Legal Issues for Foreigners in Japan [Divorce (1)]


Will I lose my Resident Status due to Divorce?


If you are an alien (i.e., a foreigner) and have a resident status based on your professions, your divorce will not effect in any way on your status.


If you live in Japan with the status due to “a Spouse or child of a Japanese national,” you must be careful about the procedure, otherwise you will be subject to deportation.


Firstly, you must file your divorce with the Immigration Office (入管, nyu-kan) within 14 days from getting divorced. Secondly, you have to change your resident status within 6 months if you wish to stay in Japan. Otherwise your status will be cancelled unless there is a “just cause” (正当な理由, seito-na-ri-yu), which is rarely be admitted.


Examples of the admissible changes of status are:

(i) when you have already lived in Japan for a long time to be able to acquire “Permanent Resident” (永住者, eiju-sha) or “Long-Term Resident” (定住者, teiju-sha) status;

(ii) when you are a descendant of a Japanese which may allow you to obtain “Long-Term Resident” (定住者, teiju-sha) status;

(iii) when you have a profession that may allow you to have a status based on the profession; and

(iv) when you have parental rights or child custody rights of a child of Japanese nationality which may allow you to have “Long-Term Resident” (定住者, teiju-sha) status.


If you are under divorce proceedings (such as mediation (調停, cho-tei) or lawsuit (訴訟, so-sho)) , it is likely that your status will be extended for 6 months or that you will be able to obtain a resident status based on “Specific Activities.”