Visa statuses for divorced foreigners
If a spouse visa holder gets divorced from the spouse, they need to change visa status.
Notification to immigration about divorce
First thing to do is to give notification to immigration bureau. It must be given within 14 days after the divorce. You can do it online.
Change of visa status
Those divorced have to change their visa status within 6 months after the divorce if they are spouse visa holder. For dependent status holders, they have to change status within 3 months. They can apply for status change after that, but the success rate will be lower, because after 6 months or 3 months period, immigration can revoke visa according to immigration law. Then they check application more strictly after that.
According to the situation, they have several choices. If they meet requirement of some visa status, they can apply for status change into any status, such as working visa, student or something like that. Or they can go back to their country. Anyway they have to do something before expiration of current visa status.
If spouse visa holders don’t have any other choice, Long Term Resident can be one of choice. It is not available for dependent visa holders.
Long Term Resident status for divorced foreigner
Requirement with a child of Japanese
If they have a child born to them and Japanese citizen, requirement is the followings:
- sufficient assets or skills to make an independent living
- custody of the child
- actually raising the child for reasonable period of time
Requirement without child of Japanese
If they don’t have a child, having married for more than 3 years with former Japanese or Permanent Resident holder spouse is one of the criteria.
What if there is no choice?
If they can’t apply for any status at the moment of divorce, Specified Skilled Worker will be relatively easy choice, if they understand Japanese. To apply for this status, they have to pass examination first, and they need to find a job also. Requirement is easier than other status. So it’s worth thinking about it.
If they can afford tuition fees, Student status can be choice as well. But each school has their criteria about admission and also for visa sponsorship.
Unfortunately, it’s certain that sometimes they are not eligible for any status and really don’t have choice. In that case, they have to leave Japan before expiration of term of stay.