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US & Japanese Passports

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US & Japanese Passports 2005/6/22 00:19
I am a US citizen, born in the US to Japanese parents, and currently living in the US. I know that Japan does not technically allow dual citizenship but when I called the Japanese consulate, I was told I could still get a Japanese passport without abandoning the US because the Japanese government would not know that I have US citizenship. Now I have both passports and am planning to relocated to Japan for a job but am a little worried about what might happen (I'm sure they will be curious at immigration as to why my Japanese passport is blank).

Does anyone have any experience with something like this?

I have heard they have made exceptions for dual citizenship. Is this true and if so, under what circumstances? Thanks!

by ChewyCat  

Not exactly sure but... 2005/7/16 13:08
Hey there, I'm not exactly sure what the Japanese proceduers are, but I work as a Customs Officer in Vancouver Int'l Airport, Canada and have some experience dealing with Japanese passports. I think in your situation it would depend on if your parents have denounced their Japanese citizenship in favor of American citizenship. Because you will have to apply for a Japanese citizenship before you can get a passport and that will depend on your parents citizenship. Japan is one of the-if not the-strictest country when it comes to citizenship so I would think that you'd have to give up your U.S. citizenship. I have never seen a dual citizen Japanese person yet at work but good luck though =)
by Ryan rate this post as useful

Nijyu Kokuseki 2005/8/26 00:13
I am a dual citizen. It really depends on what kind of people you are stuck dealing with. I was born in Japan, but my parents naturalized me in America after we lived there for 10 years. I'm back in Japan for grad school, and because being a foreigner has all sorts of problems, I decided to get my resident registration (Jyuminhyo) and stuff, and generally behave like all is well. My Japanese passport ran out a few years ago, and I've been living with my American one. Basically, to get a Japanese passport reissued after one has run out, you have to start all over again. To do so, you need a jyuminhyo, which I didn't have since I moved out of Japan when I was six. Getting one is either easy or hard. In Tokyo, when I got mine, they politely reminded me that a dual citizenship is not allowed, and "by the way, here is your jyuminhyo. Please go cancel your American citizenship. wink wink." Once you got a jyuminhyo, its smooth sailing. I couldn't get one at my parent's ward, so I got one at my grandparent's ward. I just pretended to have moved in with them, and I was all set. So if you have trouble, try it.
by J Grad Student rate this post as useful

dual citizenship is not illegal 2005/8/26 12:19
Daul nationality is not technically against the Japanese law.

Please refer to the following English translation of the Nationality Law of Japan from the official website of the Ministry of Justice Japan.
http://www.moj.go.jp/ENGLISH/CIAB/law01.html

First of all, note that the age you must choose your nationality is 22. This is according to Article 14 where it says,
"A Japanese national having a foreign nationality shall choose either of the nationalities before he or she reaches twenty two years of age if he or she has acquired both nationalities on and before the day when he or she reaches twenty years of age or, within two years after the day when he or she acquired the second nationality if he or she acquired such nationality after the day when he or she reached twenty years of age."

However, the law doesn't actually tell you to _surrender_ your other nationality. It just says you have to _keep trying_. Please refer to Article 16 for details where it says,
"A Japanese national who has made the declaration of choice shall endeavour to deprive himself or herself of the foreign nationality."

So bottom line, you won't get "caught" even if they find out you have dual nationality after 22 years of age. Just tell them, "I'm trying" and you'll be okay. If you don't believe me, phone the Ministry or your local Japanese Embassy yourself. Anonymously if you wish. I know lots of people who actually inquired about this, and they're still free. Now, spread the word.

The other thing though, is that there seems to be a trick on "how" you should use your two different passports.

I know a person who showed both passports and was
told by airport immigration officails themselves to only use Japanese passports when leaving and entering Japan even though you have another (legal) nationality. It is the same when entering the foreign country, i.e.: do
not show the Japanese passport, only the passport for the country you are entering.

If you are travelling from Japan to a third country, use the Japnese passport to leave and the passport you think will be the most easily accepted in the other country, the person says.

For some reason, showing two passports seems to put immigration into a tizzy and many questions will follow.

by Uco rate this post as useful

Very Informative 2005/8/26 18:46
Thanks, I like the tip about how to USE the two passports. I was wondering what I should do.

As you say, Japan is not terribly clear about this whole situation. When I was living in NYC and planning my return, I went to the Japanese consulate there, and the guy working there told me flat out my situation is illegal and gave me documents to surrender my Japanese citizenship on the spot. I left quickly.

by J Grad Student rate this post as useful

Dual PP 2005/8/26 22:55
We ultimately ran into the same lecture at customs in Japan. We used to present both passport for our dual children both in the U.S. and in Japan. We did that for several trips without a problem. The children were asked a few simple questions when entering the U.S. Eventulally though, a Japanese Customs Officer lectured my JN wife about presenting both passports. Major embarrasment for her.
We now use the U.S Passport to come and go on America and the Japanese passport to enter and depart Japan. It doesn't make sense to me but customs officials they seem happier that way.
by BB rate this post as useful

me too. 2005/8/26 23:42
I took my baby to see my family last year and he has a Japanese as well as an American passport. The immigration guy yelled at me for presenting both. He said it wastes time, and he is tired of explaining that you only present the American one in America. Guess those immigration guys should get more vacations. Oh, and if you have a spousal visa, and are entering with a re entry permit, you don't have to fill out the immigration cards. I always fill them out just in case, and oooh they get annoyed at me, but I'm always scared of having to go to the back of the line for missing a form.
by sarahck rate this post as useful

. 2005/8/27 00:08
I dont blame the immigration guy because it is a waste of time to show both, they won't recognize your USA passport to begin with.
by .. rate this post as useful

dual nationality 2005/8/27 02:14
It is logical for people of dual nationality to use different passport to secure smooth immigration arrival clearance. This does not only refer to Japan, but also to other countries as well.

However, it may cause trouble if you need a re-entry visa for that country when officers may check both arrival and departure chops are matched on the same passport.

by TW rate this post as useful

.. 2005/8/27 02:26
You're right in that with tighter border security immigrations and customs officials will look on the visas page, I can imagine especially on the US side one being selected for secondary screening because you have a blank page. So be prepared to answer lots of questions. Though they can't deny you entry it just causes a lot of extra hassle.
by .. rate this post as useful

GREEN CARD 2005/9/12 22:42
Hey Guys! Sorry if this is in the wrong forum. I have a quesion about getting a greecard in the US. I have dual citizenship in Canada and Japan. As of right now, I have two passports but living and working JAPAN as a Japanese citizen without letting go of my Canadian citizenship. I married an American in America as a Canadian and also married him in Japan as a Japanese. How in the world am I supposed to figure out how to apply for a greencard. Do I apply as a Canadian or Japanese? If I do apply as a Canadian and decide to leave Japan..will they ask why I didn't apply for a greencard as a Japanese? Or am I thinking too hard? PLEASE HELP!!!
by Kell rate this post as useful

Complicated 2005/9/13 01:07
It seems your husband is an American and a Japanese too. I think Amercia do not allow dual citizenship, just like Japan, at least officially. A Canadian wishing to settle in the States after her marriage to an American has to give up her Canadian citizenship before she gets an Amercian passport.

If you are only looking for a green card(proof of residence, not citizenship), I think you can maintain your Canadian passport. Producing the green card upon entry to US should be trouble free in future.

Using the Japanese passport in and out of the country is of course smooth and easy if you show your Jap. passport only.


by TW rate this post as useful

Pls. advise---thanks 2005/9/30 08:24
Hi,
If I have both American and Japanese passport and show the Japanese passport when I enter Japan, what would I say if Japanese officials noticed an unstamped passport and asked me what I had been doing in the U.S.? Would I say I had just been visiting the US, or tell them as suggested on this site that I am an American citizen but will relinquish it? Does anyone know if Japanese officials ask questions like this?
If I say I had been just visiting the U.S., wouldn't that cause problems (like would they want to know what kind of visa I used to "visit" the U.S.?)
I actually had the same question as the person who originally posted the dual citizenship question-- so this site is helpful, thanks.
by Lola rate this post as useful

Information would be appreciated 2005/10/19 16:51
I also have two passports but was wondering the same thing Lola above was.

What about the entry stamps?

When you enter a country, you normally get a stamp. If I show my Japanese passport in Japan and my US passport in the US, there will never be an entry stamp to show in either passport.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

by GS rate this post as useful

two passports 2005/10/20 00:07
My understanding is that if you are a frequent traveler, that would give you an advantage because there are so many stamps on your passports already that they don't care which countries you visited. Most immigration or custom officers would care to ensure a visitor is qualified for entry. For returning residents, it should be trouble-free without further questions.

An American passport holder leaving the States only need to go through airline check-in formalities. There would be no exit stamps on the passport. When he or she returns, you have the right for entry. In/out stamps would never be matched.

For Japanese passports, you need to go through immigration both ways with stamps. When a set of in/out stamp is matched, officers won't care where have you been!

If the worst thing happens, remember any government cannot impound a travel document that belongs to another country. They can only "advise" you to do certain thing after entry.

Hope this would help.

by TW rate this post as useful

.. 2005/10/20 00:09
Even though they cannot deny you entry (the US side at least) because you are a citizen and passport holder, in this day and age trust me, don't be "surprised" if you are questioned and every secondaried for custom's inspection.
by .. rate this post as useful

Follow-up questions 2005/10/21 10:37
I appreciate the follow-up answers from TW and the other user, but I'm still a bit confused.

I suppose I'm not as worried about entering the US with my US passport. Since the US doesn't have any strict laws concerning dual citizenship, I don't see it being a major problem. My concern is more about returning to Japan. Showing my US passport means I won't have a stamp in my Japanese passport to show when I return to Japan. I'm sure the immigration officers will notice this and question it.

Does anyone know if people are flagged and then checked on at a later date? It seems like Japan is getting a little stricter with immigration policy (I think the same could also be said of the US), what with all the terrorist alerts going on.

by GS rate this post as useful

simple 2005/10/22 21:13
When you enter and leave Japan, use your Japanese passport, when you enter and leave the US, use your American passport, it really is that simple.
by Tilt rate this post as useful

Sorry, one last question 2005/10/23 10:35
So I don't have to worry about having US embarkation and disembarkation stamps on the my Japanese passport?

I don't mind having to answer questions from immigration offices, I just want to be assured that they won't force me to make a choice on the spot, or keep tabs on me so that they can bug me until I decide.

I guess what I'm really asking for here is how to answer the ''Where did you go, for how long were you away, and why do you not have any stamps?'' question.

Maybe no one can definitively say how to answer that question, and perhaps that's why it won't ever be answered.

Sorry for the continued questions. I do appreciate everyone's input.

by GS rate this post as useful

.. 2005/10/23 11:08
Just remember show your US Passport entering the US, show your Japanese Passport entering Japan. Don't show both.

If you get asked questions, answer them truthfully, each inspector is different.

by .. rate this post as useful

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