Information for International Researchers


Non-Japanese nationals who wish to enter and reside in Japan are required to go through various legal procedures, such as immigration inspection and obtaining a status of residence. Detailed information on necessary procedures for your entry into and stay in Japan is available on the Immigration Bureau's website, along with some examples of how to correctly fill out various application forms.

1. Alien Registration

If you stay in Japan for 90 days or longer, you must prepare the following documents and submit them for alien registration to the municipal or ward office where you reside. It takes about two weeks to issue a foreign resident registration card.

The end of the Alien Registration Card system

Upon introduction of the new system of residence management, the current alien registration system will be phased out. The new system will be implemented by July 2012. Unless you are a permanent resident, you will receive your new residence card when you take a procedure such as applying for an extension of the period of stay. If you are a permanent resident, you will be required to apply for your new residence card within three years from the implementation of the new system of residence management.

  • Your passport
  • Two ID photos
    (4.5cm×3.5cm, taken within the previous 6 month, upper body, without a hat)
  • Application form for alien registration
    (You can get the forms at your municipality's administrative office).
Inquiries concerning Alien Registration
  • Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau Office
    (open 9:00-12:00, 13:00-16:00 Monday to Friday)
Address 5-5-30, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Phone 03-5796-7112

2. National Health Insurance

National health insurance is designed for the general public (including non-Japanese nationals who have completed the alien registration and plan to stay in the country for one year or longer with valid resident status) other than those who are employed and covered by any other health insurance, seamen's insurance or mutual aid association plans.

Full-time employees, regardless of their period of employment, must join the Mutual Society of Health Insurance welfare program (→For more information, see "University" page)

A National Health Insurance Card will be issued immediately upon application. This card should be shown at hospitals whenever receiving medical examinations. Card holders only pay 30% of medical expenses.

It is recommended that researchers who stay less than a year purchase overseas travel personal accident insurance from a private insurer in their own country. Anyone without insurance must assume the full cost of their medical fees, which can be very expensive.

  • Persons who intend to enroll in National Health Insurance should do so immediately aftercompleting Alien Registration.
  • Insurance premiums are calculated based on the previous year's income. It is recommended that you declare your previous year's income in Japan, which is zero in most cases, by submitting an Income Declaration Form when first joining National Health Insurance. If you do so, your premiums will be set at an appropriate level from the first payment. Every year you are required to declare your income for the previous year by the end of April.
  • Your Passport
  • Alien Registration Card or Alien Registration Certificate of Registered Matters

3. Counseling Services in Foreign Languages

The employment insurance system provides benefits which ensure displaced employees a stable life until they find a new job. This insurance is also provided to foreign employees. However, overseas public servants, those who are covered by any overseas unemployment compensation system, and those who are dispatched to establishments in Japan after being hired abroad, are unable to join this insurance system.

Local governments and some service Institution offers consultation and counseling services for foreign people living in Tokyo. Please feel free to contact one of the consultation service office listed below if you do not fully understand legal procedures in Japan.

General Consultation Academic Promotion Section 03-5803-1200 12:00-17:00
Tokyo Metropolitan Foreign Residents' Advisory Center 03-5803-1200 9:30-12:00,
Tokyo English Life Line 03-5774-0992 9:00-23:00
House of Women HELP 03-3368-8855 10:00-17:00
Foreign Residents General Information Center 03-5796-7112 9:00-12:00
Regarding Taxes Tax Counsel Office of Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau 03-3821-9070 12:00-17:00
Help for victims of crimes Counseling Service for Foreigners 03-3503-8484 8:30-17:15
Travel and Tourism Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO) 03-3201-3331 9:00-17:00

4. Understanding your employment status

Understanding your employment status is the first step to finding out what rights and protection you may have at work. Each type of employment status has different legal rights, so it is important to know which category you fall into. If you are unsure about your employment status, please confirm it by obtaining a "Certificate of Employment" issued by the University or JSPS.

University of Tokyo Full-time MEXT Mutual Society of Health Insurance welfare program Workmen's Accident Compensation Insurance(Rosai Hoken), Employment Insurance(Koyo Hoken), commuter allowance, housing allowance, family allowance  
Part-time (A) Japan Health Insurance Association(Kyokai Kenpo) Workmen's Accident Compensation Insurance(Rosai Hoken), Employment Insurance(Koyo Hoken), commuter allowance* 75% or more working hours of full-time, 2 month or longer period
Part-time (B) National Health Insurance Program Workmen's Accident Compensation Insurance(Rosai Hoken), Employment Insurance(Koyo Hoken), commuter allowance* Persons not in either of the above categories
JSPS Fellow   **  
  • * Detailed conditions vary for each individual. Please confirm through "Certificate of Employment" issued by your host institution.
  • ** The costs of housing and commuting fees are include in maintenance allowance

5. Re-entry Permit

If you plan to leave Japan for a short period of time and re-enter the country during your authorized period of stay, you must obtain a "Re-entry Permit" from the Immigration Office before your departure. The Re-entry Permit will be issued immediately upon application at the Immigration Office.

The Re-entry Permit will indicate the permitted period of time for re-entry. Be sure to return within that period to avoid complicated re-entry procedures. Without a reentry permit, you will face considerable difficulty in reentering Japan to continue your research. There are two types of Re-entry Permits, i.e., single and multiple; the fees are 3,000 yen and 6,000 yen, respectively.