Part 2 of our series on Japanese visas

There are as many as 27 visa types in Japan, and some of them allows you to work in Japan. But which visa exactly do you need to apply for and how can you do it? Let’s figure it out.


  • Know which visa you need to apply for
  • Get all the documents ready, careful not to miss a single one
  • Your employer becomes your sponsor
  • Submit the documents at a local Embassy or Consulate
  • You will have three months to enter Japan after getting a visa

Figure out your visa status

As I mentioned in Part 1, there are 27 different visa types and not all of them allow you to work in Japan. What you need to do first is to figure out which visa you would need.

For example, even if you would like to get a working visa, if you are coming to Japan to study, you need to get a student visa. In this case, you cannot have a working visa, but you can work up to 28 hours per week under the student visa. To see which visa you need to get, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website may be helpful.

What to submit

In order to get a working visa, you need to prepare several documents. Documents you will need depends on which visa status you are applying for. Let’s say you would like to work as an interpreter in Japan, then you should apply for a Specialist in Humanities visa.

You would need the documents below:

  • Your passport
  • Your Certificate of Eligibility
  • A visa application form
  • A photograph (4cm×3cm)
  • Your certificate of eligibility (both original and copy)
  • A contract with your employer, invitation letter, or any document that proves you are going to work for the company
  • 登記事項証明書 (touki jikou shoumei sho): A Certificate of Registry
  • Most recent financial statements of the company you are going to work for
  • A brochure or any document that describes the company’s activities
  • A document stating the reasons why they would like to hire you
  • A certificate of degree or diploma in the applicable field
  • Your resume or any document that shows your previous working experience related to your intended job in Japan (if you have any job experience)

I know, there are so many documents to prepare. As you might have noticed, many of the documents above are required to be prepared by the company you are going to work for.

It is because the company becomes your sponsor to help you get a working visa. Thus, your company is largely responsible for helping you apply for and attain your working visa.

A Certificate of Eligibility

A Certificate of Eligibility is one of the documents you need to submit, which is a document proving that you have been approved to enter Japan by the Japanese immigration office. In order to get a working visa, you cannot fail to submit a Certificate of Eligibility.

However, it is important to note that getting this document does not guarantee that you can get a working visa. When there is a foreign national that a Japanese company would like to hire, usually the company will apply for a Certificate of Eligibility for the person.

If their application gets approved and they get the document, they will send the document to the future employee in another country, so that the employee can apply for a working visa application. It normally takes a month to three months to get a Certificate of Eligibility. Also, it expires after three months.

So, it is smart to have everything ready as soon as you can, except for what the company needs to prepare, so that you can move onto the next step as soon as you receive a Certificate of Eligibility and other documents, such as their financial statement, from the company.

Where to go

When you get all the documents ready, make a plan to visit your local Japanese Embassy or Consulate. Some Embassies and Consulates require an appointment and others do not, so you should check if you need to make an appointment to submit the documents. To find your local Japanese Embassy or Consulate, please visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ webpage.

If you have submitted all the documents, it will only take a few days to a week to be notified if you have been approved. If you are approved, you are required to pay ¥4,000 as service charge. Once you get a visa, you have three months to enter Japan. Once three months have passed, you cannot enter Japan, so be aware of this when planning when to fly to Japan.

Prepare well to get approved

Preparing all the required documents can be time consuming and very complex. But if you get everything done right, it should not be hard to get a visa. Prepare well to start your new adventure in Japan.

Part 1: Different Visa Types in Japan
Part 3: How to Get a Working Status on a Japanese Student Visa
Part 4: How to Change Your Visa Status