When you move in Japan here’s the paperwork you’ll need to do

There are a lot of things you should take care of when moving. Once you’ve figured out the timing, booked your moving company, and cancelled/set up utilities, the next step would be to register your new address.

Here are a few things to remember:

  • Japan is still largely paper-based. Depending on where you live and the kind of services offered, it might be best to change your address manually. But if you would happen to live in a larger city, it’s likely that most of these can be done online.
  • If you’re personally venturing somewhere to change your address:
    • Try to go early in the morning or late at noon on a weekday to avoid long lines!
    • Remember to bring all of your identification documents (e.g. passport, residence card) to make everything speedy and to avoid a second trip!

I think as long as you remember the two points above, everything should go smoothly.

I’ve listed the following based on level of importance. Of course if any of these are time sensitive, then it might be better for you to prioritize them first instead.

Ward Office

Every resident in Japan is required to notify their ward of their new address within 14 days of moving. There should be information available in English depending on the ward you live in, so please check the official ward office website for all the details.

The kind of document you would need to submit depends on the kind of move you’ll be making. For moves within the same ward, you would only need a  転居届 (tenkyo todoke). If you will be moving from one ward to another, you would first need to get a 転出 (tenshutsu todoke) from your old ward, to submit with a → 転入 (tennyuu todoke) to your new ward of residency.

Submission of the above three documents is done in person at your local ward office. Depending on the time of day, it could take as fast as ten minutes to an hour of waiting to process since the ward staff will be taking your residence card to print your new address on the back.

For a detailed breakdown of this, you check out this article: Moving in and moving out of Japan: Procedures for registering at your city or ward office

Post Office

I am not sure about the smaller post offices but usually if you go to a post office and ask for a 転居届 (tenkyo todoke), they should have a dedicated, mailable form that you can fill out with your personal information, details about your old and new address. Once you’re done, you can just drop it off into the post and you’re good to go!

Bank

Again, this differs depending on the bank. If you would have a phone app linked to your account, I think it might be possible to change your address from there, but the safest bet would be to go to a branch of choice in person.

Banks should have staff ready to assist with this, and should also have a dedicated form for that as well.

When I changed my address at Japan Post Bank, the staff who assisted me was kind enough to help fill out my form with me. I think they won’t be available to do that all the time though, as I went at 3 p.m. on a weekday. Weekends should be more crowded. So if you’d like to be personally assisted, it would be best to go when there’s less people around.

Mobile phone

I have a contract with Softbank so luckily I was able to change everything online. If you would prefer having someone help you, you could look up your provider’s customer center number or visit a shop in person.

Work/School

For matters related to this, please get in touch with your company’s Human Resources department, or Student Services office if you’re still in school. 

The above should be all to take note of when you change address! Of course if you’re unemployed, you would have to change your address for your National Health Insurance and National Pension as well.

In case you’d have any advice or points to add to the above, please let us know in the comments below and we’ll be glad to discuss!


Cindy works for the GaijinPot Housing Service, helping foreigners find their home in Japan. She relocated to Japan after graduating from De La Salle University in the Philippines. Read Cindy’s self-intro to find out what brought her here!


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