If you are recontracting for another year, you may need to renew your visa, a.k.a. extend your period of stay. You can read up on visa terminology and other immigration matters on the Immigration and Visa Procedures page, but here is a guide to renewing your visa:

You are able to renew your visa/residence card up to 2 months before it expires. Actually, you will need to resign your letter of intent (同意書) that states you plan to continue on the program for the next year by mid-July, and you will need to send proof that you’ve renewed your visa along with your contract. So basically, you only have 5-6 weeks to get this done. You need to visit the Immigration Bureau twice, and it takes 2-4 weeks to process, so it’s best to get this process started by mid-June. Late June will probably be too late and cause you more headaches. So, good luck!!

Step 1: Fill out the Application for Extension of Period of Stay

ALT:
PDF (reader fillable): http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001138356.pdf


Excel: http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001138357.xls

CIR:
http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001138363.pdf

Excel: http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001138364.xls


Note 1: You must complete pages 1-3. Page 4 is for your school to fill out. If you are in the Chiba-WI Program, ask your head English teacher to have your administration office (jimushitsu 事務室) or vice principal complete page 4 for you. If you are in JET, ask your supervisor if your school or your BOE should fill it out for you.
Note 2: Page 1 #13 (Desired length of extension): You can choose to write “1 year” or “3 years.” However, if you choose 3 years, your contracting organization will need to mention on page 4 (their page) that you intend to stay past one more year or else the Immigration Bureau will only give you a one-year extension.
Note 3: Page 1 #14 (Reason for extension): Write: “Re-contract for ALT”
Note 4: Page 2 #20 (Employment history): Where it asks for “Year” and “Month,” this is the year and month in which you started your job.
Note 5: Page 3 (Legal Representative) Leave this blank unless someone is going in your place. You only need to sign on page 3.

Step 2: Pay the fee

*You don’t need the Revenue Stamp or the Certificate of Payment of Fee Form the first day when you go to submit your paperwork
Go to the post office to buy a “Revenue Stamp” (Japanese: shūnyū inshi 収入印紙). Choose the 4000 yen one. Attach it to the Certificate for Payment of Fee Form (tesūryō nōfu-sho 手数料納付書). or follow this link http://www.moj.go.jp/content/000099631.pdf


Note 1: Although you can buy a stamp at the post office in the basement of the Immigration Bureau, I highly recommend buying one beforehand. You can buy them at any post office. If you wait until the post office opens at the Immigration Bureau (and that post office also tends to be crowded), you’ll waste a lot of time (see below).
Note 2: You don’t need the Revenue Stamp or the Certificate of Payment of Fee Form the first day you go, but it doesn’t hurt to take it with.

Step 3: Turn in paperwork to Immigration Office

Take these two forms (from Steps 1 and 2), as well as with your Residence Card and Passport to the Immigration Office in Chiba City.

Tokyo Regional Immigration Office, Chiba Branch (東京入国管理局 千葉出張所 toukyou nyuukoku kanri-kyoku chiba shutchou-sho or 入管 nyuukan)
English address: Chuo Community Center, 2-1 Chiba-minato, Chuo-ku, Chiba City, Chiba Pref.
Japanese address: 千葉県千葉市中央区千葉港2-1中央コミュニティーセンター
Access: right across from Chiba City Hall (市役所 shiyakusho). Take the monorail to Shiyakusho-mae Station, walk 10 min from Keiyo/Monorail Chiba-Minato Station, or walk 15 min from Chiba Station.
Hours: 9:00 to 12:00, and 13:00 to 16:00 (except for Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays)
Phone: 043-242-6597
Website: English/Japanese (click Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau (東京入国管理局)>Chiba Branch Office (千葉出張所))
*You can apply for a status of residence change and period of stay extension on the same day, but you will have to visit Immigration twice (once to submit the paperwork, once to pick up your visa)
Chiba Immigration Office Directions.png

Note 1: The Immigration Bureau, of course, is only open on non-holiday weekdays during business hours. Of course, we have work during this time. You will need to negotiate with your school on when you can/should go to Chiba. Talk with your supervisor first, who will then talk to your vice principal and ultimately your principal. Discuss the nature of your trip. Most schools will simply let you leave for the day and have you stamp in for work when you get back or the next day (not a business trip, so you won’t be reimbursed for travel expenses). Some schools might make it a business trip, which would mean you’d be reimbursed. However, some schools are strict and require you to take paid leave (nenkyu 年休) in order to go. Talk with your school and/or BOE, but usually the non-business trip first option is most common.

Note 2: It’s on the first floor of the Chiba Chuo Community Center. The office opens at 9:00 a.m., BUT there will already be a long line waiting to get in by 8:30. If you don’t arrive until 10 or after, you will spend your whole day there. Even at 9, there will be at least 30 people waiting. It is highly recommended you get there by 8 or soon after to save yourself a lot of time in the long run.

Note 3: On Day ONE (your first visit), you will submit your papers to Window A on the LEFT.
On Day TWO (your second visit), you will submit your Certificate of Payment of Fee Form / pick up your new residence card at Window B on the RIGHT. Be careful about going to the right window.

When the gate opens between 8:45 and 9, you will need to go inside and get a ticket from the machine to wait in line. Hopefully you got there at 8 or soon after and are the first in line, but be careful about people trying to skip you in line (most won’t though). Just walk directly for the ticket machine and you’ll be fine.

After the windows open at 9, they’ll call your number, and you’ll drop off your paperwork. They’ll take your stuff and ask you to sit back down and wait a bit longer. If all of your papers are in order, you’ll be called again in 10-15 minutes to continue on to Step 4.

Step 4: Write yourself a postcard and wait

When you submit your forms you’ll get a piece of paper in your passport that says you applied. They will also ask you to write your name AND address on a postcard (look at your Residence Card if you don’t have this memorized yet). This is the postcard they will send to you when your application has been processed and ready to be picked up. This part can take 2-4 weeks before you can finally do Step 5.

Step 5: Receive postcard and go back to Immigration Office

When the postcard arrives, make arrangements with your school to get another day off, and take the necessary items listed on the postcard (your passport, the Certificate of Payment of Fee, your old Residence card, etc.) back to the Immigration Office and get your new Period of Stay and Residence Card. Congratulations, you’re good for another year (or hopefully 3)!

Forms and further reading

Application for Extension of Period of Stay:
ALT:
PDF (reader fillable): http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001138356.pdf


Excel: http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001138357.xls

CIR:
http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001138363.pdf


Excel: http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001138364.xls


Certificate for Payment of Fee Form: http://www.moj.go.jp/content/000099631.pdf


Read about more visa procedures on the Immigration & Visa Procedures page.