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Tuesday, April 4, 2006

LIFELINES

Permanent residency and names


Permanent residency

Having been granted permanent residency a couple of years ago, I have been concerned about ensuring that I do not jeopardize it by overlooking any technicalities.

If I have a valid re-entry permit, can I simply return to Japan before the entry permit expires to obtain another and then go back to my home country? Are there grounds on which you can be denied a multiple re-entry permit?

Permanent residency is permanent. You do not have to renew it.

At the same time if you leave the country you have to keep your re-entry permit current. You have to have a re-entry permit that, as you have stated, is valid for three years.

The solution, if you plan to stay for an extended period outside the country, is for you to come back to Japan every three years or have your passport come back to Japan every three years to have a re-entry stamp placed in it.

The best thing to do is to contact one of the "gyosei shoshi" who do this. They can make all the arrangements and do the work for you.

You can contact Mr. Inomoto at (03) 3582-7482 or Mr. Nakai at (03) 6402-7654.

Japanese names

Reader Justin writes: My wife and I married in 2000 and we agreed at the time that she would keep her Japanese name. It was no bother to me and presents no real problems. Six years later, we are expecting our first child.

I am from New Zealand and I want our children to have access to both nationalities as well as carry their father's name.

Now, for foreign couples there are no restrictions on what the birth certificate carries. For foreigners married to Japanese nationals, though, it turns out that the child must use the Japanese parent's name as registered on their "koseki tohon."

As you probably know, once the child is born, the birth certificate is taken to the city office and made official ("Shussei Juri Shomeisho").

That document can never be changed and is the document that is needed to register the child in the foreign parent's country.

In New Zealand's case, the name on the official birth certificate is the name the child henceforth will have.

If the child had been born in New Zealand there would be no problems -- the child would in fact have two names -- the desired name and the name registered with the Japanese parents name in Japan.

So what can be done? We changed my wife's name to my name. After getting married there is a six month grace period to change your name to that of your spouse

Six years on this is doable for about 2,000 yen yen and a 4-6 week waiting time. You bring your "koseki tohon" and "gaikokujin toroku."

My advice for international couples who are planning on families and want dual citizenship is have the Japanese partner take the foreign spouse's name or have your children overseas.

Send your queries, questions, problems and posers to lifelines@japantimes.co.jp


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