For my family and I, moving to Japan was never in question, only a matter of when. After 20 years of marriage, and 2 grown children, my husband and I are ready to begin our journey. A few years ago I started to look into different visa’s I was eligible for. I came across a lot of questions that I couldn’t find answers to on the web. So, I’ve decided to write out our journey in detail, hoping it would help others in the same predicament as we are in.
A little background on me: I was born in Japan. My mother is Japanese and is of Japanese decent (she was born and raised in Japan) thus qualifying me for a visa under “Spouse/Child of Japanese National.”
In the beginning of May 2014, I went to the Honolulu, Consulate of Japan to see what I needed to do to qualify for my visa. With an official copy of my mothers koseki tohon and my birth certificate from Japan in hand, our journey starts.
My question to the consulate was, “I would like to get a visa under Spouse/Child of Japanese National and I also would like to get a visa for my spouse and son who is 18 years old, what do I need to do to get the visa’s I need?” The lady behind the counter looked at my papers and said that I do qualify for the visa under “Spouse/Child of Japanese National.” I could also get my C.O.E. (Certificate Of Eligibility) here in Hawaii. But my mothers koseki tohon has to be issued within the last 3 months at the time of my visa request (my mothers koseki tohon was almost 2 years old.) The lady also gave me this paper (see: Document 1, below) the yellow highlights pertain to me.
My husband would qualify for a “long term resident visa” as long as I get my visa under “spouse/child of Japanese National” and my son could actually get the same visa as mine under “Spouse/child of Japanese National.” I also received this paper (See: Document 2, below).
Looking at the list everything seemed ok except for #9 on Document 1. It states that I need to have a guarantor living in Japan. I don’t have anyone I can ask to sponsor me and my family in Japan. Feeling frustrated, I go home and start my research on how to get around this. I contact 3 different lawyers in Japan that specialize in immigration. I ask them the question, “Can I have someone here in America to sponsor me and/or my family while in Japan?” The answer from the lawyers were “No.” Someone in Japan must sponsor me and my family.
This is frustrating! I then ask the lawyers “Can I sponsor myself?” In short the answer was yes, but there are no exact specifications, since immigration takes every situation into consideration seperately. I was told that I must show a lot of money in the bank to qualify. The lawyers could not give me an exact amount. I have contacted a japanese language school in Japan for my husband and son and the schools say that in order to self-sponsor, I should have at least $20,000 in savings per person to be safe. The lawyers also stated, “Owning a house in America would not count as proof of your assets. If it’s a house, it has to be in Japan. Otherwise you will need to show your savings by providing your bank statements.”
The lawyer also wrote: “If your mother had the Japanese nationality when you were born, you can apply for your Child of Japanese national visa directly at the Japanese Consulate in Hawaii without going through the COE, although it will be required to apply for your husband and son’s COE in Japan.
Once you arrive in Japan (Child of Japanese national visa for you and temporary visitor visa for your family), it is possible to apply for your family’s COE and if it will be issued before the 90 days temporary visitor visa expires, they will be able to convert their temporary visa to the Long Term Resident visa without having to leave Japan.”
Im still in the process of getting my mothers “updated” koseki tohon. Thats been an adventure in itself. Please follow me to see what I needed to do to get my mother’s koseki tohon.