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Baby born in Japan -- now what?

Japan With Kids - Forums: Immigration/visas/re-entry permits/naturalization: Baby born in Japan -- now what?
By Cornelia on Monday, April 22, 2002 - 12:47 pm:

--"I am interested to hear how hard it is and how long it takes to organize a residency visa for a newborn child (born in Japan)."--

Answer (as best as I can recall):
It's not hard, just time-consuming and not a welcome chore, especially if it's your first and you are dealing with the totally unexpected level of demands of mothering!

You have 14 days to register the birth at your local ward office. (I went on Friday two weeks, my daughter was born on a Friday, so I was a day late and had to sign an apology)

If you are single or married to a non-Japanese:

Once you have the Japanese birth certificate and registration you can take it straight to your embassy and get your baby a passport. If you are a US citizen: Try to take a photograph against a single color background preferably something that contrasts with her/his hair color and skin color. The basic proportions should be that the face fills up about 2/3 of the frame of the passport photo space allocation. Generally you'll need two copies of the exact same picture. (I stood on a chair and, leaning over a bit, photographed my daughter lying on the bed) The passport that is issued will be good for 5 years. If you are married you must have the father's info and signatures on everything as well as your own. Make sure you inquire in advance so you don't waste time. The requirements will differ depending on yours and the baby's nationality and what your country requires.

Once you have the baby's foreign passport, you then go to Japanese immigration and get a dependency visa for it. This requires a repeat of much of the information that was included in your visa application. So again get the info in advance so you don't waste a trip. I think it was a 30 day deadline after birth to get the proper visa for the baby. But I'm not sure I am remembering correctly. The baby need not be with you when you go to do this paperwork.

If you were divorced from a Japanese spouse after conceiving the child or even a month or so before conceiving the child, you will have to do something completely different. You will have to appear in court to state that the divorced spouse is not the father of the child. You can not proceed with anything until this is done. I'm not sure as to all the detail of this rather exceptional situation, but I know someone who is in the middle of this procedure right now, and will definitely be missing the first 14 day deadline with of course an adequate excuse.

If you have a Japanese spouse and the baby is registered on his/her family registry ("koseki"):

You can get a Japanese passport for the baby. You can in most cases also get the passport of your nationality for the baby. Japan does not allow "dual citizenship" but the final choice does not have to be made until the child reaches the age of 20 I think. So until then your child can hold two passports. It is convenient if you are travelling alone with the baby back to your home country to have it on the same nationality passport as yours, just because of the separate lines for foreigners and nationals or residents when clearing immigration. But a national can go into a foreigner line with the baby (though it often appears that those lines are longer and move slower). It's also a bit confusing because the child will not have a dependency visa in it's foreign passport since it is recognized as a Japanese citizen and is not required to have permission to reside in Japan, so you have to use the Japanese passport leaving and entering Japan and the foreign passport entering and leaving the foreign country.

-- I don't remember all the steps, but I know the hospital gave us a certificate which we had to bring to our embassy (France) with a picture ID to establish a birth certificate and a passport. Once we got the passport, we had to go to the ward office to get the visa and gaijin card. The embassy gave us a document describing the procedure. I think you must do all that within 30 days after the birth.
The difficult part was to get the picture ID of a 1 week old baby... We did it with a digital camera and photoshop at home.--

Additional comment:
I'm pretty sure I went to the ward office first, because my daughter was born on 1 November and I went on the 15th and had to sign the apology. (Make sure to bring the paper from the midwife/hospital/clinic where/with whom you gave birth, and the boshi techo.) And her passport was issued on the 21st of November. Her birth certificate was issued by the Japanese. Her country's embassy issued a "Consular Report of Birth Abroad" which is not a birth certificate, though it is generally accepted as a substitute for one back in the USA.

Then off to immigration for the dependency visa (and also the multiple re-entry permit) and, finally, back to the ward office to show her visa and have it recorded and get her an alien registration card (no picture required for dependents under age 16)

There's more on the boshi techo at:

By Natasha on Tuesday, June 3, 2003 - 7:17 am:

For kids entitled to two citizenships up to the age of 20:

If you want your child to have more than just a last name and a first name on his/her Japanese paperwork, then get the foreign passport first before going for the koseki recording. That way they will use the name as it is officially recorded in the foreign passport, in the Japanese passport. There are a lot of posts on the subject of getting the name "right" in the community and livinginjapan e-list archives, but it takes time to search them out. Procedures can differ just depending on which staff person you are talking to in which town and which city hall!

By Sandy Cox on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 6:19 am:

The United States Embassy has a page on this subject for US citizens which includes info on getting new baby's first passport, Report of Birth and obtaining Social Security number:

What Natasha says about getting the Japanese to except additional names to the traditional two names used in Japan is true. Do the foreign passport first. Then you've got "proof" that the name has to be the same name on all other documentation.

By shivkumar gummadi on Tuesday, August 3, 2004 - 7:08 pm:

I would like to knew the privileges of a child born in Japan for non Japanese parents. Would he be considered as a japanese citizen?
Regards, Gummadi

By Scott Hancock on Tuesday, August 3, 2004 - 8:03 pm:

There is no connection at all between being born in Japan and Japanese citizenship. Non-Japanese parents = non-Japanese citizen.

Note from Admin: There are Latin legal terms for this; basically according to the law of the land, a citizen is such by right of birthplace or by right of blood. For example, Germany and Japan determine citizenship by right of blood. The USA is an example "by right of birthplace". Most countries also have legal provisions for "naturalization". In countries where citizenship is determined by right of blood, there are always a bunch of people without any documents available to them at all. In Japan, this is most likely to happen to children born to a foreign woman and a Japanese man who refuses to recognize the child in his koseki. The scenario is roughly like this: a hospital or birth clinic illegally refuses to give the new mother the birth record that she needs to show Japanese City Hall and her Embassy, because she is unable to pay the bill. She is afraid to claim her right to the document because she is on an overstayed visa. The child is the one who suffers.

By Linda Gondo on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 4:01 pm:

Hello, I have a question regarding nationality in later years.
My husband is Japanese and I am Australian. We have a daughter. As I understand it she has the option of Japanese or Australian nationality until she reaches twenty years of age at which time she will have to choose. Does anybody know if this choice absolute and final, or will she be able to change her nationality in later years if she wishes?

By Jack Bayles on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 5:27 pm:

According to a seminar at ACCJ years ago by US Consul. The 20 year rule is bull$%&'. Once in a blue moon Japanese immigration asks some Japanese /American about how their Japanese passport seems very empty (only used when entering Japan). The consul said to tell them you will check with the US Embassy. Then just forget about it. With American citizens you can "give up your citizenship" (assuming you are citizen by birth) and get it back again. I guess Australia is the same.

By Linda Gondo on Sunday, October 3, 2004 - 4:52 pm:

Jack,thank you so much for your great input regarding dual passports after age twenty and sorry it has taken me so long to reply.
Well what you say is very interesting! So to avoid problems with immigration, do you think if after age twenty my daughter were to alternate using her passports, but for each trip made sure she used the same passport for the complete trip ie either Australian or Japanese for entering and leaving Australia and entering and leaving Japan, then I wonder if she would be problem free?
Jack another question for you or to anyone else who might be able to help. This is really only speculation since she is just three years old, but I'm just curious : If my daughter were to have children, then technically even if she were not married to a Japanese citizen or for that matter then living in Japan, then they could, technically at least have the option of Japanese citizenship? Could one just go on through the generations like this I wonder each generation keeping a dual passport and then passing onto their children this option of living in two countries? If this is the case, then it is definitely worthwhile trying to keep both passports after twenty, or have I completely missed something?????

Kind regards,


By Jack Bayles on Sunday, October 3, 2004 - 9:57 pm:

to Linda,
re: passing on double nationality down through the generations
What the rules will be then who knows. Play for time. Meaning get both passports NOW and 20 years from now if a problem arises deal with it. Certainly use the passport that is least stable (has potential to being canceled) as much as possible and leave the other one fallow except when traveling to that country.

By Yuko Kubota on Sunday, October 3, 2004 - 10:47 pm:

Just for your information, the age that Japan encourages you to choose one nationality is 22, and not 20.

Also, I understand that no matter how much Japan threatens you by letters telling you to give up one nationality, they don't have the power to force you to do so.

So, while it does depend on the other nation's law, as far as Japan is concerned, you can just ignore orders and keep two nationalities, and you won't get arrested or banned or anything.

People say that if you don't believe this, you should inquire Japanese authorities yourself. And if you can read Japanese, feel free to read the details on the following forum run by a half-Japanese gentleman.

By Monica S. on Friday, November 5, 2004 - 12:21 am:

Hello, I would like to know the procedure for a foreign single mother. I am pregnant, not married, and the father of my baby is not a Japanese resident and not from the same country. He is willing to come to Japan for the birdhday, but I think he wont be able to stay for more than 2 or 3 weeks. I will need to go back to school as soon as possible after the delivery, so I want to spend the less time and money. Can anybody give me some hints?

By Cornelia on Friday, November 26, 2004 - 11:51 am:

Dear Monica S.
The procedure for giving your child a passport and a nationality is about the same.
1 - Get your Japanese birth certificate within 14 days of the birth at your city hall
2 - Go to your country's embassy, with photos of the baby, apply for a passport
3 - Take the new passport down to Japanese immigration and get a dependency visa for the baby
4 - and then show the dependency visa to your ward office and obtain the baby's gaijin card.

The only issue along the way as a single mother is whether or no the father accepts paternity, and whether or not your embassy will issue the baby's certificate of birth abroad with the father's name on the paperwork or not. You may not want the father's name on the paperwork anyway since that would automatically give the father certain rights which you might not want him to have so easily. Anyway, that would be something you have to ask your country's Embassy and has nothing to do with the Japanese. If the father were Japanese, then it is a question of whether or not the father wants to put the baby on his "koseki" (family register). It is not the foreign mother's choice, but strictly the father's choice, though he might be forced to do it against his wishes through a tedious court battle. Anyway, this does not apply in your case.

As for your other concerns regarding daycare for the child. That subject is covered under "Daycare in Japan" at As a rule it is very hard to find any daycare of any kind for babies under 4 months old, unless of course you are rich and can afford a nanny. But some is available. Still the odds are high that you will be disappointed in your plans to return to class after 2-3 weeks. Start saving now! A Filipina nanny for 8 hours a day can cost as little as about Y150,000 per month (but it can also cost more).

By Monica S. on Saturday, January 15, 2005 - 11:22 pm:

It`s me again...I have my baby born on december 28th. Everything wonderful and thanks God I even didn`t have to miss a lecture at university.

I registered my son in the Ward under my name and then I obtained the gaijin torokusho the same day. The father of my baby is willing to accept paternity. He is an American but not a resident in Japan, and since we are not married it seems that we need extra documentation.
The point is that I can`t do anything and my baby doesn`t have his Hokkensyou (what if he gets sick?).
I called the US embassy and they just sent me to a record, whith the same information of what it is in the homepage.
I wonder if there is someone who knows well about US embassy process who I can get in contact and explain the complete story.

By Cornelia on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 8:40 am:

Dear Monica S.
Congratulations on the safe and healthy birth of your child (never a foregone conclusion)!

I think maybe you are not a USA citizen yourself, though you do not specifically say so. In this case you have to look at the policies of your own country as well as those of the USA. The baby's nationality is now the same as yours. (Or you would not have been able to get papers for the baby at your local ward office.) Unless the baby is born on US soil, there are no automatic rights to US citizenship accorded the baby born out of wedlock, even if the father is a US national. What is the web link that the Embassy gave you? Perhaps you are having difficulty understanding what is written there. I coulld read it and maybe put it in summary. I daresay you will have to go through a process and it will require the father to actually file documentation from his end. I don't think it will be easy or fast (maybe years). You and the father will have to research the necessary requirements and fulfill them. Did the father get listed on the baby's paperwork with your country's Embassy? In that case the process with US immigration might be a bit more straighforward, since his paternity will have already been made official in the country of your nationality.

As for your child's health insurance coverage. Your baby should be added to your policy. I would have thought that you had a "boshi techo" for your baby. That would automatically lead into your coverage extending to your child. Do you have Japanese National Health Insurance coverage?
There's more on the boshi techo at:

By Cornelia on Monday, January 17, 2005 - 4:33 pm:

Dear Monica S.
I need to make a MAJOR correction to my post above. After reading the "Acquisition of American Citizenship" document at link:

I see that your child is entitled to US citizenship through the nationality of the father. Here is the quote (to see the links where it says "here" please go to the web source directly):

"Child born out of wedlock to a U.S. Citizen father
A child born outside of the United States to an U.S. Citizen father where there is no marriage to the non-American mother is entitled to U.S. Citizenship providing the American citizen father had been physically present in the United States for the period of time as specified in previous paragraphs for children born in wedlock to one U.S. Citizen and one non-U.S. Citizen parent.

The following conditions must also be fulfilled:

The father must sign a sworn statement agreeing to provide financial support for the child until s/he reaches the age of 18 years; and...

...the following conditions are met:

the father provides a written statement acknowledging paternity;
or the child is legitimated under local law;
or paternity is established by a competent court before the child attains the age of 18 years;

All of these statements are made by the father using this Affidavit of Paternity form. Please download and complete it before coming to the Embassy, but do not sign it. You'll sign it in front of a consular officer at the Embassy or Consulate.

In some cases we may need to request DNA testing to verify parentage. Here is information on how to obtain a DNA Test."

Good luck to you and your child, and to anyone else in a similar situation that may read this page!

By Lilly Paradox on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 4:15 pm:

i have a question on the subject of dual nationality which was addressed above. my two sons, age 15 and 20, both currently hold both american and japanese nationality since i,their mom, is american by birth and their dad is japanese. they are duly noted on his koseki tohon, as well. they will both be renewing their japanese passports soon from the usa, where they currently live.

my question is this: since they travel a couple times a year from the usa- japan, they are required to present their american passport in order to return to the usa (if they wanted to only show their japanese pass, they would be required to also show a round-trip ticket, american law), won't the japanese authorities realize that they have another passport, especially as their japanese passport is always stamped on entry to the country, but never on exit. and if they have to show their american passport at japanese passport control on entering japan, won't they be called on the dual national issue at some point?

also, how long can they remain on their dad's koseki tohon? if they are on their own, don't they have to maintain a japanese residence for that ?

many thanks in advance if you can help me out.

By Natasha on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 9:25 am:

Dear Lil, The following Q&A list just came in from the American Embassy (American Community Update - February 2005) and the last question in particular may address your concerns.
Q: We just had a baby and I want to get him a US passport, but my wife says he should not go outside the house for at least a month. Is there a deadline for applying?
A: It is important to start this process as soon as possible after your child is born. In the case of urgent, unexpected travel, your child will need a passport. In addition, you may need to secure a Japanese visa for your child, which also requires a passport. That said, the only "deadline" for completing this process is before your child's 18th birthday.

note from Admin: Remember also that a social security number is required for any child put on a USA tax return as a dependent, and the American Embassy makes this easy to apply for at the same time as you apply for the baby's passport!

Q: I'm American and my spouse is Japanese. Will our children be American or Japanese Citizens?
A: Most likely your children will be dual nationals, citizens at birth of both the U.S. and Japan. There are potential complexities, but you can learn more at

Q: OK, so my kids now have both US and Japanese passports and we are going to Hawaii for a vacation. Which passports should they use to travel?
A: U.S. law requires American Citizens to enter the U.S. on their U.S. passports, so when checking-in in Japan and going through Immigration in the airport upon arrival in the U.S., your kids should use their American passports. While we cannot tell you what is best regarding Japanese law, many dual national children enter Japan on their Japanese passports.

Q: Can the kids remain dual nationals forever?
A: The U.S. does not require people to declare or give up a second nationality; see Japan does have such a requirement. You can read more at

By Monica S. on Thursday, March 24, 2005 - 5:58 pm:

As posted before, I`m single and have a 3mo son, whose father is American (Im not). Here is the procedure Ive done so far. 1. Certificate of birth at the Ward
2. Gaikokujintorokusyo (with the certificate of b)
3. Kenkou Hokken (Health Insurance), at the Ward. First they asked a passport but then I argued that itll take a long time to get it and it was OK.
4. Permission of residence at the Immigration Office. (No need to have a passport, only Gaikokujintorokusyho of baby and mum, filling forms and explain why he doesnt have a passport yet. I was late, so I had to apologize for it :-)
And so far he doesnt have a passport but I just realized it wasnt so urgent since we`re not traveling soon. Of course its important gat it, but I mean you dont have to wait for it as I was.
The problem is that they granted him a period of stay shorter than mine so Ill have to apply for an extention of 2 months.

By Monica S. on Thursday, March 24, 2005 - 6:02 pm:

I just forgot to say that I got his permission of residence only today. (almost 3 months late...) Well, I didnt know I could apply without a passport!

By Zenith_b on Tuesday, January 8, 2008 - 2:21 am:


I am interested to find out if a child could have two different family registry names in two different passports, as I am a Singaporean and my spouse is a Japanese. Will that affect the child in future? I have been wondering this issue for a long period of time. Really appreciate if you could respond to this issue in soonest possible.

By Hoshi on Tuesday, January 8, 2008 - 7:36 am:

Congratulations on the birth of your baby. In regards to your question, I am not 100% sure but I think you'll find it depends on the country. My children are Japanese / New Zealanders and both have dual passports. New Zealand requires the names that are registered in NZ be the same as those used in Japan so my husband and I chose names that work well in both Japanese and English. In NZ you can however change the name by applying for a name change (at a charge of about $80) if you did want seperate names. My American friend told me that in America you can register completely seperate names so it's not a problem.
The best thing to do is contact the Singapore Embassy in Tokyo. They should be able to answer all your questions. The New Zealand Embassy was very helpful to me. I am sure they get the same sort of questions all the time.

By Coxidar on Wednesday, January 9, 2008 - 4:51 pm:

I want to ask qeution that i was born in tokyo and also my brother.And when i was 7years and my brother was 11years old we moved to pakistan.Our parents are pakistani.And we did'nt lived continously in japan.But after few months i ll get american passport.because my father is living in USA and he ll get passport of USA.So thats why i am also and my brother.Then after that can i get japanese passport.Because i heared that if u are citizen of USA and born in Japan then you can take japanese nationality???
Please reply me .......
Thank You...

Note from Admin: I'm afraid that you've heard some nonsense. Under no circumstances are babies born to known foreign parents on Japanese soil entitled to Japanese citizenship. Citizenship in Japan is conferred strictly through confirmation of blood lines or through a naturalization process. The only exception is when an abandoned child whose parents are unknown, and thus is considered stateless, reaches the age of independence and has been fully educated in Japan. There is a special type of naturalization procedure for that person. Unfortunately some of these children are not informed about this and do not complete the procedure.

By Kurz on Thursday, November 3, 2011 - 10:11 pm:

JAPAN The possibility of allowing dual citizenship is on the table for discussion . We may see a change in the nationality law in the future.
- - -
On November 14, 2008, The Japan Times reported that Liberal Democratic Party member Taro Kono had submitted a proposal to allow offspring of mixed national couples where one parent is Japanese to have more than one nationality. The proposal also calls for foreigners to be allowed to obtain Japanese nationality without losing their original citizenship.
- - -
South Korea revised their nationality law effective January 1, 2011, and I suppose it might be possible that Japan is influenced by such changes in other countries.

By Leandra on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 1:36 am:

I am a dependent visa holder. 7 months pregnant, not married, planning to give birth in Japan and the father of my child is a non-Japanese. Is it possible to write his name on the necessary documents just like the Birth Certificate of the child? Any possible means for him to come to Japan to see his child? That would cost less and I think its dangerous to travel my new born.
Answers would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

By Luckily_j2 on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 7:29 am:

If the father of your child is capable and can afford all the nessessary expenses travelling here in japan, why not?if he can afford to submit all nessessary documents for applying a visa,there's no problem.if you can support giving invitation of coming here,it would be easy for him.Reasons for visiting is a big opportunity..About the name you planning to sign for your baby,,i don't th
ink it as a problem.

By Leandra on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 7:45 pm:

Thank you Luckily. But to be more specific Im not planning to get married yet, what will be the necessary documents for the fathers name to be written on the birth certificate? Of course the last name will be the same as mine, right? Is it possible to invite eventhough Im just a dependent visa holder? Thanks!

By Sagar_erp on Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 9:36 pm:

I am from India, I will be traveling to Japan along with my wife who is 3 month Pregnant. I am planning to have my Baby in Japan. I will be Coming to City Yokohama.
Can you please suggestme what important thing I need to take care to have my baby in Japan.
Thank You for your reply!!!

By Drdo1 on Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 10:01 pm:


First of all, do you or your wife speak any Japanese? Knowing some of the language will be very helpful. However, there is a large Indian population in this area, so you may be fortunate to find a fellow-native-friend who knows the language and the system.

The Japanese hospitals are sometimes a little bit old. However, they are very professional, caring and concerned about the child and your wife's welfare. You will be taken care of wonderfully. The Japanese, as a whole, aren't terribly friendly, but certainly are helpful.

Once your business or employer gets you settled and comfortable in your apartment, hopefully they can guide you to a hospital/clinic near your home. Some hospitals require a deposit (money) to "save the room" for you when it comes time for delivery. But it goes towards the cost of the birth.

You are not alone. There are many people in your shoes. You will receive assistance and guidance along the process. An Indian woman in my apartment complex had her baby at the hospital near our apartment buildings. She was well taken care of and did wonderfully having Japanese assist and help her.

The language barrier is one of the toughest of all. So the more Japanese you can learn, the better.

Wish you safe travels.

By Sagar_erp on Monday, May 12, 2014 - 9:25 pm:

Hello Again,

I am confuse can you tell me, Is it better to have Baby in Japan or to travel back to my home country.
can you help me to take decision.
What are the benefits to have Child birth in Japan,
Is there any Good English speaking doctor in Hodogaya.I stay in hodogaya.
Thank You!!!

By Marbiegail on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 10:02 pm:


I am Marbie from Philippines. I am planning to give birth in japan to a non-Japanese spouse and we are on tourist visa. We want to know would it give the parents any extension for the visa and how long? and also how long is the dependency visa?

Thanks! Your response is really appreciated.


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