Last Updated: September 24, 2021
Japan Work Visa
Japan, the island country in East Asia is soaring high economically with a remarkably developed free-market economy and is ranked as the world’s second-largest economy. With its incredible economic growth and enhanced technological infrastructure, it attracts foreign nationals from all across the globe to live and pursue their dream job in one of the most advanced nations of the world.
Individuals from foreign countries willing to live and work in Japan for any duration of time are required to apply for the Japanese Work Visa. The application process for Japan Work Visa requires one to get an eligibility certificate from the Japanese Immigration Services and then apply for a Japanese work visa.
Types of Work Visa
There are a few different kinds of work visas that individuals can take depending upon the criteria they fulfil. This includes a regular work visa, working holiday visa, highly skilled professional visa, and the specified skilled worker visas. The duration of a Japanese Work Visa depends on one’s profession and also the duration of the work contract which may range from three months to five years. Irrespective of the work contract, if the foreign national meets all the requirements, then he/she can apply for an extension of their Japanese work visa.
The kinds of work visas are-
Japan Work Visa
This is a regular work visa that applicants from the eligibility criteria can apply for. The profession that the candidate does will be the deciding factor for this visa and the profession can range from being a professor to a researcher.
Japan Working Holiday Visa
This visa is provided to candidates who are citizens of nations that have a Working Holiday agreement with Japan. Having this visa will let the individual stay in the country as a tourist and at the same time allow them to work in the country to afford their stay.
Japan Highly Skilled Professional Visa
This visa is also provided for skilled workers who come under the list of professions specified by the government. But it will be issued based on a point-based system and will allow the recipient to stay for a longer duration when compared to the regular work visa.
Specified Skilled Worker Visa
This particular work visa is categorized into two parts: Specified Skills Visa 1 - SSV1 and Specified Skills Visa 2 - SSV2.
- Specified Skilled Worker Visa 1 allows a foreign national to live and work in Japan for 5 years with a limited renewal period. Applicants of this particular visa type will not be allowed to bring their family members and are also required to take a Japanese Language Proficiency Test and provide proof of skills or proficiency in their respective fields. The new test for this visa is the Japan Foundation Japanese Basic Test which is computerized.
- Specified Skilled Worker Visa 2 is only available for professionals engaged in the field of shipbuilding and construction. SSV2 visa holders are allowed to bring their families and also renew the duration of their stay for an indefinite period. Under both these forms of visas, employers are required to pay the foreign professionals a salary that is equal to or greater than the pay for Japanese professionals.
Eligibility for Work Visa
Candidates who work in the following professions will be able to take a work visa, given that they have been offered a job within the country
- Engineer, Specialist in International Services/Humanities: Foreign nationals who have a university degree or hold three or more years of professional experience in the field of engineering, International Services/Humanities can apply for a Japanese Work Visa.
- Skilled Labor: Foreign workers engaged as chefs, professional processing of fur, metals or precious stones, training animals, piloting animals with professional experience of 3-10 years in their respective fields are eligible to apply for the Japan Work Visa.
- Intra-Company Transferee: Foreign nationals who want to transfer to the Japanese branch of the company they are already employed in. Employees with a minimum of 1 year of experience in the said office can apply for the Japan Work Visa to be eligible to live and work in the Japanese branch of the company.
- Business Manager: Foreign individuals who are willing to invest or start their own business in Japan or manage a business on behalf of other investors can apply for a Japanese work visa. To be eligible for the Japan Work Visa one must have a dedicated physical office in Japan and invest a minimum of 5 million yen.
- Professor: Foreign applicants who work as university professors, assistant professors, etc. will come under this category and will be eligible for a work visa.
- Artist: Foreign applicants that work as composers, songwriters, artists, sculptors, craftspeople, photographers, etc. come under this category and will be able to apply for a work visa.
- Religious Activities: Foreign applicants who are monks, bishops, missionaries, etc. come under this category and can apply for a work visa.
- Journalist: Through this category, applicants who work as newspaper journalists, magazine journalists, editors, news cameramen, announcers, etc. will be able to apply for a work visa.
- Legal/Accounting Services: Through this category, applicants who work as attorneys, judicial scriveners, public accountants, tax accountants, etc. will be able to apply for a work visa.
- Medical Services: Foreign applicants who wish to work as physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, etc. will be able to apply for this visa.
- Researcher: Foreign applicants who research or investigate at institutional levels will be able to apply for a work visa with the said designation.
- Instructor: Foreign applicants who are teachers at an elementary, middle school, high school level will be able to apply for work visas in the country.
- Entertainer: Through this category, candidates who are musicians, actors, singers, dancers, sportspeople, models, etc. will be able to apply for a work visa.
Who Needs to Apply for the Work Visa?
Foreign nationals who wish to work in the country and live there will require a work visa irrespective of the duration they plan to stay. Citizens of a few countries are exempt from requiring a visa to be in Japan though this is only with respect to their purpose of visit. The exemption is providing only if the applicant enters the country as a tourist, short-term visitor, or for recreation.
Japanese work visas are only provided for highly skilled workers who come under the eligibility list of professions specified by the government.
Cost of a Japan Work Visa
The fee for a Japanese work visa will have to be paid by the applicant only when the application has been approved.
- Single Entry Visa Fee- 3,000 Yen
- Multiple Entry Visa Fee- 6,000 Yen
Steps to Apply for a Short Stay Work Visa
Step 1- Obtain Certificate of Eligibility
Foreign nationals willing to live and work in Japan for the long term have to obtain the Eligibility Certificate while applying for the Japan Work Visa. One needs to send their documents to the sponsor/employer to apply for the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) on their behalf. The COE doesn’t replace the work visa, it is a mere prerequisite to be eligible to apply for the Japan Work Visa. The COE shows that the candidate meets all the requirements set by the Japanese government for foreign workers and hence the Japanese Immigration Service has approved their application to work in Japan.
The employer will send this Eligibility Certificate to the candidate after which the candidate will be able to apply for the visa.
Step 2- Applying for a Japan Work Visa- Contact Embassy
The first step in the application process is to contact the nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate. Candidates should contact the embassy to confirm whether or not they accept offline applications. In case they don’t, candidates will have to apply through accredited travel agencies.
Step 3- Applying for a Japan Work Visa- Collect Documents
While contacting the embassy, candidates will have to enquire about the necessary documents they require for the particular visa they are applying for. They will have to collect the documents that have been specified.
Step 4- Applying for a Japan Work Visa- Submit Application
Now, they will be able to submit the Japan Work Visa application by completing the document and attaching the necessary documents that have been specified. This will have to be submitted to the embassy or the consulate that is nearest to them.
Step 5-Applying for a Japan Work Visa- Collect Visa
After processing the submitted application form, candidates will be able to go back to collect their passport along with the visa that had been submitted during the application process.
Documents Required While Applying for Work Visa
The documents required for the work visa vary according to the type of occupation and work visa one is applying for. However, one of the basic requirements for Japan’s work visa is the Eligibility Certificate. Before applying for the Japanese Work Visa, a foreign national willing to work in Japan requires to send his/her documents to the Japanese employer or sponsor so that the employer can apply for the eligibility certificate at Japan’s Immigration Service department. While applying for the Japanese Work Visa, one must submit the following supporting documents:
- The Eligibility Certificate issued by the Japan Immigration Service.
- Valid passport with its photocopies.
- Documents to prove your educational and professional qualification.
- Duly signed copy of Japan's Visa Application form.
- Documents with all the employment details, position in the company hired for, salary to be received, duration of working hours, etc.
- Documents with all the details of the employer, company name, company license/registration number, statement of profit/loss, etc.
- Description of company’s activities including withholding tax report.
- Good quality recent passport-sized photographs.
- Depending on your choice of work visa, the Japanese Embassy or Consulate might ask for some additional documents.
- Additional documents as required by the profession the candidate works in.
Visa Processing Time
Candidates who wish to get a Japan work visa will have to apply for the same before at least 2 months of the date they plan to move to the country. The time taken for processing a Japan Work Visa is between 5 to 10 working days. Though this is the time specified, the time can depend on the office through which the candidate has applied for the visa.
If the candidate is applying for a Certificate of Eligibility, unless the application for the Certificate of Eligibility is submitted first, the visa issuance will take as long as 1 to 3 months.
Extending Japanese Work Visa
To extend one’s work visa, candidates will have to apply for Japan Visa Extension (Extension of the Period of Stay)
at their local Immigration Office where they live and work. For this, they will need to submit the following documents:
Duly signed copy of the Extension of the Period of Stay Application Form
Passport and Residence Card
Proof of financial assets to continue living in Japan
Proof of continued employment contract
Details of employer
Passport sized photographs
Proof of tax payment and annual income
Renewing Work Visa
The candidate will be able to renew their existing visa by applying 3 months before the expiration. Once the application has been submitted, the visa will be automatically extended for 2 months within which the application will be processed. Candidates will be allowed to travel outside the country within the extended duration as long as they return before the extended expiration date of a visa. In case the renewal application has been rejected, candidates will be able to stay with temporary status as they prepare for departure.
The renewal application can either be provided by the applicant or by their sponsor at the Immigration Office that is closest to them. The documents required for work visa renewal are-
- Extension of the Period of stay Application Form
- Residence Card
- Passport-size pictures
- Proof of Financial Stability
- Proof of Continued Employment
- Registration document of company
- Proof of annual income and tax payment
Some Things to Note
- The processing time for a Japanese work visa is around 5 to 10 working days but this tentative schedule is dependent on the office the individual applies to.
- While obtaining a work visa requires only less than 10 days, receiving a Certificate of Eligibility might take a duration of even 3 months.
- Upon arriving in the country, candidates will have to collect a Landing Permit which will replace the visa they have issued.
- Candidates will eventually have to obtain a Residence Card from a local municipal office at a location close to where they stay.