What are my options for extending my stay in Japan after a divorce ?

Nazdeek's picture
By Nazdeek - Posted on
13 January 2014

Hi, I'M currently living in Japan from last 8 years and having a 3 years spouse visa.Me and my wife get divorced in last September.My current visa is going to be expired in March 2014.My concern is how i can get extension in my visa. I'm working in a Japanese company.should i have to go back to my country Pakistan or is there any way i can get an extension.

Shantalie's picture
Last seen: 50 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 01/08/2012

Living in:
Cape Town, South Africa

London, England

Hi Nazdeek,

In your situation, I would start by speaking to your employer. It might be possible for you to get a work permit, if your employer is willing to sponsor you. 

As your current visa is very close to expiring, it might be necessary to go back to Pakistan and apply through the local Japanese embassy. Many employers are familiar with dealing with the visa process, so they will be able to provide more information for you.

It might also be an idea to speak to an immigration lawyer to see if there is anyway you can transfer onto a work permit without having to leave the country. 

Get an overview of the visa process for Japan on Visas for Japan

Kind Regards,

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Azumi123's picture
Last seen: 3 years 13 weeks ago
Joined: 16/07/2016

Hi. First of all you should know that you are currently in Japan illegally. After the introduction of the zairyu card system, It became a requirement that you inform the immigration authorities within 3 weeks of the divorce. They will then send a letter to you, which could take months, stating the date at which you must leave the country.
This is going to seriously affect your ability to change visa and could, in the worst case, end you up in immigration detention and your employer in trouble for keeping you on (although this is unlikely, you will probably just be given a date to leave). So my first piece of advice is that you go to the immigration office and give them notice of your divorce. Explain that you were not aware of the new rule requiring you to do this.
Unfortunately I think that if you aren't classed as HSL (highly skilled labor) then you will be unable to change visa. HSL includes jobs that require qualifications in fields that Japan sees as important to the country. For example: Medicine, Computer Science, Physics, Biology and so on. Being an English teacher is not HSL.
If the immigration officer decides to be a little sympathetic to your situation, and you are HSL, you can be given the chance to change your visa status without leaving the country or your job. If the officer is strict then he/she can revoke your status and have you sent to immigration detention, from there you will be expected to pay your own way home and will not be allowed to re-enter for at least 5 years and at the most 10 years.
Bear in mind that having a child in Japan who is staying with the mother has no effect on your chances of remaining.
In summary: Tell the immigration office of your divorce as soon as possible. If you are not HSL, be prepared to leave within the next month.

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