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Japan's Future Creation Individual Visa (J-Find) - Overview and Application Process for Top Global University Graduates

Updated: Jun 17


Japan's Future Creation Individual Visa (J-Find)

In recent years, a global competition for graduates from the world's top universities has been intensifying. In response, the UK introduced the High Potential Individual Visa program in May 2022, granting visas for up to two years (or three years for PhD holders) to foreign nationals who graduated within the last five years from universities ranked in the top 50 by at least two major global university rankings*1.


Amid this evolving scenario, Japan is adopting a transformative approach toward its immigration policies, particularly concerning international graduates. Historically known for its prudent stance on immigration, Japan is now opening its doors wider with the introduction of the J-Find visa. This article will explore the features and benefits of the J-Find visa, a significant stride in Japan’s commitment to becoming a hub for global innovation and expertise.


*Please note that this article is based solely on information derived from public data, and our company cannot assume any legal responsibility for events arising from this article. For legal advice, please contact a law firm or administrative scrivener's office.



What is the "J-Find" Visa? What are the J-Find program eligibility criteria?


How does the J-Find visa work? The J-Find (Future Creation Individual Visa) is a program that grants a "Designated Activities" residency status to outstanding graduates from foreign universities who wish to engage in job-hunting or business start-up activities in Japan. This residency status presents advantages of J-Find visa for graduates, allowing them to stay in Japan for a maximum of two years, with the need for renewal every year or six months. Graduates who meet all of the following criteria (a-c) are eligible for this program.


a. Target Universities:


As of September 2023, the list of universities eligible for J-Find visa is as follows:


United States

  • Boston University

  • Brown University

  • California Institute of Technology

  • Carnegie Mellon University

  • Columbia University

  • Cornell University

  • Duke University

  • Georgia Institute of Technology

  • Harvard University

  • Johns Hopkins University

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

  • New York University

  • Northwestern University

  • Princeton University

  • Purdue University - West Lafayette

  • Stanford University

  • The University of Texas at Austin

  • University of California, Berkeley

  • University of California, Irvine

  • University of California, Los Angeles

  • University of California, San Diego

  • University of California, Santa Barbara

  • University of Chicago

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

  • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • University of Pennsylvania

  • University of Southern California

  • University of Washington

  • University of Wisconsin - Madison

  • Vanderbilt University

  • Washington University in St. Louis

  • Yale University

United Kingdom

  • Imperial College London

  • King's College London

  • London School of Economics and Political Science

  • The University of Edinburgh

  • The University of Glasgow

  • The University of Manchester

  • The University of Oxford

  • University College London (UCL)

  • University of Bristol

  • University of Cambridge

  • University of Southampton

Canada

  • McGill University

  • University of British Columbia

  • University of Toronto

China・Hong Kong

  • City University of Hong Kong

  • Fudan University

  • Nanjing University

  • Peking University

  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University

  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong

  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

  • Tsinghua University

  • University of Science and Technology of China

  • Zhejiang University

  • The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)

  • The University of Hong Kong

Australia

  • The Australian National University

  • The University of Melbourne

  • The University of New South Wales

  • The University of Queensland

  • The University of Sydney

  • Monash University

Germany

  • Heidelberg University

  • Technical University of Munich

  • University of Bonn

  • LMU München

Netherlands

  • Delft University of Technology

  • Erasmus University Rotterdam

  • University of Amsterdam

  • University of Groningen

Belgium

  • KU Leuven

Singapore

  • National University of Singapore

  • Nanyang Technological University

France

  • Institut Polytechnique de Paris

  • Paris-Saclay University

  • PSL Research University Paris

  • Sorbonne University

Sweden

  • Karolinska Institute

  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Switzerland

  • ETH Zurich

  • EPFL

  • University of Zurich

Japan

  • Kyoto University

  • The University of Tokyo

South Korea

  • Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

  • Seoul National University

  • Yonsei University

Russia

  • Lomonosov Moscow State University


The criteria for the target universities include those that are ranked within the top 100 by at least two out of three major world university rankings*i. Graduates or those who have completed a graduate program at these universities and have been awarded a degree or a professional degree are eligible for the Future Creation Individual Visa*ii.


*i: Major World University Ranking

The three major world university rankings used as criteria are:

  1. QS World University Rankings, published by Quacquarelli Symonds (https://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings)

  2. THE World University Rankings, published by Times Higher Education (https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings)

  3. Academic Ranking of World Universities, published by Shanghai Ranking Consultancy.


*ii: It is important to note that the rankings are based on the latest available data as of September 2023. Therefore, when applying, applicants must ensure they also check the most recent updates of these three rankings.


b. Time Since Graduation:

This criteria applies to individuals who have graduated from the target universities or completed a graduate program at these universities within the last five years, having been awarded either a degree or a professional degree. The professional degree is defined under Article 5-2 of the Degree Regulations (Ministry of Education Ordinance No. 9 of 1953), including equivalent degrees awarded abroad.


c. Financial Requirements for Maintenance:

At the time of application, the applicant must have savings converted to at least 200,000 Japanese yen to cover initial living expenses in Japan.


Once the "Designated Activities" (Future Creation Individual Visa) residency status is granted, individuals can stay in Japan without a pre-arranged job and engage in job-hunting or preparations for entrepreneurship. This status also allows them to work to supplement the funds needed for these activities. Moreover, accompanying spouses and children can also be granted the "Designated Activities" status, allowing them to stay; however, they will need a permit for any work outside this status.


*Employment in bars, nightclubs, or other adult entertainment establishments is not permitted under this visa category.


Application Process for "Designated Activities" Residency Status Using Japan's Future Creation Individual Visa (J-Find)


To apply for the "Designated Activities" residency status through the J-Find program, here’s an applying for J-Find visa step-by-step guide:


①Obtain a "Short-Term Stay" Visa and come to Japan.

②Apply for and obtain a Certificate of Eligibility for residency status within Japan using the J-Find system.


  1. Obtain a "Short-Term Stay" Visa and come to Japan

    1. Apply at Japanese embassies and consulates in each country

    2. The required documents vary by country, so be sure to confirm with the institution indicated in point a

    3. For the countries listed in the following link, it is possible to obtain a "Short-Term Stay" visa without application: https://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/short/novisa.html

  2. Apply for and obtain a Certificate of Eligibility for residency status within Japan using the J-Find system.

    1. Prepare the following documents and apply at the regional immigration bureau that governs your place of residence (a list of regional immigration bureaus can be found here): ・One copy of the Application for Certificate of Eligibility for Residence Status. The application form can be downloaded here ・One photograph that meets the specified standards. Attach it to the application form. If the photograph does not meet the required standards, you may be asked to retake it. Note: Applicants under the age of 16 do not need to submit a photograph ・One return envelope with the address clearly written and a 404-yen stamp for registered mail attached ・A document proving graduation from a university or completion of a graduate program and the attainment of at least a bachelor's degree (a copy of the university or graduate school diploma or a graduation certificate) ・Resume or CV (available in PDF or Word format) ・Itinerary of stay (available in PDF or Word format) ・Documentation showing the current balance of a bank account or savings in the name of the applicant (such as a copy of a bank book)

    2. If you have a Japanese My Number Card, you can also apply online. Here is the application link: https://www.ras-immi.moj.go.jp/WC01/WCAAS010/ *For online applications, please refer to the following link for guidance: https://www.moj.go.jp/isa/content/001396516.pdf


Conclusion


At this stage, the system has not been widely covered by the media and might be considered somewhat low-profile. However, even without a confirmed job offer, this program, which allows graduates of top global universities to stay in Japan for up to two years, is very attractive for those looking to working in Japan after graduation. It's especially relevant for members of Jelper Club, many of whom are alumni of these universities. I highly encourage them to use this program to come to Japan and leverage Jelper Club to enhance their careers and lives in Japan.


At Jelper Club, we're here to support you every step of the way for your career development in Japan. Our platform connects ambitious students from top universities worldwide with exclusive internship and full-time job opportunities in Japan with a variety of Japanese proficiency requirements. We also provide access to practical information, member-only events, and a professional community of like-minded individuals.

 

If you're ready to embark on your own Japanese adventure, visit Jelper Club today and discover how we can help you unlock your potential in Japan.





Sources and Notes


1. "英国、大学ランキング上位校の卒業生向けビザルート導入"(JETRO):https://www.jetro.go.jp/biznews/2022/05/c429b8f7eec67b82.html


2. "優秀な海外大学等を卒業した者が起業活動・就職活動を行う場合(J-Find)"(Immigration Service Agency):https://www.moj.go.jp/isa/applications/status/designatedactivities51.html


3. "在留資格「特定活動」(未来創造人材/J-find)とは?"(行政書士法人IMS):https://attorney-office.com/blog/3884_si


4. "在留資格認定証明書交付申請"(Immigration Service Agency):https://www.moj.go.jp/isa/applications/procedures/16-1.html#midashi05


(Editor: Jelper Club Editorial Team)

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