Doing resident registration at municipality is one of the first procedures for foreigners who will stay in Japan for more than 3 months.
Your action plan is basically branched in two ways when you newly come to Japan when you already live in Japan and move to another city.

The only different thing between the two ways is whether or not, you submit a move-out notification to a municipal office.
If you newly come to Japan, all you need to do is to complete move-in notification form and submit it with your passport and visa to a municipality.

If you already live in Japan and move to another city, you need to complete the procedure of move-out notification before you move into a new city.

I will explain why you need to do a resident registration and how to apply for it. I hope you will start living in Japan smoothly. I will explain the following topics in order.

  • What is resident registration
  • What is a resident certificate
  • How to do resident registration
  • What you need to take to a municipal office with you
  • What municipal office you need to go
  • Why you need to do a resident registration
  • When you need to use a residence certificate
  • Things to be noted
  • What is resident registration

    Resident registration is information registration of

    • your name,
    • date of birth,
    • address,
    • relationship to the householder,
    • the family composition

    to the resident ledger managed by each municipal office.

    These are basic data to be registered by all residents in Japan to receive governmental services such as National Health Insurance, National Pension. Foreigners who plan to live in Japan for a long time are qualified to receive these services.

    If you complete resident registration, a resident (registration) certificate is issued by a municipal office that you applied to. This certificate is, for example, used for a bank loan, purchase of a car, application for a job, registration of a company.

    By the way, a non-Japanese resident who can ask for a bank loan is mostly a permanent visa holder.

    You can request a copy of this certificate as many as you want at a municipal office or convenience stores in exchange for fee.

    What is a resident certificate

    A residence certificate is recording information of residents living in a city、town、or village, which is managed by each municipal office.

    This certificate is used for certification of residents’ presents ‘ addresses, registration of the poll book and demographic surveys, etc.. The details are regulated in the Residential Basic Book Act.

    Originally, a resident certificate was only issued to Japanese citizens. Foreigners’ information was recorded to an exclusive ledger under the Alien registration system in Japan.

    Due to the abolition of the Alien registration system, resident registration system was integrated with the Residential Basic Book Act in 2012.

    So, foreigners who stay in Japan for more than 3 months, can apply for a resident registration system as Japanese citizens do.

    How to do resident registration

    When you decide where you move in, you must report move-in notification to a municipal office within 2 weeks from the day you move in.

    For example, if you decide to live in Adachi-ku, Tokyo-to, then you submit move-in notification to Adachi municipal office.

    If you submit this application, a resident registration procedure will be done automatically at the same time as your move-in notification is accepted.

    Move-in notification is called “Tennyu-Todoke(転入届け)”, whose application forms are generally put into a tray on a worktable at municipal office. Some municipal offices don’t prepare English version of move-in notification form.

    If you worry about understanding what an application forms says in Japanese, you would rather take your Japanese friend to apply for it.

    Move-in notification form example

    • The date when you fill in this form
    • The date when you start living in the present apartment or house
    • Your name
    • Your phone number
    • Address where you newly live
    • Address where you newly live
      House holder’s name and date of birth (your name and date of birth)
    • Your previous address (if you lived in your country, write down the address)
    • House holder’s name, same as No 6
    • Who moves in with you (write all your family member’s names with a ruby in Katakana)
    • All your family member’s date of birth
    • Circle all your family member’s gender
    • All your family member’s relationship
    • If you have a child, write a type of school. and what grade your child is at school
    • All your family member’s nationality

    If you already live in Japan and move to another city, move-out notification needs to be submitted before moving out the previous address

    Move-out notification is called “Tenshutsu-Todoke”(転出届).

    The case that you need to submit a move-out notification is when you move to another municipality.

    If you move within the area of a municipality (city), you don’t need to go through the procedure of resident registration itself. So, you don’t need to submit a move-out notification and move-in notification to a municipal office.

    For example, if you move within the area of Adachi-ku, Tokyo, you don’t need to submit a move-out notification and move-in notification because your resident information has already been registered in Adachi municipal office.

    Submitting a move-in notification to a municipality, where you newly live, you are required to also submit “certificate of move-out notification”, which you receive when submitting move-out notification to a municipality, where you used to live before.

    For example, if you move from Adachi-ku to Chiyoda-ku in Tokyo, you submit move-out notification to Adachi-ku, and submit move-in notification to Chiyoda-ku. When submitting move-in notification to Chiyoda-ku, you also submit “certificate of move-out notification”, which you receive at Adachi-ku.

    Move-out notification need to be submitted within 14 days from the day you move out.

    If you forget submitting move-out notification, you need to submit it within 14 days from the day you move in a new municipality.

    What you need to take to a municipal office with you

    • passport
    • Resident card

    If your resident card reach you late from a regional immigration office after you move in, you only take your passport to a municipal office for move-in notification.

    What municipal office you need to go

    You go to a municipal office that belongs to a city, where you live. For example, if you live in Takenotsuka, Adachi-ku, Tokyo, you need to go to Adachi municipal office.

    Why you need to do a resident registration

    This registration is nothing except for obligation to every single residents living in Japan, regardless of foreigners or Japanese.

    This system guarantees the status of residents living in Japan basically to receive public insurances provided by the Japanese government and prove identification. So to speak, this is similar to a social security number in the United States.

    You will come across the situation where you need to use this certificate if you continue living in Japan.

    When you need to use a residence certificate

    If I raise up the situations where you need to use a resident certificate, the following situations down below are the right timing to use a resident certificate.

    What you need to take to a municipal office with you

    • When renting an apartment
    • When working in Japan
    • When buying a real estate
    • When getting a Japanese driver’s license

    When renting an apartment

    Prior to making a rental agreement, you also need to submit a copy of identification documents like your passport, Japanese driver’s license but you need to submit a resident certificate as well.

    This is because a resident certificate describes information about the previous address, the house holder name and, etc.., which is not described in your passport or driver’s license.

    In addition, this is used to compare and check information between a resident certificate and a driver’s license or a passport. To avoid you from identity theft when making a contract, you need to submit a copy of a resident certificate.

    When working in Japan

    Your information disclosed by a resident certificate is “your name”, “your gender”, “your date of birth”, “your home address”. This information is also described in your resume. However, a resume is a self-reported document, which doesn’t have objectiveness.

    Moreover, there may be no consistency in your information between before you go to Japan and after you come to Japan. Because your living address is naturally different between the one in your country and the one in Japan.

    If a company ignore receiving a resident certificate, it runs a risk not to be able to contact you. So a company requires you to submit a resident certificate to compare and check your information between your resume and a resident certificate.

    When buying a real estate

    If you register a property at Legal Affairs Bureau, which you newly purchase and live in a new address, you must transfer your resident registration information to a municipal office, which belongs to a city you newly live in.

    If you buy a property for investment purpose, you need to submit a copy of the resident certificate to avoid identity theft when purchasing

    When getting a Japanese driver’s license

    Driver’s license is one of the identification documents in Japan. Some information described on Japanese driver’s license card is quoted from a resident certificate, which is your name, date of birth and present address, etc.

    So you are required to submit a copy of a resident certificate by a police officer at Driver and Vehicle Licensing Centre.

    Things to be noted

    When reporting move-in notification, if you have family members to live with, you need to submit a certificate that proves the relationship of all the family members ( date of birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc , which is issued in your country). Likewise, the above documents need to be translated into Japanese.

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