As a continuation of our visa series, today we take a look at the 上陸許可 (jyouriku kyoka), or "Landing Permission," stamp in your visa. This stamp is your lifeblood in Japan. Obey the items written on this stamp, or risk deportation from and sanctions on re-entry to Japan.

  1. 在留期限 (zairyuu kigen): This is the date until which you are allowed to legally reside in Japan. If you overstay this date, even for one day, you risk deportation and barred re-entry to Japan, depending on the mood of the immigration officer handling your case, and whether Japanese Immigration is having a general crackdown on illegal immigrants or not. Either way, it is a pretty big risk. Don't take it. Apply for and Extension of Period of Stay at least 1 to 3 months before this date.
  2. 在留資格 (zairyuu shikaku): This is your Status of Residence in Japan. Japanese Immigration is strict about allowing people to only perform certain tasks within certain Statuses of Residence. Some Statuses, like "Instructor" or "Specialist in Humanities," allow a person to be employed part- or full-time. Other Statuses, like "College Student," do not by default permit a person to engage in profitable activity. Even Statuses permitting employment usually restrict the type of employment that person may engage in. If you are on an Instructor visa, but you scored and started a new job as an investment banker at a financial institution, or as a translator, or a web developer, you are breaking Japanese Immigration law. Apply for a Change of Status of Residence before you start that job.
  3. 在留期間 (zairyuu kikan): This is your Period of Stay. It is first determined by the information on your 日本国査証 (if you used one), and could be anywhere from 10 days to 5 years, depending on what Immigration deems is necessary for you to fulfill your intended duty within Japan. Most common values are 90 days (like this "tourist visa"), One Year, Three Years, or (apparently coming soon:) Five Years.
  4. Disembarkation Point: This is the location at which you entered Japan.
  5. Departure/Embarkation Stamp: The Landing Permission in this example has been "used up" because the individual departed from Japan. In order to spend time in Japan again, this person would need to get a new Landing Permission.

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