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Working on spouse visa

KyushuWoozy

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Hi all,

My first post here. I already trawled back to posts from 2007 but couldn't find the answer to my question and I guess the regulations might have changed since then anyway.

Hopefully, my questions are pretty simple:

1) Can I live in Japan indefinitely on a spouse visa?
2) Can I work for a company my wife plans to set up if I am here on a spouse visa?
3) If our plans to set up a company don't work out, can I work for any company on a spouse visa?

A bit of background:

I'm a Brit married to my Japanese wife for over 10 years. We got married in Indonesia and have lived in Indonesia since then. We officially informed both the Japanese and British authorities about our marriage at the time.

I worked in Japan for several years about 15 years ago on a visa sponsored by my employers.

I hold a three-year Bachelors degree from a UK university.

Thanks in advance ...

Woozy.
 

Mike Cash

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On a spouse visa you may work at any company and in any capacity not specifically forbidden you by law....of which there aren't many anyway. In simple terms, you can pretty much work any job you can convince someone to hire you for. You can even work for your wife if you want.

I would suggest switching from a spouse visa to permanent resident status as soon as you are eligible rather than staying on a spouse visa forever.
 

Glenski

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1) Can I live in Japan indefinitely on a spouse visa?
Yes, as long as your wife remains alive. After that, you need a regular visa like everyone else. I suggest you apply for permanent resident status ASAP, because that's good no matter if she dies or not.

2) Can I work for a company my wife plans to set up if I am here on a spouse visa?
Legally, yes.

3) If our plans to set up a company don't work out, can I work for any company on a spouse visa?
As long as they think you are qualified, yes.
 

KyushuWoozy

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Thanks guys - it's good info and especially good to see you both offer the same advice. My wife read somewhere spouse visa is either 1 year or 3 years so your suggestion about getting PR makes sense.

My wife dug out the requirements to get spouse visa. She said it needed a lot of paperwork, and when even a Japanese says that you know it must REALLY be a lot. One requirement is for her to show proof of her job (she doesn't have one because she's on spouse visa here in Indonesia) and another her residence status in Japan (we've lived in Indonesia 10+ years so she can't show that either) but hopefully these are only technicalities that will iron themselves out in the future.

Thanks again for your inputs.
 

Glenski

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My further advice is this. Be very up front with immigration about what you are doing (planning to work for your wife who does not yet have a company of her own). Timing of events may be critical. That is:

  1. when do you plan to move here vs. Q2?
  2. what does it take for her to set up the company? ...and hire you?
  3. what sort of visa do you have to get first? (I suspect a spousal visa, but since you have not lived here a while, that may be tricky.)
  4. How soon can you apply for PR? (Immigration might say right away, or they might say only after you have lived here 5 years on a spouse visa. Hard to know. But you can apply for visa renewal and for PR at the same time with no repercussions, and as long as you have the visa, you won't lose anything if PR is declined.)
 

Dotanbatan

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The fact that your wife is planning to start a company will help, but will probably not be sufficient for them to grant a spouse visa. They will probably want to confirm that:
1. You or your wife have sufficient funds to support yourself.
2. You have confirmed employment or income other than the start up business.
3. You use a Gaurantor (usually the spouse's parents).

A combination of any of the above is even better.

You will probably ask how much is required to satisfy 'sufficient funds' ... and the truthful answer is that I nor anyone outside The Dept of immigration know the amount.

I was told by a retired Japanese civil servant that they use a simple formula to calculate the ability to support yourself and it relates to the Japanese minimum wage. If so, you would need just over 1.6 million yen in available funds to cover at least a one year visa. Obviously, the more you can show, the better!

I have to stress that even this man, didn't know for certain ... but if it's any reassurance to you, I don't know of anyone who has had a spouse visa application refused. After all, the Japanese government want your wife, you and others like you to live here, work and pay taxes.
 

KyushuWoozy

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It's all good information and helps take my thinking a step further.

We're still in the early stages of planning but I'm imagining the next 6-12 months will be spent continuing work on business / marketing planning, competitor / market research plus starting work on gathering content and building a website.

We'll also need much deeper exploration into the legal / tax / financial / employment law / business licence areas. With this in mind my wife will take a 1-2 month trip early next year to visit bank and government offices (rather her than me) and then a trip later in the year to sit her exam in September to get a travel agent licence. We're planning a small travel agent business targeting inbound English-speaking tourists to one specific part of Japan, by the way. I don't see myself moving there permanently for years yet (I still have my business to run over here) but will want to come and go to help her setup and run her business and I know I can't really do this on a tourist visa so I guess spouse visa is the way to go - hence this thread.

I think I can tick all the points mentioned:

1. You or your wife have sufficient funds to support yourself - check, in my Indonesian bank account.
2. You have confirmed employment or income other than the start up business - check, salary / dividends from my Indonesian company.
3. You use a Gaurantor (usually the spouse's parents) - check, note to self ... keep on good terms with them.

  1. when do you plan to move here vs. Q2? - plan to come and go
  2. what does it take for her to set up the company? ...and hire you? - we'll know better after she's done more research
  3. what sort of visa do you have to get first? (I suspect a spousal visa, but since you have not lived here a while, that may be tricky.) - good question
  4. How soon can you apply for PR? - I'll leave that until later
For Q3 I'm wondering if I can enter on a spouse visa (ie: apply for it here in Indonesia) and then come and go on that visa?
 

Mike Cash

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It sounds like you intend to spend most of the time living outside Japan and use a spouse visa as a personal convenience for a few brief and sporadic visits. I would be concerned about that possibly having a negative effect when you go to renew the spouse visa. The spouse visa exists to facilitate the spouse of a Japanese citizen residing with them in Japan, not to provide a shortcut to speed you on a bypass around the immigration/landing requirements for those times when a person who doesn't actually reside in Japan wants to come here to conduct business. Possible reactions and repercussions could range from none whatsoever to being frowned at to only getting one-year extensions...to having extension applications rejected. It certainly wouldn't facilitate the granting of PR status, even though they do tend to hand that out like lollipops these days. I would suggest you have your wife consult with an immigration attorney for an informed opinion on this.
 

Glenski

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when do you plan to move here vs. Q2? - plan to come and go
For Q3 I'm wondering if I can enter on a spouse visa (ie: apply for it here in Indonesia) and then come and go on that visa?
I agree with Mike. If you're zipping in and out, a spouse visa may not be renewed after you get it initially. Definitely don't mention your travels upon initial application or renewal. They sometimes also want to see that you and your spouse are actually living together, as a sign of stability and not just a "convenience marriage". Be very careful not so show this poor image! Never mind that many Japanese do not live together when the husband gets transferred. You will not be considered equivalently to them.

At this early point, just how long do you imagine you will stay here on your frequent visits before returning to Indonesia? You may not need a visa at all if it's that short a time.
 

KyushuWoozy

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Thanks for the links Mike. I can understand why the Japanese authorities are suspicious about many foreigners on spouse visa however I'm not too worried about our marriage being considered a sham / fake / convenience marriage. We registered our marriage with them 10+ years ago, have passports and documentation showing us having lived together since then, and millions of photos of us growing old together.

I had however assumed I could get a Spouse Visa .... well, for simply being a spouse. However both your and Glenski's point about this visa not being the correct one if I wanted to travel in and out of the country made me head to the Japanese Consul website for the UK (my country) where I found this:

Spouse of Japanese National Visa is for a legal spouse of a Japanese national to accompany that Japanese national to settle in Japan.

I had never considered this so once again thanks to you both.

This then leaves the question as to what visa I should get. A 90-day Temporary Visitor Visa seems unsuitable because the website mentions (in bold!) that this category excludes profit-making operations and paid activities which I guess helping set-up and run a company falls under.

Which leaves me with this:

A multiple visa may be issued to frequent travellers who intend to visit Japan for short-term stays such as business activities. Multiple visas can be used as many times as needed within the period of validity. Please contact the visa officer for further information.

So I guess I'll need to pack my wife off to the Immigration Department when she's in Japan to confirm this is the way to go (hopefully they can supply this info without me needing to go to an Immigration attorney).

It may be a couple of months away but I'll update this thread then to share what I found out to help others in my situation. But I guess to summarize what I have learned so far (again to help others):

1. You can work at most things and for any company or your own company on a Spouse Visa
2. Recommended to transition to PR from Spouse Visa as soon as possible.
3. A Spouse Visa will be granted with the expectation that you'll be living in Japan with your wife.
 

Glenski

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Could you answer my earlier question? That is, if you plan to bop in and out of Japan, just how long would you expect to stay in Japan on each visit, and how often do you plan to make these trips?

If you apply for a spouse visa, don't volunteer that you plan to do such traveling. Immigration doesn't need to know, especially if you and your wife have established a residence here. I think the multiple entry visa is only for certain nationalities. Is this what you were looking at?
 

mdchachi

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This then leaves the question as to what visa I should get. A 90-day Temporary Visitor Visa seems unsuitable because the website mentions (in bold!) that this category excludes profit-making operations and paid activities which I guess helping set-up and run a company falls under.

Depending on how many times you plan to come in and out of Japan this may be possible. As long as you can plausibly claim to be hanging out with your wife while she does the profit-making/paid activities then it should not be a problem.
 

KyushuWoozy

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if you plan to bop in and out of Japan, just how long would you expect to stay in Japan on each visit, and how often do you plan to make these trips?

Hard to tell yet but best-guess would be 1-2 months a couple of times a year.

Is this what you were looking at?

Yes - but unfortunately I'm not "from the Asia Pacific region and the Latin American region, Russia and New Independent States (ex-USSR)" and therefore ineligible. Thanks for digging that out Glenski - at least I know I can rule it out

Depending on how many times you plan to come in and out of Japan this may be possible. As long as you can plausibly claim to be hanging out with your wife while she does the profit-making/paid activities then it should not be a problem.

Yes, seems this is the only option based on the fact that I can't get a Spouse Visa (because I won't actually be residing full-time in Japan for some years to come) and as a Brit I'm not eligible for a Multiple Visa.
 

Mike Cash

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Oh, you could probably get a spouse visa. The trick would be keeping it.
 

Glenski

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Hard to tell yet but best-guess would be 1-2 months a couple of times a year.
That should pose no problems to immigration suspecting you are up to something. But who can say? Just keep your mouth shut about these predicted travels and living outside Japan when you apply for the visa (and PR), but expect a bit of questioning that might occur upon your comings and goings. Good luck.
 

KyushuWoozy

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Got my Certificate of Eligibility for Spouse Visa. Really happy to get a 3-year one on my first attempt, within 3 weeks of applying, and without needing any interview.

Does anybody know: does the 3 years start counting down when I visit the Consul overseas to get the stamp in my passport or does it start when I actually enter Japan? I'll be arriving end of March.

Thanks.
 

Glenski

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Confirm with the consul, but I believe it starts when the ink hits your passport.
 

Glenski

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Yeah, come to think of it, that makes sense. Such a process gives a person a certain number of days to get here, and then it should start. Glad you confirmed.
 
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