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Basic Resident Registration System for Foreign Residents

The Social Security and Tax Number System will be introduced.

You will need an Individual Number for administrative procedures for social security, taxation and disaster response from January 2016. Foreigners registered as residents in Japan will also receive their Individual Numbers from October 2015 onward. After receiving an application form with a notification card, you can apply for an Individual Number Card (IC card) by returning the application form by post or by one of the other options available. From January 2016 onward, your Individual Number Card will be ready for issuance.
*The Individual Number Cards of foreign residents shall be valid until the expiration date, etc. of their period of stay (with the exception of those residing in Japan under the following statuses: Highly Skilled Professional(ii), Permanent Resident and Special Permanent Resident). Therefore, if you are in the process of applying to extend your period of stay, etc., or if you expect that your period of stay will expire prior to the scheduled issuance of your Individual Number Card, then please apply for your Individual Number Card after the extension to your period of stay has been approved.
Please carefully handle your Individual Number, as it is valid throughout your entire lifetime.
Click here for details of the Social Security and Tax Number System.

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Foreign residents are now also covered by the Basic Resident Registration System

Each year sees more and more foreign nationals entering and living in Japan. This has increased the need for a system where the municipalities can provide the same basic administrative services to foreign residents as they do to Japanese nationals.

Therefore, in order for foreign residents to be included in the Basic Resident Registration Act in the same way as Japanese nationals, and to rationalize the administration of municipalities and make life more convenient for foreign residents, the Law for Partial Amendments to the Basic Resident Registration Act was enacted at the 171st Diet session, and promulgated on July 15, 2009, came into effect on July 9, 2012.

With this law in effect, Resident Records have been created for foreign residents, and the Basic Resident Registration Network System and the Basic Resident Registration Card also started use from July 8, 2013.

In the Basic Resident Registration system, foreign residents must now also submit a move out notification to their old municipality and a move in notification to their new municipality when they move into a different municipality.

Note that a move out notification will also be required when moving overseas.

See here for details.

Who is covered by the Basic Resident Registration System?

The following foreign nationals legally residing in Japan for more than three months (Tourists and persons who stay in Japan with a status of residence of "temporary visitor" are exempted)will be listed on the Basic Resident Registration. The person, however, must have established and maintain a residence in the municipality where the registration takes place.

(1) Medium to Long-Term Resident
(Persons who are to be granted Residence Cards)

Foreign nationals granted a status of residence, excluding persons granted permission to stay for not more than three months or persons granted such statuses of residence as Temporary Visitor, Diplomat, or Official.

A Residence ("Zairyu") Card shall be issued to those foreign nationals at the time they are permitted to land or reside in Japan in accordance with the amendment to the Immigration Control Act.

(2) Special Permanent Resident
(Persons who are to be granted Special Permanent Resident Certificates)

Persons recognized as Special Permanent Residents stipulated by the Special Act on Immigration Control.

A Special Permanent Resident Certificate shall be issued in accordance with the revised Special Act on Immigration Control.

(3) Persons granted permission for temporary refuge or provisional stay

Foreign nationals embarked on a vessel, etc. who fall under the provisions of the Refugee Recognition Act regarding the status of refugee and are granted landing permission for temporary refuge, or undocumented foreign residents who are granted permission for provisional stay upon application of refugee status.

When such permissions are granted, a certificate of permission for temporary refuge or a certificate of permission for provisional stay will be issued respectively.

(4) Persons who may continue to stay transitionally in Japan by birth or those who have lost Japanese nationality

Foreign nationals who are to stay in Japan through birth or who have renounced Japanese nationality.

The Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act stipulates that such persons may continue to stay in Japan without acquiring a status of residence for a period not exceeding sixty days.

Convenience for foreign residents

  • This revision enables municipalities to have a better grasp of the members of multinational households (households composed of Japanese and non-Japanese individuals), compared with the two-tier system that list Japanese members and non-Japanese members of the same household in two separate registrations (Basic Resident Registration Act and Alien Registration Act). Municipalities are also able to issue certified copies of the Resident Record listing all members of such households.
  • The Basic Resident Registration is the basis for the provision of various public services. Therefore when foreign residents move to another municipality, they can continue receiving necessary services such as National Health Insurance just by completing registration ("move-in notification") at their new municipal office. No extra applications are necessary.
  • The Minister of Justice and municipalities are collaborating in exchanging personal information of foreign residents, which lightens the work of foreign residents by avoiding overlapped notices to both Justice Ministry (Regional Immigration Bureau) and municipalities.

Reducing the number of notifications to submit and ensuring accuracy of records

Besides the change of address, the Alien Registration Act also required foreign residents to notice any other changes in personal information (name, status of residence, period of stay) to the municipality where they reside. Since those changes are made at the Regional Immigration Bureaus, foreign residents were required to go to the Regional Immigration Bureau first and then to their municipality to submit the notice.

However, after the amendment becomes effective, when a foreign resident makes such changes at the Regional Immigration Bureau, those changes are reflected in the Basic Residence Registration. Foreign residents no longer have to go to their municipality. Instead, the Ministry of Justice notices such changes to the municipality and the municipality updates their records. This new system prevents the overlapped notices of the foreign residents concerned and at the same time keeps the registered information accurate.

The revised Immigration Control Act requires foreign nationals to inform the Minister of Justice of their addresses via the mayor of their municipality. This procedure is considered to be completed by submitting the move in/change of address notifications. The municipality then notifies the Ministry of Justice of the new residential information obtained through these move in/change of address notifications.

Information about the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Call Center (Multilingual Consultation Desk)

This is where to contact for questions about the Basic Resident Registration

1) Telephone
0570-066-630 (Navi Dial)
03-6634-8325 (when calling from IP phones or PHS)
2) Office hours
8:30 to 17:30
3) Call Center Open Period
From April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2017.
(Not open weekends and public holidays, or Dec. 29 to Jan. 3)
4) Available languages
Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese (six languages)

Related Link

For procedures related to foreign nationals entering or residing in Japan:
Immigration Bureau of Japan websiteopen link in new window

July 2012 Start of a new residency management system! (link to the Ministry of Justice website) (open link in new window)
2012年7月 特別永住者の制度が変わります! (法務省) 別ウィンドウでページが開きます

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