- Country Name: Japan
- Capital: Tokyo
- Population: 126,919,659 (2015 estimate)
- Language: Japanese
- Time Zone: JST (UTC +9)
- Dialing Code: +81
- Currency: Yen (JPY)
This FAQ has been created as an introductory guide to immigration procedures for Japan. Since rules and requirements in every country are constantly changing and each case must be assessed on its own merits, for in-depth and up-to-date advice, please contact us.
Please note, we can only advise on matters relating to immigration and are unable support you with employment in a new region. We do however have a network of trusted partners that can support your move, so please visit Our Partners page for further information.
Despite the economics issues following the 2012 earthquake, Japan still maintains one of the world’s largest economies and there are numerous opportunities in the multinational corporations present in Japan, particularly for transferees.
There are a number of different work permit options for Japan, the most common being:
Working Visa (Intra-Company Transferee) – for ICT transferees appropriate where the Japanese entity and the employee’s home entity are linked by common ownership.
Working Visa (Business Manager) – for management level employees (with more than 3 years of management experience) and foreign nationals establishing a new business in Japan.
Working Visa (Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services) – for locally hired Engineers or Specialists in Humanities or International Services.
Highly Skilled Foreign Professional (points based) – for professionals with extensive professional experience in a specific field and/or high annual income
Processes and requirements will vary according to the region of assignment, labour market at the time of application, the type of work permit being applied for, the nationality of the applicant, the country of application and personal circumstances of the assignee and any family dependants. We, therefore, recommend that you contact us for up-to-date information.
The general process involves submission of Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to the regional immigration office in Japan, submission of intra-company transferee entry visa application submitted to the Japanese diplomatic post overseas, then post-entry residence permit application and local registration.
Applicants for the Highly Skilled Foreign Professional permit must also submit a self-assessment according to points-based criteria
Requirements will vary according to the type of work permit, the region of assignment country of application, and nationality of the applicant and any dependants.
Applicants will be required to submit a variety of personal and corporate documents to support the application which include, but are not limited to:
Passport and copy of passport information page CV, job description, employment contract/assignment letter, Evidence of Meeting Points Criteria & self-assessment, marriage certificate and birth certificate for any dependants, as well as a variety of corporate documents which may include: Company Registration Certificate, Profit and Loss Statement, Company Profile, Evidence of common ownership of the two entities, Articles of Incorporation
Processing times will vary according to the type of work permit, country of application, and nationality of the applicant and any dependants. However, an indication of processing times is as follows:
Working Visa (Intra-Company Transferee), Working Visa (Business Manager) & Working Visa (Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services) – Typically take 1 to 2 months until entry to Japan, and a further 1 day before the whole process is completed.
Highly Skilled Foreign Professional (points based) – Typically takes 1 month until entry to Japan and a further 2 days before the whole process is completed.
All four of the main work permit types are granted for an initial period of 5 years and can be renewed.
It is strictly prohibited to carry out any work on a business visa or under the visa-waver agreement.
Therefore, while there is nothing to stop you from looking for jobs, you would not be able to commence any form of employment until you have acquired a work permit, for which you must exit Japan and apply from your home country.
As a general rule, you must have lived in Japan for a period of ten years before you are eligible to apply for permanent residency. However, those with a Japanese spouse may become eligible in as little as three years.
A number of requirements to prove “good character” must also be met. In addition, you should be able to offer some contribution to Japan: working as a diplomat or for a listed Japanese company qualifies, as does teaching at a university. It helps if you have received professional awards or honours.
Note that there are fairly onerous documentary requirements from both you and your employer in support of a permanent residence application.
The requirements for the entry visa vary greatly depending on the consulate of application and – along with procedures – are subject to change. As such we advise that you consult with your Newland Chase Immigration Advisor for current and detailed information.
Some supporting documentation will require legalisation, which, depending on the country of origin, may take several weeks.
You would be advised to start the visa application process well in advance of the desired date of relocation.
Non-compliance with Japanese immigration rules could incur penalties such as fines, deportation or even imprisonment. It is therefore of the utmost importance that your company is always up-to-date on the latest immigration requirements.