What is the change? Japan is testing a new deregistration process for holders of the Zairyu Card.

What does the change mean? Foreign workers should be aware that more time may be required for final departure than in the past.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: The Zairyu Card.
  • Who is affected: Zairyu Card holders.
  • Impact on processing times: The deregistration process and cancellation of the Zairyu Card may take longer.
  • Business impact: The new exit procedures are intended to be more reliable in ensuring that foreign assignees can complete their deregistration, but they will potentially require more lead time and an additional form to sign.
  • Next steps: A study group is monitoring the temporary deregistration process and may review it at a later date to decide whether to make further changes or make the process permanent.

Background: The Ministry of Justice launched the new temporary procedures after foreign nationals complained that immigration officers at the airport were refusing to accept their Zairyu Cards upon their final departure, which was the last step necessary to cancel their cards.

Foreign residents must still notify their ward/city office of their intent to leave Japan two weeks before their departure date and submit a signed “overseas moving-out notification” form. Under the new procedure, immigration officers at the airport will now require foreign residents to sign a form requesting cancellation of the Zairyu Card. The officer will punch a hole in the card and return it to the foreign national and within two to three weeks the officer will inform the ward/city office that the card has been canceled.

BAL Analysis: The temporary exit procedures mean that foreign nationals holding Zairyu Cards should allow more time at the airport when leaving the country for the final time because there is now more to the final exit process than just handing their Zairyu Card to the immigration officer at the immigration checkpoint.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Japan. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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