Hey! Check out our post on How to Get Dual Citizenship – it will help you understand the several ways you can go about this, not just for Japan, but for multiple countries.
How can I become a Japanese citizen? You ask yourself as you admire pictures of the “land of the rising sun,” and its people and their kaizen way of life. Look no further, we have painstakingly put together all you need to know about becoming a Japanese Citizen. Read up to learn more.
The first thing you must take to heart on your journey to becoming a Japanese citizen is this: Immigration processes and obtaining citizenship in Japan is completely different from most other countries. If the situation may be likened to sports, the Immigration process and citizenship are a game of soccer in most countries and ping-pong in Japan.
What we are trying to tell you is that you would have to adjust to a lot of different requirements if you must gain that golden Japanese citizenship. Now that we’ve addressed that, let us get right into the business of how to become a Japanese citizen.
First Things First
The first thing you must do is get to Japan. To get to Japan, you must have a valid visa allowing you to stay in the country as a worker, in other words, you must have a visa that permits you to work in Japan. These kinds of visas are of different categories, each granting you a different duration of stay. The short term visas are valid for six months to a year while the longer ones are valid for up to five years. All such visas may be extended on request.
Second Things Second; Languages
After getting your work visa, the next thing you might want to consider on your way to becoming a Japanese citizen is the Japanese language. In Japan, English is a second language, and a poorly developed one at that. It would be easier for you if you could achieve a decent command of the spoken language at the very least.
There are five levels of speech in the Japanese language ranging from N1 to N5. N5 being the simplest level while N1, the most complex of the levels. N5 and N4 will take you through the basics of the Japanese language, while N3 will take you through the Japanese terms and phrases used in everyday situations but to a certain degree. N2 is a more complex version of N3 and N1 will imbibe within you the ability to understand, read and speak Japanese in a wide variety of circumstances.
The language is an incredibly important part of your journey towards becoming a Japanese citizen, as you will need the language skill during your interviews. However, if you like most people are not able to comprehend the language, your best bet will be hiring a company that offers professional translation, localization, and interpretation services.
The Beginning of the End of the Process
For individuals who were born in Japan or have a Japanese parent, it’s a simple task. But for citizens of other countries who fall into neither of the aforementioned categories, it is a much longer process. According to the justice ministry, this process should take six to twelve months. But you must be ready to spend longer as situations may be peculiar. There are twelve criteria that you must satisfy before you can be granted Japanese citizenship. Some are pretty easy while some others will take some sacrifice on your part. Below is a list of the twelve steps clearly explained.
[Real Quick: If what you’re looking for is expanding to Japan with your business, this guide to Doing Business in Japan will be a better read for you!]
You must maintain a domicile in Japan for about five years.
This is one of the hardest steps to fulfill. Before your application can be taken seriously, you must have spent a minimum of five years in Japan. Although there are alternate ways around this step, they usually fall in the category of the aforementioned two.
You must be at least 20 years
In other countries, the minimum age requirement for an application for citizenship or permanent residency falls within 18 to 21 years. In Japan, you must be at least twenty years of age before you can be eligible to apply for citizenship.
Prove that you are upright in conduct and character
You will be required to submit an official criminal records check. There is no need for submitting if you have a criminal record that is negative. If you have a history of criminal activity, you might as well just forget about citizenship.
Show that you can be financially independent in Japan
By this, we do not mean that you must be made of money or have an expensive boat or yacht. It just simply means that you should at the very least be able to support yourself in Japan financially. You should have skills that can get you a job to ensure your personal upkeep.
Relinquish any other citizenship
Remember when we told you about giving up something to get something else? Well, this is where that becomes real. You cannot have dual citizenship as a Japanese. You have to forgo one citizenship to get the other. The Japanese culture cherishes total samurai-like loyalty, hence, you are expected to exhibit that by giving up your current citizenship, as the Japanese government tries to avoid any clash of interests whatsoever.
Take a pre-qualification interview
During the next phase, you will be invited to undergo a pre-qualification test. You would have to contact the ministry of justice to undergo the test which is usually set up remotely (by phone or in person. This interview would be to ensure that you have satisfied all or most of the requirements.
Participate in a second interview
In this second interview, you would be schooled about the different items you would need to provide to prove your eligibility for citizenship. There is really no established list of requirements. But just be sure to have most of your documents intact. Some of these documents include your birth certificate among a host of many other important certificates.
Watch a Naturalization video
If you have watched The Last Air Bender series, you would remember the underground services of Lake Laogai where people were hypnotized. Well, this is not going to be hypnosis. You would watch a naturalization video that would enlighten you regarding the procedures and expectations of naturalization in Japan.
Compile your evidence and study the guide book
You would also have to read a guide book that describes the naturalization requirements. This book will be written in Japanese and if you haven’t learned the language at this point, this could deter your application process. Luckily, we could make it easy for you. All you have to do is apply for our translation services, and we would be glad to help you. When you are done with this, you can then contact the official in charge to schedule another meeting.
Participate in the application meeting(s)
Well, it ought to be just one meeting, but it is not uncommon to attend two or three meetings. This meeting is to cross-check all the details of your application. If any item is missing or incomplete, you would be sent to complete them. You may also need to add new materials to the list.
Wait while your materials are checked
Now you have submitted all necessary documents. All that is left is for you to wait while the ministry goes through your documents to verify the authenticity of your application. You may be visited by the ministry at home or at your workplace. They may also interview all personal referees and sponsors, so ensure to remain in good terms with your stated referees or employers.
Attend a final meeting
This is quite ceremonial. It is more like an oath-taking ceremony where you get to pledge your undivided loyalty to the Japanese nation. After this, you are a certified Japanese citizen.
There you have it. All of the steps you need to know on how to become a Japanese citizen. Go give it a try and best of luck. Feel free to contact us if you need any explanations or guidelines.