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Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

Need A Spousal Visa For Japan 2007/9/14 03:19
I married a Japanese National in the summer 2005. I will be studying for a semester in Tokyo and want to get a spousal visa instead of a student visa. My wife and I are both students in the U.S.

I THOUGHT all I needed to do to get a spousal visa was to complete a Certificate of Eligibility application, send it to my guarantor (father-in-law) in Tokyo for him to deliver to the regional immigration office and wait for the Certificate of Eligibility to be sent back to him. Once I received the COE from my father-in law, I would send that along with my passport to my local Japanese consulate, which would review the documents, make sure that they were in order, and then process my visa and return it to me by mail. Am I correct concering the process? How long does this all take and what supporting documentation is needed? Are 2in. x 2in. passport photos satisfactory for the COE (it says 40 mm x 30 mm are needed). I am studying in the spring of 2008 and would like to get to Japan by mid-December.

I can go the student visa route if needed and have been told that I can switch to a spousal visa once I am in Japan. How does this work? Are there fees to do this kind of transfer? What kind of supporting documents would I need to have with me before I leave the U.S. to get the spousal visa this way?

Answers to any or all of the questions posed from those with first-hand experience would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!
by Brent Stansbury  

Spouse visa application 2007/9/14 10:11

This does not answer your question, but wouldn't it be more efficient to file the application yourself through your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate? That is the normal procedure, and doing things like this through a third party inevitably creates additional problems and delays.
by Dave in Saitama rate this post as useful

... 2007/9/14 10:34
If my understanding is correct, you should be able to apply for a spouse visa at a Japanese embassy or consulate in the US without going through the troubles of applying for a certificate of eligibility. It would be easier and faster.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Thanks Dave from Saitama and Uji 2007/9/14 11:05
Thanks for your responses. The problem is that I have spoken to the Japan Consulate in Detroit, the consulate with jurisdiction over where I live (Ohio), and I have been told that I can apply directly to them without a Certificate of Eligibility. However, the process seems more involved than getting the COE. They told me that I would need to get an official copy of my wife's family's Koseki Tohon; an official Letter of Employment from my father-in-law (guarantor); an official Tax Payment Letter from my father-in-law; and two certified copies of my birth certificate. The Certificate of Eligibility route doesn't SEEM to need me to obtain so much documentation.

My question is whether I am correct in my assumption?

If have any follow-up information, please let me know.

by Brent Stansbury rate this post as useful

Brent 2007/9/14 17:29
I'll guess that you didn't register your marriage with the J-Gov. at the time of your marriage, right?.

I'm guessing again that, your wife is not coming with you & will stay in the U.S. right?

Either way, You Will Need, An official copy of your wife's Koseki Tohon, if she comes or not, for a spouse visa.

You Will Need At Least, One certified copy of your Marriage Certificate and one certified copy of your BC,(unless you're gonna' mail-in your orig.)

I'm guessing again that, because your wife is staying behind in the U.S. you need your father-in-law as a guarantor, yes?

Again, I'll Assume, that you've already read all the Info. here, yes?

by OhiO rate this post as useful

... 2007/9/14 22:22
I reccomand you get the Certificate of Eligibility. you can get your visa within some weeks instead of some months. Good luck !
by pam rate this post as useful

Thanks, OhiO and Pam 2007/9/15 02:28
Thank you for your responses. Actually, OhiO, I know I need all of those documents you listed for getting a spousal visa WITHOUT a Certificate of Eligibility.

What I would like to know is if I decide to apply for the Certificate of Eligibility instead of attempting to obtain all the documentation necessary to get a spousal visa directly through my local consulate, do I need to supplement the Certificate of Eligibility Application with any supporting documents? It seems to me that the application doesn't require anything other than a guarantor (father-in-law in Tokyo) letter, a certified copy of my marriage certificate from the U.S., two (2) 40mmx30mm photographs (2in.x2in. O.K.??), and some sort of documentation to prove I have some level of financing for my stay in Japan (financial aid office confirming loans).

Am I correct that this is all I need to get a Certificate of Eligibility? If so, I would rather apply to get the COE than attempt to get ALL the documentation required by the local Japanese consulate in Detroit for direct visa requests to them.

Why is this so difficult? I had an easier time getting a visa for China last year!

Any additional input would be appreciated. Thanks!

by Brent Stansbury rate this post as useful

Spouse visa 2007/9/15 08:49

Why is this so difficult? I had an easier time getting a visa for China last year!

It's difficult because a spouse visa lets you live and work freely in Japan, and is frequently subject to abuse by people who arrange fake marriages simply to work in Japan.
I'm not familiar with the exact process of applying from outside Japan, but there are rarely "easy shortcuts" when it comes to applying for visas in Japan, so I would suggest doing everything by the book.
by Dave in Saitama rate this post as useful

Thanks for the input 2007/9/15 09:01
Thanks, dave from Saitama.

I am still wondering if anyone out there has actually applied for a Certificate of Eligibility from OUTSIDE of Japan and what documents were needed to get the COE processed and tht turnaround time experienced.

Thank you.
by Brent Stansbury rate this post as useful

... 2007/9/15 15:32
I am still wondering if anyone out there has actually applied for a Certificate of Eligibility from OUTSIDE of Japan and what documents were needed to get the COE processed and tht turnaround time experienced.

You need to have a proxy do it in Japan for you. My wife did it for me. She was in Japan. I was in Canada. Turnaround time was about a month or two. The Immigration Office in Japan will provide you with an exact list of documents needed.

We had the alternative choice to apply for a spouse visa through the Japanese consulate in Canada, because both of us were registered residents in Canada. It would have taken less than two weeks and would not have involved a Certificate of Eligibility.

We ended up doing it via Japan due to some circumstantial reasons.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Thank you, Uji 2007/9/16 00:38
Thank you, Uji, for the response.

Do you happen to remember what supporting documents you needed to get the Certificate of Eligibility?

by Brent Stansbury rate this post as useful

... 2007/9/16 13:51
Do you happen to remember what supporting documents you needed to get the Certificate of Eligibility?

No, I cannot remember. But the consulate or immigration office should be able to provide you with a list of required documents.
by Uji rate this post as useful

COE took me 2 months plus .. 2007/9/16 23:48
Hi, I too applied for COE in order to get my spouse visa. I went to japan last year, got married in march and then, applied for COE in Japan, then went back to my home country, Malaysia with wife for another wedding ceremony, also to get our marriage registered back home. Took me 2 months to get the COE, then I went to Japan Embassy in Malaysia to apply for Spouse Visa, with COE attached.

I'm kind of vague on what document require but here goes :
1. Koseki Tohon(family register)
2. Juminhyo ( Your spouse )
3. Father In Law Inkan ( since your father-in-law is sponsoring you)
4. Picture of both of you and your spouse together.
5. Your picture (Japan Pasport Size) 2 pcs.
6. COE application Forms
7. Guarantee Letter
8. Marriage Certificate

You can get more details at this site and, in Japanese though. I navigate through it using babel translation
Hope that help.
by huds_n rate this post as useful

just to add ... 2007/9/16 23:54
Ask your father in law to call the local immigration office for more details, and there's one more thing..
there's this long questionaire (in Japanese) 8 pages long which your spouse will have to fill. Mostly it's about your love life/story how your met and got married. To proof that the marriage is genuine. it's a new ruling, started last year ?
Here's a site which discuss the questionaire in more detail ..
by huds_n rate this post as useful

never heard of this rule before... 2007/9/17 02:23
...but if it is true it sucks! in europe there is a similar system of course, but it is only used if
there is a problem like there are many women forced to marry etc. But normally it is not used. I mean isnt it kind of private where you met or what kind of love life you have with your partner? And if only one partner have to give information whats the point anyway? I hate the idea...
Anybody here who filled in such
a document?
by pam rate this post as useful

photos 2007/9/17 09:20
As for the photos Brent, rules like size of photos might well be strictly enforced, especially if you get a grumpy Immigration officer. It should be easy enough to get the correct size, or could you trim the ones you have down? You could then be absolutely sure you wouldn't have any delays cause by photo size- worth it I would say for the peace of mind.

Pam, most countries will conduct at least an informal interview asking you about your relationship if you apply for a spouse visa. It's personal sure, but it's understandable.

It's quite common for people to try to get a spouse visa through a sham marriage- of course Immigration wants to make it a bit trickier to discourage that kind of thing.
by Sira rate this post as useful

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