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Changing my family name (in my home country) while living in Japan

Houjou

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Hello, all! Although chances are low that anyone has gone through this process, I would like to hear your opinion and advice.

Due to strong personal and family-related reasons, in the near future I plan to change my name in my home country. Do understand that this is not just a thought I had this morning. My given name shall remain the same, but my family name will change completely (I would be using one of my grandparents' family names). This change is perfectly legal and normal in my home country.

Now, at the moment, I am living in Japan, under three-year student visa. I plan to ultimately settle in Japan and continue living in here after that. My current passport, visa, residence card, etc etc etc all uses my current name, of course. The transition from student visa to working visa sounds like a good moment to make the name change.

Now, my main questions are:
  • Which office in Japan should I ask about this? I am thinking of visiting the Immigration Office, but I wonder if you think I should ask somewhere else. First and foremost, I need to figure out how my name change (and therefore, my new passport) would affect everything else.
  • What do you think should be my best course of action? I understand that legal stuff (visa, residence, driving license) wouldn't be a problem. However, the two main things that worry me are: (a) my university registration + government funding, and (b) my house contract. Both (a) and (b) seem to be things I should be very careful about, alas I might mess everything up.

Any advice will be welcome! Thanks :)
 

Majestic

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You have to sort this out with your home country first, so the first thing to do is talk to your embassy. Once you have it sorted out with your home country, and have all the necessary documents, you can begin the process of changing your name on your documents in Japan.

This is my assumption anyway. I've never done it myself. But I'm sure Japan doesn't want to even think about this until you've sorted it out with your home country.
 

Houjou

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You have to sort this out with your home country first, so the first thing to do is talk to your embassy. Once you have it sorted out with your home country, and have all the necessary documents, you can begin the process of changing your name on your documents in Japan.

This is my assumption anyway. I've never done it myself. But I'm sure Japan doesn't want to even think about this until you've sorted it out with your home country.
Thank you for your reply, Majestic. Basically, the embassy of my country does the paperwork, and the ultimate result is a new passport with my new name, a certificate of the name change. The embassy would also provide any required letter that might be required from Immigration to certify this change.

Therefore, what I am curious about is what happens with regards to the residency status and visa. I am not sure if anyone in JREF has gone through this process, but I wonder what to expect from the immigration office, which I assume is the first step once I have my new passport.
 

Majestic

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You have to change your residence card within 14 days of changing your name. The details are here (in Japanese) from the Ministry of Justice.

same info in English from the Immigration Bureau

For the visa, the Ministry of Justice says you have to change it before your visa status expires.

Logically I would think you should change the visa details first, but perhaps you can do them both at the same time?
 

Houjou

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Great to know! I see they already consider the possibility of a name change in an immigrant, that's a relief. Thank you very much.
 

mdchachi

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Certainly it happens frequently due to marriage. Hopefully you can follow the same established process even though your reason is different.
 

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