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how to become a japanese citizen

EO 11110

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Mother Lode
Jul 31, 2010
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Maintain a domicile in Japan for at least five consecutive years. Before you can apply for citizenship in Japan, you must maintain a domicile in the country for at least five consecutive years. You may be able to gain citizenship in Japan without meeting this requirement, if you can satisfy any one of the following conditions:[2]

You have maintained a domicile in Japan for three years or more and are the child of a Japanese national.
You were born in Japan and have resided or maintained a domicile in Japan for three consecutive years, and your father or mother was born in Japan.
You had a residence in Japan for ten consecutive years or more.
You will need to demonstrate not only the range of dates when you maintained a domicile or residence, but you also must provide all the dates when you left Japan and when you returned during the relevant period. You can do this with copies of passports, visas or other similar official documents.[3]

Be at least 20 years old. You must meet this age minimum, and you must be able to show that you are of legal age to act according to the laws of your home country. In some countries this may be 18 years old, 21 years old, or some other minimum age. If you are not certain, you should check with an attorney in your home country

Demonstrate that you are “of upright conduct.” You must submit to an official criminal records check. The result of that check must show that you have no criminal record.[5] Each case is examined individually, however, so some history of criminal activity may not prevent you from gaining Japanese citizenship

Demonstrate that you are able to support yourself in Japan. The legal standard is that you must be able to "secure a livelihood" either through work or through property that you may own. If you are married, and your spouse provides the income for the family, this requirement is satisfied.[7]

If you are employed and report that place of employment as part of your application, immigration officials may visit your place of employment to confirm whatever information you report

Relinquish any other citizenship. You must give up your citizenship in some other country before applying, or in conjunction with your application. Japan does not allow individuals to retain dual citizenship in order to avoid any potential conflict of interest that could arise.[9]

It is possible to obtain Japanese citizenship without giving up another country’s citizenship, if you can demonstrate exceptional circumstances that would justify doing so.
Individuals younger than 20 years old may maintain dual citizenship. Before reaching age 20, such individual shall make a choice to retain Japanese citizenship and relinquish the other, or relinquish Japanese citizenship.

Participate in a prequalification interview. When you believe that you have established all or most of the requirements for Japanese citizenship, you should contact the Ministry of Justice of local district legal affairs bureau where you reside in Japan. The office of the Ministry will set up an interview. The initial interview, which may be conducted by telephone or in person, is to conduct a preliminary screening. The official will seek to establish that you have satisfied all or most of the citizenship requirements.[10]

If you satisfy the official that you are ready to proceed with your application, a second interview will be scheduled.

Participate in a second interview. At the subsequent interview, you will learn the specific items that you will be expected to produce to prove your eligibility for citizenship. There is no established list of requirements. The officials will consider each applicant and each case separately and provide expectations. You can generally expect to need to produce the following types of documents:[11]

birth certificate
marriage certificate
proof of international travel
evidence of employment
evidence of assets
proof of residency or domicile
proof of education (transcripts, diplomas)
proof of physical and mental condition
evidence of criminal history

Watch a naturalization video. During the second interview meeting, you will be shown a video regarding the procedures and expectations for naturalization in Japan. This video will last approximately an hour

Compile your evidence and study the guild book. When you leave the second interview, you will have a list of the specific documentation that you must provide and a guild book that describes the naturalization requirements. You need to study these materials and begin compiling the documentation. This may take a matter of months to complete. When you are ready, contact you case official and set up an application meeting.[13]

At the end of your prior meeting, you will have been provided with the name of a contact person and a case number for your application.

Participate in one or more application meetings. When you believe you have satisfied all the requirements, contact your case officer and set up an application meeting. (Everything prior to this point has been pre-application work.) You will meet with one or more immigration officials, who will check every single detail about your application. If items are missing or incomplete, you will be sent to complete them. It is also possible that they may add new materials as deemed necessary

Wait while your materials are checked. After your application is submitted, you will be sent home to wait. During this time, officials will be checking and verifying all the details of your application. This verification may consist of a visit to your home. Officials may also interview references you provide as personal contacts or employers.[15]

At any time during this process, you may be contacted to provide additional information on any topic.
This portion of the application process may take several months.

Attend a final meeting. When everything appears to be satisfactory, you will be contacted for a final meeting. At the final meeting, you will sign required oaths, and your application will formally be accepted by the local Legal Affairs Bureau. The Legal Affairs Bureau will forward your completed application, along with your signed statements, to the Ministry of Justice. When the Ministry receives and approves those materials, your Japanese citizenship becomes final