Everything You Need to Know About the My Number Card That Will Make Your Life Easier!


Everyone seems to be talking about MyNaPoints. They definitely sound like a good deal, but in order to accumulate those points, you’ll need a My Number Card, which a lot of people still don’t have. That’s why in this article, we’ll talk in detail about the pros of creating a My Number Card and how to go about it! Once you have a card of your own, you’ll not only start accumulating MyNaPoints, you’ll also be able to do all of your government paperwork online. That’s how easier your life will become with a My Number Card.

What Are the My Number System and the My Number Card?

My Number is a 12-digit personal identification number assigned to every person in Japan with a certificate of residence (including foreigners). A card with that number is a My Number Card. The number is allocated automatically, so you cannot change it. Even if you, for example, leave Japan, return, and create a new certificate of residence, your My Number will be the same. The purpose of the My Number system is to take all the personal information held by various institutions and consolidate it in one place. This allows government services like social insurance, taxes, or disaster prevention to operate much faster and more fairly.

When people hear about consolidating their personal information in one place, many of them start worrying about how safe that really is. Fortunately, the My Number information is only accessible by public organizations (national and local), your employer, financial institutions, and organizations related to your pension and health insurance. Additionally, they are strictly prohibited from using that information for any other purpose than the one specified by the law. Incidentally, none of those institutions will call you asking for your My Number. Only scammers trying to steal your personal information will do that, so please be careful.

my number clip art
Photo: PIXTA

What’s the Difference Between the My Number Card and the “Individual Number Notification”?

The Individual Number notification is a notification with everyone’s personal identification number (My Number) that has been mailed to all of Japan’s residents after May 25, 2020. Once you get a certificate of residence, it should only take 2-3 weeks for your notification to arrive as registered mail.* In the unlikely event that you don’t receive your My Number notification, please inquire about it at the city, ward, town, or village office that issued your certificate of residence.

The notification will feature your name, date of birth, and your My Number. However, the notification cannot be used as a form of personal ID.

On the other hand, a My Number Card is a physical plastic card with your photo on it, and you need to apply for it. A My Number Card can be used as a form of personal ID, but you’re not obligated to have it on you.

Additionally, there also exists something called a notification card. They are paper cards with My Numbers on them issued to some of the system’s first users, but they were discontinued on May 25, 2020 and cannot be updated or renewed. The Individual Number notifications are a replacement of the notification cards.

Registered mail is mail whose entire delivery is tracked and recorded. You need to sign or stamp your personal seal in order to receive it. If you’re not home, the mail will not be left in your mailbox. You’ll have to request a redelivery.

It’s So Useful! Why You Should Get a My Number Card

Getting a My Number Card takes some time, but once you have one, making use of all sorts of government services will become much faster and smoother. Let’s look at all the benefits of having a My Number Card.

You Can Do All Your Government Paperwork Online

The biggest benefit to having a My Number Card is being able to take care of all your government paperwork online. Things like getting a copy of your certificate of residence and getting proof of personal seal registration can now all be done via machines* that you can find at convenience stores. Also, starting with people filing for 2019, final income tax returns can now be submitted electronically through the e-tax system with the use of a smartphone (list of supported devices here) and a My Number Card. With this, you don’t have to spend long hours surrounded by people at city, ward, or tax offices, which is a blessing in the era of the coronavirus.

You Can Use It as a Form of ID

The My Number Card can be used as a form of personal ID at banks, for example to open a new account. Additionally, from March 2021, you should be able to use a My Number Card at medical institutions and pharmacies instead of your health insurance card.

Get Up to 5,000 Yen in MyNaPoints

If you’re thinking about creating a My Number Card, you should go ahead and do it now. Why? Because of MyNaPoints. It’s a campaign promoting the use of My Number Cards and cashless payment services, and it ends in March 2021. You can get up to 5,000 yen worth of points through it, so if you’re planning on getting a My Number Card you should also sign up for MyNaPoints. It takes around a month to get the card, so best to get it done by the end of the year!

* Some municipalities do not allow these processes to be done at convenience stores. Click here to check if your municipality allows it.

Use Your My Number Card to Collect MyNaPoints, and Get Up to 5,000 Yen!

How to Apply

public photo booth
imwaltersy / Shutterstock.com

In order to apply for an Individual Number (My Number) Card, you’ll need the Individual Number notification that you got through registered mail, as well as a My Number Card application form. If you’re applying for a card for the first time, it won’t cost you anything, but if you lose it and need it reissued, it will be 1,000 yen. There are four ways to apply for a My Number Card: using a smartphone, using a PC, using a public photo booth, or through the mail. Choose the one that works best for you.

Via Smartphone

  • Use the smartphone camera to take a photo of your face.
  • Scan the QR code in the bottom right of the My Number Card application form, and access the application website.
  • Fill out all the required fields, attach a photo of your face, and send.
my number mobile form 1
my number mobile form 2
my number mobile form 3

Via PC

  • Using a smartphone or a digital camera, take a photo of your face and save it on your computer.
  • Access the application site and enter your My Number Card application form’s application ID (23 digits).
  • Fill out all the required fields, attach a photo of your face, and send.

Via a Public Photo Booth

  • Select the My Number Card application option from the booth’s touchscreen.
  • Pay, hold up the application form’s QR code to the barcode reader, and access the application site.
  • Fill out all the required fields, attach a photo of your face, and send.

Via Mail

  • Sign or stamp the application form, and stick your photo on the required space.
  • Put the form in the provided envelope and drop it in a mailbox.
    * If your provided envelope is no longer valid, you can download a new one from here by clicking the “封筒材料のダウンロードはこちら” link.

The one thing all four sign-up methods have in common is the option to issue a digital certificate. A digital certificate is encoded in a My Number Card’s IC chip, though it’s not mandatory. However, without a digital certificate, you won’t be able to use electronic application services like e-Tax, or access the Mynaportal (discussed later), or access other services through convenience store machines. You can opt out of it now and get one later, but if you do want a digital certificate, choose the “電子証明書の発行希望あり” option when you see it, to save yourself time in the future.

The photo of your face should be 4.5×3.5cm, taken within the last six months, facing forward, no head cover, plain background. On the back, please write your name and date of birth. Black and white photos are permitted. If you have more questions about the process, click here.

Individual Number Card’s Application Information

Application for the Issuance of an Individual Number Card

How to Receive Your Card

man receiving document

After completing the above-mentioned application process, you should receive a notification in the mail from your city, ward, town, or village office that your card is ready. The notification will have all the information you need, like where to pick up the card and until when. When picking up the card, be sure to have the following things with you:

What You’ll Need

  • The notification that your card is ready
  • Notification card (if you received your My Number before May 2020)
  • ID*
  • Basic Resident Register card (if you have one)
  • My Number Card (if you have one)

* Accepted Forms of ID

1) Any of the following: basic resident register card (with photo), driver’s license, driving record certificate (if issued after April 1, 2012), passport, physically disabled person’s handbook, health and welfare handbook for persons with mental disorders, rehabilitation handbook, residence card, special permanent resident certificate, landing permit for temporary refuge, provisional stay permit.

2) If you don’t own any of the above-mentioned forms of ID, you can also submit two forms of ID featuring your name and date of birth or your name and address, which have been deemed acceptable by the city, town, or village mayor, including but not limited to: health insurance card, pension book, employee ID, student ID, documents featuring your school’s name, medical treatment certificate.

When picking up a My Number Card, you’ll have to set up four PIN numbers (three of which can be the same). It’s best to decide on them before you leave the house. First, you’ll need a PIN for your signature digital certificate, which has to be between 6 and 16 digits (Latin letters and numbers). This will be used to confirm your identity when you send an electronic document. The remaining three PIN numbers are four-digits long and are used for your digital user-identification certificate, basic residence register, and card information input assistance. They can all be different or the same. You’ll need them for login purposes.

Expiration Date

All My Number Cards have expiration dates and need to be renewed. If you’re a foreign permanent resident, Highly Skilled Professional (2), or special permanent resident, then your card’s expiration date falls on your tenth birthday after your card has been issued (the same as for Japanese people). Cards issued to people with mid to long-term residence statuses other than permanent resident or Highly Skilled Professional (2) expire on the same day as their period of stay. Cards issued to people residing in Japan on a landing permit for temporary refuge or provisional stay permit are valid for as long as they are permitted to stay in Japan. Transitional permits issued to residents by birth or residents by loss of nationality are valid for 60 days after the resident’s birth or loss of nationality.

Please note that if you’re renewing your residence status’ period of stay, you also have to renew your My Number Card. We’ll explain this in more detail in the section titled “Things to Remember About Your My Number Card When Renewing Your Period of Stay or Moving!”

Save Time on Government Paperwork! The Super Useful Mynaportal, Explained

teacher and students

Mynaportal is an online service where you can take care of government paperwork for things like childcare or nursing, or confirm notifications from government institutions. Specifically, it includes the e-tax service, licensed kindergarten applications, tax payments, health insurance premium payments, long-term care premium payments, utility payments (water, gas, NHK, and more), or change of address paperwork. Mynaportal is a very useful system that can save you a lot of time.

Details About Mynaportal:

When Renewing Your Period of Stay or Moving, Remember This

Here’s what every foreign resident in Japan should know.

If you only have about a month left on your period of stay and are applying for a My Number Card that’s set to expire at the end of your period of stay, you should first go to the Immigration Bureau and renew your residence status there. Then, get a new personal number card application form at your city, ward, town, or village office.

Additionally, we’ve touched upon this in the Expiration Date section, but if you’re renewing your residence status’ period of stay, you also have to renew your My Number Card at your local municipal office before the card’s expiration date is up. Please remember that your My Number Card does not get automatically renewed with your period of stay.

If your name or address has changed, you’ll have to fill out the appropriate forms at your local municipal office within 14 days. Failing to update your address during that time will result in you having to later complete all the move-out paperwork and receive your notification of change of residence at the municipal office connected to your old address. So please save yourself a lot of time and trouble, and take care of all the necessary paperwork as quickly as possible.

Another thing to remember is that when you move out of Japan to return to your home country or for whatever other reason, you’ll have to return your My Number Card. Also, reissuing a My Number Card costs 1,000 yen with a digital certificate and 800 yen without, and if you lose your notification or personal number card, please first inform the police (at a police station) and your local municipal office. Finally, don’t tell other people your My Number without good reason.

You should report losing your card as quickly as possible. To temporarily suspend your card due to loss or theft, call the My Number General Toll-Free Number (next section), which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

My Number Information:

  • My Number General Toll-Free Number (available in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese):  0120-0178-27
  • Inquiries About the My Number System (available in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese): 0120-0178-26
  • Inquiries about notification cards and personal number cards (available in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese): 0120-0178-27

My Number Websites

My Number Card Websites

The Cabinet Office’s explanation on My Number Cards

Information for Foreign Residents About the My Number System (Japanese)

MyNaPoints (Japanese)

Up until now, to get a certificate of residence, people had to take time off from work and go to their local municipal office. But with a My Number Card, you can do that, plus all other government paperwork much more smoothly, not to mention pay for public services. Plus, the card itself can be used as a form of ID. If you are also considering signing up for MyNaPoints, you should do it now, since it will take about a month to create your own My Number Card.

* Thumbnail: PIXTA

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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.