all 82 comments

[–]bulldogdiver🎅🐓 中部・山梨県 🐓🎅 56 points57 points  (12 children)

While not completely random noone has ever been able to figure out the criteria. High salary, married with kids, permanent employment, all seem to factor in but you find people who meet all the same criteria getting radically different extension lengths - and people who's situation has not changed getting shorter lengths after a longer one. It's almost as if they give the monkey the darts and if he hits the board that's what you get otherwise 1 year.

[–]Tannerleaf関東・神奈川県 21 points22 points  (2 children)

Some immigration officials are just better at playing darts than others.

[–]bulldogdiver🎅🐓 中部・山梨県 🐓🎅 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Those aren't darts...

[–]Tannerleaf関東・神奈川県 0 points1 point  (0 children)

ow! I mean ittai!

[–]TheCloudEngineer[S] 3 points4 points  (7 children)

That’s a hilarious description!

I wonder if the criteria has ever been published somewhere…

[–]warthoginator 21 points22 points  (0 children)

if the criteria has ever been published somewhere

Yes. That is called "mood of the person approving your application"

[–]Shirubax 8 points9 points  (3 children)

It hasn't, officially it's decided on a "case by case" basis, but they value "stability", what this means to most companies (banks, etc) is: 1. Not job hopping. At the very least, no change of employer in the past two years. 2. Not moving often. At the very least living at your current address in the past two years. 3. Paying all your taxes and having no criminal record, including parking tickets, etc.

The bigger and more Japanese your company the better, the higher the salary the better (because more income tax).

That said, these are general guidelines and it's up to the case officer assigned to you to make the decision. I've known people who worked for big Japanese companies for a long time and still taken a long time to get a 3 or 5 year visa. I've known self employed people on an investment visa who got a 5 year extension fairly quickly as well.

[–]Tsupari 1 point2 points  (2 children)

It’s weird though. I was sheshin for a few years. Got a criminal record here (speeding camera). Changed to different sheshin company. 3 year visa again. Other people just 1. Don’t get it. But next visa if it’s a 3 or 5 I can apply for PR. I swear if it suddenly becomes 1 year again…

[–]Shirubax 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Yeah... I actually know someone who went to jail for shoplifting, but still got their visa renewed, but even though over 10 years have passed, PR was immediately rejected.

[–]Tsupari 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My understanding is it goes away after 5 years. Idk once I have 10 years and the right visa. I’m gonna ask a lawyer

[–]farislmn近畿・大阪府 2 points3 points  (0 children)

This is what I often describe to other people about the zairyuu period. A gamble. But my gut feeling tells me that if you can have a good fit on the HSP points, chances to get longer time are higher. It's a hypothesis with no way to prove tho, unfortunately.

[–]CornerSpade 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I swear they use a dart board in the back to decide

I came on a three year visa. Had to change visa type and they gave me a one year even though my original had another 2 years on it.

Next renewal I was at a smaller company and they gave me three.

[–]BigDumFace 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Who ever plays darts for me must be good. I always get exactly what I applied for.

[–][deleted] 23 points24 points  (0 children)

Completely fucking random and don't let anyone here tell you otherwise.

I've seen the biggest tax evaders get 5 years on shady eikaiwa contracts, high earning seishains working at the same company for years consecutively get 1 year visas, vice versa, and everything in between.

[–]Tannerleaf関東・神奈川県 22 points23 points  (4 children)

Nobody knows.

But my giblets tell me that it’s because you’re exuding a sensation of instability.

i.e. bouncing between jobs. They probably think you’re going home soon anyway.

If you can stop oscillating for a few years, then they will calm down somewhat, and be able to hit one of the good spots on the dart board.

[–]TheCloudEngineer[S] 3 points4 points  (2 children)

Hm, I see. Could be an explanation indeed.

[–]Tannerleaf関東・神奈川県 4 points5 points  (0 children)

To be perfectly frank, it could also be due to whatever mood the guy happens to be in that day ;-)

Going forwards, if you ever plan on PR, then stability, or the appearance thereof, really does seem to give them a solid hardon. That, and taxes, pension, long term commitment, etc. YMMV.

[–]brilliancemonk 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Japanese people don't switch jobs. Many of them spend their entire careers at the same company. Job hopping is frowned upon. If they think you're a job hopper that might be a problem.

[–]Shirubax 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This is true, job hopping is for sure a negative.

[–]Whiskey_Sours 18 points19 points  (0 children)

I was under the impression it's essentially completely random. People who are spouses, been here for multiple years, employed, have children and speak fluent Japanese, still get 1 years.

I got a 3 year on my second renewal, and I was employed at a decent eikaiwa with no bachelor degree so I don't really feel like there are reasons why. It feels like they play a game of slots and give you whatever option it lands on.

[–]rewsay05関東・神奈川県 12 points13 points  (5 children)

A man at the desk asked how long I wanted a visa for and I told him 5 years. That's what I got. I mean, I had my karate certificates and references and stuff but the only things that's consistent with all of our stories is that it just depends on who sees your stuff and how they're feeling that day.

[–]Elvaanaomori 6 points7 points  (14 children)

Are you contracted or Seishain?

If you are on a 1 year contract, it's harder to get 3-5 years since technically, you're out of a job within a year.

But even if you are seishain they basically throw a 20 sided dice and unless you get 18-20 you'll get 1 year :)

[–]LetsBeNice- 7 points8 points  (12 children)

I was on a 3months contract and got 5 years on my 1st work visa.

[–]Elvaanaomori 7 points8 points  (4 children)

Just because you rolled a natural 20 doesn't mean it will be standard! haha

[–]LetsBeNice- 5 points6 points  (3 children)

No I'm clearly not the norm but just wanted to give my input to show that at the end it's very random.

[–]Elvaanaomori 5 points6 points  (2 children)

True, you are the winner of dice roll. I've been here 9 years consecutively and still haven't got 5 years, although Kid/marriage/seishain etc. Hopefuly this time!

[–]LetsBeNice- 0 points1 point  (1 child)

That's very shitty because iirc you need to get the 5year if you wanna apply to PR, good luck !

[–]Elvaanaomori 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I think you can apply if you have 3 too?

But yeah, 1 year visa you cant even apply for PT.

I have all parts checked for PR, just renewing my residence card at the moment and hopefully I can drop the paperwork for PR the week after I get it

[–]tokyo_girl_jin 3 points4 points  (3 children)

my first job here: 1 yr contract, 5 yr visa... and the job was a shitty eikaiwa with high turnover and a sketchy past. land a fancy job at a fairly big japanese company: 1 yr visa twice in a row.

it. is. random.

[–]Particular_Stop_3332 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I had the same experience, but I think one big factor is this

Shitty Eikaiwa schools apply for VISAs aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllll the fucking time, whereas big fancy Japanese companies apply for visas occasionally.

So even if the big fancy Japanese company might have less turnover than the Eikaiwa school, the Eikaiwa school probably has a better relationship with the government.

[–]tokyo_girl_jin 0 points1 point  (1 child)

i know the company as a sponsor needs to be reliable and rapport is a big thing in japan, but ultimately the visa is for the individual so i would think their reliability/stability should have more bearing.

however, your comment got me thinking from a darker perspective. shitty eikaiwas go to the trouble of luring in cheap labor from outside japan. the horrible turnover rates and generally dismal work environments (coupled with employee ignorance of laws and weak position/incentive to fight for anything) means they are bringing in tons of people who temporarily pay into taxes and pension funds and then leave. giving them longer visas tempts them to at least tough it out a bit longer before giving up. on the flipside, other jobs that offer long-term productive careers would encourage expats to stay and settle down, eventually becoming a future drain when they age and begin to tap into pension and healthcare funding, so why not make it harder to stay and get PR or citizenship by doling out shorter visas?

[–]Particular_Stop_3332 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I don't think that's what's going on, but it's possible.

[–]catloverr03北海道・北海道 0 points1 point  (2 children)

When was this? Some say that it was easier before pandemic to get 3-5 year visa on a short contract period

[–]LetsBeNice- 1 point2 points  (1 child)

exactly 1 year ago.

[–]catloverr03北海道・北海道 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Oh wow you’re so lucky!! 3 months contract but has gotten 5 years that’s just amazing. Hoping tanaka-san at immigration would grant me 5 years on my next renewal 🙏🏼

[–]TheCloudEngineer[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

At this new company, I’ve been hired on a 定めなし (not time limit). I got this new job 1.5 years ago.

[–]mattokacom近畿・大阪府 6 points7 points  (1 child)

I was on one-year renewals pretty much indefinitely until I actually asked to talk to the immigration officer in charge. He basically said, "Your contract is for one year, so you'll be getting a one-year visa". That was his reasoning.

I told him that I had no intention of returning home anytime soon "帰る気がないですよ~", and that I pay all my taxes and pension on time.

He gave me three years.

Hope that helps.

[–]KKinKansai 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That's interesting. On my last spouse visa renewal I wrote that my wife didn't want to move to my country, and that, so, I had no intention of ever leaving Japan. I got the max 5-year spouse visa last time, and the staff who handed me my card made a point of telling me, with a serious facial expression, that I had gotten the 5-year visa.

I wonder if showing real intention to live in Japan rather than just trying to tick boxes makes some difference.

[–]TexasTokyo 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Last 3 times they've given me 1 year extensions. The first 3 visas I received were each for 3 years.

It's like they waited just until my 10th year in Japan to make it impossible to apply for PR.

[–]yakisobagurl近畿・大阪府 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Oh that’s given me the fear haha. For me it’s been working holiday, 3 years, 3 years, 3 years. If they give me one next time I’ll probably cry!

[–]Ikeda_kouji 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Your home country (passport) may also play a role in the length of the visa you get. But job hopping could be why too.

[–]chococrou 2 points3 points  (2 children)

The status of your company might also play a role. Big, we’ll-known company might get you 5 years. Small, new, less stable company might get you 1.

[–]rvtk 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I used to get 1-year extensions working for a startup (even as seishain). The moment I changed jobs to a large japanese company - bam, 5 years.

[–]Apraxas 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This is absolutely true!
I was on my 3rd 1-year visa, and so I complained to my company that i was tired of the sense of instability.

HR told me they had finally managed to get "upgraded" in the "company size" scale, and that they would absolutely get me a 3-year visa or better this time, and they actually did!

They hired a 行政書士 or whatever it's called to handle the renewal for me.

[–]baha3x近畿・奈良県 2 points3 points  (0 children)

not sure, I make way less far from your annual salary in the factory(working in the office) and I got 5 years. maybe I'm just lucky.

[–]skyhermit 2 points3 points  (5 children)

All the foreigners in my company make less than you, but get 5 years during renewal. All the foreigners are 'seishain' though.

I think it is not the income you earn, but whether you are "seishain" or not

[–]HatsuneShiro関東・埼玉県 5 points6 points  (3 children)

Seishain here, engineer, 4.5M yearly income. On my third 1-year residence period right now. Debunked.

[–]skyhermit 0 points1 point  (2 children)

How many employees in your company? Is it a start-up company?

[–]HatsuneShiro関東・埼玉県 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Almost 4,000 employees, company founded in 1979.

Side note: I come from a third world country where visa overstaying / working illegally is common among fellow countrymen, so maybe that's why.

[–]skyhermit 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I have forgotten that "Nationality" has to be taken into consideration as well.

[–]smorkoid 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That is my guess as well.

[–]TokyoShuraba関東・東京都 1 point2 points  (0 children)

You switched jobs and your contracts are only for a year. It probably looks like there isnt much stability and that you could be out of a job to immigration

[–]99999999q 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Do you have any dependents?

[–]Punchinballz 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I'm sure it depends on how applicants look and how good or bad is the employee's day.

Jobless, with not a lot of money, but married, I started with a 3y visa. My friend, same situation, like a twin, 1y.

[–]daush 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I heard that there’s a temple where immigration go, they throw 5 en coin and take bake a stick with a number. That’s it . Mostly have the number 1

[–]DoctorDazza 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Do you do the paperwork in full Japanese, including a letter and such? That's usually how I found getting a longer visa works. Tested it last renewal and got three years for the first time.

[–]Mercenarian関東・東京都 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I did that last year for the first time and still got 1 year… but it kinda makes sense because of our low income I guess.

[–]aikokanzaki 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I've heard all sorts of reasons, the main ones being: changing your job; moving house; your country of origin; the staff's mood; renewing in the second half of the year (apparently there's only a certain amount of 3-5 year visas they give out a year); all lead to one year visa renewals.

[–]summerlad86 1 point2 points  (3 children)

I have always gotten three before. Until I told my boss to specifically write that I’m seishain. Just got my new visa, 5 years. This was like last month.

I don’t make as much as you do per year either.

Are you on a yearly contract?

[–]TheCloudEngineer[S] 2 points3 points  (2 children)

I’m currently on an unlimited contract (定めなし), but I don’t think it is technically 正社員.

Would that technicality come into play? Because on the documents, it asks whether you have a limited or unlimited contract, but there does it seem to be a difference between unlimited and for life.

[–]Myselfamwar 2 points3 points  (0 children)

If you are on a contract (limited or not) you ain’t 正社員.

[–]summerlad86 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I dont know tbh. Seems like they keep the criteria’s pretty close to there heart. I am only speak from own experience. But it’s been the same with some friends. As soon as they went seishain, the years on their visa increased

[–]LinearJunebug 1 point2 points  (0 children)

People are saying it's random, but it's really only the first extension that's truly random. Future extensions are only random in the sense that income, employment details, marital status, length of residency, etc. don't matter.

The important factor that determines what you'll get 90%+ of the time is: What did you get last time? It seems that's the only thing they look at. What did the last guy give you? I'm sure he had his reasons. Better stick with that.

[–]Either_Factor_1499 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I arrived in 2005. In 2006 I got a three year visa, same in 2009, same in 2012.

In 2015 I applied for PR and got it within six weeks.

At the time I was single, an English teacher, no special skills....

The whole process seems very whimsical.

I am, however, a white male from a country which Japan looks up to, so I am sure that factored into the equation.

[–]BMGsimp 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Sharing my situation. Seishain 1st, 5year - Company is public in stock exchange (Kansai) *Visa application processed by company HR *left job after 3 years

-Left Kansai and moved to Kanto

Seishain again 2nd, 5 year - Company not listed in stock exchange *I applied Visa extension by myself

Just an anecdote, Also have friends who earns more than me but are all contract workers and are only given a year by immigration. Similar situation with you. Could be a Keiyakushain/Seishain factor.


[–]ruminant_mammal日本のどこかに 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Got five fresh of the boat club!

I think it is truly random, there really is no logic to it

[–]cjdualima関東・神奈川県 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I think it depends on your company as well. Like if you are a permanent employee at a really big company then you'll get a longer visa.

[–]requiemofthesoul近畿・大阪府 1 point2 points  (0 children)

My lowest salary in Japan netted me 5 years lmfao.

[–]musicandavocados 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It's a gamble every time.

I just got my 14th one-year visa.

Stability? I have lived in the same apartment for 13 years. All taxes, insurance, etc paid.

Jobs? 1) Day job is at a junior high. Annual renewals. The school calls it part-time because they don't put foreigners under full-time but it is 5 days, decent pay. 5 years at current school. 5 years at previous.

2) I've got a permanent part-time. 10 years now. They've even written letters of recommendation for longer visa.

Income? About 5.3m a year.

Yet, I get a one-year every time. I've filed on my own. I've filed using an attorney. A previous school filed using their attorney. Still, one year.

Meanwhile, a lad working at same school I am at, been in Japan 1 year. Went to renew and got a 5-year.

Who even knows at this point.

[–]Hazzat関東・東京都 1 point2 points  (0 children)

A paralegal friend who supports a lot of Immigration applications told me the biggest factor is the size of the company that sponsors the visa.

My visa is 5 years. The company that sponsored it has 300+ people. Take from that what you will.

[–]honeypinklei 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I am just wondering why at your old company you were given a yearly visa only? Based from my experience and my friends', after 2-3 years of being a keiyaku shain with yearly renewable visa, on third year, we were given 3-years visa. im thinking this has to do with your company stability as well

[–]5hJack 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I had a good laugh with the guy at the counter this time, so surely that 5 years is coming through at last... right?

[–]Disconn3cted 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I've met unmarried people living in poverty, with no Japanese ability, working yearly contracts at sketchy ALT dispatch companies who got five year extensions. Pretty sure it's based entirely on the mood of whoever gets your application.

[–]5hJack 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If I were being cynical, I'd say those were exactly the ones they'd want to keep here for as long as possible. Cheap, disposable labour.

[–]tellmeeverything0 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Don’t know but Hire an expert to do the extension for you , he has exponentially more chances on giving you that 3-5 years rc

[–]Yuzugakari 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Got three years my first and second renewal, and then five years my third. Going for PR this year to finally be done with all of the bullshit.

I've had friends who were one year consecutively until they left the country, and other friends who flew in and got five years for no reason.

I would think Seishain in well known companies would have a play, or in companies which often support foreigners coming into Japan, but as has been said many times in this thread, there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason behind it.

[–]Chuhaimaster 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Immigration: 1 year…. 1 year…. 1 year….

Me: This time 3 years. Please! I’ve got consistent employers, been here for more than a few years, etc, etc.

Immigration: Thanks. We’ve taken that into consideration. See you next year. Same time, same inconvenient office. Same BS forms.

[–]Much_Way_2673 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My friend got 5 years first time. He’s a software engineer with 12 million yen salary, no family here

[–]nermalstretch関東・東京都 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It might make things less personal to think of them as a money making enterprise. If they haven’t reached their target then dish out more 1 year visas to get some more renewal fees next year. If they’ll make too much money then dish out some longer visas.

Sometimes their behaviour suggests that they are trying to make as much money as possible. “That will be one fee for the extension as your visa ran out last week while being processed and one more fee for the new visa.…”