Procedures for foreign nationals returning to their home countries: Differences between temporary visits and permanent stays

Living in Japan

Procedures for foreign nationals returning to their home countries: Differences between temporary visits and permanent stays

The procedures for foreign nationals returning to their home countries are broadly divided into two categories: temporary visits and permanent return for the purposes of changing jobs. In either case, it’s in your best interests to clearly understand the process so you can avoid unnecessary steps after returning home.

Here we will explain in detail the procedures for foreign nationals leaving Japan with respect to immigration, taxes, social security, and other aspects of living here.

Employees returning to their home countries: What procedures to follow?

Foreign nationals returning home should consider the following issues.

Returning home for temporary visits

For foreign nationals returning home for temporary visits, there may be some issues related to immigration, year-end tax adjustments and income tax return filing, depending on the timing of your visit.

Return visits of less than one year

At the airport, “Departure with Special Re-entry Permission” (Minashi-sainyuukoku-kyoka) cards are available near Passport Contro
Departure with Special Re-entry Permission” (Minashi-sainyuukoku-kyoka) cards are available near Passport Control

For foreign nationals working in Japan who are planning to be away for less than one year, there is not much to prepare prior to leaving. At the airport, “Departure with Special Re-entry Permission” (Minashi-sainyuukoku-kyoka) cards are available near Passport Control. Fill out the card and show it with your passport and your Residence Card (Zairyu Kaado) at the Passport Control counter and you will be granted special re-entry permission valid for one year. Those who plan to be away from Japan for more than one year need to visit their local Immigration Bureau to apply for re-entry permission.

Returning to your home country after leaving your job

For foreign nationals returning to their home countries after leaving their jobs, the following procedures are required.

Necessary arrangements before returning home

Before returning home, you need to check with your designated municipal offices (i.e. your local city hall or ward office) regarding how to withdraw from health insurance, the national pension system, etc. and, if necessary, visit your local Immigration Bureau.

It is important that you clearly understand what you need to do as soon as you have made plans to leave, in order to avoid any last-minute problems.

Resignation Procedures

While resignation procedures for foreign nationals are generally the same as for Japanese employees, foreign employees additionally require a Certificate of Resignation (Taishoku-Shoumeisho), issued by your employer. You will also need to get these documents (issued by your employer):

・Statement of Income and Withholding Tax (Gensen-choushuu-hyou)
・Unemployment Insurance Separation Notice (Koyouhoken-rishoku-hyou)

Additionally, you will need to:

・Return your health insurance card (Hoken-sho) to either your city hall/ward office or your employer, depending on where you received it from.
・Return any equipment or other items you have borrowed from the company.

※ Regarding the Certificate of Resignation (Taishoku-Shoumeisho): Foreign nationals will need to submit their Certificate of Resignation at the Immigration Bureau when changing a job / work status.

Confirming your contact information

Please ensure that you provide means to contact you after you resign, as a way to keep in touch with your employer. Due to personal information privacy concerns, the company might not reply to emails from an unknown email address, even if the sender claims to be you. In many cases, your employer will need to send your Statement of Income and Withholding Tax (Gensen-choushuu-hyou) after you leave.

Returning home at the end of the tax year / during tax filing season

Foreign nationals returning home prior to year-end tax adjustments must collect and submit all necessary documents. If you are unable to prepare everything before you go, you will need to designate a tax representative to submit and manage your income tax filing. Visit your local tax office to fill out a Tax Representative Declaration Form (Nozei Kanri-nin no Todoke-sho). Tax filing season is generally from the middle of February to March 15, for tax returns for the previous year.

Other procedures related to leaving Japan permanently

The following procedures are needed for those planning to leave Japan permanently. If any of these are unclear, please consult with your employer, local city hall/ ward office, or local tax office.

・Request a Moving-out Notification (Tenshutsu-todoke) from your local city hall/ ward office (Required to claim your pension lump-sum withdrawal payment).
・Get a “Claim Form for the Lump-Sum Withdrawal Payment” (Dattai-ichijkin-sekyuusho) from your local pension office, or download it from the National Pension website, and follow the directions (if applicable).
・Make sure you have your blue pension booklet (Kokumin-nenkin-techou). If you can’t find it, the booklet must be re-issued.
・Withdraw from the National Health Insurance (Kokumin-kenkou-hoken) system (if you have the national insurance, and not insurance through your employer).
・Notify any organizations of which you’re a member and cancel any subscriptions you have (particularly in the case of mid- and long-term residents).
・Return your Residence Card (Zairyu kaado). If you do not have a re-entry permit, you will return this at the Passport Control counter as you leave Japan.
・Return your “My Number” Card (issued to mid- and long-term residents) to your local city hall/ ward office.
・Handle any other issues, such as cancellation of your bank accounts, mobile phone contracts, utilities, etc. Each company will have different procedures, so you will need to confirm how to cancel each contract separately.


These are some of the most important procedures involved with returning to your home country. There will be undoubtedly be a lot to deal with at the time: moving out, job handover, canceling contracts, etc. and it can quickly become overwhelming. We strongly recommend you begin preparing as soon as possible.

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