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Useful Information

More details are available in the International Comparative Legal Guides:
ICLG (Japan Corporate Immigration)

Temporary Visitor Permits

Obtaining a Temporary Visitor’s Visa

The status of residence and period of stay for temporary visits provided in the Immigration Control Act are as follows:

Status of Residence Activities authorized to engage in Period of Stay
Temporary Visitor Sightseeing, recreation, sports, visiting relatives, going on inspection tours, participating in lectures or meetings, business contact or other similar activities during a short period of stay in Japan. 90days, 30days, or 15 days

During the period of stay under this temporary visitor visa, you are not permitted to engage in any work to receive a reward, but you may take part in business discussions, negotiations, contracts, market research and so on. If you want to study Japanese culture or language, in general you should obtain a ‘Cultural Activities’ visa or a ‘Student’ visa. Normally this period is not able to be extended. At the same time this status cannot be changed to a working or studying status. Therefore, if you want to study or work in Japan you should apply for the Certificate of Eligibility first, following the instructions for each. You should apply for the temporary visitor visa at a Japanese Embassy or Consulate overseas.

Countries with Visa Exemption Agreements with Japan

Japan has entered into visa-waiver agreements with multiple countries and regions. If you hold a passport of one of the countries or regions mentioned in the following website, you may be entitled to enter Japan without a visa. The activities that you engage in while here in Japan must be limited to those allowed under the “Temporary visitor” category (these include sightseeing, participating in business meetings, or other non-commercial or non-academic activities). Generally speaking, you must have a return ticket, and you must be able to demonstrate that you can pay for your expenses while in Japan. This can be done by bringing adequate cash or a credit card. You should also be prepared to provide your Japanese Immigration Officer with a detailed description of your plans while in Japan, i.e.: where you will be going, what activities you will be engaging in and whom you will be visiting.

For further information, please refer to the following website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

If the country which issued your passport has a visa-waiver agreement which allows for a 6-month stay, you will be granted a temporary visitor status for 90 days upon arrival. If you wish to stay longer than 90 days, you must apply for an extension at the nearest Regional Immigration Bureau in Japan after arrival.

Certificate of Eligibility

About Visa Procedures

There are 2 types of approaches for you to obtain a visa. The first step for both routes is to ask a representative at your local Japanese embassy or consulate whether or not you should attach a “Certificate of Eligibility (COE)” to your visa application.

Normally, you save time if you obtain a COE or one is obtained for you by an interested party in Japan. The processing time for issuing a visa with a COE is generally 2-4 weeks shorter than without. This is because without it, the overseas embassy or consulate is required to carry out an inquiry regarding your eligibility with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the Regional Immigration Bureau in Japan and then wait to hear back from each of them. With a COE one may apply for a “Change of Status” in Japan (from Temporary Visitor status) to the status of residence shown on the COE.

Conventional Procedure

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The procedure in which the issuance of a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is involved.

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Working Permits

Working Permits

The status of residence and period of stay for work provided for in the Immigration Control Act are as follows:

Working Visa

Status of Residence Activities authorized to engage in Period of Stay
Diplomat Activities on the part of constituent members of diplomatic missions or consular offices of foreign governments hosted by the Government of Japan; activities on the part of those who are provided with similar privileges and/or immunities as are granted to diplomatic missions pursuant to treaties or international customary practices; and activities on the part of their family members belonging to the same household. Period during which the foreign national engages in the activities listed to Diplomatic Activities.
Official Activities on the part of those who engage in the official business of foreign governments or international organizations recognized by the Japanese Government, and activities on the part of their family members belonging to the same household (except for the activities listed in the right-hand column under this table’s “Diplomat” section). 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, 3 months, 30 days or 15 days.
Professor Activities for research, guidance of research or education at a university, an equivalent educational institution, or a college of technology (Kotosenmongakko). 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, or 3 months.
Artist Artistic activities that produce income, including music, the fine arts, literature, etc. (except for the activities listed in the right-hand column under the “Entertainer” column). 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, or 3 months.
Religious Activities Missionary and other religious activities conducted by foreign religious workers dispatched by foreign religious organization. 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, or 3 months.
Journalist News coverage and other journalistic activities conducted based on a contract with a foreign journalistic organization. 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, or 3 months.
Business Manager Activities to commence the operation of international trade or other business, to invest in international trade or other business and to operate or manage these businesses. 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, or 3 months.
Legal/Accounting Services Activities engaging in a legal or accounting business, which may lawfully be carried out by registered foreign lawyers (gikokuhojimubengoshi), certified public accountant (gaikokukoninkaikeishi) or those with other legal qualifications. 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, or 3 months.
Medical Services Activities to engage in medical treatment services which may lawfully be undertaken by physicians, dentists or those with other legal qualifications. 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, or 3 months.
Researcher Activities to engage in research based on a contract with a public or private organization in Japan (except for the activities listed in the right-hand column of the “Professor” section). 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, or 3 months.
Instructor Activities to engage in language instruction or other education at an elementary school, junior high school, senior high school, secondary educational school (chutokyoikugakko), school for special needs education, vocational school (senshugakko), miscellaneous educational institution (kakushugakko) or other educational institution equivalent to a miscellaneous educational institution in facilities and curriculum. 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, or 3 months.
Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services -Activities to engage in services which require technology and/or knowledge pertinent to physical science, engineering or other natural scientific fields based on a contract with a public or private organization in Japan (except for activities listed in the right-hand column of “Professor” section and in right-hand column of “Business Manager”, “Medical Services”, “Researcher”, “Instructor”, “Intra-company Transferee” and “Entertainer” sections.

-Activities to engage in services which require knowledge pertinent to jurisprudence, economics, sociology or other human science fields or to engage in services which require specific ways of thinking or sensitivity acquired through experience with foreign culture, based on a contract with a public or private organization in Japan (except for activities listed in the right-hand column of “Professor” “Artist” and “Journalist” sections, and activities listed in the right-hand column of the “Business Manager”, “Legal/Accounting Services”, “Instructor”, “Intra-company Transferee” and “Entertainer” sections).
5 years, 3 years, 1 year, or 3 months.
Intra-company Transferee Activities on the part of a personnel who is transferred to a business office in Japan for a limited period of time from a business office established in a foreign country by a public or private organization which has a head office, a branch office or other business office in Japan, and who engage in the activities listed in the right-hand column of the “Engineer and “Specialist in Humanities/International Services” section. 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, or 3 months.
Entertainer Activities to engage in theatrical performances, musical performances, sports or any other form of show business (except for activities listed in the right-hand column of “Business manager” section). 3 years, 1 year, 6 months, 3 months or 15 days.
Skilled Labor Activities to engage in services which require industrial techniques or skills belonging to special fields based on a contract with a public or private organization in Japan. 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, or 3 months.

Highly Skilled Professional

Highly Skilled Professional  (i)(a) Activities of engaging in research, research guidance or education based on a contract entered into with a public or private organization in Japan. 5 years
Highly Skilled Professional  (i)(b) Activities of engaging in work requiring specialized knowledge or skills in the field of natural sciences or humanities based on a contract entered into with a public or private organization in Japan. 5 years
Highly Skilled Professional  (i)(c) Activities of engaging in the operation or management of a public or private organization in Japan. 5 years

※For further information, please refer to the following website of the Immigration Bureau of Japan.

Working Holiday

Please refer to the following website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan for the Working Holiday Scheme.

Permanent Residency

Any Foreign people who seeks to change his/her status of residence to Permanent Resident shall apply for permission of permanent residence to the Minister of Justice through the Regional Immigration Bureau. Any applicant who lives abroad or does not have a proper status of residence in Japan cannot apply for this. The Minister of Justice only grants for the change of status to Permanent Resident when the applicant conforms to the following items and his or her permanent residence is likely to be in accordance with the interests of Japan.

Please refer to the following links from the Immigration Bureau of Japan for the Guidelines for Permission for Permanent Residence and Guidelines for Contribution to Japan.

Naturalization

A person who is not a Japanese national may acquire a Japanese nationality by naturalization. Basically the Ministry of Justice shall not permit the naturalization of a foreign resident unless he or she fulfills all of the following 6 conditions:

1., He or she has domiciled in Japan for five years or more consecutively;

2., He or she is twenty years of age or more and of full capacity to act according to the law of his or her home country;

3., He or she is of upright conduct;

4., He or she is able to secure a livelihood by one’s own property or ability, or those of one’s spouse or other relatives with whom one lives on common living expenses;

5., He or she has no nationality, or acquisition of Japanese nationality will result in the loss of foreign nationality;

6., He or she has never plotted or advocated, or formed or belonged to political party or other organization which has plotted or advocated the overthrow of the Constitution of Japan or the Government existing thereunder, since the enforcement of the Constitution of Japan.

For further information, please refer to the following website of the Ministry of Justice of Japan.

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