[Working in Japan] Here’s What You Need to Know About Japan Work Visas

There are many different Japanese visa options for expatriates including overseas Filipino workers to pick from, depending on whether you need a temporary or permanent residency permit.

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These are almost all work-based, and the type of work you undertake will determine which visa category you apply for (e.g., artist, engineer, researcher, etc.). In this guide, we will discuss all of the things you need to know about visas and residency here in Japan.

[Working in Japan] Here’s What You Need to Know About Japan Work Visas

An Expat’s Guide to Japan Work Visas

Japan offers roughly 30 distinct work permit visas in total, including ones for highly skilled employees and self-employment visas.

If you are visiting Japan for a reason other than tourism, one of the key prerequisites for applying for a Japan visa is the Certificate of Eligibility (COE). This certificate is the first stage in the Japan visa and application process because it states that the applicant is legally permitted to visit Japan for a job, family visit, or another qualifying reason.

Before you arrive in Japan, you must apply for and get this certificate. Similarly, contrary to popular belief, you will begin the process of applying for your Japanese residency card (“green card”) at the airport when you arrive in the island country.

Regardless of the type of visa you apply for, the cost of a Japanese visa remains pretty constant. The fee simply varies depending on whether you want a single or multiple entry visa. Similarly, Japan visa requirements always require a university degree and a certificate of employment, but depending on the type of work you will be doing, you may be required to provide a portfolio of work or other supporting documentation.

Meanwhile, those seeking permanent residency in Japan should research the immigration point system. This approach assigns points to applicants based on their academic achievements, work experience, and other qualifications. Expats with good scores have a better possibility of obtaining permanent residency in as little as one to five years.

Work Permits and Employment-Based Visas

The sort of work permit or employment visa you will require in Japan will be determined by the sort of work you undertake. Expats in Japan can apply for approximately 30 different work and long-term visas based on their career and purpose for migrating to Japan.

Types of Work Visas You can Apply for

  • Artist
  • Business manager
  • Engineer/Specialist in humanities/international services
  • Entertainer
  • Instructor
  • Intra-company transferee
  • Journalist
  • Legal/accounting services
  • Medical services
  • Nursing care
  • Professor
  • Religious activities
  • Researcher
  • Skilled labor
  • Technical intern training

Do note, however, that the length of time each permit enables an expat to stay in Japan varies depending on the permission you apply for as well as your specific needs and circumstances. The duration of most of the permissions listed above might range from three months to one to five years. There are no work visas that are valid for more than five years.

Specified Skilled Worker Visa

In addition to the work visa categories mentioned above, Japan’s government recently created the defined skills visa (tokutei ginou, 特定技能). This visa, which is divided into two classes, is intended to attract foreign workers to come to Japan and fill employment needs in specific labor sectors. The government anticipates that this visa will attract approximately 500,000 new foreign employees to Japan by 2025.

Specified Skills Visa 1-SSV1

Applicants must pass a Japanese language test as well as technical assessments in order to be eligible for this visa. Your degree of Japanese competence will vary depending on the profession, however, you may be required to pass up to an N4 level.

Skilled workers applying for this visa will work in the following 14 industries:

  1. agriculture
  2. materials processing
  3. nursing care
  4. shipbuilding
  5. restaurants
  6. airport ground handling and aircraft maintenance
  7. food and beverage
  8. hotels
  9. industrial machinery
  10. electronics and electric machinery
  11. building cleaning
  12. construction
  13. vehicle maintenance
  14. fishery

Note: This visa is only valid for one year and can be renewed for another five years. Workers cannot bring their family with them. If a worker wishes to stay in Japan for more than five years or wishes to bring their family with them, they can apply for the Visa 2-SSV2.

Specified Skills Visa 2-SSV2

Unlike Visa 1-SSV1, this visa can be renewed indefinitely, and visa holders are permitted to bring their families to Japan. Currently, workers on Visa 1-SSV1 who are living and working in Japan can apply for this visa only after reaching higher degrees of specialization in their area.

What are the Japan Work Visa Requirements?

While particular requirements vary depending on the visa, the following are the general requirements you will need when applying for a work permit in Japan:

  • an offer of employment from a Japanese company
  • your passport
  • visa application form
  • photograph
  • Certificate of Eligibility

Depending on the type of visa you are looking for, you may also be required to provide a CV as well as your authentic university degrees or certificates.

Certificate of Eligibility

When applying for a Japanese work visa, the Certificate of Eligibility is required. The Immigration Services Agency of Japan issues this certificate. This form can be submitted in person at a Japanese consulate or embassy in another country, or it can be sent.

Here’s a list of requirements to submit the certificate include:

  1. completed application form;
  2. passport-sized photograph;
  3. filled out and stamped return envelope.

You will also be required to provide additional papers depending on the type of work visa you are seeking for. Those applying for a researcher visa, for example, will be required to give the following information:

  • material showing the outline of the recipient organization
  • diploma, CV, and other documents certifying your career position
  • documentation certifying the activity, its duration, position, and remuneration

Note: If you would like to see a complete list of documents required for each Japan work permit visa application form, check out the immigration department’s official website.

In rare situations, a work visa can be issued without a Certificate of Eligibility; nevertheless, an application may be required to present more information, and the processing time may be extended. In other situations, a visa cannot be obtained unless this certificate is provided. In any case, applicants should receive this certificate. Only intra-company transferees working for stock exchange-listed companies can obtain a visa quickly without a Certificate of Eligibility.

Japan Visa Cost

The cost of a work visa in Japan is determined by the type of visa you apply for, your nationality, and whether you want a single-entry or multiple-entry visa. A single-entry visa requires you to consult immigration officials (and maybe pay a fee) every time you leave and re-enter Japan. You can come and go as you like with a multiple-entry.

A single-entry visa will typically cost around 3,000 JPY (30 USD). The cost of a multiple-entry visa is 6,000 JPY (60 USD).

There you have it! Working in Japan is certainly one of the most appealing options for any expat out there. However, just like in your home country, working here requires you to follow the process set by the Japanese government. With this guide on hand, you now have an idea of how to start your journey to working as an expat here in Japan. Remember, be sure to follow all the guidelines and details to the dot. This way, you can minimize the chance of getting things wrong and boost your chances of getting approved for work in this country in the shortest time possible!

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