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Everything You Need To Know About The My Number Card

06/15/2021

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 organisations (national and local), your employer, financial institutions, and organisations 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.

What is 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 do not 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 are 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.

Reasons To 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 us 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 and a My Number Card. With this, you do not 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.

How to Apply?

In order to apply for an Individual Number (My Number) Card, you will need the Individual Number notification that you got through registered mail, as well as a My Number Card application form. If you are applying for a card for the first time, it will not 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

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

Via PC

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

Via a Public Photo Booth

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

Via Mail

  1. Sign or stamp the application form and stick your photo on the required space.
  2. Put the form in the provided envelope and drop it in a mailbox.

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