Shackles - part 2

Long time readers with a memory for the banal may remember a post I wrote back in February detailing the tedious process of applying for permanent residency, followed by a promise of a follow-up once the verdict was in.

So last week, on the same day I was able to make the decision to quit my job and having my XBox 360 delivered back home after a third but probably not final repair, I also received the pre-printed and hand-addressed, by myself, postcard telling me my presence was required at the immigration office and if I'd be so kind as to bring my passport, foreigner registration card and money.As they never, ever go into detail specifically, this could only mean I was approved and was asked to come pick up my permanent residency. Either that or I was being deported.

So with my heart in my throat I went to the immigration office and wouldn't you know it, I got my permanent residency! Huzzah! I'd like to think I meet some kind of minimum quality standard as a human being, but I guess it only really means I have paid my bills and taxes and have kept my nose clean, for as far as they've managed to ascertain, as well as reaching the minimum requirements of three years of marriage or work-related equivalents.

One annoying aspect of the permanent residency is that I am still forced to buy "re-entry permits" if I want to leave the country and, well, re-enter; "gaijin tax" they are derisively called by those who need them. An "unlimited" re-entry permit is valid until the end of your visa or a maximum of 3 years, so I will still have to go to the immigration office every three years to buy one. Luckily the process is quick and simple enough; a form, a 6000 Yen stamp and a new sticker in your passport, but annoyance.

A handy tip for any readers wanting to follow suit: find a friendly immigration office. For this application I traveled a little further to a semi-local headquarters rather than my closer-by local branch office. At the latter the people tend to be a miserable bunch of unhelpful oiks, whereas at the former I found staff to be a lot more friendly and helpful. Whether this had any bearing on my application I have no clue, but it might've. When I first attempted to move from a work to a spouse visa we tried this head office where a woman was very helpful, gave us the forms and told us I'd have no problems getting the 3 year spouse visa, really. However, she pointed out, my work visa was still valid for a while so I might as well run that one out first, which I did. When we actually did apply for a spouse visa we went to the local branch office where they eventually gave me a 1 year spouse visa, twice. We then went to the headquarter office and got a 3 year spouse visa. This might have something to do with timing, it might not have, but for this permanent residency we went straight to the headquarters and got it, so it's worth considering asking local expats about their experiences at various offices. Sometimes it's worth the effort traveling a little further.

So here I am, an official "lifer". And with the many, highly appreciated well-wishes from my lovely readers following my last post, I have a feeling that finally, things are coming up Millhouse!


  1. You are, for some, living the proverbial dream. Glad to know your ducks are lining up.

  2. Since this post is fairly relevant to "life in Japan," is it fair for me to ask why all live action Japanese television shows seemed to be filmed in the exact same style with the exact same type of camera? Coming from the States it comes off a bit unpolished to me, but I'm sure there's more to it than what I'm perceiving. I just moved to Japan two months ago.

  3. Congratulations (again). Seems things are working out quite well for you so I'll raise my drink to your continued good fortune!

  4. All the best, dude!

    I lived and worked in Japan for some time and liked it a lot, but then again I worked in a laid-back research lab, so I might be biased. :)

  5. Spouse and residency visas for the UK last forever, but they cost about £750 to get nowadays.

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