In order to drastically reduce the number of illegal foreign residents, it is necessary to encourage such foreign residents to appear at the regional immigration bureaus voluntarily. Whereas how to let them depart from Japan promptly and efficiently is the key to control since a limited human resources are available for the regional immigration bureaus. For these reasons, a departure order system has been established in 2004. Under this system, illegal foreign residents who satisfy certain requirements may depart from Japan without being detained in accordance with simple procedures.

1. Who is eligible?

A foreign national who has stayed in Japan beyond the authorized period of stay and who also satisfies all of the following requirements may be ordered to depart from Japan:

(1) The foreign national has appeared at an immigration office voluntarily;

(2) The foreign national does not come under any of the grounds for deportation other than overstaying;

(3) The foreign national has not been sentenced to imprisonment with or without labor on the charge of larceny or other prescribed crimes after entering Japan;

(4) The foreign national has no past record of deportation, nor that of departure by a departure order;

(5) The foreign national is expected with certainty to depart from Japan immediately.

Please note that foreign nationals who are arrested on the account of illegal stay, who used a fake passport for entry to Japan illegally, or who left Japan under the departure order in the past are not subject to the departure orders .

2. Where should such foreign nationals go to seek for “departure order”?


In principle, the 8 regional immigration bureaus (Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima, Takamatsu and Fukuoka), three district immigration office (Yokohama, Kobe and Naha) and one branch office (Kagoshima) examine foreign national who voluntarily appear at the immigration office. Thus, foreign nationals need to visit one of these immigration offices.

If they visit an immigration office other than mentioned above during weekday’s office hours, the office will deliver appearance confirmation slip and provide instructions on when and where to visit these regional immigration offices that are in charge of investigation of violation.

3. How long will it usually take to obtain the departure order after visiting the immigration office?

It really depends on the conditions of foreign national who show up at the immigration bureau (such as if the foreign national has a passport or not). However, it will usually take about two weeks to grant the departure order after the foreign national showed up at the immigration office. For this reason, please pay attentions to this time span in making your flight reservation.

4. Landing denial period

If a foreign national is deported from Japan or leaves Japan with the departure order, they will not be allowed to land Japan for a certain period (i.e., landing denial period) in principal based on the Immigration Control Act. The following rules will be applicable:

(1) So-called repeaters (foreign nationals who has been deported from Japan or has left Japan with the departure order) may not land Japan for 10 years since the date of deportation.

(2) Foreign nationals who have been deported from Japan so far (except for the case “(1)”) may not land Japan for 5 years since the date of deportation.

(3) Foreign nationals who have left Japan with the departure order may not land Japan for 1 year since the date of leaving Japan.

Please note that if a foreign national has been subject to imprisonment with or without forced labor on account of violating the law of Japan and foreign legislation, or if a foreign national serves the sentence due to violating the legislations on regulating narcotics, marijuana, opium or stimulant, the foreign nationals may not land Japan and does not have the landing denial period.

(Source: Immigration Services Agency of Japan)

For inquiry to Visa and Beyond by Takatsuka Office, please send a message through a contact page.

Published by Takatsuka Office たかつか事務所

Yuichi is an Administrative Solicitor (“Gyoseishoshi Lawyer”) as well as a Registered Migration Agent. オーストラリアから帰国後、「街の身近な法律家×国際人」として地域の皆様の力になりたいとの思いより、JR南浦和駅近くに行政書士事務所を開いた高塚雄一です。

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