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Transfer money from Japan after expiry of visa

I was wondering whether any of you have encountered this problem:

Until COVID hit, I worked part of the year in Tokyo for the past years and I had my salary was paid in my Yuucho account and send some of it to Europe from time to time, where I work from now.

I left Japan in a hurry in March 2020 and have been unable to return since (Country closed, waiting to get vaccinated, re-entry permit expired etc.). My visa expired recently, and when I tried to transfer money from my Yuucho account in the same way as always, it was canceled after 5 weeks, because they could not check my residence in Japan (makes sense).

So the question is, do I need to have a visa/ legal residence in Japan, to be able to transfer money internationally? My earnings/savings are legal and made during the time I had legal residence.

Can I use services such as Wise instead, or will they refuse to process the transfer for the same reason?

Does any of you have experience with this or advise how to proceed?


That sounds like a really difficult situation. To use Wise you’ll need to provide ID as well. However, if the date on your zairyu card or driving licence is current, maybe they’ll accept it? I guess you could call JP Bank and explain your situation. There must be some kind of contingency for this. Failing that, you could always try something more exotic, like buying Bitcoin in Japan and then selling it for cash where you are now.

Thanks. Zairyu card expired last month, I’m assuming that will be the issue. Wonder if I’ll get much of JP Bank’s customer service, we’ll see. Not too enthusiastic about the bitcoin idea. Feels like I have to do something illegal in order to get access to legally obtained funds.

Still hope somebody with experience with this will see my post.

Thanks for your advice!

The bitcoin option is not illegal, it just bypasses the banks. It’s your money right? Another option is to get someone you trust to bring it back in a suitcase. Up to 1 million yen can be exported in cash. Of course you also need to worry about the cash import restrictions at the other end.

Thanks for the update. Showing up with 1 million yen in cash in Europe at a bank will raise some eyebrows and require some explaining. Nowadays you already need to prove where your funds are coming from if you have saved money to make early repayments on your mortgage due to regulations to prevent money-laundering.
I made an inquiry with the people at Wise, they looked into it and said it would be able to transfer funds via them. I haven’t tried it yet, but will let you know here if it worked.

As promised the update. Tried using Wise today for the first time and it worked! Was used to have to wait for 5 days when using Yuucho for international transfers. Forwarded money from yuucho to wise JP account and then made transfer to my Dutch account. Money was there within 10-15 minutes! (Was shocked TBO). Greg, thanks again for your advice!