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I am currently residing in Japan with the visa status Professor. I know this status is tied to my employment at the university I am working for. This employment will terminate (temporary contract not renewed) on the 31/03. As I do not have any new position lined up, I will be unemployed. This means, I will have to leave Japan after a certain time (unless I manage to find a new job).

My residence card lists the end of my residence period as 30/08, i.e. a few months away.

I have been trying to find out how long I can remain in Japan without overstaying but I have received conflicting information.

  • I called the Immigration Bureau’s information centre (one with English customer service) and received an answer that effectively said my status will expire on the 1st April and I need to leave Japan on that day; however, I may be able to request some kind of mercy extension that may or may not be granted.

    Most notably, I cannot apply for a ‘designated activities’ status that former Student status holders may receive after graduation for three months to find employment.

  • I then went to my local Immigration Bureau branch office. Unfortunately, the officer did not speak English and my Japanese is bad, but I showed him my residence card. His answer was, in effect: after the 1st April I will be granted three months (i.e. until the 30th June) to either find a job or leave the country; during this time, I am able to leave and return under special re-entry permit.

  • I later went to Hello Work and although I told the staff there that my contract expires on 31/03, the lady noted the 30/08 from my residence card as what I assume to be the final date.

As of now, I am inclined to believe the officer at my local Immigration Bureau branch office but some independent confirmation would be great. Which information is correct?


Tl;dr: I will be unemployed from 31/03 but my visa status wouldn’t expire until 30/08. Until when must I have secured employment or left the country?

Am I allowed to leave Japan temporarily during that time?

  • I found some clues but could not find a corresponding English webpage. See Q14 of below link. It talks about whether or not one who has a cancelled status of residence would need to depart as soon as possible. It says 在留資格に基づく本来の活動を継続して一定期間行っていない場合 (those who have not performed the proper activities for which the status of residence is based on for some time, as in your case) are given a grace period of not more than 30 days to make preparations for departure. immi-moj.go.jp/tetuduki/zairyuu/qa.html – XVD Mar 26 at 6:53
  • @XVD Might this be the corresponding English FAQ? – Jan Mar 26 at 9:06
  • Yes, that's it. Please see answer to Q14. It states, "when a foreign national has failed to engage in the primary activity corresponding to his/her status of residence for a certain period of time", and "the period up to 30 days which is deemed necessary for departing from Japan (grace period for departure) shall be designated at the time of the revocation of the status of residence, and the relevant foreign national is required to depart from Japan voluntarily within the said period." – XVD Mar 27 at 3:54
  • So I guess, it would be best to print out both Japanese and English versions, bring them with you to the Immigration Bureau, and ask for the 30-day grace period. – XVD Mar 27 at 3:54
  • @XVD That question specifically talks about the revoked status; question 9 deals with how statuses may be revoked. Of the three lowercase Roman numerals only ii can apply to me (I registered my domicile as I should and I did not deceive when receiving my visa in the first place). ii.I. says that I have to ‘[fail] to continue to engage in the primary activity […] for three months or more’—that provides further backing to the 3 months answer I got at the Immigration Bureau branch office. – Jan Mar 27 at 5:29
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You can legally remain in Japan until your period of stay expires (that is, until 30 August) unless one of the following two things happens.

  1. The immigration authorities decide to revoke your status of residence. This is a relatively involved procedure, which can only be started when you have been unemployed for three months (except in cases of fraud, etc.). If this happens, you will be granted a period of up to 30 days to prepare your departure.
  2. You apply for a change of status or for an extension of period of stay. In that case, you can stay until two months after the end of your period of stay (that is, until 30 October) or until a decision is made on your application, whichever comes first. If the application is granted, a new period of stay is determined as appropriate. If the application is denied on or before 30 August, nothing changes and you remain on your current status. If the application is denied after 30 August, you will be given an appropriate period to prepare your departure.

Am I allowed to leave Japan temporarily during that time?

Yes, at least until and unless you receive a notification that the immigration authorities have decided to start the revocation procedure on your status. After that, you'll need express permission and it's unlikely to be granted. By the way, it is my understanding that if you spend some time outside Japan, it does not count towards the three-month "allowed unemployment" period (that is, they can't revoke your status if you spent, say, two months outside Japan and two months in).

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