Thursday, August 21, 2014

Crossing Prefectures: Things to remember when moving to a new city

June was full of new experiences that were both exciting and tiring. As one may have guessed from my previous post about resigning from your job in Japan, I changed my job and had to move to another prefecture.

Moving to another house in the same prefecture does not require a lot of paperwork, but the same is not true if you're moving to a different prefecture.

In Japan, you have to "inform" the current city you're living in that you will be moving out - it's basically like "resigning" from that city - and then register your new address in your new city.

※By the way, the Japanese word for "moving in/out (house)" is "引越し(hikkoshi)".

When you first decide to move out of your current city, you have to get a "転出届" or a "notification of moving out" just before you leave. It is easy to get from the City Hall and does not cost anything. You just have to go to the nearest City Hall (市役所), fill up the form, stamp it with your personal seal, submit it to the processing counter, and wait for it to be printed and handed to you. It probably will not take 2 hours, unless there are a lot of people.

The things to prepare are the following:
1. personal seal (印鑑)
2. pen for writing
3. valid ID (passport, alien registration for foreigners, driver's license, etc.)
4. application form

As for the form that you have to fill up, there are usually examples of how to fill them up so just follow those and you will be fine.

It is more convenient to get a 転出届 before you leave, but in case you didn't know about it and have already finished moving (just like me), it is also possible to request for it through post mail. It will take around a week to be delivered to you and it will cost you money for the sending of the forms.

Notifying the City Hall about your move is important because it will determine where you pay your taxes. If you don't get a 転出届, you will still be considered a resident of your previous city even if you have already transferred, and you will still have to pay taxes to that city.

So let's say you have your notification of moving out and you have already settled down in a new city in a different prefecture. This time, you have to register yourself as a resident of that city and for this you will need to submit a "転入届" or "notification of moving in".

The steps are basically the same as above. Go to the City Hall and bring the following with you:
1. notification of moving out (転出届) from your old city
2. personal seal
3. pen for writing
4. valid ID (alien registration card for foreigners)
5. application form

In this case, too, the form will be provided at the City Hall and there are samples for you to use as a guide while filling up the required information. Again, this will not take very long and will not cost you anything.

In my case, I went to the city hall on a Saturday - it seems that in some cities, they are open every 2nd and 4th Saturday - so there were very few people. It only took me around 30 minutes to finish. I still carry the old alien registration card, so I had to have my new address written on the back.

The important thing to remember about moving in to a new prefecture is that you have to submit the 転入届 within 14 days from your transfer. If not, depending on the case, you might be fined up to 40-50,000 Yen.

And that's basically what you need to do in order to be considered a "legal" resident of your town.

If you want more details, you can easily access your city's homepage - I believe that (almost) all cities in Japan have their own website - where you can get loads of information not only about the above matter, but also about lifestyle, tourist spots, schools and facilities, etc.

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