Those who think that only people of Japanese descent can naturalize as Japanese are mistaken. Anyone can change their nationality and have Japanese citizenship, just meet several requirements. The thousands of Brazilians present in Japan, have the visa permanent and end up thinking that it is impossible to obtain Japanese nationality, some have reasons to prefer a visa over nationality.
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What is the difference between a visa and citizenship?
When a person has a permanent visa, they are allowed to stay in Japan and have most citizenship rights. Already a citizen naturalized as a Japanese, he has all the rights that the Japanese and cannot be expelled from the country, because he came to belong and be a citizen of that country. Another advantage and benefit of being a Japanese citizen is that you can have a Japanese Passport (4th most powerful) that allows you to enter 147 countries without a visa, including the US.
Only descendants or children of Japanese people can easily obtain nationality before reaching 3 months of age. Even if the person marries a Japanese woman, or a child of Brazilians is born in Japan, they do not receive nationality, but a permanent visa. Of course, any of these people can run after nationality if they meet the requirements that we will see below.
Most Brazilians who live in Japan prefer not to try to obtain Japanese citizenship because, in addition to being a long process, the Japan only allows 1 nationality, if you choose Japanese nationality, you are no longer Brazilian.
Requirements for naturalizing in Japan
Below we will see the minimum requirements to obtain Japanese nationality or citizenship:
- Be over 20 years old;
- Living in Japan for more than 5 years (married to Japanese 3);
- No more than 80% (72 days) outside Japan for a year;
- Present good mental health and have no criminal record;
- Demonstrate the ability to support yourself or your family;
- Show good conduct while in Japan;
- Be up to date with taxes;
- Agree to renounce the nationality you hold;
- Proficiency in the Japanese language;
If you meet these requirements and want Japanese citizenship, you need to contact the Homukyoku (Office of Legal Affairs) of the Ministry of Justice, closest to your home. Remembering that bad conduct or criminal history it's one of the reasons Japan rejects your citizenship application.
Documents required to apply for Japanese Citizenship
In addition to the basic requirements, there is a huge list of documents you need to present when applying for Japanese citizenship:
- Nationalization application form;
- Form with the data of first degree relatives;
- Signed oath;
- Form with information about travel abroad;
- Personal CV form (detailed and in order);
- Form with a description of monthly subsistence expenses and bank accounts;
- Form with the payslip details, filled in and signed by the company;
- Declaration of children form, completed and signed by the applicant's father;
- Handwritten letter describing the reason for the desire for naturalization;
- University completion certificate (if you have one);
- Japanese driver's license registration certificate;
- Certificate of personal data from the date you and your spouse entered Japan;
- Certificate of payment of taxes (gensen and nozei shomeisho) for you and your spouse;
- Residence certificate;
- Bank account certificate;
- Birth certificate of the applicant and all of his/her siblings;
- Marriage certificate of you and your parents;
- Death certificate of the parents if they are deceased;
- Certificate of nationality;
- Map of the place of residence and work;
These are the documents you need, but we recommend checking everything before starting the process. Each case is different, so some procedures may be different from those mentioned in the article.
During the process to receive Japanese nationality, you will have an interview and possibly they will come to your house to check that everything is ok. The process takes from 8 months to over a year. Japan accepts most applications (99%), once approved you will be invited to attend a lecture and submit your document. And do you think it's worth having Japanese citizenship? I would like to see your opinion and experience in the comments.