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Work visa or spouse visa 2021/8/2 20:32
I'm considering a move to Japan with company transfer to Japan.

I have 2 options for the visa. My wife is a Japanese national and my employer is also willing to provide the visa sponsorship.

Which of these two options would be the fastest and less paperwork?
by MegaHK  

Re: Work visa or spouse visa 2021/8/3 08:18
Spouse visa if you wife resides in Japan.

Otherwise work visa.
by H (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Work visa or spouse visa 2021/8/3 10:54
Wife and I are both residing outside Japan.

Once we decide to move, we'd like to move quickly.
by MegaHK rate this post as useful

Re: Work visa or spouse visa 2021/8/7 03:47
"My wife is a Japanese national and my employer is also willing to provide the visa sponsorship.
Which of these two options would be the fastest and less paperwork?"--by MegaHK

Work visa is the faster and less paperwork, and will create less stress in your marriage dealing with Japanese immigration. Why?

Japanese immigration will require tax paperwork from both you (possibly your bank statement) and your wife. They will ask invasive questions on how you met through a questionnaire, in addition to wanting personal pictures that will be stored by the state. Answering the questionnaire wrong, about how you met, can be grounds for application rejection.

Usually they will only give a 1 year visa at first. However, it's been known for immigration to give multiple 1 year visas and/or take 1 month or more to renew/extend the visa because they want additional paperwork or other issues. For various married couples, particularly if the husband is the foreigner, every extension can become a stressful interaction with Japanese immigration and lots of paperwork needed from your wife.

Have known people that got three consecutive 1 year marriage visas in a row. Have known guys that had such a bad time dealing with the marriage visa and immigration, that they switched to a work visa and in one case a guy got divorced.

The only real advantage of a marriage visa is that you can apply for permanent residency earlier. You can apply after 4 years, if you have been married for 3 years and have lived in Japan for 1 year, and they gave your extension to your marriage visa is 3 years or greater. However, there is a huge catch 22 about this that many foreigners don't know. Immigration often doesn't grants permanent residency so quickly, even for married couples meeting requirements. Often the married partner must apply a few times, so aren't granted permanent residency until between years 5 to 7.

If you get permanent residency via marriage and your wife is the sponsor/guarantor, if you get divorced this can create major issues. You might be accused of a fake marriage, the former Japanese wife may speak against you after divorce, or you will be forced to find a new acceptable sponsor/guarantor.

If you get permanent residency via a work visa, you will not have an issue if you get divorced. However, you will have to wait 10 years before you can apply for it, with the usual work visa type. Even though that might look like a disadvantage, many work visas are for 3 to 5 years. The more money you make and the bigger the company, the more likely you are to get a 5 year visa and per extension, and even for the first one. By contrast, marriage visas are often just 1 year at first, and then often only issued for 3 years at a time.
by Rejo rate this post as useful

Re: Work visa or spouse visa 2021/8/7 03:56
Forgot to mention something. If you are working for a large company, they will often hire an immigration lawyer to submit the paperwork on your and their behalf. So not only is the amount that you have to do for the visa/extension reduced, but you don't even have to deal with Japanese immigration at all.
by Rejo rate this post as useful

Re: Work visa or spouse visa 2021/8/7 12:46
Rejo, thanks for the reply and the insights. Some very interesting and valid points to consider. I think I'll opt for the work visa.

The other benefit of the spouse visa is the ability to do other work or change employers without the need for sponsorship again. However, in my case, its not really a consideration as I really don't anticipate changing jobs.
by MegaHK rate this post as useful

Re: Work visa or spouse visa 2021/8/7 17:53
MegaHK,

I agree with the earlier posters - if your wife were living in Japan, then she would have her tax papers and things ready to proceed with the gspouse of Japanese national.h But if both of you are living outside Japan, if you apply for a gspouseh visa, she would have to ask her family in Japan to obtain some papers from Japan, and it is likely that the immigration authorities would ask for additional financial guarantor gin Japan,h and the paperwork can take some time.

If your employer has an office in Japan and is applying for an ginter-company transfereeh visa (I assume), the company would be able to anticipate the timing (or at least know at what stage of the process they/you are) and help you arrange for the housing and other things in time for that. Theyfd have an attorney/legal dept. to deal with it too.

But note that with the pandemic, visa issuance process might (just generally) take longer than usual, so please be prepared for that. There really isnft anything going gquicklyh with immigration from the beginning - things take as long as they do.


One correction about what the poster immediately above said: once you have obtained gpermanent residenth status from spouse-sponsored resident status, even if a divorce will not give you any issue.

(If you look at another thread titled gResident tax, even if unemployed spouse,h you will see that Rejo and I seem to have had quite different experiences concerning non-Japanese spouse of Japanese national living in Japan; I am Japanese, and living in Japan with my non-Japanese husband, who is now on a gpermanent residenth status. Now that he does have a PR status, Ifm somewhat relieved that even if something were to happen to me, he will have the right to stay here...)
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Work visa or spouse visa 2021/8/7 22:17
@AK

The gintra-company transfereeh visa is not anything special over applying for the standard work visa. In fact, the amount of time that immigration will give can be less. The standard work visa can be for 5 years, where the intra-company transferee visa is usually for a more limited amount of time.

Also, I talk from either direct experience or those of long time friends and associates in Japan (foreign and Japanese).

1) If you are married to a Japanese national, and they are the sponsor/guarantor on the permanent resident visa, you must change this if a divorce. Furthermore, failure to find a suitable sponsor/guarantor for the permanent resident visa can result in it being revoked by immigration. I have friends who were in exactly that situation.

2) Things can get very resentful and spiteful in various divorces, where the Japanese spouse will attempt to get their former foreign spouse kicked out of the country or make accusations to cause trouble. I happen to personally know of a few foreign men that went through some particularly nasty divorces.

Yes, a divorce might go smoothly, and the foreign spouse not have any trouble. But, it's better for the foreign spouse to not get caught by surprise (like a deer caught in headlights), especially if they have become used to or like living in Japan.

This is why my advice is always that a work visa should be preferred over a marriage visa, if the foreign spouse can help it. In this way, it reduces the possibility of a spouse using this for their advantage/leverage, blackmail, or any revenge type behavior if a divorce were to occur or simply if the marriage hits a rocky period.

Lastly, with a work visa, the Japanese spouse doesn't have to be involved or disturbed by any antics from the Japanese immigration office. I have repeatedly seen and heard of Japanese immigration causing a tremendous amount of stress on married couples (especially if a foreign male). While some Japanese spouses might not have any issues with paperwork or dealing with immigration, others do. Think about the stress caused when immigration holds up a visa or extension for months at a time, calls the Japanese spouse at their work, ask the Japanese spouse to come to the immigration office, or there is some paperwork that they must take time off of work to get from the city office.
by Rejo rate this post as useful

Re: Work visa or spouse visa 2021/8/8 11:39
I didnft mean to suggest that ginter company transfereeh was anything special. I just assumed one category of work visa, that was all.


Slightly off the topic, but,

This is where my experiences and those of Rejo differ - as far as I know (from legal experts) and our acquaintances, once you ghave obtainedh the permanent resident status in Japan, be it through earlier work (employer-sponsored) visa/resident status or spouse of Japanese national (spouse-sponsored) status, once you have PR, a divorce does not affect it.

It is when the non-Japanese spouse wants to apply for renewal/extension of spouse resident status, or apply for Permanent Resident status (from spouse of Japanese national) that he/she needs the assistance of the Japanese spouse, and if their marriage is rocky at the time, that can lead to difficulties.

Again, the same differing experiences we seem to have, so Ifm simply outlining my experience here, and rest my case. And for the OPfs original question, yes, work visa would be smoother in your case.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Work visa or spouse visa 2021/8/8 15:07
@AK

"...once you ghave obtainedh the permanent resident status in Japan, be it through earlier work (employer-sponsored) visa/resident status or spouse of Japanese national (spouse-sponsored) status, once you have PR, a divorce does not affect it..."

This will be a bit off topic and was not planning to get into such details, but it might be useful info for many foreigners that don't know about such matters. In fact, it might help them in the future. In this way they can better protect themselves and not be caught by surprise because of wearing "rose colored glasses". Also, don't get me wrong, Japan can be a fantastic place to live. Just be realistic about things.

When you become a permanent resident, you are still a foreign-national, not a citizen of Japan. As a foreign-national, you are still subject to Japanese immigration processes. You don't have a claim to stay in Japan like that of a citizen, but rather your permission to stay in Japan can be revoked by Japanese immigration. There is a long list of things that can cause this:

. Failure to pay various taxes
. Various crimes such as prostitution, any drug related crime, jail lengths greater than 1 year
. Any person directly named as being a threat to public security
. Leaving Japan without a re-entry permit or leaving with a re-entry permit and letting it expire
. Resident card fraud
. Homelessness, etc...

Among the things that I mentioned was homelessness and taxes. The guarantor of the permanent resident is there to provide an additional layer of protection to the state in the hope of preventing such issues. This is why they ask for a guarantor in the first place (even for permanent residency), and why it is important to them that a suitable one is found.

A permanent resident still goes to immigration, though every 7 years (as oppose to 1, 3, and 5 for other visas), and checks are still done on their status and they are required to report on changes of their status. Thus, if a divorce, and the wife was the guarantor on the permanent resident visa then the foreign national can be forced to change the person and find one who is suitable to immigration. Where if the wife was not the guarantor, then there is usually no issue.

Also keep in mind that in the event of a divorce, the former Japanese spouse can tell immigration directly that they no longer wish to be the guarantor, thus Japanese immigration will mandate that who the guarantor is must be changed. Failure to comply with an order from Japanese immigration means even permanent residency can be revoked.

"And for the OPfs original question, yes, work visa would be smoother in your case." --AK

We at least agree on this point, where the work visa can be a smoother process, so arguably the best advice was given.
by Rejo rate this post as useful

Re: Work visa or spouse visa 2021/8/8 16:52
"The other benefit of the spouse visa is the ability to do other work or change employers without the need for sponsorship again. However, in my case, its not really a consideration as I really don't anticipate changing jobs." --by MegaHK

As protection in case you lose your job, it would be very good to always keep your resume updated and be on the look out for other job opportunities. It will be to your advantage to establish contacts on Linkedin and with a number of recruiters in Japan (though recruiters can get slightly annoying with spam and offers). At least be this way until you gain permanent residency, where changing jobs is not an issue.

Also, since you are married, you can always apply for a marriage visa as back up if you have trouble with your work visa because of losing your job and not finding another job within time limits. Just remember that if you switch from work visa to marriage visa that they will still ask for your tax paperwork (income tax, resident tax, and possibly health insurance), in addition to her tax paperwork and other documents.
by Rejo rate this post as useful

Re: Work visa or spouse visa 2021/8/10 10:42
Thanks Rejo and AK for your insights and sharing your experiences. Very helpful.

by MegaHK rate this post as useful

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