Alien Registration Cards
Alien Registration Cards 外国登録証明
All non-Japanese citizens who are resident in Japan for more than 90 days will need to apply for an alien registration card (gaikokujin-tōroku-shōmeisho) within their first 90 days of residence.
Alien registration cards (commonly known as "gaijin cards") are issued from local ward offices and contain the photograph (but no longer the fingerprint) of the holder.
Alien registration cards are necessary documents for obtaining a driving license, purchasing national health insurance, opening a bank account, buying or moving into a house or apartment and other activities requiring legal proof of identity such as purchasing a mobile phone or renting videos/DVDs from a video store.
Foreign residents of Japan above the age of 16 are legally required to carry their alien registration cards at all times and must present them when leaving the country for travel outside Japan along with their passport and fill in the number of your alien registration card on the embarkation form.
Alien registration cards need to be updated if the holder's visa status changes or the holder moves to live in a different ward of the same city or to a different city within Japan. Any such changes in status should be reported to your local ward office within 14 days of the change.
When applying for an alien registration card you will need your passport and two 35mm x 45mm (ICAO standard size) photographs taken within the previous six months. It usually takes two weeks to issue an alien registration card and you will be given a date to return to your local ward office to collect it.
Alien Registration Card Stored Information
The information stored in the alien registration system includes:
Date of registration
This information is recorded in a physical document called a tōroku genpyō (登録原票), kept by the ward in which the subject lives.
The tōroku genpyō is closed when the alien leaves Japan without a re-entry permit, and is then kept in an archive at the Ministry of Justice. Any subsequent entry to Japan by the same person requires a new registration which is kept on a new tōroku genpyō.
The information on the alien registration card (ARC) itself includes your name; nationality; date of birth; place of birth; passport number; date of arrival in Japan; visa status; period of stay.
Loss or Theft of Alien Registration Card
If your alien registration card is lost or stolen you will need to report it to the police and then apply for a new card to be issued.
Renewal of Alien Registration Card
Your alien registration card must be renewed within 30 days of the expiry date printed on the card, usually this is after a 5 year period. On leaving Japan to return to your country surrender your alien registration card to the immigration official at your departure point or to your local ward office.