How to Apply for a Japanese Residence Certificate

I can probably count on one hand the number of times I had to visit city hall back in the United States. The first time was to fill out my marriage certificate. Then there were a couple of trips to get approvals for some home renovations. If you stretch the definition of “city hall” to include federal offices, you can also add the Passport Office to the list. Perhaps I am forgetting something, but with so few visits, there is not much to recall.

Not so in Japan. In the few years that I have been here, I have made more than a dozen intentional trips to city hall to get some paperwork that I absolutely had to have. When I purchased a car, I needed to get my name stamp (inkan or hanko) registered at the local city bureau. Changing addresses mandates a visit to several city departments, sometimes at both the former and the new municipal offices. Visits to local government offices are so common that my wife even included distance from the nearest yakusho in her home-search criteria.

One of the most common activities you will perform at your local government office is to request a jūminhyō (住民票), a type of residence certificate. At its core, this document provides evidence that you do, in fact, live at a specific address. But you can also ask for additional details to appear as needed for specific purposes. For instance, you can list members of your household, your nationality, your My Number card ID, and other key demographic details related to your household.

When passing through Yokohama station recently, I visited the in-station city hall branch location and grabbed a 住民票の写し等請求書, the request form needed to get a residence certificate.

In this article, I’ll provide instructions for filling in the most typical details. If you are a Japan Everyday member, you can access a full translation of all terms on this form.

If you need the certificate in response to some official request and you aren’t sure which fields to fill out, you can usually show the original request letter to the city hall staff and they will help you select the right portions.

Section 1: The Resident

The first block prompts for basic information about the resident whose form is being requested: address (住所), phone number (電話番号), full name (氏名), and birthdate (生年月日). If you aren’t familiar with the Japanese emperor-year system, circle the term for anno domini (西暦) and provide your birthdate using standard Western years.

Section 2: The Type of Form

The second block lets you indicate the main type of residence certificate to receive. There are four choices: (1) a standard residence form (住民票) with a checkbox to append details on family members previously deleted from the record; (2) just the deleted information; (3) a limited version of the standard residence certificate that includes named items only, and (4) a similarly limited version that focuses on deleted elements.

In most cases, you will select the first option. Just to the right, circle 世帯全員 (or 全員) if you want all household members listed on the form, or 世帯の一部 (or 一部) if only some members should appear (list names to the right). In the third column, enter the number of copies you would like to receive. Yokohama charges ¥300 for each copy.

Section 3: Individual Identity

The next section lets you add key identity information about the target of the certificate. The first checkbox, 本籍, adds the person’s “official domicile,” that is, the official family home of record. In some cases, this address may be for the applicant’s parents, clear across the country from the certificate’s issuing office. The second checkbox attaches the name(s) and relationship of family members (to the applicant) from that domicile.

If the person named in the certificate is a foreigner, the remaining fields in this block add relevant status details: nationality, resident card (zairyū kādo) number, and visa status.

Section 4: ID Numbers

Section 4 lets you include your My Number ID (マイナンバー) or Residence Certificate code (住民票コード) on the certificate. If you request the My Number ID, you have to check the reason: work-related (勤務先), government (管公署), banking (金融機関), insurance (保険会社), probate (相続手続), ID verification (番号確認), or some other purpose (その他).

Section 5: Requester

In Section 5, you indicate who is submitting this form at the city hall counter. If it is for yourself, check the 本人 field, or check 同一世帯員 if this is for another household member (followed by your name and birthdate). The third checkbox, 本人・同一世帯員から頼まれた方, is used by those who are submitting the form at the direct request of the household member; Section 6 is required. Finally, the last box is used by corporations or anyone else; Sections 6 and 8 are required, as is Section 7 for corporate requests.

Section 6: Requester Identity

The address, name, and phone number of the person submitting the form appear here. This block isn’t used by household members.

Section 7: Corporate Identity

For requests made by businesses and other corporate entities, the identity and official seal of the submitter goes here.

Section 8: Purpose

When someone other than household members or their direct agents is submitting this form, the reason for the request must be provided here.

When you approach this form for the first time, it can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, if all you need is basic evidence that you live at a specific address, the actual fields that need to be filled in are very limited: enter your identity details in Section 1, circle the 住民票 and 世帯全員 terms on the first row in Section 2, and check the initial 本人 field in Section 5. The counter staff will ask to see your picture ID, and will confirm with you that the choices you made on the form are correct.

After submitting the form, you will use one of the in-office stamp-issuing machines to pay for the form. When requesting a single form in Yokohama, for instance, use the machine to get a single ¥300 stamp. You will hand this stamp to the counter staff when picking up your residence certificate.

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[Image Credits: FineGraphics / photo-ac.com]

Tim Patrick

Tim Patrick is an author, software developer, and the host of Japan Everyday. He has published a dozen books and hundreds of articles covering technology, current events, and now life in Japan. Find his latest books at OwaniPress.com.

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