Living Infomation

Comprehensive Living Guide for Foreign Residents in Japan

Top page >Legal procedures for your stay in Japan

Seals and seal registration

In Japan, a personal seal (inkan) is often used instead of a signature as official verification in certain situations. Especially for important documents, many people use an officially registered seal called a "jitsuin." You may register your personal seal at the municipal office in the ward (or city, town or village) where you reside. In some situations when you use your registered seal, you may be asked to provide a personal seal registration certificate to prove that the seal is in fact your registered one. To obtain the certificate, you need to present your personal seal registration card at the local municipal office where you have registered your seal.

If you wish to register your own personal seal, keep the following in mind:

  • There are certain regulations for materials, size, and characters and letters you are permitted to use for your seal to be registered.
  • You need to use your name that is recorded in your alien registration certificate.
  • Only one seal per person may be registered.
  • The registration is accepted at the municipal office (city hall) of your area of residence.
  • The applicant must apply for the registration in person. The application may be made by an agent under certain conditions, such as illness of the applicant, but must accompany a letter of attorney signed by the applicant.
  • Your ID, such as resident card, is required for the application.
  • There is a registration fee; contact the municipal office in the ward (or city, town or village) where you reside for details.
  • Once the application process is completed, a personal seal registration card will be issued to you. Keep the card in a secure place.
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Top page >Legal procedures for your stay in Japan
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