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Long-term residential visa

Revenant

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Long stort short, I'm getting divorced, and my spousal visa runs out in October 2009. I talked to some lawyers, and they told me that either I could get a long term residential visa (different from a permanent residential visa), or a working visa (cause after ten years, I can continue to teach even though I don't have a University degree).

Ideally, I would get the long-term residential visa, and I was wondering if anyone could help out with this since I simply can't pay the 100 000 yen the lawyers want to process my application (divorce fee will keep my money tied up for a while).
 

Mike Cash

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It's more hassle, but there is nothing that says you have to have lawyers fill out and hand in your paperwork; you can do it yourself.
 

Glenski

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Why do you have to pay so much for a visa? PR status (not PR visa; there is no such thing) costs 8000 yen. If you have already been here 10 years, you are eligible. If you are married to a Japanese, you only need to have been here 5 years.

Apply now. You might have time. Mine took less than 2 months. Besides, you should look into exactly how long the visa is truly valid. I have heard that even though you get divorced (or widowed), the spouse visa is still valid until its expiration date. CONFIRM that!

Looking at the MOFA home page, it doesn't seem that "long term resident visa" really applies to you anyway. It says it is for "Refugees as stipulated by the convention relating to the Status of Refugees, Indochinese refugee settlers, second- and third-generation Japanese settlers, etc." Of course, the "etc." might cover you, but I'd say go for the PR. You never have to renew it, while you would with a long term resident visa.
 

Mike Cash

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Apply now. You might have time. Mine took less than 2 months.

Mine (issued in April) took 17 months. Depending on where one lives, Immigration is running a tremendous backlog on reviewing applications.
 
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Why do you have to pay so much for a visa? PR status (not PR visa; there is no such thing) costs 8000 yen. If you have already been here 10 years, you are eligible. If you are married to a Japanese, you only need to have been here 5 years.
Apply now. You might have time. Mine took less than 2 months.
It takes more than that to be eligible for PR status, it has a lot to do with your previous visas and so on. But you are right that you don't need a lawer to do your paper work, but it is a hassle if you don't know the Japanese system. I thought it was quite easy for such a big thing, it just took a lot of running around at the city office.

BTW, mine took as long as Mikes did about a year and a half.
 

Mike Cash

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Is there any chance your wife would be a sport and agree to postpone the divorce proceedings to give you a better shot at PR?

If you have children, I believe that gives you a pretty sure lock on a long-term (3 year, renewable) visa, but my understanding is that such a visa is no longer renewable once your children become adults. I don't have to tell you how undesirable it would be to find yourself x years older and suddenly having to vacate the premises.
 

Ewok85

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I have heard that even though you get divorced (or widowed), the spouse visa is still valid until its expiration date. CONFIRM that!

As far as I know that is correct - getting divorced, changing jobs etc does not change your visa status, but it does make a difference when it comes to renewal time at the end of the residency status ;)
 

epigene

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If you want to stay in Japan as long as you want, I recommend extending your spouse visa for three years (if possible) or applyig whatever visa applies to you right now and also applying for permanent resident status in the meantime. I think that's possible especially if your child or children are small.

Good luck!
 

Revenant

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Appreciation for all the responses.

The visa itself doesn't cost much to apply for, it's the fee the lawyers want to file my application that I can't afford.

I've been here eight years on a spousal visa, and the lawyers told me I would have to have a high level of Japanese to get a permenant residential visa(which I don't have).

My wife was at first willing to postpone so I could get a PR visa, and so she could get a Canadian residential visa, but things have gone downhill since...

My child is almost eight, and between now and eighteen, I hope to gain a permenant residential visa.
 

epigene

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The visa itself doesn't cost much to apply for, it's the fee the lawyers want to file my application that I can't afford.
Do you mean that you cannot fill out the forms yourself?
Do you live far from the nearest immigration office?
Is that why you need a lawyer?

Since you don't appear to have any serious immigration issues (the main one being illegal stay), you should be able to apply by yourself. The forms can be filled out in English. I think there is an immigration office in any major city in Japan. Do you still live in Okayama? There is one there. If it does not handle visas, the nearest major bureau is in Hiroshima City.
 

Revenant

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I'm able to apply for one myself. I'm not sure if the lawyers just want my business, or if it's actually safer to apply through a lawyer. I've heard that Japanese immigration can be... sticky. However, I get the idea from the responses to this thread that getting a long term without lawyers help shouldn't be a problem.
 

Revenant

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Does anyone know if I need to apply for a long term right after I get divorced, cause that's what the lawyers told me I should do. My spousal visa is good until Oct 2009, so I wonder why I would have to apply for a long-term right after my divorce.
 

Mike Cash

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They're probably figuring that with the time it will take to finalize a divorce and the time it may take Immigration to get around to reviewing your application you'll be bumping up against October 2009 anyway. Better to go ahead and have it all finished and (hopefully) approved by then instead of being on a technically expired visa and still remaining (legally) in the country on a pending application for change of status. That's my guess as to the reason for the advice. Either that or the lawyer has a boat payment coming up and needs the fee sooner rather than later.
 

Glenski

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Appreciation for all the responses.
The visa itself doesn't cost much to apply for, it's the fee the lawyers want to file my application that I can't afford.
I've been here eight years on a spousal visa, and the lawyers told me I would have to have a high level of Japanese to get a permenant residential visa(which I don't have).
Ditch those lawyers. I had been here less than you, married for less than 5 years, too, and had a very weak command of Japanese. Getting PR was easy. Please don't call it a "permanent residential visa". It is not "residential", nor is it a visa. It's better.

The forms are pretty simple. I really can't understand why you feel you need to go through a lawyer for this.

Guidelines for Permanent Resident status (FrustratedDave, I know it takes more than just how long one has been here, so I'm including these guidelines. I just wanted to point out earlier that he has definitely gained the time needed.)
Immigration Services Agency of Japan
Note the remark about how some stuff is not included if you are married to a Japanese.

Application information for PR.
Immigration Services Agency of Japan

The application form itself (note the fact that is is bilingual, Japanese/English).
http://www.moj.go.jp/ONLINE/IMMIGRATION/16-4-1.pdf

Some FAQs you need to read, too, especially the last one about spouse visas and divorce.
Immigration Services Agency of Japan

You should also read the information on divorce itself at www.debito.org
 

Ewok85

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Do you mean that you cannot fill out the forms yourself?
Do you live far from the nearest immigration office?
Is that why you need a lawyer?
Since you don't appear to have any serious immigration issues (the main one being illegal stay), you should be able to apply by yourself. The forms can be filled out in English. I think there is an immigration office in any major city in Japan. Do you still live in Okayama? There is one there. If it does not handle visas, the nearest major bureau is in Hiroshima City.

As far as I know you cannot apply for that visa on your own - its a very special type of visa. I'm not even sure why they are suggesting it - you don't really fit the conditions...
 
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Guidelines for Permanent Resident status (FrustratedDave, I know it takes more than just how long one has been here, so I'm including these guidelines. I just wanted to point out earlier that he has definitely gained the time needed.)[/url]
No worries Glenski, I was just making sure.😌

Revenant, I would consult with your Embassy and see what opptions you have? As people have pointed out you don't need a lawyer to file the forms for you, unless there are extenuating circumstances which only a lawyer can handle. But, it can only be you to judge wheather all they want is your business. That is why I suggest you go to your embassy and explain your situation and get some advise on what you can and can't do.
 

Ewok85

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I'd consult a different immigration lawyer - your Embassy will not give information as good as an immigration lawyer can.

I can recommend a wonderful lady who will give you an unbiased and accurate opinion free of charge about
) When your visa will end (at divorce or printed date in passport)
) What your choices are
) What the process is

PM me and I'll give you her email.
 

Mike Cash

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I doubt the embassy will give any useful information at all. A diplomatic office of a foreign government is going to be reticent about giving the appearance of speaking for the Immigration branch of another government. I'd love to find out I'm mistaken, though.
 

Ewok85

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I doubt the embassy will give any useful information at all. A diplomatic office of a foreign government is going to be reticent about giving the appearance of speaking for the Immigration branch of another government. I'd love to find out I'm mistaken, though.
I know the Australian Embassy in Japan refuses to give visa information related to Japan, for the exact reason you stated.
 

Revenant

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I've read some of divorce here, and fortunately the wife and I don't wish to end things badly. We're just a lot more comfortable as friends, and she remains a good friend. The divorce laws require I pay alimony and seed money to my wife, so while it's expensive, and I'll be just scraping by a few months of the year, it's turned out well. It could've turned out a whole lot worse were the wife not so levelheaded and wanting me to maintain a good relationship with my son. Remaining married till I get Permanent Resident status isn't something she wants to do though.... she wants to feel free to look for a life partner.
 

Mike Cash

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Your post made it look as though you meant the Australian Embassy.

What sort of information on Japanese visas did the American Embassy give you?
 

GaijinPunch

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If you have already been here 10 years, you are eligible.

Ummm... does anyone have any sources for this? From what I've been lead to believe, there is absolutely no criteria at all, but of course they will laugh your application out the door w/o certain things met: many years on a working visa, marriage, a nice bank statemet, and most of all, children.

But none of it, of course, is in stone.
 
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