Visa after Divorce in Japan


When a foreigner has filed for divorce from his Japanese wife, at the moment his visa is “spouse of a Japanese national,” and my period of residence will soon run out.  Will he be able to stay in Japan permanently?


Is it possible for him to stay in Japan after getting divorced?


In principle, he can stay in Japan until her divorce is finalized. Unless he is able to change her visa, he will not be able to stay in Japan after getting divorced.


 Visa during divorce proceedings


As he knows, in order to stay in Japan, it is necessary for foreign citizens to have some sort of “visa”. In most cases, if a foreign citizen marries a Japanese citizen, they receive visa as a “spouse of a Japanese national” and are permitted to stay in Japan for a period of roughly six months to three years. In principle, if the foreign citizen wishes to remain married after this time, they should apply for a renewal during that period and their period of residence will be renewed.

If the foreign citizen fails to renew their period of residence, they will have overstayed and may be expelled from the country.


It is usually necessary for the foreign citizen to cooperate when getting their period of residence renewed by doing things such as getting proof of identity as a spouse of a Japanese national made.

But what if the spouse of a Japanese national does not cooperate with renewal procedure because of problems such as divorce proceedings?

Some people think that spouses of Japanese nationals should be given visa as “spouse of a Japanese national, etc.” until their divorce is made official.

However, at the moment this does not necessarily happen in practice.

Nevertheless, even if the spouse of a Japanese national does not cooperate, the immigration authorities will recognize the renewal of their visa as a “spouse of a Japanese national, etc.” during divorce proceedings and discussions.

Therefore, if the person in the question carries out of final renewal procedure, at the very least they and their partner should be able to remain in Japan during divorce proceedings.


Visa after divorce is final

When her divorce is final, this means that he is no longer the “spouse of a Japanese national.” Therefore, it stands to reason that he will lose her visa as a “spouse of a Japanese national” at the time of her divorce.

But in fact, even if he stays in Japan for the remainder of her period of residence, it is unlikely that he will be expelled from the country for illegally overstaying. Nevertheless, it is not possible to remain in Japan after her period of residence expires unless he at least changes her visa during the remainder of her period of residence.


Restrictions on visa for foreign citizens in Japan are quite strict. Therefore, there are not many types of visa that a foreign citizen who is no longer a spouse of a Japanese national can change to. At the present time, apart from cases where the foreign citizen works in a job that requires a foreign citizen, is a “Nikkei” Japanese (person of Japanese descent; such people are given visa as “long-term residents”) or was been able to obtain a long-term visa other than “spouse of Japanese national” before getting married to a Japanese citizen, it is difficult for foreign citizens in this situation to remain in Japan.