Life in Japan

All you need to know about the Zairyu Card

Yaaay team April 18, 2024
Silhouette of Woman Against Window Overlooking Tokyo
If you're relocating to Japan for work, understanding the Zairyu Card is essential.
In this column we will explain what it is, how to get it, and what to do if you lose it.

Residence/ID card

The Zairyu Card is issued to foreign residents in Japan holding medium or long-term residence permits. It’s used as an ID document that serves as proof of residency status and functions as a valid form of identification. 
The Zairyu Card indicates a set of personal information since it is something like an ID card. The details shown on the card include:

Date of birth
Visa category or status
Period of stay, including the date of the card being issued and expiring

How to get your Zairyu Card

If you are arriving at Narita, Haneda, Kansai, or Chubu airports when first coming to Japan, you can get your Zairyu Cards at the immigration desks located within these airports. 

Upon arrival,
1. you'll undergo fingerprinting, have your photo taken, and present your passport, visa, and any other required documents
2. Upon verification of all documents, your Zairyu Card may be issued immediately.
3. Within 14 days of settling into your new residence, it's essential to register your address with the local authorities.
4. Your registered address will be recorded on both your Zairyu Card and in the immigration database.

What to do if you lose your card

If your Zairyu card is lost or stolen, you'll have to apply for a replacement at the immigration office in your area within 14 days.

Here's what you need to do:
1. Report the loss or theft to the authorities, such as the police, to make an official record.
2. Check the procedures at your local immigration office and set up an appointment if needed.
3. Bring along your police report, passport, and any other documents they ask for.
4. Prepare a statement in Japanese explaining what happened to your card. Bring a translator if necessary.
5. Apply for a new Zairyu Card. Depending on your situation, they might give you the new card right away.

Carry it with you wherever you go!

You need to carry your Zairyu card wherever you go and if requested by an immigration inspector, immigration officer, police officer, etc., it is necessary to show it. 
If you do not carry your residence card, you may be punished with a fine of up to 200,000 yen, and if you do not accept the presentation, you may be punished with imprisonment for up to 1 year or a fine of up to 200,000 yen.

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