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A Comprehensive Guidelines for Top International Students Applying for or Renewing Working Visas in Japan

Updated: Jun 17



Working visa Japan

Introduction


For international university students hoping to find a job in Japan, how to apply for a working visa in Japan is an essential and unavoidable process. Generally, the application for a work visa is a collaborative effort between the hiring company and the employee, with the company's support playing a crucial role. This cooperation ensures that the procedures go smoothly. However, the visa process itself can be complicated, and if the employee is not well-versed in the application process and required documents, it can lead to delays. This article provides a detailed explanation of the different types of work visas in Japan, the application process, and common issues encountered during renewals.


*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.



Types of working visas in Japan


There are various types of work visas available in Japan. Below is a list of work-eligible residency statuses based on information from the Immigration Services Agency of Japan*1.


Status of Residence

Scope of Activities

Period of stay

Remarks

These visas cover activities related to the knowledge acquired at universities or experience gained at companies in your home country and do not include unskilled labor.


For example, mechanical engineers, designers, and interpreters are eligible.

5 years, 3 years, 1 year or 3 months

A degree equivalent to a university graduation is required.


When finding a job as a new graduate through Jelper Club, this residency status is often applicable.

For employees transferring from an overseas office to a branch or head office in Japan, the required visa is the Intra-company Transferee Visa. The scope of activities under this visa is similar to those covered by the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" visa.

5 years, 3 years, 1 year or 3 months

For the Intra-company Transferee Visa, a university degree is not required.

This visa is for those with a certified care worker qualification, allowing them to engage in caregiving or providing guidance in caregiving activities.

5 years, 3 years, 1 year or 3 months

For caregivers.

For activities that belong to specialized industrial fields and require advanced skills, the Highly Skilled Professional Visa is applicable. This visa is suitable for individuals with specialized knowledge and skills, such as foreign chefs, sports coaches, aircraft pilots, and craftsmen in precious metal processing.

5 years, 3 years, 1 year or 3 months

 

The Highly Skilled Professional Visa is categorized into three types of activities: "Advanced Academic Research Activities," "Advanced Specialized/Technical Activities," and "Advanced Business Management Activities." This visa allows for a combination of activities across multiple residency statuses and provides various benefits and preferential treatments.

5 years or indefinite

To qualify for this visa, applicants must score at least 70 points under Japan’s point-based system.

The Specified Skilled Worker Visa is categorized into two types: Specified Skilled Worker (i) and Specified Skilled Worker (ii). These visas cater to foreign nationals working in specific industrial fields that require varying levels of skills and experience.

(i): 1 year, renewable every 6 months or 4 months, up to 5 years in total


(ii): 3 years, renewable every 1 year or 6 months

Verify skill level by testing, etc. (i)

The Technical Intern Training Visa is designed for foreign nationals to acquire skills through practical training and work experience that cannot be obtained through simple tasks. This visa is intended to transfer skills to developing countries by allowing trainees to learn advanced techniques in Japan.

Period individually designated by the Minister of Justice


1 year or a period not exceeding 2 years

It must not be a means of supplying labor.

The Entertainer Visa is designed for foreign nationals who wish to engage in activities as actors, singers, professional sports players, and other related professions. This visa allows individuals to perform and participate in various entertainment and sports-related activities in Japan.

3 years, 1 year, 6 months, 3 months or 15 days

 

The Medical Services Visa is designed for foreign nationals who are legally qualified to work as doctors, dentists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals in Japan. This visa allows individuals to engage in medical and healthcare-related activities that require specific qualifications under Japanese law.

5 years, 3 years, 1 year or 3 months

 

The Researcher Visa is designed for foreign nationals who intend to engage in research activities at governmental institutions, private research organizations, or companies in Japan. This visa allows researchers to conduct scientific, academic, or applied research in various fields.

5 years, 3 years, 1 year or 3 months

 

The Instructor Visa is designed for foreign nationals who intend to work as language teachers or instructors at educational institutions such as elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools, and other similar educational institutions in Japan. This visa allows individuals to engage in teaching activities and educational support roles.

5 years, 3 years, 1 year or 3 months

 

The Legal/Accounting Services Visa is intended for foreign nationals who are legally qualified to work as lawyers, certified public accountants (CPAs), and other professionals in fields that require specific legal qualifications in Japan. This visa allows individuals to engage in activities that necessitate legal or accounting expertise.

5 years, 3 years, 1 year or 3 months

 

The Business Manager Visa is designed for foreign nationals who intend to engage in the management, administration, or operation of businesses in Japan. This visa allows individuals to work as executives, managers, or administrators in companies or enterprises established in Japan.

5 years, 3 years, 1 year or 3 months

 

Diplomat

The Diplomat Visa is intended for foreign nationals who serve as ambassadors, diplomats, or other official representatives of foreign governments, as well as their family members. This visa allows diplomats and their family members to reside and work in Japan under their official capacity.

Duration of Diplomatic Activities

 

Official

The Professor Visa is designed for foreign nationals who intend to engage in research, teaching, or research guidance at universities or equivalent educational institutions in Japan. This visa allows individuals to work as professors, associate professors, assistant professors, and researchers.

5 years, 3 years, 1 year, 3 months, 30 days or 15 days

 

The Professor Visa is designed for foreign nationals who intend to engage in research, teaching, or research guidance at universities or equivalent educational institutions in Japan. This visa allows individuals to work as professors, associate professors, assistant professors, and researchers.

5 years, 3 years, 1 year or 3 months

 

The Artist Visa is designed for foreign nationals who wish to engage in artistic activities in Japan. This visa allows individuals to work as composers, writers, painters, sculptors, and other artists in various fields.

5 years, 3 years, 1 year or 3 months

 

The Religious Activities Visa is designed for foreign nationals dispatched by foreign religious organizations to engage in missionary work and other religious activities in Japan. This visa allows individuals to perform various religious duties and participate in activities related to their faith.

5 years, 3 years, 1 year or 3 months

 

The Journalist Visa is designed for foreign nationals working as journalists, photographers, and other media professionals for foreign news organizations. This visa allows individuals to engage in activities related to reporting, gathering news, and producing media content in Japan.

5 years, 3 years, 1 year or 3 months

 


For international university students who are members of Jelper Club and plan to work in Japan as engineers or office workers, the most commonly required residency status is "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services." Additionally, if a foreign employee is being temporarily transferred to Japan while remaining employed at their home country’s head office or branch, the necessary residency status would be "Intra-company Transferee." Furthermore, for foreigners who intend to establish, manage, or hold a managerial position in a company in Japan, the appropriate residency status is "Business Manager."


  1. "Engineer"

    1. Work requiring skills in natural sciences such as science and engineering:

      1. Management tasks (excluding managerial positions)

      2. Research and analysis

      3. Technological development (agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food, machinery, and other manufacturing fields)

      4. Production management (food, machinery, and other manufacturing fields)

      5. Architecture, civil engineering, and surveying technology

      6. Information processing and communication technology

  1. "Specialist in Humanities"

    1. Work requiring knowledge in humanities such as law, economics, and sociology:

      1. Legal work

      2. Copywriting

      3. Education (excluding educational institutions)

      4. Planning and administration (marketing, public relations, advertising)

      5. Accounting tasks

      6. Corporate sales

  2. "International Services"

    1. Work requiring language skills, knowledge of foreign cultures, and international experience:

      1. Translation

      2. Interpretation

      3. Overseas trade operations

      4. Design



Working Visa Application Process


There are several methods for applying for residency status in Japan, including the "Application for Certificate of Eligibility" to obtain residency status from scratch, the "Application for Extension of Period of Stay" to renew your stay, and the "Application for Change of Status of Residence" to change or switch your status. Each of these applications has different procedures and required documents. A common point to remember is that these applications are not approved immediately, so it's important to apply well in advance to allow enough time for processing.


While the general rule is that the applicant must handle the residency application themselves, when hiring a foreigner who is still abroad, it is common for the company to act on their behalf and submit the application for the Certificate of Eligibility to the immigration office.


When applying for a working visa in Japan, the process starts with obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) and ends with entering Japan and receiving a residence card. Below is a detailed explanation of the working visa application process in Japan, focusing on the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" visa for international university students who are members of Jelper Club.


  1. Application for Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

    1. The application for the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is carried out by the accepting company in Japan on behalf of the employee. The application is submitted to the regional immigration office that has jurisdiction over the area where the employee will be working. Here are the steps involved:

      1. Preparation of Application Documents:

        1. Provide a copy of your passport (by the applicant)

        2. Provide necessary information

      2. Submission by the Accepting Company:

        1. The accepting company submits the documents

        2. Standard processing time is 1-3 months. During this period, the immigration office will review the documents and may request additional information if necessary.

  2. Certificate of Eligibility (COE) Issuance

    1. Once the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is issued, it is sent to the accepting company in Japan, acting as the representative. This certificate is a crucial document indicating that the applicant is permitted to stay in Japan.

  3. Sending the COE to the Applicant

    1. The accepting company then sends the issued COE to the applicant residing overseas. Receiving this certificate is essential for proceeding to the next step of the visa application.

  4. Visa Application at a Japanese Embassy or Consulate

    1. The applicant must apply for a working visa at the nearest Japanese embassy or consulate in their country of residence. The following documents are required for the application:

      1. Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

      2. Passport

      3. Completed visa application form

      4. Photograph

    2. Typically, the working visa is issued within five working days from the day after the application is accepted. With this visa, the applicant can officially enter Japan.

  5. Visa Issuance at the Japanese Embassy or Consulate

    1. After the working visa is issued, the applicant must enter Japan within three months from the issuance date of the Certificate of Eligibility. Upon arrival in Japan, the applicant will go through procedures at the port of entry (airport or seaport).

    2. Procedures at the Port of Entry:

      1. Present your passport and visa, and undergo an immigration inspection.

      2. If entry is permitted, a residence card is issued at the port of entry. Depending on the port, you might receive the residence card immediately, or it might be mailed to your residence later.

  6. Post-Entry Procedures

    1. After arriving in Japan, the following procedures must be completed:

      1. Obtain a Residence Card

        1. Within 14 days of arrival, register at the municipal office of your residence to obtain a residence card.

      2. Register Your Residence

        1. Register your address at the municipal office of your residence. Any changes in your address must be promptly reported.

      3. Enroll in Health Insurance and Pension

        1. If you will be working in Japan, you must enroll in health insurance and pension schemes. This is usually done through your employer.

If you have graduated from a Japanese university and secured a job with a company in Japan, you need to apply for a Change of Status of Residence.

This application is generally submitted by the applicant in person at the nearest regional immigration office. The application forms vary depending on the type of residency status you are applying for, so it is important to check the Immigration Services Agency of Japan’s guidelines for the specific forms and documents required for the Change of Status of Residence application.



Working Visa Renewal Issues


Looking to extend your stay in Japan visa guide? Here are the essential steps and conditions. Working visa renewal must be done before the current period of stay expires. There are specific conditions that need to be met for a successful renewal, and failure to comply with these conditions can result in the rejection of the application. Below, we will offer the renewing your work visa in Japan tips, explain the conditions required for renewal, the renewal application procedures, and cases where the renewal application might be rejected.


  1. Conditions Required for Working Visa Renewal

    1. To renew your working visa, you must meet the following conditions:

      1. Continuation of Employment Contract:

        1. You need to provide proof that your current employment contract is still valid. This can be demonstrated by submitting documents that show your contract with your current employer has not ended.

      2. Submission of a New Employment Contract:

        1. If your contract has been renewed or you have a new employer, you must submit the new employment contract. The new contract should detail the job description, salary, employment period, and other relevant information.

  2. Renewal Application Procedures

    1. You must act promptly if your work visa in Japan is expiring. Working visa renewal must be completed before your current period of stay expires. The specific steps for the renewal application are as follows:

      1. Application at the Immigration Office:

        1. Submit your application documents to the regional immigration office that has jurisdiction over your place of residence. Applications are accepted from three months before the expiration of your current visa. Required documents include:

          1. Passport

          2. Residence card

          3. Renewal application form

          4. Photograph (specified size)

          5. Copy of your employment contract

          6. Financial documents such as payslips or tax certificates

          7. New employment contract (if applicable)

    2. By submitting these documents, the renewal process can proceed. Note that the required documents may vary depending on the type of visa, so check the Immigration Services Agency of Japan’s website for specific details.

  3. Cases Where Renewal Application Might Be Rejected

    1. There are several common reasons why a working visa renewal application might be rejected:

      1. Insufficient Documentation:

        1. If all required documents are not provided, your application may be rejected. For example, missing an employment contract or tax certificate can lead to rejection.

      2. Inconsistent Employment Contract:

        1. If your current employment contract does not match the conditions of your residency status or if there are issues with the submitted employment contract, your application may be rejected.

          1. For instance, under the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" visa, unskilled labor is not permitted.

      3. Financial Issues:

        1. Problems with financial documents such as insufficient salary or failure to meet tax obligations can result in rejection.

      4. Other Legal Issues:

        1. Previous legal violations or breaches of stay conditions can prevent visa renewal. This includes unauthorized part-time work or a criminal record.

          1. For example, while you may engage in part-time work under the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" visa as per company policy, starting your own business for income is outside the scope of permitted activities for this visa.



Conclusion


For international university students aiming to work in Japan, obtaining and renewing a working visa is a complex yet unavoidable process. The application for a working visa requires close cooperation between the accepting company and the applicant, with proper preparation and information gathering being key to success. By understanding the types of working visas, the application process, renewal procedures, and potential issues discussed in this article, you can navigate the process more smoothly.


Jelper Club continues to incorporate companies prepared to accept foreign workers. If you have any concerns about the working visa procedures in Japan, feel free to ask questions on the Feed of the Jelper Club platform. We're here to help make the process as stress-free as possible.


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.「 在留資格から探す」(出入国在留管理庁):


(Editor: Jelper Club Editorial Team)

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