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I would like to apply for permanent residence, but will I be denied if I have a history of traffic violations?

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Visa Application Services >  Visa application Q&A > Application for Permanent Residence and Travel History Abroad
I would like to apply for permanent residence, but will I be denied if I have a history of traffic violations?
Traffic violations are a disadvantage when applying for a permanent residence permit.

Depending on the nature and severity of the traffic violation, it may be necessary to refrain from applying for permanent residence for several years, so those who are considering applying for permanent residence and drive a car must be more careful than usual.

Types of Traffic Violations

There are two main types of punishments for traffic violations: administrative and criminal.

1.Administrative Dispositions

Administrative punishment is given by the Public Safety Commission (government) for relatively minor traffic violations that are less than 6 points under the traffic violation point system. In this case, since this is a punishment administered by the administration, no criminal record is attached.

2. Criminal punishment

This is a punishment imposed for serious traffic violations of 6 points or more. The offender will appear in court for a trial. If you are found guilty at the trial, you will be punished with either a fine, imprisonment, or jail time. Even if you end up with only a fine, you will still be convicted and will have a criminal record.

Please refer to the Metropolitan Police Department's website for a list of points for traffic violations.

List of points for traffic violations (Metropolitan Police Department)  

Traffic violations will result in a "red ticket," "blue ticket," or "white ticket," and the distinction between these three types is as follows

Red ticket...given for serious violations involving criminal proceedings, such as license revocation or suspension.
Blue ticket...given for a serious violation that will result in a fine.
White ticket...only points are given and no fine is required.

Malicious traffic violations, such as drunk driving, are given a "red" ticket, while relatively minor violations, such as parking violations, are given a "blue" ticket. In addition, there are also "white" tickets that do not require a fine.

Impact of Traffic Violations on Application for Permanent Residence

Although the above color coding of red, blue, and white tickets does not determine whether permanent residence is granted or denied, it is generally believed that it is very difficult to obtain permanent residence if you receive a red ticket. A fine for a red ticket is a criminal offense.

Let's review the conditions for applying for permanent residence.

The conditions for obtaining a permanent residence visa are clearly described in the "Guidelines for Permanent Residence Permit" published by the Immigration and Residence Management Agency.

(1) Good conduct.
You must obey the law and fulfil all legal obligations such as paying taxes and penshion etc.

(2) Possess sufficient assets or skills to earn an independent living.
Those who do not become a burden on the public in their daily lives, and who are expected to lead a stable life in the future based on their assets or skills.

(3)The person's permanent residence is recognized to be in the interests of Japan.

ア In principle, the applicant must have continued to reside in Japan for 10 years or more. However, during this period, the applicant must have continued to stay in the country for five years or more with a working status (excluding the residence status "Technical Intern Training" and "Specified Skilled Worker No. 1") or residence status.

イ The applicant must not have been sentenced to a fine or imprisonment. Properly fulfill public obligations (obligations such as tax payments, payment of public pension and public medical insurance premiums, and notification obligations stipulated in the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act).

ウ With respect to the current status of residence, the applicant must be residing for the maximum period of stay specified in Attached Table 2 of the Enforcement Regulations of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act.

エ There is no risk of harm from a public health perspective.


Looking at the above requirements, (3) (a), the applicant must not have been fined or imprisoned. The above requirement is stated in (3) (a).

Therefore, in principle, if you have been fined, your application for permanent residence will not be approved.

However, in the case of a fine, which is a property penalty, if five years pass without a sentence of a fine or greater being imposed on a person who has completed the execution of the sentence or obtained an exemption from its execution, the sentence is considered to have never been handed down, so if five years have passed since the fine was paid, the past violation is not considered a reason for non-approval. If five years have passed since the fine was paid, then past violations would not be grounds for disapproval.

In addition, although a blue ticket is an infraction, it is considered minor and not enough to warrant a criminal fine if a fine is paid.

Therefore, a single speeding ticket under 20 kilometers per hour, a single violation of the seat belt requirement, or a single violation of parking in a no-parking zone will not be considered a reason for denial, although it will be detrimental to your permanent residence application.

However, even a relatively minor blue ticket, as well as a red ticket, will result in very severe consequences for permanent residence. For example, in the case of a blue ticket, if the offender repeatedly violates a single point, the good conduct of the offender will be questioned.

If you are concerned about your past driving record

When applying for permanent residence, some people may be concerned about their past driving record, but are wondering when and how many violations they have had in the past.

If you do not know how many traffic violations you have, you can obtain a "Driving Record Certificate" to show your history for the past five years.

The Driving Record Certificate can be obtained at the Automobile Safety Driving Centers located in all prefectures in Japan. We recommend that you check once before applying for permanent residence.

Locations of Vehicle Safety Centers

Traffic accidents are roughly the same for naturalization applications. For permanent residence, the application is filed with the Immigration Bureau, and for naturalization, the application is filed with the Legal Affairs Bureau, but the final decision for both is made by the Minister of Justice.

Summary of the Impact of Traffic Violations on Applications for Permanent Residence

It is very difficult to apply for permanent residence if you have received a criminal penalty of a fine or greater for a traffic violation. Also, even relatively minor traffic violations will appear on your driving record certificate for the past five years, so depending on the nature and frequency of the violation, it may be better to wait until the record is cleared before applying for permanent residence.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any problems with your traffic violation history.

Q&A Supervisor

ACROSEED Immigration Lawyer's Office
Representative Administrative Scrivener
Makoto Sano

1998 Graduated from Aoyamagakuin University
2001 Registered as an administrative scrivener

He has Over 20 years of experience as an international administrative scrivener, specializing in foreign employment consulting and residence procedures for foreign residents in Japan.

Click here to see information about his business achievements
Click here to see books he has authored

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