Thursday, May 26, 2011

Renewal of the Alien Registration System

I was under the impression that aliens came from outer space, so when I came to Japan and received my “Certificate of Alien Registration,” I felt—how else can I put it—alienated. I’m sure many of you can relate! However, bills have been passed to abolish the Alien Registration Act and amend the Basic Resident Registration Law to register foreign residents (staying in Japan for more than 90 days) the same way Japanese nationals are registered. We shall be aliens no more!

Once these laws take effect, the Alien Registration counter at local municipalities will be removed and foreign residents will instead register at the same counter as Japanese people. Instead of a “Certificate of Alien Registration” issued from the local municipality, a “Residence (Zairyu) Card” will be issued to applicable foreigners at the port or airport when they enter Japan. One benefit we gain from this change is that re-entry permits will no longer be required when re-entering Japan after going home or abroad. Another is that if there is any change in personal information, resident status, or period of stay, you will only have to notify the Regional Immigration Bureau and no longer need to notify the local municipality as well. Also, Japanese and non-Japanese members of the same household will no longer be on separate registries, and certified copies of the residence record (juminhyo) will list all members of such a household.

A specific date for these changes to take effect has not yet been set, but it will most likely be around July 2012. For more information, please refer to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications website:

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