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Filing divorce papers - - bad breakup, now what next?

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Me and my Japanese wife of 11 years just filed our divorce papers. It hurts, and yes, I have been through a period of grief. We have one child together, a girl who just turned 7 old.

At first i did not give much thought to what series of events have unfolded before me. We divorce, go our separate ways, and yad-hah, yad-hah. But wait!

Where am i going to live? With no more japanese wife and no more citizenship or permanent residency, you can kiss my left gaijin-cheek goodbye!

That is how I, and i think, a lot of other japanese view with. Well it does not matter because what does the law have to say about it? What do i do know?

Realizing my predicament i come here unto you. For help. For guidance.

Where should I turn?
 

Mike Cash

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You've been here since you were fourteen and you don't have permanent residency? (Are you 34 or 29?) You're on a spouse visa? (This is why we advise people on spouse visas to apply for permanent residency as soon as they are eligible).

Do you wish to remain in Japan? Are you eligible for a regular working visa? There is a special visa category for remaining here to raise a child, but that status expires when the child reaches a certain age.

You should consult an immigration attorney. You should have consulted immigration and divorce attorneys before you signed the papers. I bet your wife googled the hell out of it before she signed anything.
 
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I am going to assume you have a job now. So, one of the most important things to do is handle your visa status. File for a change of visa, from spouse visa to work visa. That will keep you here legally. After you get the work visa, you can think about filing for permanent resident status, too, but get that work visa first! That should be very easy and straightforward.

I'm very sorry for your marital situation and future problems with your child and you.
 
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Well yeah, it was pretty difficult, you know. By coming here all those years ago, as an artist, I have not divulged myself into the formalities of visas, and permits.

I knew i signed some kind of paper and all that. But that was then.

Basically i have no idea what I am doing, or where i am going. Other than that i want to apply for a work visa, because i am a highly qualified graphic designer.
 

Mike Cash

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Well yeah, it was pretty difficult, you know. By coming here all those years ago, as an artist, I have not divulged myself into the formalities of visas, and permits.
You came here as an artist when you were fourteen?

Basically i have no idea what I am doing, or where i am going. Other than that i want to apply for a work visa, because i am a highly qualified graphic designer.
What are your qualifications? You have some certification or educational degrees? Do you have work experience as a graphic designer? Are you currently working? Any kind of work, not just graphic design.

When your divorce is finalized, you have just fourteen days to notify Immigration that you are no longer eligible for a spouse visa. And you have just a few months to either get another visa under some other category or to get out of Japan. You need to talk to an immigration lawyer. Soon.
 
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I guess you could say it was really unfortunate timing on this thing. Because i had went here and then came back again after adolescence. After my college grad from a certain university in Vancouver.

I've not been into contact with immigrations yet as i am still preparing my formal request papers.
I am weighing over my options... Over and over, you know.

Like, what is the best kind of angle into this thing. Should i request for permanent residence? Working visa?

You know. What *exactly* am i entitled to?
 

Mike Cash

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You know. What *exactly* am i entitled to?
You're not entitled to anything. The issue is what you're eligible for.

I guess you could say it was really unfortunate timing on this thing. Because i had went here and then came back again after adolescence. After my college grad from a certain university in Vancouver.
In your first post on the forum you gave us the impression you are 34 years old and have been in Japan since you were fourteen. Now your profile tells us you are 29. You have been married to a Japanese woman for eleven years, yet you came here after college. Your story is all over the place.

Like, what is the best kind of angle into this thing. Should i request for permanent residence? Working visa?
How the hell should we know? It is impossible to get an understanding of your situation based on your unclear and shifting story. Eligibility to apply for permanent residency may be affected by how long you've been here and we have no way to guess that from your story. We have no way of guessing about your prospects for a working visa either since you completely ignore questions about your work experience, qualifications, etc.

Go see an immigration lawyer. At least go to the Immigration office and ask them.
 
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I have made an appointment with the immigration lawyer. Me and him are going to go through this case step by step together.

I am eligible. But am I highly qualified?

As an artist i cannot help but wonder if I should bring some of my work along to immigrations. Quite surely I am a skilled sculptor.

I mean, I get by... but am I popular? No.
 
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Do you currently have a job in Japan?

If yes, change your spousal visa to work visa.
If no, you are deep trouble and need to find out how long you can stay legally.

Anyone anytime can file for permanent resident status, but most people who do are the ones who have been married for 5 years or more. Single people need to have been here 10 years, I believe. That alone sounds like you qualify, but there is still no guarantee that you will get it (and you may have to wait 2 months to a year or more to find out after applying). They will take into consideration your divorce status, of course, and if you have no job they will not look favorably on the application. You need to state on the application why you want to have PR. Unfortunately, they don't provide a very long line for an answer (I told them "to stay with my wife and continue working"). But with no job or wife, you need to come up with something really convincing.

What has been your work history here?
 

salyavin

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I take it you have no company that can sponsor your work visa. Maybe read about self sponsoring a visa and ask your immigration lawyer if you could possibly qualify. Make sure you keep that appointment with the immigration lawyer they will be much better than recollections from people on a forum.
 
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Mostly I have helped holding and also contributed a few pieces into exhibitions of varying quality and degrees. Some new art galleries and some more seriously refined and specialized.

Like this one time i helped out moulding skin-tight rubber one-pieces for a sort of sexhibition. Each piece had to be carefully custom tailored onto the respective human model that was to wear it. Needless to say it was painstaking work... you know, many, many hours to fit a piece for each girl.

But nowadays I am working mostly freelance. I have some odd-jobs here and there, helping out whenevers needed.
 

Mike Cash

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In other words, "No, I have never held a regular job in Japan". That can't be good for your working visa prospects. Do you have any job skills you can use to get a regular full-time job? How is your Japanese?

Did you meet the immigration lawyer yet?
 
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Maybe read about self sponsoring a visa
It doesn't work with private clients. Have heard of only one person in nearly 20 years that made it work with them. Your freelance customers would have to be companies, or you would have to show verifiable proof (contracts) with customers to "prove" you have steady income from them which would not make you a burden on society.
 
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I was talking to my immigration lawyer as of today. We went through a couple of things together. A lot of formalities and nothing of essential substance to my case however. I did feel we were on par, or on the level, so to speak.

You know, he felt for me. For my case, the entirety of the divorcal proceedings and how it may have affected my overall psyche. It is not easy to go through all of this by myself. The brunt of friendly relations native to Japan came from my ex-wifes side.

On my own I did not have or make that many Japanese-only friends. Here too, there is a problem. Because most of the contacts and past ventures, including any if not all registered gallery showpieces came from that side of relations, I have no idea of any names, peoples, or organizations that i may have been working for.

He told me to bring whatever I could, and maybe try to find or visit some of the venues to see if there is any connection. The outlook is mediocre to positive.

Because of the substancial amount of reviews on my art on the internet, i need not worry about proving my occupancy as an artist, he told me. However, that is certainly not enough. I need to correlate it somehow.
 
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Mike Cash

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Past records of income tax paid in Japan will indicate your income.

If I were you, I would look for any regular job I could get and I would do it now. You just need to be able to show you can make enough to keep a roof over your head and food on your table.
 
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Mike,

Thanks for asking.
I had a rather long and complicated proceedings with my immigration lawyer and officers, both.

After a long bout of weighing over the essential factors (our daughter, and my artist occupancy among others), we finally agreed to file for an extension, then, a working visa permit.

I am thankful to immigrations. Here is something you probably don't see everyday. Even the officer told me it was a very difficult case and that he had to consult his co-workers to even out all the factors. Because there are so many of them.


Thus, as of now, I live and breath happily in Japan and have both the joy and right to see my daughter closeby. That, I think, is the most important thing.

Joe
 
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Mike,

Thanks for asking.
I had a rather long and complicated proceedings with my immigration lawyer and officers, both.

After a long bout of weighing over the essential factors (our daughter, and my artist occupancy among others), we finally agreed to file for an extension, then, a working visa permit.

I am thankful to immigrations. Here is something you probably don't see everyday. Even the officer told me it was a very difficult case and that he had to consult his co-workers to even out all the factors. Because there are so many of them.


Thus, as of now, I live and breath happily in Japan and have both the joy and right to see my daughter closeby. That, I think, is the most important thing.

Joe
Congratulations!

I'm glad you'll be able to see your daughter, it would be heartbreaking to see a parent who wants to be involved in their child's life be denied access. I'm really glad immigration seems to be working towards a good resolution for everyone involved.
 

Mike Cash

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That is indeed very happy news! And it is very good of you to give credit to the people at Immigration for going out of their way to help you arrive at this result.
 
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