In another bout of personal trouble caused by the coronavirus, I found myself “stuck” in Japan on a tourist visa in danger of exceeding the 90-day stay limit granted upon entry. I had to go to the Osaka Regional Immigration Services Bureau to apply for an extension of my tourist visa status. Here’s how it went, I hope this is helpful to someone.
If you’re going to try something similar be sure to check the latest regulations and don’t just take my word for it — these processes can change at any time. This report is from an April 2020 visit.
This was my situation.
My wife and kids have Japanese passports, I don’t. We live and work outside of Japan and were just coming for a few months stay. While we were here the coronavirus situation heated up, and the country from which we departed closed its borders so we were unable to return. My 90-day tourist visa was starting to get close to the limit, and we still had no idea when we would be able to return, so I needed to get an extension. I could have applied to change status to a spousal visa, but we are not planning on staying that long so I didn’t think that was necessary.
Here’s how I did it.
The first step is to fill out the Application for Extension of Period of Stay form (在留期間更新許可申請書 zairyuu kikan koushin kyoka shinseisho). You can get the form online at the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) website.
Print out the form and fill it out. (The forms are also available at the immigration office, but it’s much more convenient to fill it out ahead of time.)
The form has a space to include a 40mm x 30mm photo, but the photo is not necessary to extend a tourist visa.
You may be asked to provide evidence of your ability to fund your stay in Japan. You can do this by providing copies of bank statements. I had these bank statement copies prepared, but I was not asked to show any of this evidence.
Find your nearest Immigration Bureau office. I’m in Osaka, so I needed to go to the Osaka Regional Immigration Services Bureau in Cosmo Square. It’s very close to the train station exit, which is on the Chuo Line. The area where I live is actually closer to the center of Kyoto, so I called the Osaka office and asked if they had a Kyoto location where I could apply. They said that if I was living in Osaka then I should go to the Osaka office.
The office is pretty well organized. Someone is seated near the entrance that you can explain your situation to, and they’ll point you in the right direction. The office employees will explain things and call out numbers in Japanese first before trying another language. I often heard them go from Japanese to English. Some of the staff were native Mandarin speakers.
Once you have turned in your application, if they are going to approve your extension you’ll be asked to pay for a 4,000 yen revenue stamp that is available on the premises. When I went in April 2020 payment was accepted in cash only.
Once everything is said and done you will leave the office with an additional stamp in your passport showing the extension. In my case I asked for an additional 90-day extension and it was granted.
I was probably in the building for about 1 hour.
Good luck! It won’t be fun visiting the office… but hopefully you’ll get your stuff done without much stress.
The website for the Osaka is here: http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/soshiki/kikou/osaka.html