Destination Guide | Tokyo Japan

Frequently Asked Questions

Home Search

Immigration & Visa

Home Search Questions

When should I conduct my Home Search?

We believe that the ideal time to conduct a home search is four to eight weeks prior to your anticipated move-in date. Once a decision on a property has been made, it can take up to a month to complete all necessary contractual and initial payment procedures. Additionally, if complex alterations (such as carpet to hardwood floors, for example) have been agreed upon as part of the contract, it may take a little longer before your chosen property is ready for occupancy.

Depending on circumstances, landlords may accept a contract with a forward move-in date of approximately up to two months. However, they tend to be reluctant to hold the more desirable properties for move-in dates this far in advance.

How do I find my future home through Santa Fe?

Your search will be initiated after we have established your housing requirements. Various vetted real estate agents will be made available to accompany you during your home search. A representative from Santa Fe will also be on hand as requested to offer you local advice and insight.

Once you have selected a property, a non-binding application consisting of your offered rent price and special requests will be submitted to the landlord by the real estate agent. If this is accepted, then tenant involvement typically ends there, and the agent, your company and Santa Fe will manage the negotiation of the terms and conditions, and conclude the leasing contract.

May I use more than one agent at once?

Santa Fe has built up an arsenal of reputable real estate agents who are constantly evaluated through our ISO 9001 and 14001 quality management. We strongly recommend that you view properties through these agents in preference to agents who have not been screened by us for competence.

Santa Fe recommended agents are reliable, reasonable and extremely professional. Our well-managed relationship ensures that they are willing to negotiate strongly on your/our behalf, so that you receive the best possible rental price, prompt and timely responses on general maintenance issues during your period of residence, and honest before and after appraisals so that your company is not extorted for cleaning or repair costs.

Our chosen agents are also intimately familiar with your company′s HR policies, so they are aware of any special requirements your company may have. Should you at any time like to change your agent(s), we will be happy to make the necessary introductions.

Are rental prices negotiable?

Yes. In theory, all rental prices are negotiable. For this reason alone it is well worth using trustable agents. The final figure will depend on a number of things, such as a building?s popularity, the period of time the property has been vacant, special requests from the tenant, 2nd applicants and general market volatility.

Am I permitted to make modifications to my apartment?

Japanese landlords are loath to allow tenants to make major or even minor modifications to the exteriors and interiors of their properties. Prior consent must be obtained, or landlords will insist on the property being restored to its original condition through the owners building maintenance company when the occupancy comes to an end. In some cases, tenants are not even permitted to hang artwork with pins and hooks, but must suspend their artwork only on walls where picture rails have been provided. We strongly recommend that these issues be thoroughly discussed before contracts are completed.

When can I terminate my lease?

A typical rental contract spans two years. You may vacate your property any time, however if you choose to terminate your lease in the first year, a penalty of one month′s rent will be incurred. If a property is vacated in the second year of the contract no penalty will be incurred, however Japanese housing contracts generally require two months prior notice.

Who do I call in the event of problems with my property?

Should you experience any simple maintenance problems with your property, we suggest that you contact your building's on-site manager. If there is no such person or your problems are not promptly resolved or the issues are more complex, please contact Santa Fe Relocation Services immediately.

Immigration & Visa Questions

What is a Japanese visa?

Japanese authorities do not use the term Visa, it is called Status of Residence. The Status of Residence can come in form of a Landing Permit , Extension or Change of Status.

What is a Certificate of Eligibility (CoE) and is a visa necessary to enter Japan?

Certificate of Eligibility is issued before entering Japan, certifying that the activity in which the foreigner whishes to engage in Japan is valid and comes under a status of residence.

Please be aware that thelanding permission sticker in your passport, you receive one from an immigration officer at the airport upon your arrival, is completely different from a visa. Regardless of whether a visa is necessary or not, it is this landing permission, not a visa, that authorizes your initial entry into Japan.

Please note that the visa itself does not guarantee permission to enter Japan but is only of the requirements in obtaining an application for entering Japanese territory from the airport or seaport upon your arrival.

I visit Japan for "sightseeing" purpose. May I work in Japan?

A foreign national visits Japan for sightseeing purpose must acquire the status of residence "Temporary Visitor". Under this status of residence, foreign nationals may not work in Japan expect for a certain activity that would yield incidental remuneration?

When I can obtain the re-entry permit?

You must enter Japan with the Japanese Entry Visa that issued at the Japanese Consulate in overseas and you will receive the Landing Permission. Thereafter, you must in person apply for the Alien Registration Card at the local ward office. Then, you or your legal representative will apply for your re-entry permit.

How long is the re-entry permit valid?

A. The re-entry permit is usually valid until the status of residence expires (1 year or 3 years).

Where should I apply for changing my status of residence, extending my period of stay or acquiring an Re-Entry permit? Who must file an application form?

Foreign national must apply for changing his/her status of residence, extending his/her period of stay or acquiring re-entry permit by himself/herself or who is a legal representative of the underage (such as the person with parental authority) at the regional immigration office in charge of your address in Japan. If he/she is younger than 16 years old or is unable to visit the competent regional immigration office due to unavoidable circumstances, his or her relative may file an application form on behalf of them.

I am a foreign national, and my wife is also a foreign national. What should I do if we have a baby?

In this case, you need to apply for acquiring status of residence. You have to visit the competent regional immigration office within 30 days after your child is born. If you intend to leave Japan within 60 days after your child is born, you do not have to file an application form. However, this rule is not applicable if you intend to leave Japan with the re-entry permit.

In which cases will I be revoked my status of residence? Would you tell me some specific cases?

Your status of residence will be revoked if you submit a fake document or makes false statements on your application forms when entering Japan or extending your period of stay. In addition, your status of residence will also be revoked if you have the status of residence, i.e., Engineer, Skilled Labor or College Student, but fails to engage in his/her applicable activities for three months without legitimate grounds.