帰化申請事例5

I want to naturalise as a Japanese citizen. What should I do?


 The first thing I need to say is that naturalisation is not easy. Further, unlike Permanent Residency the requirements are not exactly clear and ultimately the decision is down to the judgement of the Minister of Justice. The first step for applying for this is to go for a consultation at the legal affairs bureau that serves the area where you live. You must have a reservation for this and the meeting generally involves being asked specifically about your job, and why you want to apply etc. This is definitely the quickest way to find out if you have a chance. If the official at the consultation believes you are within a shot, they will guide you to the next steps. Conversely, if they do not believe you will be likely to be accepted, they will tell you this.

 The legal basis for naturalisation is set about in article four of the Nationality Act (1950). Let’s talk about some of the requirements.

1.Firstly, you must have lived in Japan continuously for more than 5 years. However, this requirement is looser for the spouses of Japanese nationals. Article 7 Nationality Act (1950) states that those who have been married to a Japanese national for 3 years and have lived in Japan for more than 1 year or are the spouse of a Japanese nationality and lived in Japan continuously for more than 3 years are eligible to apply.

2.The second requirement is that you are either stateless (I.e., holding no nationality) or prove that you intend to give up your original nationality upon naturalisation. In rare cases that it is not possible to voluntarily give up one’s nationality The Minister or Justice may still grant permission for naturalisation.

3.The third requirement is that you are good of character and follow Japanese laws. This is generally seen to be in relation to paying taxes, pension, and health insurance premiums. Obviously, if you have a criminal record this is almost an automatic out. Similarly, if you have been deported and came back to Japan under special landing permission it is probably best to give up on dreams of getting Japanese nationality. This is not technically impossible but we have never seen a person in this situation being successful.

 The above requirements are the most clearly defined in the Nationality Act (1950). However, as well as these there are a few others. The most prominent of these and the biggest difference to permanent residence is the requirement for Japanese language ability. While there is no concrete standard for the level of Japanese ability required for this it is generally said to be that of at least a 3rd grade elementary student. This is generally tested during interviews. However, there are sometimes cases where a Japanese test is prepared for you, or you may be asked to read simple kanji e.g., place names.

 Another thing that increases your chances of being successful is if you are currently a Permanent Resident of Japan. Naturally, this is not a rule set in stone however, in order to stand a realistic chance of being successful the applicant must generally already be a permanent resident.

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