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What is a Gyōsei Shoshi?



March 15, 2023


10:08 AM

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Navigating immigration regulations and formal procedures in Japan can be overwhelming. If you do not read or write Japanese, this will further complicate matters.

When applying for a visa or residence permit in Japan there are several layers involved in the overall processing. If you are working with a professional lawyer or law firm to help support your immigration needs, it is very likely that there is someone very integral involved in your application. That special someone is called a Gyōsei shoshi or Lawyer (mostly Gyosei shoshi), having a certificate for being able to provide services as an Immigration Specialist, generally called“Pink Card”.

In Japan, visa regulations are governed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Generally speaking, you will need a visa to enter Japan unless your nationality is part of the visa waiver treaty program. A Residence certificate is required for the foreigners who want to stay more than 90 days. To obtain Residence certificate, you need to submit the application form by yourself or through qualified immigration specialist, having pink card.

Information in this article was updated for accuracy by Relocate Ambassador Junko Ishibashi (March 27, 2022)

Why a Gyōsei Shoshi is important for immigration applications in Japan.

A Gyōsei shoshi is similar to a UK Solicitor, or US lawyer. Gyōsei shoshi's are licensed professionals who assist individuals and businesses with various administrative and legal procedures, such as preparing and submitting legal documents, supporting the establishment of corporate entities, and obtaining business licenses from the Japanese government.

In order to become a Gyōsei shoshi, an individual must complete a specialized training program and pass a national certification exam. Gyōsei shoshi are regulated by the Japanese government, and are required to adhere to strict ethical standards and continuing education requirements to maintain their license.

A Gyōsei shoshi is rarely employed by law firms and mostly work as independent consultants. They play an important role in facilitating business operations and helping individuals navigate Japan's complex bureaucracy. They play an important role in facilitating business operations and helping individuals navigate Japan's complex bureaucracy.

Additionally, to maintain a pink card, a Gyosei Shoshi (or Lawyer) is required to take nationwide examinations every three years and achieve more than 70% grade on these tests.

Screenshot 2023-03-27 at 12,31,38.webp A certified Gyōsei shoshi "pink card" permits this type of immigration specialists to provide these professional services

Can I hire a Gyōsei Shoshi for my visa application?

For immigration and legal purposes, you can compare a Gyōsei Shoshi to a Paralegal in the western world. This is a trusted and oftentimes, very detail oriented professional. As mentioned above, a Gyōsei Shoshi typically works with other professionals, such as a Shiho Shoshi, Tax Lawyer, and other general lawyers.

To provide services as a Gyōsei Shoshi, you must be licensed and have pink card issued by Local Immigrant Management Bureau. Therefore, if you are able to find a qualified Gyōsei Shoshi that specializes in Japanese visa and immigration matters, it might be a good idea to hire their services.

Benefits of working with a Gyōsei Shoshi.

If you manage to find a qualified Gyōsei Shoshi that can support your immigration and visa needs for Japan, it might make sense to engage their services directly. One of the most obvious benefits of this is costs.

Typically, qualified bi-lingual legal professionals in Japan come at a higher-rate than others. This shouldn’t be a surprise, as finding a reliable immigration lawyer or global mobility professional in Japan is not easy. Just type in “immigration lawyer in Japan” and see what comes up. We can guarantee that at some point you will encounter more Kanji and anime images than lawyers.

Overall, Gyōsei Shoshi’s are the ones performing the grunt work for immigration and visa filings. These are the ones putting the pen to paper and leading the submission process. Of course, finding a qualified, bilingual Gyōsei Shoshi will be a major part of the challenge. Furthermore, you want to ensure that this Gyōsei Shoshi has skills that are specifically relevant to the needs of your case.

Do Gyōsei Shoshi’s specialize in visa and immigration filings?

Yes, some Gyōsei shoshi, having a pink card, specialize in visa and immigration filings. In Japan, there are various types of residence permits for different purposes such as work, study, and residency, and the application process can be complicated and time-consuming. Gyōsei shoshi who specialize in visa and immigration filings can assist individuals and businesses with preparing and submitting visa applications, as well as providing guidance on the required documentation and procedures.

Additionally, Gyōsei shoshi who specialize in visa and immigration filings can also provide advice and assistance with residency and citizenship issues, such as obtaining permanent residency or Japanese citizenship. They may also provide support for issues related to family reunification, such as spouse visas and dependent visas.

It's important to note that not all Gyōsei shoshi specialize in visa and immigration filings, and individuals seeking assistance with visa applications should look for a Gyōsei shoshi who has a pink card and experience in this area.

Not sure where to start?

A special thanks to Relocate Ambassador, Junko Ishibashi, for confirming the accuracy of the information in this article. Junko is a dual-qualified US-Japanese immigration lawyer, and of course, a licensed Gyōsei shoshi.

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