What is your Period of Stay?
Your period of stay should be written on your alien registration card or residence card. It is the period of time that you are legally allowed to live and work in Japan. Most JETs receive a three-year period of stay.
Who needs to extend?
If you are staying on the JET Program for more than three years or are one of the few JETs who received a one-year visa, you will need to apply for an Extension of Period of Stay before your current one expires.
The Extension Process
The extension process is fairly complex and requires quite a bit of preparation beforehand, so it is very important to know exactly what is required before you start. Be sure to check the latest version of the General Information Handbook and ask your go-between to call the immigration bureau if you have any questions.
Applications are only accepted in the 2 month period before your visa actually expires. This usually means that Group A participants will need to wait until late May/early June and Group B participants until early to mid June before applying.
While you are waiting, it’s a good idea to start collecting the documentation that you will need to submit with your application.
First and foremost is the Application for Extension of Period of Stay form. This is available for download from the Japanese Ministry of Justice’s website. To avoid delays, make sure that you download, print, complete, and have your school stamp this form before you go to the Immigration Office to submit your application.
Aside from the application form, a variety of supporting documents are also required. The current General Information Handbook and CLAIR website DO NOT contain a complete list of the documents that may be required, because they vary from one immigration bureau to another.
The list of possible required documents below is based on the experiences of previous JETs and is intended as a guide. Before you visit the immigration bureau, we strongly recommend that you ask your go-between to call the immigration bureau and confirm the documents required. We have had cases of JETs being turned away at the immigration bureau because they did not have a particular document.
– Request Form – The official document that shows the need for you to renew your visa. Hyogo BOE JETs can use the letter sent to their school requesting that they renew their visa.
– Re-contracting Intention Form – The letter that is sent to your school to inform you that your recontracting request has been accepted and that you will therefore be working as a JET for the next JET year.
– Terms & Conditions – The T&C of your contract in both English and Japanese. You should receive a copy of these each year along with your Letter of Appointment (see below).
– Letter of Appointment – The official document that proves that you are employed by your Contracting Organization. This should be a small, white card with 人事通知書 written at the top and a red stamp at the bottom right.
– Statement of Earning & Proof of Tax Payment – This is generally a small receipt that you receive with your pay slip in either May or June of each year. It provides a summary of the amount that you earned and the amount that was deducted in tax for the previous financial year. It is probably white with blue text.
Visiting the Immigration Office
Once you have collected all of the documentation and you have entered your visa’s renewal period, simply head to your nearest Immigration Office and submit your application. If you have your school call ahead from you and request it, there is a small chance that you will be able to receive your visa on the same day, but if not, you will be asked to write your address on a post card which will be posted to you when your application has been processed. You will then have to visit the Immigration Office once more to receive a new Residence Card. Extending your period of stay costs 4,000 yen, which is payable in revenue stamps (not cash) when you collect it. You can purchase revenue stamps from certain post offices/convenience stores near the Immigration Office you visit.
As an aside, remember that there is a clause in your contract (for Hyogo BOE JETs, at least) that provides for Special Leave to deal with visa matters. It isn’t guarantee that your school will give you this leave, but it’s worth asking about.
Staying In Japan After JET
If you are staying in Japan after JET for the purpose of tidying up your affairs or sightseeing, you need to change your status of residence to “temporary visitor”. To learn more, see Temporary Visitor Visa.
If you are staying in Japan for employment, you must ask your new employer whether you need to extend your period of stay or change your status of residence. Your CO, the PAs, Hyogo Prefecture, or CLAIR cannot provide visa advice or support for you.