From Mie Guidebook
Third year JETs who are re-contracting for a fourth year will need a visa extension (在留期間更新 zairyū kikan kōshin) as the original JET visa only lasts three years.
Third year JETs who are not re-contracting but would like to stay in Japan as tourists for even one day past their JET contract (aka, visa expiration date), will need to switch to a tourist visa.
Although your BOE or place of employment will provide you with a few documents which will be necessary to obtain your extension, ultimately its up to the JET participant to take care of this process.
Extending your visa will require two separate trips to an immigration bureau. If anything goes wrong during the process, more trips may be necessary as well.
Keep in mind that it's not possible to extend your visa until two months before the expiration date. Also, for 4th year JETs, it isn't possible to do this until your BOE or school gives you the necessary paperwork confirming your new contract, and this may not occur until early July -- only a month before your expiration date.
Nearby Immigration Offices
Things to Bring
- Passport (旅券 ryoken)
- Alien Registration Card (外国人登録証明書 gaikokujin tōroku shōmeisho)
- Proof of Employment (在職証明書 zaishoku shōmeisho) plus other docs from BOE
- Official document from your BOE or school confirming that you are indeed re-contracted to work from late July / early August of this year until the following year. There may be other documents included with this that you receive from the BOE -- bring all of them.
- Residence Tax Proof of Payment (住民税の課税証明書 jūmin-zei no kazei shōmeisho)
- Paper to confirm that you have paid your residence tax for this year. As residence tax payment requests don't go out until June 1st, this will likely require speedy payment on your part. If your school or town pays this tax for you, you may have to pay it yourself and then be reimbursed later. You can pick this document up at your local city/town office from the Taxation Department (税務課 zeimu-ka) for a small fee.
- Income Tax Certificate (納税証明書 nōzei shōmeisho)
- Paper indicating your salary and how much tax is taken out. This document is acquired the same way as the residence tax paper (see above).
Visa Extension Application
You should print off the Extension Application Form (PDF), fill it out in advance, and bring it with you. It appears that as of 2010, it is mandatory for your school or contracting organization to fill out page 3 of this application, so make sure the school fills it out and puts their official stamp on it beforehand.
There is an over-arching extension form as well as an additional form that you will have to fill out because of your "instructor" visa status. Don't be afraid to be honest on the form for people with the "instructor" status - even if you have no formal qualifications as an English teacher you'll be given the extension, much as you were given the original visa.
Notes on filling out the form
- School/BOE stamp
- The third page of the application form may very well require the stamp of your school, so fill it out in advance.
- Three more years.
- Although your proof of employment clearly states you are only re-contracted for one more year (as JETs are employed on a year-to-year basis), you should apply for a three-year visa as you might get it. In recent years it seems the success rate has dropped a lot, however you will not be rejected for requesting 3 years so it is worth a shot.
Upon completing your form, submitting everything to an officer at the bureau, and sitting around and waiting for awhile, you'll be asked to fill out a self-addressed postcard. The immigration bureau will send this to you when your request has been processed and your new visa is available -- it usually takes two-three weeks.
When you receive the self-addressed postcard in the mail, that means your visa is ready and you can make the second trip. This trip is easier than the first trip, ideally you're just going to pick up your visa, maybe get a re-entry permit, and you're done.
Things to Bring
- Alien Registration Card
- ¥4000 in the form of a postage revenue stamp for your new visa
- You can't pay cash at the immigration bureau, you must give your cash to the post office and then take a cash stamp to the bureau. The Yokkaichi immigration bureau does not have a post office in the area so make sure to pick these up before you head out there.
- The postcard you received in the mail from the immigration bureau
- Gaijin Card Update
- After you get your new visa, you need to go to your town/city hall and get "visa expires on" field of your gaijin card updated. The town office will ask you to fill out a form and then write the new visa date on the back of the card. The process takes about 5 minutes, and it is said you should do it within two weeks of getting the visa extension. All you need to bring is your passport.
- Driver's License Renewal
- If your drivers license is going to expire around the time your visa is, first renew your visa, then get your gaijin card updated, and then get your drivers license renewed.
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