Japan is one of the hottest countries in the world right now. Whether to work, play, or do business, Japan’s safety and efficiency are marvelled at by people around the globe. But with all that crisp, clean efficiency comes Japan’s legendary paperwork and the immigration office can be tricky for those without information to navigate with ease. Lucky for you, we’re here to showcase some of the best visas for you to enter Japan!

Paperwork for Photo

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What are the three different tiers for Visas in Japan?

Let’s start with the basics. There are three tiers to visas in Japan:

  1. A tourist visa (not necessary for those from visa-free countries)
  2. A Working Visa
  3. A Permanent Resident card.

Tourist visas are good for up to 90 days from date of entry and do NOT allow you to work while in Japan. You may, however, check out possible Japanese companies without officially “job seeking”, and later apply for the proper visa outside of Japan via the Japanese embassy or consulate. 

Permanent Resident cards are the next simplest for most foreign nationals (though the most difficult to obtain). A Permanent Resident card gives you permission to live and work freely inside Japan, with the same basic rights as a citizen (though it is important to note that this is NOT citizenship, which is a very different and much more difficult process). Permanent Residency is usually granted to those who have not only spent a considerable amount of time in Japan but also have worked diligently toward success in their time there. There are some fast-tracks, but this is a lengthy process.

Passport Photo

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Three main types of working visas in Japan

Finally, on to the main course: Working Visas!

There are three main types of work visas in Japan. The basic “Working Visa” is the most expansive and encompasses many different job descriptions, such as:

  • Professor
  • Artist
  • Religious activities
  • Journalist
  • Business Manager
  • Legal/Accounting services
  • Medical services
  • Instructor
  • Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services
  • Entertainers
  • Skilled labour

All of these categories fall under the basic working visas and depending on various factors such as company size, age, and occupation can be as long as five years. It is rare, though, to get such a long visa on the first try without an advanced degree or high Japanese ability – most applicants get a one-year visa and are required to return to the immigration office in Japan every year to reapply.

A company must sponsor you to get a working visa, and you must show the certificate of eligibility they provide you with to the immigration office. Failure to do so can result in deportation, so you must discuss the details with your employer. You will need to give them several documents before they can begin, such as a passport photo, application form, and whatever supporting documents they ask for.

Photo of a compnay

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Working Holiday Visa

Depending on your country of origin, you may also qualify for a working holiday visa. Working Holidays are short term (generally 1-2 year) visas used as incentives to help young people explore the world even without a high-powered career. These visas cannot be renewed or given to the same recipient more than once. The countries in mutual working holiday agreements with Japan are as follows:

Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Iceland, The Czech Republic, or Lithuania.

If you’re in your 20s and looking for a short term stay (but still over 90 days), this could be a very useful way to come into Japan. The ministry of foreign affair’s website has more information on how to apply, as it differs for each country. 

Country eligible for a Working holiday Visa

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Highly Skilled Professional Visa

 A more intricate form of visa is a Highly Skilled Professional Visa. This is somewhat new on the scene and has been touted as a game-changer by the current Japanese government. This visa relies on a series of questions that give you “points” for certain factors that show your possible contribution to Japanese society: Age, salary, marital status, and education, to name a few. Only Visa applications with over 70 points qualify for the Highly Skilled Professional Visa.

Unlike the general Working Visa, which only allows for the employee, HSP Visas offer a regular Working Visa for your spouse, dependent visas (even for grandchildren), and a fast-track to Permanent Residency. It is important to note that these are rare visas and only given to those in high-level positions in business, science, and technology. 

No matter what your working visa, you must go and get your Zairyu card, or residency card, at your point of entry in Japan within three months of receiving your visa. It’s easy to forget when you’ve just hopped off a plane, but failure to do so can bring consequences down the line, so be prepared to queue up and get it done. Make sure your point of entry in Japan offers a Zairyu card (Haneda, Narita, and Kansai all do, as well as several others throughout Japan). Your Zairyu card must be with you at all times in Japan, so keep it close and keep it safe.

A photo of Highly Skilled Professional

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Now that you’re here, you can sit back and relax– and there’s nowhere better to do that then at one of Metroresidences’ serviced apartments. Specially curated by our expert team, we work to make sure your living situation is convenient, safe, and easy. We provide English language support and are happy to help every step of the way through your exciting Japanese journey! 

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