Japan Work Visa – Documentation, Validity and How to apply

Did you recently get a job in Japan? If yes, that is good news! However, your next step should be working on how to secure your Japan work visa. You can prepare beforehand even if you haven’t gotten the job and only aspire to it.

With an unemployment rate of less than 3%, Japan has become a haven for job seekers within and beyond the country’s borders. Japan, an island country in Southeast Asia, has grown in the past few decades to become one of the world’s economic powers. So whether you’re coming for business, leisure, or paid labor, you have countless reasons to want to visit Japan.

This article covers what you need as a foreigner coming to Japan to work. First, we’ll discuss the Japan work visa and its different types. Then, we will also list what you need as you begin your application and how to see the application process through. Thus, you will get all the information you need to start the process.

About Japan Work Visa

The Japan work visa is a type of Japan visa issued to foreign nationals coming to Japan for any form of paid labor. There are several types of Japanese visas that you can categorize by duration or reason for traveling. The Japan work visa is a long-term visa; it can allow you to stay and work in the country for more than 90 days, the average duration for Japanese short-term visas.

Types of Japan Work Visa

Even within the Japan work visa category, there are more subdivisions. There are three types of Japanese work visas, depending on the work you’re coming to Japan for. They are;

  • The General Japan Work Visa: The general Japan work visa is the common one that anyone can apply for, provided they’re going to Japan for paid labor. It is open to nearly all fields of work. The general Japan work visa is what this article focuses on.
  • The Working Holiday Visa: Citizens of specific countries can apply for this visa if they’re traveling to Japan and willing to work to fund the trip. They have to, however, meet certain age and skill-level requirements.
  • The Highly Skilled Professional Visa: This visa is for highly skilled professionals in a particular field who want to migrate to Japan for work. However, getting in through this visa is determined by a point-based system that serves as a metric for your qualification level.

Who is Eligible for the Japan Work Visa?

Several skill types and levels can apply for a Japan work visa. If you gain employment in Japan under any of the following categories, you can apply for the general work visa;

  • Intra-company Transferee: You belong here if you already work for an international company in your country and are transferred to your Japanese branch. The transferee Japan work visa is valid for five years, three years, one year, or three months, depending on your application.
  • Technical Intern Training: Those in this category are graduate interns, short-term trainees, etc. The visa is usually valid for one year, six months, or less than a year.
  • Entertainer: Examples of entertainers include actors/actresses, athletes, musicians, dancers, models, etc. If you fall into this category, you can get your visa for three years. However, you can also apply for one year, six months, three months, or even 15 days.
  • Skilled Labor: Jobs that qualify as skilled labor are; pilots, sports coaches/trainers, chefs of a country’s cuisine, animal trainers, etc. Visas issued on this basis have a validity of five years at maximum. You can apply for less than that as well.
  • Specific Skilled Labor: Specific skilled labor involves those experienced in certain industrial jobs; factory workers, for example, fit perfectly into this category. The visas in this category are for a maximum of three years.
  • Others: Other types for the Japan work visa include; professors and university lecturers, artists, journalists, religious workers (monks, priests, etc.), medical practitioners, instructors, engineers, researchers, specialists, legal and accounting officers, and business managers.

Who Needs a Visa to Work in Japan?

Any foreign national who wishes to come to Japan and participate in paid labor must get a Japanese work visa. Being one of the biggest economies in the world, Japan is not a stranger to heavy influxes of immigrants and visitors. Therefore, it is true that they have visa-free travel agreements with a lot of countries. However, all these agreements only affect short-term stay (90 days in Japan or less).

In essence, no matter your nationality, you need to get a Japanese work visa if you want to work in Japan.

Required Documents for Japan Work Visa

When you apply for a Japanese work visa, there are several required documents you have to submit to the Japanese consular authorities. These documents will help them evaluate your credentials and determine if you qualify for a Japan work visa.

Some of the documents you need for your visa include;

  1. Certificate of Eligibility: the first document you need to secure. However, you won’t have to get this on your own. Your employer is in charge of getting your Certificate of Eligibility (CoE) from Japan’s ministry of foreign affairs. You only have to give your employer the necessary documents.
  2. Your work visa application form: which you must print and fill out appropriately. Here, you will provide a lot of your details and travel information.
  3. passport-sized photograph: must be 2×1.4 inches, six months old at most, and with a plain background. You will attach this to your application form.
  4. A valid national passport: that is, one that has at least two blank pages left. It must have a validity period of at least six months beyond the day your visa expires.
  5. An offer letter: from the company or organization employing you. It must have all the details of your employment, including your position, salary, and the length of the employment contract.
  6. Proof of your academic and professional experience: You’ll need to submit your resume to the embassy as part of their assessment process.
  7. police report: showing your criminal record from any country you’ve recently lived in.
  8. Legal documents from the employing company: include business registration certificates or other relevant licenses.
  9. Whatever additional requirements the embassy requests. Different Japanese missions may have specific requirements.

Steps to Apply for Japan Work Visa

All Japan work visa applications must be made to a Japanese embassy, consulate, or visa application center in your country or close to it. After gathering all the required documents, the process of applying for the visa is not so complicated. Here are the defined steps to apply for the Japan work visa;

  1. Find the Japanese embassy in your country or the closest one and contact them. Find out if they have additional requirements and if they accept direct applications.
  2. Gather your documents and submit them to the embassy so that they can start processing your application. If you’re applying through an agency, submit it to them instead.
  3. You may need to attend an interview, so ensure you’re available after submission.
  4. Once processing is done, the embassy will tell you whether your visa was approved or not. Either way, you’ll need to go back to the embassy to collect your visa (if successful) and your documents.
  5. If your application is approved, pay the visa fees.

Visa Fees and Processing Time

Processing a Japanese work visa can take five to ten working days. However, delays might cause the processing to take up to a month. So, it becomes wise to apply about a month or two before you intend to travel, so you don’t become a victim of delays.

There’s no specific amount explicitly stated, but the estimated Japanese work visa cost is 3000 Yen to 6000 Yen. However, since you don’t have to pay unless your visa is accepted, you can confirm this from the embassy before you collect your documents.


Frequently Asked Questions

#1. What is a Certificate of Eligibility in Japan?

A Certificate of Eligibility (CoE) is a document the Japan Ministry of Foreign affairs issues to foreign nationals coming to stay in Japan longer than 90 days. As long as you aren’t a citizen or resident of Japan, it would be best if you had a CoE.

#2. How can I obtain a Japanese residence permit?

You need a residence permit if you’re entering Japan on a work visa or any other long-term visa. You can obtain one by applying for it.

#3. Can I extend my Japan work visa?

If your Japan work visa is close to expiry and you still have your job, you can apply for an extension at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan. Typically, you should apply about 90 days before your current visa expires. You would need all the documents you used initially applying for the visa and proof you’re still employed.

#4. Can I work in Japan with a student visa?

The Japan student visa on its own does not allow you to work. However, you can apply for a work permit that will

#5. What is a re-entry permit in Japan?

A Japan re-entry permit is a document issued to foreign nationals living in Japan on long-term visas and residence permits. This document allows you to leave the country for less than a year and return without needing a new visa.

However, this is not to be confused with the Japanese landing permit, which the authorities issue you upon entry into Japan as a sign that you’ve passed the immigration border check.


Depending on your skill level and qualification, you might be able to apply for a highly skilled professional visa. Unfortunately, only specific countries can apply for the Working Holiday visa. However, if you don’t qualify, you can always apply for a regular Japan work visa.

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