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In order to live in Japan, foreign nationals are required to obtain a visa that is most appropriate for their intended activities in Japan. You need to be approved the eligibility for one of the different Status of Residence to reside in Japan by applying for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) at the Immigration Office.

There are 27 types of visa in Japan and the requirements as well as the authorized activities are different for each of them. It is therefore necessary to first determine one type of visa that will allow you to do what you would like to pursue in Japan, and for which you can satisfy the requirements of that particular visa.

In case your intended activity in Japan is not listed in any of the 27 official Status of Residence, you can't reside in Japan for a long-term. Even if you do manage to find your intended activity in the list, there is still a possibility that you can not approve the eligibility for the status if your background and experience does not meet the appropriate requirements.

In most cases, it is required to have a hosting organization (company) or inviting person (commonly known as a "visa sponsor") to be able to get a visa in Japan, such as a school in case of a student visa or an employer in case of a working visa.


You'll find below a list of the most typical visas that we usually deal with in Japan.


Permanent Visa

Becoming a permanent resident is an alternative to Japan´s naturalization process. It is an excellent option for foreigners who want to live in Japan without any time restriction and who do not want to renounce their first nationality or cannot get through the citizenship process.

No more visa renewal. No restriction in the kind of activities you can engage in. Easier to get loans from Japanese banks. Visa granted to those who have stayed certain conditions regarding the length of time spent in Japan, income, tax payment, etc.


Working Visas

Working visas only cover the kind of work that requires a certain level of professional knowledge or skills. The most typical working visas to work in private companies are the following 4 types.

Visa Type

Authorized Activities


3 to10 years of professional experience (number of years depending on the type of work) in the corresponding fields (including the period of training)

Foreign cooking, architecture or civil engineering characteristic to foreign countries, processing precious stones, metals or fur, training animals, piloting aircrafts, instructing sports, sommeliers...

Engineer: Working in the fields of physical or natural science and engineering.

Specialist in humanities: Working in human science, social fiedls, economic, legal or economic.

International Services: Working in translation or interpretation, language instruction, public relations, international trade, fashion or interior design, product development, etc.

Engineer: University degree in the corresponding field or 10-year of professional experience.


Specialist in humanities: University degree or 10-year of professional experience in the field.

International services: 3-year of professional experience in the field; except for translation, interpretation or language instruction that only require a university degree.

Starting or investing into a business in Japan, or managing business on behalf of other investors.

Business Manager

Physical, dedicated office space in Japan and 5 million yen investment into the business for new application. 10 million yen sales and 5 million yen expenses for renewal.

Introduced in May 2012, the Highly Skilled Professional visa is intended to attract workers who are likely to contribute to Japanese economy.

Points are given according to the applicant's educational level and professional background, income and academic achievement. If you accumulate 70 points or more in the point evaluation, a special visa status is given which includes the following preferential treatment:

    •    Possibility of engaging in multiple activities that cover different visa categories
    •    5 years visa granted
    •    Faster access to Permanent Resident visa
    •    Preferential processing of Immigration procedure
    •    Possibility to work on full-time basis for the spouse under certains conditions
    •    Possibility of bringing your parents to Japan under certains conditions
    •    Possibility of hiring a domestic helper under certains conditions


Family Visas

Besides the Dependent visa, these visas have no restriction on the activities to be engaged, so it is possible to work in any field or industry. You are free to change jobs or to have more than one activity.

Foreign nationals who married to a Japanese national, those who were born as a child of Japanese nationals or those who were adopted to Japanese nationals will acquire the status of residence called "Spouse or Child of Japanese National" in order to reside in Japan.

Foreign nationals who married to a Japanese Permanent Resident, those who were born as a child of Japanese Permanent Resident or those who were adopted to Japanese Permanent Resident will acquire the status of residence called "Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident" in order to reside in Japan.

Granted for spouse and unmarried child fincancially supported by their family living in Japan with a valid working or student visa. Even if your children have reached 18 years of age, you may bring them if they are still financially dependent on you.

This visa is aimed at a very special and narrow category of individuals. It includes people with Japanese ancestry (Nikkei), Indochinese refugees, spouses and children of Japanese nationals remaining in China after World War II, or applicants who are divorced from Japanese nationals subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions.


Other Visas

It is possible to work under a non-working visas, but only if you work below the limited hours per week, and if you obtain permission from the immigration office.

This visa is for Applicants who wish to study Japanese culture, art, skills, or activities for the purpose of learning under the guidance of experts. This is a very broad category that could include study of such things as Taiko (Japanese drumming), Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging), tea ceremony, judo, aikido, etc.


This visa is for Applicants who wish to come to Japan for the purpose of education at a college, high schools, junior high schools, elementary schools, technical college or Japanese language schools.

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