Alien Registration Card (Gaikokujin Tourokushou Meisho)

Whatever kind of visa you may have, anyone just beginning their stay in Japan must get an Alien Registration Card, if they intend to stay more than 90 days. You must go to Sayama City Hall, floor 1, to apply. As you enter the main entrance, in the far right hand corner, you can see a lit sign that says in both Japanese and English, "Alien Registration."

When you go, you will have to give the staff working there, your passport, two passport sized photographs and complete an application form. They might fingerprint you as well, a policy that continues despite protest from non-Japanese, and despite the fact this was meant to stop in January 1993. Once you’ve handed in your application and photographs, you’ll receive a slip of paper stating a date with a few days of leeway to come and pick up your new Alien Registration Card. You will also get your passport back. The application might take up to a month. Until then, it might be advisable to carry your passport with you as a form of identification. All non-Japanese who have to apply for an Alien Registration Card are meant to carry it with them at all times. "Foreigner Folklore" contains stories of people being stopped by police, with no form of identification (neither a passport nor an Alien Registration Card). These persons then have to write a formal letter of apology to the police, or go home and get some identification. However, some non-Japanese who have lived in Japan for years, have never be asked for ID or known personally of anyone being stopped and queried. Nevertheless, it might be an idea to stay on the safe side of caution. Your Alien Registration Card is the size of a credit card and is easy to slip into a wallet.

If you change your status, e.g. from working in a language school to being a translator, you must have your Alien Registration Card updated. Any change of status must be recorded on your "Gaikokujin Tourokushou Meisho." This can be done by taking it to Sayama City Hall’s "Alien Registration" section. There they will write on the back your new address, if you have one, the name of your new employers and their address, then stamp it.

Those renewing their contract with the same employer will simply have the employer's address written on the back (same as before) and then given the official stamp. If you were to change your address at any point during your stay in Japan, this must also be updated on your Alien Registration Card.

For those people who want to renew their working contracts, to change their job or even to stay a bit longer after their period of work has finished, then a trip to Kita Urawa Nyuukoku Kanri Jimusho (immigration office) is a must.

Those who change their job type from, for example, working in a language school to an Assistant English Teacher, will have to change their working visa. The form most important for them is "Change Of Status of Residence." This also applies to non-working spouses who then begin to work. Those renewing their contracts within the same job need "Extension of Period of Stay." Everyone might want to get a "Re-Entry Permit," which costs Y6000 or Y4000 depending on the type (please refer to next pages), but lets you come and go from Japan easily. Without it, you cannot leave and return several times a year, e.g, for vacation.


Kita Urawa Immigration Office

Kita Urawa's immigration office is open from Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm. It is closed for lunch, at weekends and on national holidays. Services include procedures for Permission to Acquire or Change Status of Residence, Extension of Period of Stay, Re-Entry Permits and Consultation for Residence. Their telephone number is 048-824-0525. All enquiries in Japanese. Mail can be sent to, Floor 5, Urawa Chiho Chosa Building, 5-6-5 Kita Urawa, Urawa-shi, Saitama-ken.


How to get to there

From Sayama Station take the Seibu-Shinjuku Line from platform 1 to Honkawagoe Station. Walk ten minutes to Kawagoe Station and from there take a train from platforms 3 or 6 to Omiya. On arrival in Omiya, walk up two flights of stairs to get to the main part of the station. On reaching the top of the second flight, turn right and head towards platforms 1 or 2 (Keihin-Tohoku Line). Take a train to Kita Urawa Station, a mere two stops after Orniya


Omiya --- Yono --- Kita Urawa.


For anyone interested in such matters, Urawa is the next stop after Kita Urawa. Kawaguchi is two stops after Urawa. Nippori, where you can take trains to Narita Airport from, is another two stops after Kawaguchi. Ueno, another popular stop, is a further two stops along and from there, electronic gadget "paradise" Akihabara, is yet again another two tops along from Ueno.

On arriving at Kita Urawa Station, please ask someone for "Nyuukoku Kanri Jimusho." It is not difficult to find it. The office is about a ten minute walk from the train station. The trip from Sayama to Kita Urawa Immigration Office may take up to 2 hours.


At the Immigration Office

Once there, please go to floor 5, where you will find the office that deals with your application.

1. Hand in your visa application forms along with your Alien Registration Card, passport and documents (see Visa Information - Table of Documents).

2. Wait.

3. Listen for your name and get back your Alien Registration Card and passport.

4. Fill out a postcard.

5. Go home and wait for about two weeks to receive the postcard. The immigration office sends this to your home informing you the application is ready.

6. Visit the immigration office a second time!

7. Hand in your passport and postcard.

8. Wait.

9. Receive a "revenue form." This is for payment of the visa procedure. (At this point you can ask for a *re-entry application form if you do not already have one and fill it out).

10. Go to the kiosk on floor 1 to pay Y4000 and receive revenue stamps to show that you have paid.

11. Stick the stamps to the form and sign your name at the bottom.

12. Return to floor 5 and hand in the revenue form.

13. Get your passport back.

14. Hand in the passport, revenue form and re-entry application form to the immigration official whose desk is marked, "RE-ENTRY PERMITS."

15. Wait.

16. Show your Alien Registration Card and receive your passport back with the new working visa and re-entry permits stamped inside. Also, you will get your postcard back. (You’ll have to visit the kiosk again for payment of the Re-Entry Permit).

17. At last the procedure is complete and you can go home.

  • On the way home, please use platform 21, the Kawagoe Line, from Omiya Station, to get back to Kawagoe. On arriving in Sayama, put your feet up and have a nice cup of tea, coffee, cocoa, glass of beer, sake, wine, etc, etc.

    *Re-entry permits can be "Single" (Y4000) and allow you only one return trip from Japan before they are used OR

    "Multiple," (Y6000) which means you can come and go from Japan as often as you like while on your working visa.


    More visa information can be found in the new look Nippon Living on the following:

    Vocabulary to do with the immigration office
    Getting A Working Visa The Hard Way For those on a tourist visa, it will be necessary to leave Japan and re-enter it to obtain a working visa. Detailed information on forms, necessary documents to bring to the immigration office, and which country to go to for the quickest clearance. Where to stay, what to do and all about procedures at the Japanese Embassy there.
    People renewing their job contracts in the same city, working in the same job type in another city or prefecture, or changing job type (TABLE OF DOCUMENTS needed)
    Leaving Japan

    Visa and Immigration Problems - Lost Alien Registration Card, Overstaying your visa and/or passport has expired, Conditions and procedures for becoming a naturalized Japanese citizen


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