Work Visa Applications

Find out about the application procedure for work visas in Japan, the documents required and where to get them...

People wishing to work in Japan are advised to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility. These are issued by the Japanese Ministry of Justice and confirm that the holder meets all the conditions to be allowed to enter Japan. Without this certificate, work visa applications can take much longer to process - between one to three months.

A Japanese sponsor such as an employer, school or spouse makes the application on behalf of the individual wishing to come to Japan. They submit the application at their local immigration office in Japan. Once obtained, a Certificate of Eligibility is valid for three months, in which time the visa application should be made.

Applications for a work visa should be made at a Japanese embassy or consulate in the applicant's home country. Visa applications must be accompanies by the following documents:

  • Certificate of Eligibility and one copy of it
  • Completed visa application form
  • Passport
  • Photograph
  • Application fee

Applicants from Russia and NIS countries (Newly Independent States - former Soviet republics) must submit two application forms and photographs. Chinese nationals applying for a work visa also need a copy of the Chinese Family Register or a copy of a Temporary Residence Permit or Residence Certificate.

Applicants may need additional documents, depending on their nationality. A Japanese embassy or consulate in the applicant's home country can provide more information on any extra documents needed.

Once the visa is issued, the applicant must travel to Japan within three months.

  • A comprehensive guide to long-stay visa applications (including work visas) is provided by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Applying for a work visa within Japan

Foreigners already in Japan on a temporary visitor visa, and who want to work, must apply for a Change of Status of Residence.

Foreigners with a Status of Residence that does not permit them to undertake paid work (for example a university student) must apply for a "Application for Permission to Engage in Activity other than that Permitted under the Status of Residence Previously Granted" from the Immigration Bureau.

Further Information