Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Immigration, Visas, Re-entry permits in Tokyo

Prized possessions

Sometimes I write useful information posts on this blog about living in Japan, and this entry is one of them.

Today I took the most uneventful trip to the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau, in order to obtain a re-entry permit (再入国許可 sainyuukoku kyoka) for my visa. Re-entry permits are essential if you take a trip outside of Japan: failing to get one would automatically cancel your current visa, and force you to re-enter the country on a tourist visa, which could be quite messy for us living and working here.

It's an easy procedure, albeit bothersome. Here is what you need:

  • Passport
  • Alien Registration Card 
  • Re-entry permit application form (your can print it here and fill it out beforehand)
  • The revenue stamp (¥3,000 for a single re-entry, or ¥6,000 for multiple), which you can purchase at a convenience store, or at the bureau.

I rode my favourite train line, Yamanote, to Shinagawa station. The immigration bureau is located in the middle of nowhere, and requires a bus trip. From Shinagawa station, take the East exit (Konan exit), then bus no.99 bound for the Tokyo Immigration Bureau. It is very clearly indicated, and you can't miss it. The bus ride is less than ten minutes, and you should get off at the "Tokyo Nuykoku Kanrikyoku-mae" stop. If you are not paying attention, just get off when everyone else does.

The bureau itself is not exciting at all. Upon entering, there is a Family Mart convenience store in which you can buy your revenue stamp. You can then proceed upstairs, get a number, then give all your documents to the officer. I did not have to wait at all, and within five minutes it was all over, and I walked out with a new sticker in my passport.

The most exciting part of this trip was a stop at Dean & Deluca inside Shinagawa station for an iced latte and ginger honey scone, which I highly recommend tryin. I felt like I deserved a small reward for successfully completing a boring immigration bureau outing.

Click here for more information, a map and opening hours of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau. It might be useful for other purposes, such as renewing a visa and anything related to immigration.

*Edit: Later this year, procedures will change as a new resident card will be issued, and re-entry permits won't longer be necessary. Read more information here. Thanks to the ever excellent More Things Japanese blog for the hint!

Shinagawa station. Not the most exciting.

Dean & Deluca: Starbucks pales in comparison

Scones and muffins were the highlight of my day

Just make sure you get coffee.


MoreThingsJapanese said...

FYI you'll only have to do this for a few more months. After the 'gaijin' cards go away later this year, residents will no longer have to get re-entry permits.

Vivian said...

Thanks for the info!! I had no idea.

Mizi Moo said...

A very personal question ... however ... what kind of visa do you have? You are a freelance writer, right? I've lived in Japan before but my visa was sponsored by my employer - do you sponsor yourself?!

Nicole Marie said...

i can't believe they have dean and deluca!

Mr. Sombrero said...

This article is outdated as of 2013. The notice at the bottom should be at the top. No one needs a re-entry permit anymore, except for long absences over a year.