How to bring your family to Japan


If you are moving your family to Japan you need to apply for spouse and dependent visas at a Japanese embassy or consulate.

When bringing your family to Japan, you will serve as your family members´ sponsor (the same as a company or university may have sponsored you). Apply for their Certificates of Eligibility at a Japanese embassy. If you are moving to Japan to work, your employer may do this for you. Either way, you will need:

  • Application forms (see )
  • Passports
  • Passport-size photos of your spouse and each child
  • Marriage certificate
  • Birth certificate(s)
  • Letter verifying your employment
  • Proof of dependancy (only visas for older dependents)

In the event that you are already living in Japan and your family will be joining you there, you may be required to submit additional residence and financial records to the local municipal office. These include tax records.

Until very recently same-sex partners were not considered dependents under Japanese law. However, the Japanese government has now made it possible to sponsor a same-sex partner´s entry into Japan. The couple must be married and the marriage must be recognized in the country of origin. If the couple does not qualify for sponsorship under these regulations it may still be possible to apply for a special visa for a same-sex partner. For more information check with the Japanese Immigration Bureau .

Once issued, dependent and spouse visas will be valid for the same length of time as their sponsor.

Spouses and dependents, like all foreigners, must apply for their alien registration cards within 90 days of their arrival in Japan.


Family or friends who want to visit while you are living in Japan should not require a visa unless they are staying for longer than the duration of their visa exemption period. Depending on the length of their visa exemption period, or if they are from a country not covered by a visa exemption agreement, they may have to apply for a temporary or short-stay visa. If this is the case, you should provide your visitors with a legalized letter of invitation confirming their visit and guaranteeing their expenses.

Further reading

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