Japanese My Number Card for International Students

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Curious about the My Number Card in Japan? It’s more than just an ID; it’s a key for international students to unlock various services, simplifying life in Japan. This guide dives deep into its importance, how to obtain it, use it, and what it means for your stay.


What is My Number Card?

The My Number Card (Individual Number Card) is a fundamental component of Japan’s social system, designed to streamline and secure the process of accessing government and private services for residents, including international students. Introduced as part of the Social Security and Tax Number System, this card carries a unique 12-digit number assigned to each person living in Japan with a registered address. The system aims to enhance public convenience while ensuring the efficient management of social security, taxation, and disaster response.

One of the significant advantages of the My Number Card is its multifunctionality. It can be used across a broad spectrum of activities, from government and municipal services to everyday conveniences:

  • Official Identification
    The card serves as a government-issued ID for various administrative procedures.
  • Health Insurance
    By applying in advance, it can act as your health insurance card, streamlining medical services and procedures.
  • Taxation
    The card simplifies the process of filing taxes, claiming deductions, and managing other tax-related matters.
  • Banking and Financial Services
    Some financial institutions allow the use of the My Number Card for opening accounts and conducting transactions, enhancing security and convenience.
  • Access to Public Services
    It facilitates easier access to public services, including entries in the resident register and certificates issuance, which can be conveniently obtained at designated multifunctional copiers found in convenience stores.

Obtaining My Number Card

For a seamless journey in obtaining your My Number Card, it’s essential to keep all documents, including the notification letter and issuance notice, safe and secure as losing them can lead to unnecessary delays. Pay close attention to deadlines mentioned in these documents, as adhering to them is crucial in a country that values punctuality. If possible, opt for the online application process using the application ID provided, as it’s not only faster but also more convenient, saving you a trip to the municipal office. Additionally, prepare your photo in advance, ensuring it meets the specified requirements to avoid any setbacks. By following these integrated tips, you’ll streamline your My Number Card acquisition, paving the way for a smoother transition into life in Japan.

Registration at Your Local City Office

Upon your arrival in Japan and after finding a place to call home, your first step is to register your address at the local city (ward) office. This is where you officially become a resident and where the My Number system starts for you.

Receiving the Notification Letter

Within 2-3 weeks of registering, you’ll receive a My Number notification letter at your registered address. This letter is crucial because it contains your unique 12-digit My Number.

Applying for the My Number Card

With the notification letter in hand, you’re ready to apply for the My Number Card. The letter includes an application form, making it convenient to start the process. You can choose to mail this form back or go digital and apply online using the application ID provided in the form. Remember, you’ll need a recent photo of yourself taken within the last six months.

Waiting for the Issuance Notice

After you’ve sent off your application, there’s a bit of a waiting game. Within about a month, you’ll receive an issuance notice from your local city office. This notice will tell you when and where to pick up your My Number Card.

Collecting Your My Number Card

Armed with your issuance notice, head to the designated service counter to collect your card.

Returning Your My Number Card

For international students, the My Number Card holds validity until the expiration of their stay period, as indicated on their residence card. If you plan to leave Japan, whether upon completion of your studies or for other reasons, returning your My Number Card is a necessary step. This process involves visiting your local city (ward) office to return the card and complete other required procedures, such as submitting a moving-out notification and settling any National Health Insurance premiums. This step is crucial for ensuring that your departure from Japan is smooth and compliant with local regulations, preventing any potential administrative complications.


The My Number Card is an indispensable asset for international students in Japan, streamlining numerous aspects of daily life and bureaucratic necessities. From obtaining official documents with ease to serving as a health insurance card, its benefits are multifaceted. By understanding how to obtain, use, and return the My Number Card, students can ensure a more seamless experience in Japan, allowing them to focus more on their studies and less on administrative hurdles.

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