Visa extension

Extending ones visa for a fourth and fifth year on the JET Program takes two separate visits to the Sendai Immigration Bureau in Akita City. The office is in the Akita Gōdō Chōsha (秋田合同庁舎, ☎ 0188-95-5221, 〒010-0951 秋田県秋田市山王7-1-3); The building is SE of Yabase Park. Extending one's visa is the responsibility of the JET Participant. The bureau is open weekdays 9:00-12:00 and 13:00-16:00. You can't extend your visa until two months before it expires. The expiry date is listed on the landing permission/re-entry stamp in your passport. Some people have been able to get a three year extension on their work visa. But most likely you will only be allowed to update your visa for one year at a time.

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Day one

On day one you need to visit the Immigration Office on the 5th floor. Here are the documents you might need. Strangely, the required documents vary on a daily basis, so this list is probably excessive. If you forget some of these documents, they might let you mail the forms in later, but if they don't it would be a hassle, so try to bring them all.

Photo requirements
  • Photo 40mm×30mm
  • Residence Card (在留カード; zairyū card)
  • Passport.
  • Current year's contract.
  • New year's contract.
  • Previous calendar year's Statement of Earnings.
  • Resident Tax Certificate (住民証明書; じゅうみんしょうめいしょ; jumin shōmeisho).
  • Income Tax Certificate (納税証明書; のうぜいしょうめいしょ; nozei shōmeisho).
  • Income & Earnings Tax Certificate (所得課税証明書; shotoku kazei shōmeisho). It is possible that with this sheet, the above two sheets are not necessary. But it's safer to bring them all.
  • Certificate of employment (在職証明書; ざいしょくしょうめいしょ; zaishoku shōmeisho).

The Resident Tax Certificate, Income Tax Certificate, and Income & Earnings Tax Certificate can be acquired from the Tax/Revenue Department (税務課; ぜいむか; zeimuka) of your local town or city office. In small offices, this office might be part of the Promotion/Promote Department (振興課; しんこうか; shinkoka). The certificates cost about ¥200 each and can be printed fairly quickly.

The Resident Tax Certificate needs to reflect that you paid your taxes. You need to do this before you get your "Resident Tax Certificate" or it won't reflect that you payed your taxes, which is needed for your new visa.

After filing the documents, the officials will ask you to write your address on a postcard. When your visa has been approved, you will receive this postcard in the mail. On the postcard it will list the time frame for when to pick up your visa (only about 10 days).

Day two

Day two is a quick and easy trip. Here's what you need:

  • The postcard the Immigration officials sent you.
  • Passport.
  • Alien Registration Card/Residence Card.
  • ¥4,000 for the visa extension.

First, go to the 2nd floor shop and buy ¥4,000 stamps. Then go to the 5th floor immigration office and finish the paperwork.

Followup activities

  • Your drivers license may expire around the same time. This is unrelated to the visa process and you can do either first. A postcard from the driving center should come to your house with details on the renewal process. For many people, the process involves a 2 hour lecture, and for others it takes 5 minutes. You can renew your drivers license up to one month prior to, and one month after your birthday, so you should be able to plan ahead and use a nenkyuu day, should you need to. New drivers licenses have RFID cards, and when you get them, you'll be asked to choose two 4-digit PINs.

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See also

Note that this information varies from the information listed in the Japanese version of the JET Handbook for 2010 (任用団体用マニュアル; にんようだんたいよう マニュアル). The rules have been changed since then, it seems. If you have any problems, please refer your supervisor to the Japanese link above. Your supervisor can also call the Sendai Immigration Bureau, if there are other questions.