• Easy Living in Kyoto - Starting a New Life - Procedures at a Ward Office

Easy Living in Kyoto

II Starting a New Life

2.Procedures at a Ward Office

2-1 Foreign Resident Registration

If you remain in Japan for over 90 days (in the case of being born in Japan, over 60 days), you must register for a Certificate of Foreign Resident Registration which serves as your personal identification. By law, you are required to keep your Certificate (registration card) with you at all times. See the list of “Ward and Branch Offices”



Application Period

Items to Bring

Registration for the first time

Person Affected

Within 90 days of arriving in Japan
(If registering a birth, within 60 days of the birth)

2 photographs
(birth certificate or doctor’s certificate of delivery)

Change of address,
resident status,
length of residence,

Person Affected

Within 14 days of the change

Certificate of Foreign Resident Registration

Damage to Certificate

Person Affected

2 photographs,
Certificate of Foreign Resident Registration

Periodic Renewal of Status

Person Affected

1.Your fifth birthday after you first registered. (However, if you are a permanent resident or have special permanent residency (tokubetsu eijushikaku), the seventh birthday after you first registered.)
2.The fifth birthday after your most recent renewal. (However, if you are a permanent resident or have special permanent residency (tokubetsu eijushikaku), the seventh birthday after you first registered.
3.16th birthday
Within 30 days of one of①to ③.

2 photographs, Certificate of Foreign Resident Registration

Loss of Certificate of Foreign Resident Registration.
(First, inform the police. Next, go to the ward or branch office to pick up an application for a new registration card.)

Person Affected

Within 14 days of loss.

2 photographs,
Additionally, depending on the circumstances of the loss, a Fire Certificate (Kasai Shomei), or Certificate of Theft (Tounan Todoke) may be required.

*Although the application process needs to be done by the person applying, in cases such as an applicant being younger than 16 years of age, it is possible for family members to act as a proxy for the applicant. For details, please inquire at the ward office / branch ward office in your place of residence.
*You can obtain your Certificate of Foreign Resident Registration place of registration, about 3 weeks from the date of your application .
*Photographs must be 4.5x3.5 cm in size, and taken from the waist up, full-face, front view, without a hat. Color and black and white photographs are both acceptable. Furthermore, in the case of underage applicants, submitting a photo is not necessary.

◆When Certification of Information Recorded on Foreign Resident Registration is Required
Certificates are available at the Certificate Issuance Corner and Residents service window of your ward office and branch office. Certificates can be procured not only by the actual applicant, but also by any family member living with the applicant, or a representative with power of attorney.

◆Leaving Japan Permanently
When leaving Japan permanently, you must return your Certificate of Foreign Resident Registration to the immigration officer at the point of your departure. If you have received a re-entry permit, it is not necessary to return the Certificate.

Note) In July, 2012, a new resident management system will go into effect.
In addition to this new system, from July of this year onward, the original Foriegner Registration system will be discontinued.
The new system issues special permanent residents their special permanent resident certificate, and other foreign residnts’ “resident card”. The Ministry of Justice’s Immigration Office has published information about the new system on their website.
The Ministry of Justice’s news bulletins will be published from before the new system start with detailed information about the system’s contents.

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2-2 National Health Insurance

National Health Insurance (kokumin kenko hoken) is a public health insurance system for the self-employed, farmers, the retired and those who are not covered by other insurance systems. If you do not join an insurance scheme available through a place of employment or are not receiving social welfare, you must join this system. If you do not join the insurance system, you have to pay the full amount of medical costs incurred. When you withdraw from the insurance offered at your place of employment, you should apply to join the National Health Insurance.

◆If you join the National Health Insurance system
(1)You will pay basically 30% (those who are 70-74 years old 10% & 0-preschool 20%) of actual costs when seeing a doctor. (The cost of items not covered by insurance must be borne by the individual.)
(2)When a child is born to an insured person, that person may receive a lump sum payment after birth as child rearing expenses.
(3)At death, payments for funeral expenses may be received. Other payments and benefits are also available. Inquire at your ward’s branch office.

◆How to join the system
 Those foreign nationals who have registered as foreign residents and have permission to stay in Japan in accordance with the immigration law for more than 1 year must enter the system. Those who are planning to stay in Japan for less than 1 year but are considered to stay over 1 year because of their purpose for entering the country can also join the system.
 Applications should be made at the ward branchoffice where the applicant lives. The items required are: “Foreign Resident Registration Card”, “Certificate of Foreign Resident Registration”, seal (if none, a signature), and documentation proving you will stay in Japan over 1 year such as a passport, school/college identification card, study project, etc. It is necessary to process within 14 days of becoming a resident (not the date of landing) or of the day leaving the health insurance scheme available through a place of employment. If it is not done in time, maximum 2 years insurance cost will be collected going back to the date.

◆National Health Insurance Card
 One National Health Insurance Card is issued per person. When seeking medical treatment, bring the insurance card to the hospital or clinic and show it at the reception desk.

◆About insurance premiums
 The annual insurance payment is calculated on the insured individual’s annual income and the number of people in the family as one unit. People over 40 years old and under 65 years old must also pay an additional premium for Nursing Care Insurance (kaigo hoken).
 You are charged the minimum rate during your first year in Japan, since you earned no money in the previous year in Japan. From the second year, you are charged according to your income.
 When income such as salary is below a certain amount or when no income is made, you are eligible for a ” legally reduced payment plan”, i.e. the insurance fee will be 20%, 50% or 70% off. (Income declaration is required.)
Annual insurance payments are paid in 10 installments from June when your municipal tax is determined to March the following year. An insurance payment bill is sent from the city, ward, town or village office so please pay it by the due date at a bank, post office or any convenience store. If the appropriate application is made, payments can be made automatically from a specified bank account. It will prevent you from forgetting to pay on time, economize your time by going to your financial institution or post office. As it is convenient and reliable, it is recommended to use the account transfer method.
 As well, should your insurance premiums not be paid, the total medical expenses may have to be borne by you and benefits may be suspended.

◆The following must be reported
The following cases should be reported to the ward office / branch ward office of where you live within 14 days:
(1)A change of address (When you have moved within the city, ward, town or village)
(2)Moving into or out of a city, ward, town or village
When moving out of the ward where you have lived, bring your National Health Insurance Card to the ward office and report your move-out day there. Within 14 days after your move, report to the ward office / branch ward office of your new residence.
(3)When you join your workplace health insurance system
(4)When a child was born, or when the head of the family (householder) is changed or has died.
(5)When the insurance card is missing or soiled, etc.
(6)When withdrawing from (leaving) the system
You cannot withdraw from the National Health Insurance except for the following reasons: entering the social insurance system, or moving out of the city area. If you withdraw from the National Health Insurance during the fiscal year, insurance premiums will be recalculated and must be paid accordingly.

◆People who cannot join the National Health Insurance
(1)People who have not registered as foreign residents
(2)People who do not have a status of residence (zairyu shikaku)
(3)People on short stays (in Japan)
(4)People who have already joined another health insurance system
(5)People receiving social welfare

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2-3 National Pension

The National Pension Scheme is a system whereby everybody receives a “basic pension” (kiso nenkin). It provides income security in old age, or in the event you acquire disability or of your death. Everyone including foreign nationals between 20 and 59 years old must join the National Pension Scheme. People who have joined the Employee’s Pension Scheme (for people working at a company or a factory including those younger than 20 years old) or a Provident Society Scheme are also members of the National Pension Scheme. If you have been enrolled for 25 years or more, you will be eligible to receive benefits starting at 65 years of age.
◆How to join the scheme
 To join the National Pension Scheme, you should apply at your local ward branch office. It is not necessary to apply if you have already joined an Employees’ Pension Insurance Scheme. (The procedures for joining are completed by the company.)

◆Insurance premiums
 If you join the National Pension Scheme, you will have to pay insurance premiums. Premium bill payments should be made at a post office or bank. Bank transfer payments are also possible. People who have joined the Employees’ Pension Scheme or a Provident Society Scheme will have their premiums deducted from their salaries or bonuses.

◆When it is difficult to pay premiums
 For people with no income, or people whose income is so low that premium payment is difficult, you can apply to be fully exempted or partially exempted from paying the premium. Students can also have payments suspended according to the Student Special Payment System (gakusei nofu tokurei seido). Students of some special schools are not eligible.

◆Receiving a pension
 National pensions will be paid out when a person becomes old, disabled, or when the insured person has died. Below are the different kinds of pensions.
(1)Basic Old-Age Pension (rorei kiso nenkin) (security for retirement life)
(2)Basic Disability Pension (shogai kiso nenkin) (security against illnesses or disability due to an accident)
(3)Basic Survivors Pension (izoku kiso nenkin) (security for the life of deceased family members)
(4)Widow’s Pension (kafu nenkin)
(5)Lump-Sum Death Payment (shibo ichiji kin)
There are conditions regarding receiving each pension. An application must be made in order to receive a pension.

◆Returning home (lump-sum refund payment system)
There is a lump-sum refund payment system for people when they withdraw from the National Pension Scheme or Employees’ Pension Scheme. All non-Japanese persons leaving Japan within 25 years of enrolling in a pension scheme are eligible to apply for the Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment. Those who have fulfilled the period required may receive a pension after returning home.
Lump-sum Withdrawal Payments are granted in principle on request to persons who meet all of the following conditions:
*Persons who do not possess Japanese citizenship
*Persons who do not have a place of residence in Japan (have already left Japan)
*Persons who paid the National Pension premium or the Employees’ Pension Insurance premium for 6 months or more
*Persons who have never qualified for pension benefits
*Persons who file a claim within 2 years from the day of withdrawal from the pension scheme.

The Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment can be calculated using the following table (as of April 1, 2011)

Unit: month

Enrolled period Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment

Employees’ Pension Insurance

National Pension


Average index monthly premium × Rate of pay (insurance rate x 1/2) x 6



Average index monthly premium × Rate of pay (insurance rate x 1/2) x 12



Average index monthly premium × Rate of pay (insurance rate x 1/2) x 18



Average index monthly premium × Rate of pay (insurance rate x 1/2) x 24



Average index monthly premium × Rate of pay (insurance rate x 1/2) x 30


36 or over

Average index monthly premium × Rate of pay (insurance rate x 1/2) x 36


*20% income tax is deducted on the Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment for the Employees’ Pension Insurance. When you submit a final income tax return for the year, if there has been a total tax overpayment, you will get the excess refunded.)
See “Filing an Income Tax Return”
*The Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment will be paid basically in U.S. dollars. A remittance charge from Japan is not required, however, a handling fee when receiving the money at an overseas bank may be charged.
*The insurance rate is the rate applied in October the year before the year where you paid the last premium.

◆Necessary documents to file for the Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment
*Claim form (you can get it before your departure from a pension agency or the National Pension Section of the municipal office nearest you.)
*Pension Book (if you don’t have one, all necessary items must be filled in on the claim form)
*A photocopy of your passport
*A photocopy of the front cover of your bankbook
※You may contact ward office or branch office for details.

◆Send the above documents to the following address:
The Japan Pension Agency
5-24 Takaido-Nishi 3-Chome, Suginami-Ku, Tokyo 168-8505

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2-4 Marriage and Divorce Registration

When you get married in Japan it is usual to have your marriage registered (kon-in todoke) .

◆Foreign National and Japanese Citizen
Place of registration
  The Ward office or the Branch office of the area where they reside
Things to be prepared by a foreign national
  The Certificate of Legal Capacity to contract Marriage issued by the foreign partner's embassy.
  The Certificate of Foreign Resident Registration,Passport
Things to be prepared by a Japanese Citizen
  A copy of Family Register (koseki tohon) unless it is kept at the Ward Office of residence.
※Two witnesses over 20 years of age have to sign and set their seals for the Registration of Marriage.
※To change status of residence due to marriage, it is recommended to consult at the Immigration Bureau.
Osaka Regional Immigration Bureau, Kyoto Branch Office
Osaka Nyukoku Kanrikyoku Kyoto Shuccho-sho  TEL:752-5997

◆Foreign Nationals

If two foreign nationals marry, they are not under any legal obligation to register their marriage to a Ward office. in Japan. However, if you want to register to a ward office / branch ward office, hand in a Marriage Certificate issued by the Consulate or embassy of their country to.
Consult the ward office or branch office in your area

◆When you get divorced
It is necessary to notify your Ward Office. In the case of a couple with different nationalities, the law of the country in which they reside applies to the divorce proceedings. For example, divorce by mutual consent would be recognized legally if the couple resides in Japan, even if one partner's nation does not recognize such a form of divorce. However, if the couple registered their marriage in another country, they have to follow the legal proceedings of that country.
Consult the ward office or branch office in your area

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2-5 Birth Registration

You must register your child when he or she was born.

Application Period
   You must apply for a Birth Certificate within 14 days of the child’s birth.

   The Ward or Branch Office of your residence

※The child’s Foreign Resident Registration must be completed within 30 days of the child’s birth.

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2-6 Death Registration

You must report the death of your family within 7 days after noticing the person’s passing away.

Necessary Documents
   Death Certificate,Seal of the person who reported the death (signature)

   The Ward or Branch Office in your area.

◆When the deceased is not a Japanese citizen

The Certificate of Foreign Resident Registration of the deceased must be returned to the Ward or Branch Office of his/ her registered domicile. The Embassy or Consulate of the deceased person's home country should also be notified.

II-3. Accomodation

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