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N01 Pros and Cons of Naturalization

Advantages of Naturalization

As shown below, Naturalization gives you the same rights as Japanese.

1. Since you can have a Japanese passport, procedures for overseas travel for short stays(within 90 days) will be easier.  And you can also receive protection from Japanese embassies overseas.

In the world passport ranking as of January 2022, Japanese passports ranked first in the world alongside Singapore.
Being able to travel to 192 countries without a (short-stay) VISA is an irresistible attraction for those who love traveling abroad.
In addition, even if you plan to stay overseas for a long period of one year or more, you will no longer need to obtain a “re-entry permit” from the Immigration Bureau before leaving Japan as before Naturalization.
(Because a Japanese passport comes with many benefits, fake marriages just to obtain one have become a social problem.)
Also, if you have a problem while traveling abroad or working overseas, you can ask for help from the Japanese embassy.  You must feel comfortable with the protection.

2. You are freed from procedures for renewing status of residence

As a Japanese citizen, there is no need to acquire or carry a residence status or a residence card, so naturally there is no need to renew any of them with each period specified by the Immigration Bureau.
It will make you feel very comfortable not to have to worry about penalties if you inadvertently pass the renewal period. 
Of course, no matter what happens, you will not have to worry about being ordered to return to Japan or forced to be deported, so you can live freely in Japan as a Japanese person with peace of mind.

3. You can enjoy social security rights such as pension, insurance, education, and welfare as a Japanese citizen.

It will be possible to receive social security such as pensions, insurance, education, and welfare at the same level as Japanese people, so it will be a great economic advantage.
Furthermore, receiving social security will lead to greater peace of mind when raising children while living in Japan.

4. You can work freely as a Japanese

As of 2022, foreigners can only work in Japan with a valid status of residence within the scope of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act.
In addition, there are many occupations that do not correspond to the status of residence in the first place, and in that case, unfortunately, foreigners cannot get that occupation no matter how much they want.
Also, currently, foreigners can not work as national civil servants.
However, as a Japanese after Naturalization, you are free from all these restrictions and can take any job you like.

5. You can obtain suffrage (the right to vote and to be elected)

From the day you acquire Japanese citizenship, you can acquire Japanese voting rights.
You have both the right to vote and the right to be elected, so you can freely vote and run for election.
As long as you live in a liberal and democratic Japan, it is a natural right to participate in politics.

6. You can register and use a new Japanese name

At the time of Naturalization application, you can freely decide a new name as a Japanese person using ”hiragana”, “katakana”, “kanji for common use” and “kanji for personal names”.
In the first place, it is necessary to create and fill the new Japanese name in the naturalization application form, so it is also a necessary procedure.
I think that changing your real name from your home country to a new Japanese name is the most symbolic procedure from the point of view of your feelings.
Isn’t it the very procedure that makes you feel you’ll be a Japanese citizen?

7. Marriage process becomes much easier

If you are internationally married to a Japanese citizen before Naturalization, you must first obtain the necessary documents from your home country, attach a Japanese translation, and then submit a marriage registration to the municipal office.
At the same time, it is necessary to submit a marriage registration in your home country, so the effort will be considerable.
Furthermore, if you need a status of residence of “Spouse or Child of Japanese National”, you can not obtain it simply by getting married to a Japanese citizen internationally, so you need to apply and obtain permission from the Immigration Bureau. 
(By the way, the status of residence “Spouse or Child of Japanese National” has been illegally obtained through a fake marriage for a long time, so it’s very difficult to acquire one.)

By comparison, if you marry a Japanese person after Naturalization, you only need to submit a marriage notification to the municipal office, and that’s it.

8. The whole family can enter the newly created Japanese family register

If a foreign national marries a Japanese national and obtains the status of residence of “Spouse or Child of Japanese National”, it is not entered into the spouse’s family register.
However, only the information of the foreigner concerned will be entered in the column of “identity matters” in the spouse’s family register.
In contrast, in the case of Naturalization, a new family register will be created for the Naturalized person, so you and your “already Naturalized” or “simultaneous Naturalized” spouse and children will enter the same family register.
This means that you no longer need to go to the embassy or consulate in Japan to apply for and obtain documents.  In other words, after Naturalization, procedures for marriage, childbirth, divorce, death, etc. can be easily processed at the local municipal office.
Also, for those who have children, there will be no troublesome procedures for admission or employment.

9. It’s easier to get a loan from a bank for business or to purchase a house or car, or to rent a property

As a person who will continue to live in Japan as a Japanese citizen in the future, it will be easier for you to receive loans from banks  than when you were a foreigner with a status of residence before.  Considering the burden of collection in the future, this makes sense.
In addition, because the banks seem to regard the Naturalization application itself as a preliminary multifaceted examination of the applicant for a loan, it is said that the actual loan examination will be relatively easy to pass.
The same is true when renting a rental property, and as a person who has become Japanese, you will be able to receive a certain amount of credit, so you will be able to proceed with the rental procedures relatively easily.

10. Inheritance procedures are within the scope of Japanese domestic law, so the burden is lightened.

If a foreign national dies in Japan, the civil law of the person’s home country will be involved, so it will be very complicated. And far from being complicated, if it is difficult to find an expert familiar with the civil law of the country, you may be at a loss.  
Still, it is clear that even if you are lucky enough to find one, the reward will be high.
However, if that person has already been Naturalized and has become a Japanese, inheritance procedures can be completed within the scope of the Japanese Civil Code, so the process is much easier than when foreign laws must be considered. 
Therefore, the burden on the bereaved family will be greatly reduced.

Disadvantages of Naturalization

Please note that naturalization also has drawbacks, as described below.

1. Need to abandon the nationality of your home country

Dual nationality is prohibited in Japan, so unfortunately you have to renounce your home country’s nationality upon Naturalization.
Additionally, it will not be easy to regain the nationality of your home country again in the future.
Therefore, it is necessary to take careful consideration when making a decision to get Naturalized.

For that reason, our office will help you make the right decision by presenting a number of options, such as a recommendation for Permanent Residency, to those who are hesitant about making a decision.

2. If you go back to your home country, you may need to obtain a short-term VISA or a status of residence.

As I mentioned earlier in “Advantages of naturalization 1”, if your home country is not one of the 192 countries that do not require a short-term VISA, you will still need to obtain a short-term VISA even if you are returning home just to see your families.
Even if you are assigned to work abroad in your home country, you will be treated as a foreigner (who has Japanese nationality) working in a foreign country, so you will still need to obtain the appropriate status of residence.

If you are a busy businessman who has many opportunities to go back and forth to your home country or overseas, it’s a good choice to get Permanent Residency for the time being and wait for a while to Naturalize until your position at the company settles down in Japan.

Conclusion and advice from our our office

Naturalization is recommended for those who do not plan to return to their home country frequently in the future and who are prepared to live in Japan for the rest of their lives after all.
Just in case, if I continue to live in a foreign country, fall in love with it, and finally decide to become a naturalized citizen, I can easily imagine that I would have to be sentimental.
I don’t think many of you are one of them, but if you came to Japan without leaving any family members back in your home country, maybe you don’t mind applying for Naturalization at all.
But, the majority of you were taken care of by their families back in your home countries before coming to Japan.
It’s not like you’ll be separated from the family forever, but isn’t there something lonely about having a different nationality from them?

In that sense, I definitely don’t want to force my clients to apply for Naturalization, just thinking about the income of the office.
I would like to offer a wide range of friendly advice to help our customers make the best choices and also would like to support the customers when they make a final decision.

Thanks for checking and please contact us if you’re interested in “Naturalization” or “Permanent Resident” or have any questions.

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