Jobs in Japan - Visas

By James Gibbs.

Probably one of the best places to start for visa-related issues is The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Guide to Japanese Visas.

Visa Types
Japan has 7 types of visas:

Diplomatic visa

Official visa

Working visa - (1 or 3 years). Activities for research, research guidance, or education as professor, assistant professor, or assistant, etc. at universities, equivalent educational institutions, or technical colleges.

Temporary Visitor's visa - (15 or 90 days). For sightseeing, sports, visiting relatives etc.

Transit visa - (15 days).

General visa - (up to 3 years). For cultural activities, students and trainees.

Specified visa - (up to 3 years). Activities that are specifically designated by the Minister of Justice for foreign individuals. Eg. activities on the part of foreigners who wish to enter Japan as personal help privately employed by diplomats, consular representatives, etc.; foreigners who wish to enter Japan as a working holiday; foreigners who are employed by companies, etc. and are active as athletes in amateur sports and their dependent spouses and children; foreign lawyers engaged in international arbitration affairs, etc; university students engaged in internship activities; entertainers.

Working Holiday Agreements: Based on bilateral agreements, working holiday programs permit young people (between 18 and 30 years of age) from the countries concerned who are visiting a partner country on vacation to engage in work so as to supplement their funds to travel and stay in that country. This provides them with an opportunity to get to know that country's culture and general lifestyle. At present, Japan has such working holiday agreements with 5 countries: Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea.

Visa Renewals
It will take around a week for your new visa to be processed. Visa renewals can be made up to 2 months prior to expiry of your current visa.

Certificate of Eligibility
The Certificate of Eligibility basically proves to the immigration bureau that you have fulfilled all the requirements to be issued the appropriate visa for the industry you wish to work in. This means that once you have the certificate you are eligible to receive your visa almost immediately. Tourists don't need this certificate.

Immigration must know that the applicant will receive over a certain income amount each year. A company that promises this amount of money to the applicant is often referred to as the sponsor. If things don't work out with the company and you need to move on, a letter of release is required from your former company in order to renew your visa with the new sponsor. Your former employer is required by labour law to provide you with this. If you quit your job, your visa won't be taken away from you but you will need to find a new employer to take over the sponsor title when you renew or extend your visa.

Self-sponsorship is quite straight forward, especially if you are already living in Japan and have steady work. You have to show that you are guaranteed the minimum income required to support yourself in Japan. For example, contracts from 3 companies promising you payment may be required. Free consultations are available at immigration offices in Japan and they will help you prepare the necessary documentation. Self-sponsorship may be the best solution for you!

Getting a Visa Without a University Degree
If you can show a certain number of years relevant work experience you are eligible to apply for a visa that permits work. Each visa and industry has different requirements.

Working on a Student Visa
Students must first prove that they can support themselves without having to work in order to get the student visa. This includes getting a guarantor in Japan. Then to be eligible to work you have to go to the local immigration office and get special permission which takes the form of a new stamp! You can now work a certain amount of hours per month.

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