What is a gyoseishoshi (行政書士)?
In the case of Japan, it is someone who assists people in handling administrative paperwork to be turned into governmental offices for immigration or filing for naturalization, applying for permission to carry out certain kinds of projects, creating or registering a company, creating contracts, and inheritance matters. In other words they will be your representative (dairinin = 代理人) and act on your behalf. While nationally certified these people are not lawyers yet they are familiar with various laws to a certain degree and as such are very knowledgeable individuals. When one is in doubt about how to handle complicate government application processes, gyoseishoshi can be a very valuable resource.
A key question for many people is “how much does it cost?” to consult with a gyoseishoshi. The answer is, for simple consultations around 5,000Yen to 10,000Yen or so. For more complicated matters, it depends on the situation, so consultation fees are very much a case-by-case matter, but never overly unreasonable.
Who utilizes a gyoseishoshi?
Many foreign residents seek consultation and assistance from gyoseishoshi regarding procedures and paperwork related to marriage, divorce, visas, nationalization process, and starting businesses. Above and beyond foreign residents, who do make up a large part of a gyoseishoshi’s clientele, businesses often consult with them as well regarding a great many matters. Consultation content can range from “How do I go about hiring foreigners?”, “What type of visa is appropriate?”, to “How much do I pay my IT specialist?” and so on.
Sharing information during consultations
The gyoseishoshi that the Nagoya Calendar spoke with encouraged us to tell readers (or people interested in consulting with a gyoseishoshi) to be upfront and share as much information regarding the reason for their visit or desire to hire on a gyoseishoshi as possible. Oftentimes potential clients are not completely forthcoming about their past and end up having their application being refused by the government body in question. By being upfront with the gyoseishoshi they can give you better information regarding your application, what to do, and the likelihood that it will be accepted or not. This will go a long way in saving you time, money, and potential disappointment.
Gyoseishoshi also help foreign residents and businesses with many immigration matters. They will file applications on behalf of individuals regarding the renewal of visas, changing visa status, re-entry permits, certificates of authorized employment, applying for permanent residency and so on. Please note that immigration checks an individual’s background for the presence of – or lack thereof – a criminal record regardless of the country you come from or one’s social status. Additionally, decisions made at immigration are based on a wide variety of factors that may or may not be directly involved with the individual applying so sometimes it can be difficult for a gyoseishoshi to be able to make an “educated guess” about the likelihood of one’s application being successful or not.
For people who have overstayed their visas and desire to seek assistance from a gyoseishoshi, they will help you with your case, however in cases in which an individual has overstayed their visa they cannot guarantee that the individual in question will be allowed back into Japan after one year. Additionally, gyoseishoshi are not lawyers, so they cannot assist people to the fullest extent of the law.
The Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law (nyukan nanmin-ho = 入管難民法) states that, “those people who have overstayed their visas (fuho taizai = 不法滞在) but turn themselves in to their local immigration control office will not be held in custody neither shall they need to pay a fine and can leave the country soon after paperwork has been processed. Such individuals will not be allowed to re-enter Japan for at least 1 year.”
This law allows for smoother and faster processing if an individual or a family desires to return their home country. This pertains to those people overstaying their visas who meet the following conditions: people who have not previously been deported, do not possess a criminal record, people who ready to and are financially able to purchase airline tickets to return to their home country and those people who have no other pressing reason to leave the country other than that pertaining to overstaying their visa.
Please note that if a person overstaying their visa turns them self into the police, they will face a fine and criminal charges.
I want to start my own company, how can a gypseoshoshi help?
Beyond the fees necessary for setting up a company, a gyoseishoshi will help clients with the required paperwork to launch a business or venture plus give a certain amount of advice regarding the process.
For more information see the Aichi Prefecture Gyoseishoi Association’s website at at http://www.aichi-gyosei.or.jp
The Nagoya International Center 3F Information Services Corner also has a list of gyoseishoshi that speak English.