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Types of Visa Needed to Visit, Live or Work in Japan

Updated: Feb 13, 2019

If you want to visit, live or work in Japan, there are 5 types of visa you need to know. Here we tell you about them, including the certified Japanese requirements:


  1. Temporary Visitor Visa;

  2. Work or Long Term Stay Visa;

  3. Working Holiday Visa;

  4. Volunteer Visa;

  5. Spouse of a Japanese National Visa.


1. Temporary Visitor Visa Requirements:

Visitors to Japan from certain countries will need to apply for a Temporary Visitor Visa of they wish to visit Japan for a stat not exceeding 90 days. Their visit to Japan can be for any of the following purposes:


Tourism in Japan such as sightseeing, visiting friends or relatives, attending conferences or meetings, recreational, rest and recovery, participating in unpaid lectures, amateur athletic meetings/ contests or short business trips (for example to conduct market research, business speaking or even provide after-sales support for machinery imported into Japan). The main thing to remember about the Temporary Visitor Visa is that it excludes profit-making and paid activities.


Not everyone travelling to Japan needs to know how to apply for a Japanese Temporary Visitor Visa. Visitors to Japan from the U.K. and Ireland are not required to get this type of visa, instead they are issued a visa upon arrival in Japan. However, before Philippine nationals can enter Japan, they must first submit the appropriate paperwork to receive a Temporary Visitor Visa.


2. Work or Long Term Stay Visa Requirements:

Obtaining permission to live, work or study in Japan is actually done in two parts. Firstly, the applicant needs to obtain a document known as a Certificate of Eligibility (pronounced zairyu shikaku nintei shomeisho, written as 在留資格認定証明書). This is issued by the Ministry of Justice in Japan. To obtain a Certificate of Eligibility, the applicant must ask their Japanese sponsor (for example a souse, employer, school, etc.) to contact their local immigration office in Japan and submit an application for a Certificate of Eligibility on their behalf.


Obtaining the Certificate of Eligibility is the more difficult part of obtaining your Work or Long Term Stay Visa. In fact, the whole process can take about 3 months. However, once you have it, the rest of the visa process is pretty straight-forward.


To receive your Certificate of Eligibility, your sponsor will need to submit the following:

1- Fully completed Application Form on A4 size paper only;

2- Fully completed Letter of Guarantee;

To receive your Certificate of Eligibility, your sponsor will need to submit the following on your behalf:A

3- A Photo of you (size 30mm X 40mm), no more than 3 months old. This should be in Drivers License size, rather than the standard Passport size;

4- A stamped addressed envelope (with 392 Yen stamps on it);

5- Supporting documents for your particular circumstances;

6- Document to prove the status of your sponsor (e.g. legal representative).


Note: Any documents not originally written in Japanese should be supported by a certified Japanese translation of same. Be sure to ask us about your document translation to Japanese needs.


It will take between 1 and 3 months to process your application for a Certificate of Eligibility. After you receive it, you should next submit the following to your nearest Japanese Embassy:

1- Valid Passport;

2- Visa Application Form, duly completed and signed;

3- A Passport photograph (45mm X 45mm), no greater than 6 months old;

4- Original Certificate of Eligibility;

5- One photocopy of your Certificate of Eligibility.


Note: Documents not originally written in Japanese should be supported by a certified Japanese translation.


Your visa application should be processed in about 1 week.


Working Holiday Visa:

Japan and the U.K. have a working holiday agreement in place (this is known as the Youth Mobility Scheme) whereby every year, up to 1,000 young people from the U.K. may visit Japan for up to one year and may supplement their travel-funds by engaging in certain forms of employment.


To Qualify for a Japan Working Holiday Visa the applicant must:

1- Be a British Citizen and resident in the United Kingdom;

2- Primarily intend to holiday in Japan for a period of up to one year;

3- Be aged between 18 - 30 years at the time of applying for a Working Holiday Visa;

4- Not be accompanied by children;

5- Not be accompanied by a spouse unless the spouse also has a Japanese visa;

6- Possess a valid passport and a return ticket (or sufficient funds to purchase one);

7- Possess sufficient funds for their maintenance during their stay in Japan;

8- Intend to leave Japan at the end of their stay;

9- Have not previously been issued a Working Holiday Visa (except in cases where they were unable to use the Working Holiday visa issued due to unavoidable circumstances, and an application for re-issue is made within 3 months from the expiry date of the original Working Holiday visa.);

10- Be in good health.


The following documentation will have to be submitted with your application:

1- Valid UK passport (British Citizen);

2- A completed Visa Application Form;

3- A passport-sized photograph (35mm x 45mm) no more than 6 months old;

4- An outline of your intended activities;

5- Your reasons for applying for a Working Holiday Visa, typed, on A4 paper;

6- Evidence of having£2,500 in cleared funds, or £1,500 in clear funds plus a return/ onward journey ticket;

7- Your C.V.


Note: Those documents not originally written in Japanese should be supported by a certified Japanese translation.


Volunteer Visa:

The Volunteer Visa Scheme allows British Nationals to undertake voluntary work for a registered charity in Japan for up to one year. While the work must be done on a voluntary basis, payment of a limited allowance for food, accommodation and pocket money is allowed.


To qualify for a Volunteer Visa, the person must:

1- Be British Citizens who are resident in the United Kingdom;

2- Intend to work for one year as a volunteer (working in administration, food preparation, laundry and other manual labor is not allowed. Also, even if you are qualified as a doctor/ nurse in the UK, you cannot practice or use your medical knowledge in Japan without also having the necessary Japanese qualification);

3- Only volunteer for an organisation that meets the required charitable status;

4- Not receive any payment (except for food, accommodation and pocket money;

5- Not be accompanied by children;

6- Not accompanied by a spouse, unless that spouse possesses a Japanese Visa;

7- Possess a valid passport and return ticket or sufficient funds buy one;

8- Possess sufficient funds for their maintenance during their stay;

9- Intend to leave Japan at the end of their stay;

10- Be in good health.


The following documentation will need to accompany the application:

1- Valid U.K. passport;

2- Completed Visa Application Form;

3- A passport-sized photograph, 35mm x 45mm, no more than 6 months old;

4- Letter of Confirmation from the charity in question;

5- Brochure of the organisation (e.g. name, address, outline, name of a representative);

6- Document giving summary of activities at the organisation, location, timetable etc;

7- Document outlining the conditions of the placement (e.g. payment including food, travelling expenses and pocket money to be given etc.);

8- Evidence of travel ticket to and from Japan;

9- Schedule of activities in Japan following the completion of voluntary work.


Note: Documents originally written in languages other than Japanese should be supported by a certified Japanese translation of same.


Spouse of a Japanese National Visa:

The Spouse of Japanese National Visa (a.k.a. Spousal Visa) is intended for a legal spouse of a Japanese national to accompany that Japanese person to settle in Japan.


To receive a Spousal Visa, you must first apply for a Certificate of Eligibility at the immigration office nearest the Japanese person's registered residence:

1- Fully completed Application Form on A4 size paper only;

2- Fully completed Letter of Guarantee;

3- A Photo of you (size 30mm X 40mm), no more than 3 months old. This should be in Drivers License size, rather than the standard Passport size;

4- A stamped addressed envelope (with 392 Yen stamps on it);

5- Supporting documents for your particular circumstances:

5A: Documents proving that the person concerned is a spouse of the Japanese national (e.g. Marriage Certificate or Marriage Contract);

5B: Certified Japanese translation of Marriage Certificate or Marriage Contract if the originals are not written in the Japanese language;

5C: Documents showing the profession and income of the applicant or their spouse;

5D: A letter of guarantee by the spouse or other person living in Japan.


After you have received your Certificate of Eligibility, you must apply in person for a Spousal Visa at your nearest Japanese Embassy. Your application will be processed in about one week.


Note: A certified Japanese translation should support any documents not originally written in the Japanese language.


"Remember: No matter what visa you obtain, the decision to allow you enter Japan ultimately rests with the Immigration Officer on duty at your port of entry in Japan".

Authors:

Tom Nelan- B.C.L., B.B.S. (M.K.T.), (New York Qualified Lawyer).

Mitsuko Miyake Nelan- B.A. Japanese Literature: Chofu University, Tokyo.


Disclaimer: This document is for information purposes only. Nothing in this document is to be considered legal advice.




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