My friend says his Residence Card is about to expire. He wants to renew his card, so he wants to know how to do it and what kind of documents he needs. I'm not sure what kind of visa he actually has.
There are 2 different kinds of cases that will determine the process for renewing your Residence Card (zairyū kādo / 在留カード) as it nears its date of expiration.
①The first is for people aged 16 and over who have the "visa" or status of residence (zairyū shikaku / 在留資格) of Permanent Resident (eijūsha / 永住者) or Highly Skilled Professional (ii) (kōdo senmonshoku ni-gō / 高度専門職2号). In these cases, the Residence Card's date of expiration is 7 years from the date of issue, so you can submit an Application for Extension of the Valid Period of the Residence Card (zairyū kādo yūkō kigen kōshin shinsei / 在留カード有効期限更新申請) before it expires. To apply, you will need the Immigration Bureau's designated application form, a photograph (size requirements apply), your passport, and you will also need to present your current Residence Card. You can apply up to 2 months before the date of expiration.
②The second applies to people with a status of residence with a specified period of stay. Normally, the date of expiration of your Residence Card will be the same as the date of expiration for your status of residence, so you will need to submit an Application for Extension of Period of Stay (zairyū kikan kōshin kyoka shinsei / 在留期間更新許可申請). The documents required will depend on your status of residence, so please consult your nearest Immigration Bureau office directly about the documentation you need to provide. The application can be made up to 3 months before the date of expiration. If an extension to your period of stay is granted, you will be issued a new Residence Card valid for the new period of stay.
For Residence Card holders mentioned in ①, if you are spending an extended period of time outside Japan, for business, studying abroad, etc., and are unable to reenter Japan before the date of expiration, or are otherwise unable to apply for an extension within the card's valid period, it may be possible to apply earlier than the application period, so please consult your nearest Immigration Bureau office. If, for some reason, you did not apply to extend the card's valid period before the date of expiration, you will still need to consult an Immigration Bureau office. Failing to apply to extend the valid period and letting the card expire may be subject to punishment, so please be careful.