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How to Change your Alien Registration Card to a Residence Card

So yesterday I had a day off work. Right now schools are in changeover mode so it’s a good time to use some of my holidays. I thought I’d make the most of the moment and do a few errands. Top of my list (well, high up there at the very least), was to change over my Gaikokujin Touroku Shoumeisho (aka Alien Registration Card) to a Zairyuu Sho (aka Residence Card). So, in a similar fashion to my How to Get A Japanese Driving Licence Post, I’ll talk about how I got my new card.

So for those who don’t know Japan’s residency management system changed last year. I’m not going to go into details about it (since a. I don’t know many details about it and b. Google is more than sufficient), but it is an important thing to take note of if you’re coming to Japan for a mid-long term stay. Possibly more-so if you’ve stayed before and are used to the old system.

Anyway, my experience was pretty similar to Donald Ash’s post on Gaijin Pot (definately helpful), with a few minor differences.

Actually looking at it, that post is probably all you need.

Ok, for Yamaguchi residents (well, those on the Shimonoseki side anyway), the place to go is the Shimonoseki branch of the Hiroshima Regional Immigration Bureau. Don’t let google fool you here, as you might (like I did) find the old address and go to the wrong place. The address is Shimonoseki Port Legal Affairs Joint Government Bldg. 3F, 1-7-1 Higashiyamato-machi, Shimonoseki City, Yamaguchi (post code 750-0066), and here’s a google map to help you get there.

View Larger Map

Don’t forget some photographs. The nearest place is the Daiki home store just around the corner if you need pictures (700 yen), oh, and get the correct size of 30×24 mm (not passport sized, the next one down).

So there we are, best of luck.