- Visa and Immigration Procedure in Japan
- Significant Changes in the Permanent Resident Visa Requirements (April 2017)
- Visa categories and requirements in Japan
- Highly Skilled Foreign Professional visa
- Permanent Resident visa
- How to obtain a visa for Japan
- Visa renewal in Japan
- Where to apply for a visa to Japan
- Required documents
- Re-entry permit
- Residence Card
- Getting a new passport
- Changing jobs in Japan
- Self sponsorship
- Sending employees to Japan
- Work permission for student and "dependent" visa holders
- Working holiday visa in Japan
- Marriage in Japan
- Divorce and visa
- Application rejected
- Overstay by accident
- Running your own business and visa in Japan
- Employing of foreign workers
- Japanese descendants (nikkei)
- Plan your life ahead
- Setting up business in Japan
- Incorporation, setting up an office/company in Japan
- Business Consulting Services in Japan
- Introducing Accounting, Social Security & Trademark Specialists
- Market Entry & Business Consulting
- Test Marketing & Channel Development Consulting
- Executive Search & Recruitment Consulting
- Real Estate Services & Consulting
Visa & Immigration Procedure in Japan
How to obtain a Visa for Japan
To be able to enter and stay in Japan, it is necessary to obtain a visa (status of residence) in advance.
The category of visa that you will need to apply for depends on the type of activities that you intend to engage in Japan.
If you are coming to Japan only for a short period of time, and will not engage in remunerated or paid activities, such as sight-seeing, visiting family and friends, attending a wedding, attending business meetings etc., you can apply for the "temporary visitor visa" (generally called "tourist visa") directly at the Japanese Embassy / Consulate nearby.
Citizens of the countries having visa exemption arrangements with Japan can arrive in Japan only with their passport without going through any procedure in advance, unless you intend to stay for a long period of time, or to work.
If you intend to stay longer or wish to work, it is necessary to obtain a long term visa.
To be able to do so, it is first necessary to determine which type of visa you qualify for.
This also means that you need to have found a job in Japan if you are applying for a working visa, or a school if you are applying for a student visa.
Once you have chosen the type of visa that best suits your case, you will need to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (if you don't live in Japan under a long term visa yet).
Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
To obtain a long term visa while living outside of Japan, it is first necessary to apply for the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) at the Immigration Office in Japan, rather than applying at the Japanese Embassy / Consulate directly.
The application can be submitted by a family member staying in Japan (for the family related visa), by a personnel of the hosting organizations (for other types of visa), by the applicant himself visiting Japan with a temporary visa, or by certified Japanese Immigration Lawyers like us.
The fact that you have applied for the COE doesn't give you the right to stay in Japan after the expiration of the temporary visitor visa, so if it will expire before the COE is issued, it is necessary to leave Japan.
It takes about 1-2 months to receive the result of the application. Once the COE is issued, you can then go to the Japanese Embassy or Consulate nearby, in order to have the visa issued/stamped on your passport, which will only take a couple of days.
Change of visa status
If you are already in Japan with some kind of long term visa and wish to change it to another type of visa while staying in Japan, it is necessary to file the application for the change of your visa status at the nearest Immigration Office.
It is possible to change from the temporary visitor visa (tourist visa) to another type of visa only if the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is issued within the validity of your temporary visitor visa. Otherwise, it is not possible to change directly from the temporary visitor visa to another type of long term visa except for the "Spouse of Japanese national" visa.
It is necessary to apply for the change of visa status when...
- A student or a dependent visa holder has found a full-time work
- You are married or divorced with a Japanese national
- You have changed jobs to a different category or industry of work
If you submit the application for the change of visa status just before your current visa rexpires, your visa is automatically extended for 2 months, during which time the application is processed and the result is notified.
It is possible to travel outside of Japan while the application of the change of visa status is being processed as long as you will come back to Japan before the end of this 2 months' extension.
In case your application is rejected, a new temporary status will be given, which will allow you to prepare for the departure.
The application for the Permanent Residence is a completely separate procedure, and you will still need to extend your current visa if it will be expired while the application for permanent is in process (which takes generally about 6 to 8 months).
Please note, the fact that you have applied for the permanent resident visa doesn't automatically give you the right to stay, so make sure not to forget to extend your visa until the permanent residency is finally granted.
Visa Renewal in Japan
All the visas (status of residence) except for Permanent Resident visa have a certain time period of stay, and need therefore to be extended if you wish to stay in Japan longer.
The application for the Japanese Visa renewal is to be submitted at the nearest Immigration Office. There is no limit for the number of extensions that can be granted (except for some types of visa such as Trainee and Cultural Activities), as long as you meet all the requirements.
Once the application for the visa renewal is submitted, your current visa is automatically extended for 2 months, during which time the application is processed and the result is notified.
It is possible to travel outside of Japan while the application for the visa renewal is being processed as long as you will come back to Japan before the end of this 2 months' extension.
In the case your application is rejected, a new temporary status will be given, which will allow you to prepare for the departure.
If you return to Japan 2 months after the visa expiration date, your visa will be cancelled even if the renewal application is in process.
Where to apply for a visa to Japan
All the applications for Certificate of Eligibility (COE), for the change of visa status and for the visa renewal just be made at Immigration Office of your (future) place of residence in Japan, in other words the Japan Immigration office that services the areas where you intend to live:
Once you have your COE, you will then need to get a visa at Japanese Embassy or Consulate in your own country. There is no COE for Tourist visa and Working Holiday visa, so the application is to be made directly to the Embassy or Consulate.
We are certified as Immigration Lawyers by the Japan Immigration Office, we can help you with obtaining an appropriate visa and with other Immigration procedures and services.