Settling In

[2020 UPDATED] My Number System in Japan


In this article, we will explain the Japanese My Number system to foreigners living in Japan.

You may know that My Number is indispensable for living in Japan, but this article also explains why you need it.

It also covers how to apply for My Number Card, so please take a look.

Overview of My Number System

My Number is a 12-digit personal number that all residents of Japan have. Foreigners also have one for themselves.

As a general rule, once you get your My Number, you will use the same number for the rest of your life. Even if a foreigner returns to his/her home country and comes back to Japan, he/she will use the same number, so be careful not to leak the number to anyone.

Also, there is a card called My Number Card(マイナンバーカード) that shows your My Number.

My Number card
Sample of My Number Card
Source: マイナンバーカード総合サイト

You can use it as an identification card with a face photo.

My Number Card is valid for the 10th birthday (until the 5th birthday for people of the age of 20 and under) from the date of issue. However, it is a little different for foreigners.

  • Permanent Resident, Highly Professional No. 2, Special Permanent Resident: until 10th birthday
  • Medium- to long-term residents and temporary permitted residents other than above: the validity period differs

The card that notifies you of your My Number is called a notification card(通知カード). You can present your My Number with this card.

My Number notification card
Sample of notification card
Source: マイナンバーカード総合サイト

However, the notification card had been abolished on May 25, 2020, and now it is replaced with a document called personal number notification(個人番号通知書). If you are a foreigner who is going to acquire your My Number, you will be able to know your number from this notification.

My Number notification
Sample of personal number notification
Source: マイナンバーカード総合サイト

You may have read up to this point and thought, “Why do you need My Number in the first place?”

My Number is used to confirm that each information belongs to the same person in the fields of social security, tax, and disaster countermeasures.

Until now, various numbers such as a resident’s card code, basic pension number, and even the number of the person insured for health insurance have been used to confirm personal information between fields, but it was extremely time-consuming.

My Number was introduced to reduce this burden. If the government can centrally manage each information under My Number, it means that they can identify an individual quickly and accurately.

Grant Procedure of My Number Card

My Number card application

Next, we will explain the details of the procedure for issuing My Number Card.

There are several ways to apply for it, as shown below.

  • Online application (PC, smartphone)
  • Application with ID photo machine
  • Application by mail

Online application using a smartphone or PC is the method in which the My Number Card arrives at earliest among the various ways.

It usually takes about 3-4 weeks to get the card, but if you apply for it online, you can shorten this by a few days.

Application with Smartphone

The application procedure on a smartphone is as follows.

  1. Access the application website from the QR code on the application form
  2. Enter necessary information such as application ID and email address according to the contents of the screen, attach a face photo and send
  3. Application completed

As for the application form, we will explain it later in the section “Application by Mail.”

When you finish the application, you will receive an email at the registered email address.

Application with PC

  1. Take a picture of your face and save it to your computer
  2. Access the website for applying for My Number Card
  3. Enter the necessary items according to the content and send with a photograph of the face taken
  4. Application completed

For a computer, the general procedure is the same as when using a smartphone. The only difference is that you need to take a picture of your face in advance with a smartphone or digital camera.

Application with ID Photo Machine

You can apply for your My Number Card even from the ID photo machine that you often see in the city. The procedure is as follows.

  1. Select “Apply for Individual Number Card(個人番号カード申請)” on the touch panel
  2. After inserting the money for shooting, hold the QR code of the application form over the barcode reader
  3. Follow the instructions on the screen and enter the required information to take and send a facial photo
  4. Application completed

Not all ID photo machines can apply for My Number Card. Limited to ones provided by the following companies.

  • DNP Photo Imaging Japan Co.,Ltd.
  • Nippon Auto Photo K.K.
  • FUJIFILM Corporation

Application by Mail

You can also apply by mail using the “Personal Number Card Issuance Application Form” that arrives at the address on your resident card.

My Number card application form
Sample of Personal Number Card Issuance Application Form
Source: マイナンバーカード総合サイト

The procedure is as follows.

  1. “Personal number notification” and “Personal Number Card Issuance Application Form” arrive at the address of residence card
  2. Fill in the necessary items on the application form and paste your face photo
  3. Put in the envelope for sending and post it
  4. Application completed

Regarding the “Personal Number Card Issuance Application Form,” you will need to fill in the following information.

  • Name, address, etc.
  • Phone numbers that can reach you during the day
  • Classification of foreign residents (for foreign residents only)
  • Whether or not you want Braille notation (if you want, fill □ in black)
  • Application date
  • Applicant’s name (either signature, signature or seal)
  • Attaching a face photo
  • Agent’s entry field (fill in if you are under 15 years old or a guardian of adult applies for it)

If you have any questions about My Number, you can check the details on the website of the Cabinet Office below.

From the basic information of the My Number system, you can check explanations about the My Number Card and My Number Portal, frequently asked questions, and their answers.

In addition to English, explanations in Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese are also included, so foreigners can use it with confidence.


This time, we explained about the My Number system in Japan and how to apply for My Number Card.

If you are staying in Japan for work or study, you will often be asked to “submit your My Number.” Besides, My Number Card can also be used as an ID card, so it is very convenient.

There are several ways to get it, so please apply by your suitable method.