Japanese citizens
  • The maximum period of stay has been extended from three years to five years; no reentry permit is required for a reentry within a year of departure from Japan (exceptions may apply)
  • A "special permanent resident certificate" is issued to a special permanent resident.
* A telephone consultation service regarding questions about the resident registration system for foreign residents is now available for limited time:
Call Center for Foreign Resident Registration System (service provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications)
0570-066-630 (Navi Dial)
03-6301-1337 (for calls from IP phone, PHS)
Service available until March 28 (Fri.), 2014
Open on weekdays from 8:30 to 17:30 (closed on Sat., Sun., national holidays, and yearend/new year holiday season)
Available languages: Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese
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Top page >Legal procedures for your stay in Japan