I Extended My Spouse Visa in Japan 

This is my second year on a spouse visa. When I got it for the first time last year, I was granted one year. The officers at the Kobe immigration office told me everyone gets a one-year visa the first time. I read on the Internet that many people were given three years later. I didn’t get my hopes up when it was time to extend it this year, though. 

Because I am currently a part-time worker who doesn’t make as much money as a full-timer does, I thought they wouldn’t grant me more than a year again, but I was wrong! I received a three-year extension this time. Well, what do I know about the overly complicated and contingent nature of the Japanese bureaucracy?

From what I understood about visa extensions in Japan from many articles and YouTube videos, one’s income is an integral part of them. I still think it is, but in my opinion, the previous year’s income and residence tax papers are equally important. I worked full-time before getting married and was enrolled in shakai hoken (social insurance), which might have positively impacted my visa extension. But, again, what do I know? 

Photo by mana5280 on Unsplash

When I visited the immigration office, they didn’t ask for anything extra this time. Thanks to this blog, I had all my documents ready before visiting. Then, I used another blog to fill out the application form correctly. The explanation was thorough on both websites. I will refer to them again in the future, so please keep those posts bookmarked, dear website owner(s)! I’m sure they were also tremendously helpful to other visa applicants.

Japanese immigration officers tend to be lenient about missing documents. For example, they won’t send you back home. Instead, they will tell you to come back again if something is missing. I remember I had something missing the last time, which they kindly warned me about during the application. They gave me an envelope with an application number on it and told me to send it back to the immigration office once I obtained the necessary document. 

Fortunately, it is not a painful process if you have everything ready. I wouldn’t usually say I like immigration buildings because of their unfriendly facade and colors, but the Japanese immigration officers are not that bad. I saw worse immigration officers while living in another country. Ideally, living in a world without immigration officers and visas would be great, but until then, it is good to know that some immigration officers are not that bad. 

What about you? What was the process like when you extended your visa? Do you think your nationality or race made a difference in your application?

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