Japanese civil documents required for U.S. visa application

General Information

The Japanese family register generally covers all current information regarding birth, adoption, marriage, divorce, or death records. Therefore, a married person's family register can serve as evidence of both birth and present marriage, for example.

The full version of the family register (Koseki Tohon (戸籍謄本) / Zenbujiko Shomeisho (全部事項証明書)) covers all household members, while the extract version (Koseki Shohon (戸籍抄本) / Kojinjiko Shomeisho (個人事項証明書)) covers events related only to one individual of the household. Please also note that once someone changes his/her domicile (honsekichi), as a head of family register, the past records will not be transferred to the new domicile municipal office. Therefore, the past records may not be shown on his/her family register obtained from the new domicile municipal office. In addition, past records may not be transferred when the municipal office changes its record system from the Koseki Tohon or Koseki Shohon (older format that is hand-written or typed vertically) to Zenbujiko Shomeisho or Ichibujiko Shomeisho (digitized format typed horizontally).

Also, in cases where an individual was removed from one family register and placed into another family record by adoption or marriage, the current family register sometimes does not indicate the person's place of birth. If the omitted portion is required, an extract from the canceled koseki (joseki shohon (除籍抄本)) must be obtained from the Municipal Office holding the applicant's previous family register.

General Issuing Authority Information

Family register (both full and extract versions) and civil documents/certifcates can normally be obtained from a municipal (city, ward, town, village) office in the registered domicile (Honsekichi). However, some cities and ward offices have expanded their administrative capabilities and may offer access to family registers from other cities or wards.
Birth Certificates

Document Name: Full version of family register (Koseki Tohon (戸籍謄本) / Zenbu jiko shomeisho (全部事項証明書)); Extract version of family register (Koseki Shohon (戸籍抄本)/ Kojin jiko shomeisho (個人事項証明書)) or Certificate of Acceptance of Notification of Birth (Shussho todoke juri shomeisho (出生届受理証明書)).

Note: The following documents are not acceptable in lieu of family register or Certificate of Acceptance of Notification of Birth:
  Certificate of Residence
  U.S. base issued birth certificate
  Maternal Handbook
Marriage Certificates

Document Name: Full version of family register (Koseki Tohon (戸籍謄本) / Zenbu jiko shomeisho (全部事項証明書)); Extract version of family register (Koseki Shohon (戸籍抄本) / Kojin jiko shomeisho (個人事項証明書)) or Certificate of Acceptance of Notification of Marriage (Konin todoke juri shomeisho (婚姻届受理証明書)).

Note: The following documents are not acceptable in lieu of family register or Certificate of Acceptance of Notification of Marriage as they are not recognized as marriage certificates by the Government of Japan:
  Certificate of residence
  Certificate issued by a church, mosque or other religious organization
Divorce Certificates

Document Name: Full version of family register (Koseki Tohon (戸籍謄本) / Zenbu jiko shomeisho (全部事項証明書)); Extract version of family register (Koseki Shohon (戸籍抄本) / Kojin jiko shomeisho (個人事項証明書)) or Certificate of Acceptance of Notification of Divorce (Rikon todoke juri shomeisho (離婚届受理証明書)).

Note: The following document is not acceptable in lieu of family register or Certificate of Acceptance of Notification of Divorce:
  Certificate of residence
Death Certificates

Document Name: Full version of family register (Koseki Tohon (戸籍謄本) / Zenbu jiko shomeisho (全部事項証明書)); Extract version of family register (Koseki Shohon (戸籍抄本) / Kojin jiko shomeisho (個人事項証明書)) or Certificate of Acceptance of Notification of Death (Shibo todoke juri shomeisho (死亡届受理証明書)).
Adoption Certificates

Document Name: Full version of family register (Koseki Tohon (戸籍謄本) / Zenbu jiko shomeisho (全部事項証明書)); Extract version of family register (Koseki Shohon (戸籍抄本) / Kojin jiko shomeisho (個人事項証明書)) or Certificate of Acceptance of Notification of Adoption (Yoshiengumi todoke juri shomeisho (養子縁組届受理証明書)).


Please note that for adoptions that are finalized in Japan, there are two types of adoptions under Japanese law - regular and special.

"Regular" adoptions are based on Japanese cultural and family traditions and do not legally sever the ties between the child and his or her birth family. To be a valid adoption for U.S. immigration purposes there must be an irrevocable termination of the biological parent(s) - child relationship. For regular adoption, both the certificate of acceptance of adoption and family register can be obtained by either biological or adoptive parents.

“Special" adoptions in the Japanese context are an option for residents in Japan. The law on special adoptions went into effect on January 1, 1988. Special adoptions more closely resemble Western-style adoptions. As in U.S. adoptions, a special adoption legally severs the child's ties, rights and privileges with regard to the birth parent(s) and any prior adoptive parents. And the child's name must be removed from the birth mother's family registry (koseki) after adoption.*

* "Please be advised that, pursuant to Japanese law, the intercountry adoption of Japanese children requires authorization by Japanese courts. It is not possible under Japanese law to transfer custody for purposes of intercountry adoption to the United States until a Japanese court has granted a special adoption. In order to grant a special adoption, a Japanese court must find that the prospective adoptive parent(s) have met several requirements, including completion of a minimum six month period of trial nurturing. This six month nurturing period must be done in Japan, and thus requires the prospective adoptive parents to reside in Japan for six months or more. For more information, please refer to the website of Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (Japanese only); travel.state.gov or contact your Adoption Service Provider for advice on other options for adopting a child in Japan."

Pre-adoption: Both certificate of acceptance of adoption or family register can be obtained by only adoptive parents

Post adoption: Both certificate of acceptance of adoption or family register (copy of removal from family register) can be obtained by only adoptive parents

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: There are no laws concerning the visa status of prospective adoptive parents. However, parents almost always must reside in Japan during the entire court process, which takes a minimum of six months and possibly as long as 18 months. When the adoption is finalized at least one parent must be present at court. Proxy adoptions are not permitted.

AGE REQUIREMENTS: In special adoptions, prospective adoptive parents must be over 25 years of age. However, if one parent is over 25, the other parent can be younger than 25 as long as he or she is at least 20 years old. In regular adoptions, prospective adoptive parents must be at least 20 years of age.

MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: In special adoptions, prospective adoptive parents must be a married couple. In regular adoptions, there may be circumstances in which single people can adopt.

INCOME REQUIREMENTS: While there are no specific income requirements required by Japanese law, the prospective adoptive parents likely will have to provide documentation on their income and finances.

OTHER REQUIREMENTS: There are no laws regulating or addressing same-sex couples adopting in Japan, but there have been no known cases of this happening. However, it may be permitted if the prospective adoptive parents' state recognizes the marriage as legal.

RELINQUISHMENT: Japanese law does not specify that the child must be an "orphan" (i.e., as defined in U.S. immigration law) in order for the adoption to proceed. According to Article 817-7, a special adoption can be granted when:
- It is extremely difficult for the biological parents to take care of the child;
- It is considered inappropriate for the biological parents to raise the child; and/or
- It is in the interests of the child.

AGE OF ADOPTIVE CHILD: For a child to be adopted under the special adoption law, the child must be under the age of 6 at the time the petition to adopt is filed. However, the adoption can still proceed if the child is under the age of 8 and the prospective adoptive parents have had custody of the child and continually cared for the child since before the child was 6 years of age.

Japan's Adoption Authority
- Japan's principal adoption authorities are the Family Courts and the Child Guidance Centers (CGC), both of which are administered at the prefectural level.

Documents Required: When completing a full and final adoption under Japanese law, the Japanese adoption agency should provide you with a complete list of required documents. These may include:
- Birth certificate and/or family register of all parties
- Passport, Japanese visas and Alien Registration cards for all parties
- Copy of U.S. military ID (where applicable)
- Marriage, divorce, and death certificates (where applicable)
- Copy of any property ownership deeds and/or bank statements
- Certificate of foster parent registration (where applicable)
- Certificate of good conduct/no criminal record for each adoptive parent (issued by their home city or state police department)
- Certificate of legal address, employment, and income
- Biographic history of all parties
- Statement of consent to adopt by the child's biological parent(s) or guardian Statement of prospective parent(s)' intent to adopt the identified child
- Home Study (approved by an authorized and licensed adoption agency)
- Two character references

Note: Additional documents may be requested.

Translation (Japanese-English) of civil documents, certificates, etc.  Click here

Certifed translation, notarized translation, apostilled translation (legalized translation)  Click here

はてなブックマークに追加