Saturday, November 23, 2013

Leaving-but-not-leaving Japan

We will be out of here in another few weeks, but because of our permanent resident status (which we would like to maintain for the time being), it's not necessarily quite as simple as for most foreigners on shorter visits.

It is fairly clearly implied by the various documentation (eg here), but the system was changed recently and our situation is not that usual, so it was a minor relief to find out that we really can maintain our permanent residency rights in Japan for as long as we want after we leave. The PR status does not have an expiry date in itself, but in the past everyone has also needed a separate re-entry permit to get back into the country after an absence. The requirement for this old re-entry permit was recently abolished for any absence of up to a year (even for short-term visa holders) but no-one batted an eyelid when we turned up at immigration yesterday, told them we were off on a long trip and not returning inside a year, and applied for the old-style re-entry permits, which still exist. So now we've got these re-entry permits, valid for 5 years - and if we come back at the end of that time, there's no reason why we couldn't get new ones ad infinitum. The PR residency card itself also needs to be replaced every 7y, and furthermore jules' and mine are a year out of synch, but that's an annoyance for the future.

Not that we have any particular plans to return, but it's nice to feel that our options are open. More importantly perhaps, are the financial implications, which require a longer blog post to come...

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