Maciamo Japan
FAQ : Formal procedures

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Content :
  • Getting married in Japan
  • Getting an alien registration card (gaikokujin tourokushou)
  • Opening a bank account
  • Sending money abroad.

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Getting married in Japan
What are the procedures to get married with a Japanese in Japan ?
It depends on your nationality as every country as a different legilsation regarding marriage. If you want to get married in Japan, think I don't mistake if I say that everybody needs a birth certificate and a paper certifying that we haven't been married before. You'll need them to be sent from your home country and translated at your embassy.
After that, go to the kuyakusho or shiyakusho (town hall) and bring all the papers with your passport (and a few ID pictures just in case). Two witnesses must sign the official paper. If they are Japanese, they'll need their hanko (stamp).
Once you are married, you need to go to the Immigration office (nyuukoku kanrikyoku). In Tokyo it's located in 5-5-30 Konan, Minato-ku (see map). Bring the documents showing that you are married, a few pictures of you two together and with your respective families if possible. Make sure you have copies, as these pictures won't be returned to you. Don't forget your passport and some ID pictures. You will have to fill some applications. Once you have submitted everything, your passport will be stamped with your application number. It normally takes from a few weeks to 3 months to get the spouse visa. During this time, you must stay in Japan until your visa is issued (or declined). You will be informed by mail when your visa is ready.
Once you go back to the immigration office and obtain your visa, you should also ask for a "multiple re-entry visa". It is necessary to travel outside Japan. If you don't have one when you exit Japan (even for a single day), you will lose your visa and will have to reapply, pay and wait again.
For more detailed information (in English and Japanese) about getting married in Japan, visit thewebsite of the British Embassy in Japan.

Getting an alien registration card (gaikokujin tourokushou)
This card is compulsory for any foreigner staying over 3 months in Japan.
The registration is made at your local town hall (kuyakusho or shiyakusho). Take your passport and 2 recent ID pictures (taken within the last 6 months). You will have to pay different stamps, then wait a few weeks until you can go back there and get the card. If you are planning to change and extend your visa, do it before you get your alien registration card, or you will have to return and update the card after that. You should also update your card whenever you change address in Japan.
Opening a bank account in Japan
Opening a bank account should be a fairly straightforward thing if you have a proper visa (1 year or more) and your alien registration card (no need to take your passport in that case). Most big banks have bilingual application forms in Japanese and English. Ask for the right counter and papers, fill the application and submit it when your waiting number is called. It should just take a few minutes. Some banks might ask you for your "hanko" (personal stamp with your name on it). As foreigners are not supposed to have one (you can if you want, but it is not obligatory), you can just sign instead.
Sending money abroad
Overseas remittance is the easiest way to send money from Japan to another country's bank account. Unfortunately, it might not be as easy to find a bank that offer these services in Japan. The British Lloyds TSB branch in Tokyo offer foreign remittance service for a 2000 yen fee only, which is probably the cheapest you'll find. The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi is otherwise probably the most foreigner friendly bank, and they have branches everywhere around Tokyo, which makes it more convenient than Lloyds TSB.
What do I need before going to the bank ?
To send money to a foreign bank account, you need :
- your passport or alien registration card
- the money you want to send in cash
- the IBAN (International Bank Account Number), RIB, name and address of the bank (account) to which you want to send your money.