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Last Updated: February 18, 2024

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 a 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 Visas and Their Validity

There are a few different kinds of work visas that individuals can take depending upon the criteria they fulfill. 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. However, 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.

Start-up Visa

Applicants must apply for a start-up visa to launch a business in Japan. To receive a six-month residency permit for entrepreneurial endeavors, they must fulfill several prerequisites.

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

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 provided only if the applicant enters the country as a tourist, short-term visitor, or for recreation. Following is the list of exempted countries
Czech RepublicDenmarkEstonia
MonacoNetherlandsNorth Macedonia
RomaniaSan MarinoSerbia
SwedenSwitzerlandUnited Kingdom
AustraliaNew ZealandCanada
United StatesArgentinaBahamas
BarbadosChileCosta Rica
Dominican RepublicEl SalvadorGuatemala
TunisiaBrunei (14 days)Indonesia (15 days)
IsraelMalaysiaRepublic of Korea
SingaporeThailand (15 days)Hong Kong
United Arab Emirates (30 days)
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.

Steps to Apply for a Short Stay Work Visa

Getting 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. 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.

Gathering the Required Documents and Beginning the Application Process

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. 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 is required 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: 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.

Waiting for the Decision

After processing the submitted application form, candidates will be able to go back to collect their passports along with the visa that had been submitted during the application process. The candidate can then arrange their travel to Japan.

Upon Arrival in Japan

Before leaving the airport, the applicant in Japan will be given a card called a landing card or disembarkation card. They will complete an identity information form. This card will be picked up by an immigration officer at the airport. The officer will stamp the applicant's passport after they have validated the accuracy of all the information on the disembarkation card. Following that, workers are allowed to leave the airport.

Within 14 days of entering the country, the candidate must register their address at the local municipal office. Foreign nationals who possess resident status under the Immigration Control Act of Japan and are lawfully residing in a Japanese province are granted a Japanese Residence Card.

Visa Processing Time

Candidates who wish to get a Japan work visa will have to apply for the same at least 2 months before 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:

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-

Entry of Dependents

With a family visa, international employees in Japan can bring their dependents with them. The worker's children and spouse are considered dependents. The first step in the family visa application process is for the Japanese worker to apply to the Immigration Bureau for a Certificate of Eligibility for their dependents. For their dependents in the other nation to apply for a Japanese visa, they must hand over the CoE to dependents once they receive it.

Some Things to Remember

Work Visa