How Permanent Is My Residency In Japan?

To: Crecente
From: Bashcraft

Ahoy! Welcome back from you boating adventure.

Today, I went to the immigration office to see if I got permanent residence. The way it works here (and other countries, too, I guess) is that you typically get a one-year or a three-year visa from your employer, who sponsors your visa. If you are married, then your spouse is your sponsor. That's kinda worrying if you've got a family — like, what if you don't get your visa renewed? (It happens!)

What's more, for me, I can't qualify for a home loan with a spouse visa. Banks just won't lend money! They got burned lending easy money during the Bubble Economy are are extra cautious. Want to buy a house? Most foreigners need that governmental Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval that is permanent residency. To apply, I had to fill out a bunch forms, stating why I wanted residency, divulge personal info. like how I met Mrs. Bashcraft and include pictures of us together over the years. She was my sponsors for my application, and her parents, my in-laws, were like the back-up sponsors. The government checked my tax record, blah, blah, blah, to see if I was being a good foreigner. We've been on pins and needles, 'cause we are too ready to buy a house, sick of paying rent, whatever. And today, we went to the immigration office and learned that, yes, I am officially a permanent resident of Japan. Yay!

What does that mean? Pretty much that I don't have to renew my visa and can stay here as long as I want, but do have to get re-entry permits for my passport when I leave the country (which is something every foreigner has to do — maybe except for Korean-Japanese, not sure). Can't vote with permanent residency, though, you gotta be a citizen for that. In the past, it's been somewhat challenging to get permanent residency, though it probably was much easier for me as I am married and do my part in increasing the shrinking Japanese population.

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