Comprehensive Guide to Getting a Residence Record (Juminhyo) in Japan
Japanese Culture & Customs
Foreigners who reside in Japan for the medium to long-term are recorded in the Basic Resident Registration System just like Japanese nationals, and a Residence Record (juminhyo) is created for them. A Residence Record is required for many administrative procedures, including those related to employment or your status of residence. In this article, we explain in detail where and how to get your Residence Record.
What is a Residence Record (Juminhyo)?
A Residence Record is an official record of an individual’s current address and household information. It is a certificate that proves where you live in Japan and who you live with. Technically speaking, when you obtain a Residence Record, you are actually getting a “copy of your Residence Record” (juminhyo no utsushi). Note that some municipalities refer to it as Residence Record or Certificate, while others refer to it as “Copy of Residence Record/Certificate” on their English websites. For the sake of simplicity, we will refer to it as a “Residence Record” in this article.
Items in the Residence Record Specific to Foreigners
A Residence Record lists your full name, date of birth, gender, address, and other basic information. If you are a foreign resident, it will also indicate your nationality, status of residence, period of stay, etc. When you obtain a Residence Record from your municipal office, make sure that these items are indicated properly.
Obtaining a Residence Record
The following is the general procedure for obtaining a Residence Record. Note that there may be slight differences in the requirements and procedure depending on your municipality. To be safe, use the following as a reference and inquire with your municipal office regarding their specific procedure.
Where you can get a Residence Record
You can get a Residence Record in the municipal office of the city/ward/town/village where you reside. You usually just have to fill out a form and bring the required items to the counter, and you can get the Residence Record right there and then. Some municipal offices also let you obtain a Residence Record even if you are not a resident of that municipality.
① Either of the following:
・An official identification document with your photo, e.g. Driver’s License, “My Number” Card, Residence Card, Special Permanent Resident Certificate
・National Health Insurance Card, Long-term Care Insurance Card, or similar document
②Handling fee: 300 yen per copy
As a foreign resident, you are required to carry your Residence Card with you at all times, so you can just bring that and the handling fee to the appropriate counter at your municipal office.
If a member of your household besides yourself is requesting a Residence Record on your behalf, they need to show an identification document proving your relationship. If a proxy who is not a member of your household is applying, a proxy letter is also required. There may be other requirements when requesting by proxy, so you should check with the municipal office in advance.
Requesting a Residence Record by Mail
Some municipalities also allow you to request for a Residence Record by mail. While this can save you the hassle of visiting the municipal office, it will also take more time and cost you extra for the postal fees.
To make a request by mail, download and print the application form from your municipality’s website, then send the following documents to your municipal office by post.
① The completed application form
② A copy of your identification document
③ Handling fee (300 yen per copy)
④ A stamped return envelope
Note that most municipalities require you to send the handling fee as a fixed amount postal money order (teigaku kogawase) or by cash registered mail (genkin kakitome). These can be purchased from any post office.
Obtaining a Residence Record from a Convenience Store using your “My Number” Card
Foreign residents in Japan are also eligible to apply for a “My Number” Card (an identification card with an IC chip). Having a “My Number” Card allows you to obtain your Residence Record from a convenience store through the photocopying machine. This service is only available from 6:30 to 23:00 (though it may vary slightly by municipality). This is especially convenient if visiting the municipal office during weekdays is difficult for you due to work or school.
Note that for foreign residents, the validity period of the “My Number” Card is limited to your period of stay. Whenever you renew your status of residence (i.e. apply for an extension of your period of stay), you should also request for an extension of the validity of your “My Number” Card at your municipal office.
This article explained how foreign residents in Japan can obtain a copy of their Residence Record. As listed above, there are a number of methods available for obtaining it. We hope this article can serve as a useful reference to help you obtain your Residence Record smoothly whenever it becomes necessary.