In order to engage in business activities, both employers and employees are required certain statuses of residence. Aside from Permanent/Long-term residents, their spouses and their children, applicable statuses are as follows:
(1) Investor/Business Manager/Instructor
(2)Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/ International Services
(3) Intra-company Transferee/Legal・Accounting/Medical Services
The statuses that would be applicable to business in Japan would be the 10 first statuses listed above. A set of documents certifying your claims must be submitted to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility. Application forms and certifying documents vary from person to person according to their case.
When applying for a Status of Residence, do note that the status must match the content of the work. If not, applicants should consider applying for the Shikaku-gai Katsudo permit. This allows the applicant to engage in activity other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted. The permit costs JPY 30 000.
Visa types and requirements in Japan
There are 27 types of visa in Japan and the requirements as well as the authorized activities are different for each of them.
If you would like to live in Japan, it is necessary to get a visa that is most appropriate for your intended activities in Japan.
In most cases, it is required to have a hosting organization (company, entity, or some kind of business related organization), or inviting person (commonly known as a “visa sponsor”) to be able to get a visa in Japan.
These 27 Japanese visas can be divided into 3 main groups. First one is Working visa which allow you to work. Second one is Non-working visa which don’t allow you to work. Last one is Family related visa which granted according to the family status.
One person can get only one type of visa at a time.
Working visas only cover the kind of work that requires high level of professional knowledge or skills. It is therefore not possible for foreigners to engage in manual / simple labour like massage therapists, waiter/waitress, salesclerk, etc, under a working visa.
The most typical working visas to work in private companies are the following 5 types. Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services
Highly Skilled Professional
Non-working visa Non-working visa includes students, trainee, technical internship, dependent, cultural activities(that provide no income), and temporary visitor.
Except for temporary visitor and trainee visa holders, it is possible to work under a non-working visa, but only if you work below a limited time in the week and if you get permission from the immigration office.
Family Related Visas
These visas can be worked in any field or industry, as there is no restriction on participating activities. You are free to change jobs or make multiple activities.
Family related visas includes spouse or child of Japanese nationals, long term residents, permanent residents (Indefinite), and spouse or child of permanent residents.
Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services
Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services
Engineer’s requirements is university degree in the corresponding field or 10 years of professional experience. And they can work for the fields of physical science, engineering or other natural science.
Specialist in humanities is required university degree or 10 years’ professional experience in the field. And their Authorized activities are working in legal, economic, social fields or in the human science.
International services is required 3 years’ professional experience in the field except for interpretation / translation or language instruction that only require a university degree. And they can work in translation, interpretation, language instruction, public relations, international trade, fashion design, interior design, product development.
They must have worked more than one year in the said office in overseas.
Skilled labor must have 3-10 years’ professional experience in the corresponding fields (including the period of training). For example, foreign cooking, piloting aircrafts, instructing sports, sommeliers, and ext.
They are required physical, dedicated office space in Japan and 5 million yen investment into the business for new application. 10 million yen sales and 5 million yen expenses for renewal.
Highly Skilled Professional Residence Status
If the applicant is eligible for a Highly Skilled Professional residence status, they can receive special immigration treatment, including:
1. Permission for multiple purposes of activities
2. 5 years grant of period of stay
3. Eased requirements on permanent residence
4. Preferential processing of immigration procedures
5. Work permission for spouse
6. Accompanying of parents (if conditions are met)
7. Accompanying of domestic workers (if conditions are met)
The Highly Skilled Professional visa is comprised of the following 3 sub-categories based on activities (positions/roles). Three kinds of Highly Skilled Professional residence statuses are Advanced Special/Technical Activities, Advanced Academic Research Activities, and Advanced Business Management Activities.
The applicant will be assessed by academic background, experience, annual salary and other specific terms according to the three categories, and they must mark higher than 70 points. Also the applicant must be eligible for one of the statuses of residence listed below: Investor/Business manager, Instructor, Engineer, Specialist in Humanities/International Services, Intra-company Transferee, Legal/Accounting, Medical Services, Researcher, Entertainer or Skilled Labor. The intended activities of the applicant must fall into one of the categories listed as Highly Skilled Professionals.
The applicant has to satisfy all of the requirements above to be registered as a Highly Skilled Professional.
Permanent Resident Visa
Advantages of permanent resident visa are:
No restriction in the category of activities you can engage in
No more visa renewal (the Permanent Resident visa is valid for life)
Easier to get loans from Japanese banks
Disadvantages may be the tax implication for some.
After acquisition, the permanent resident visa it is valid, but you need to renew the residence card every 7 years. This can be done at the Immigration office in Japan, but you can not update card outside of Japan. Also, if you will be away from Japan more than one year, you need to obtain a re-entry permit at the Immigration office in advance. Entry permit is valid for 5 years. Re-entry permit must be renewed every 5 years at Immigration office in Japan. Otherwise, your permanent resident visa will be automatically canceled while you are staying outside of Japan
The requirements that you must be filled for Permanent Resident visa application are follows.
Good behavior and actions (No criminal record, tax payment …), having sufficient assets or abilities to make an independent living (stable work, adequate savings …), fulfill all the requirements for maintaining the current visa status (for example, maintain appropriate occupation in case of work visa holder, maintain stable marriage in the case of spouse visa holder), residing in Japan for 10 years or more, and they are staying under the work visa for 5 years or being awarded according to family status (spouse of Japanese national, long-term residents …), currently having the longest stay (mostly 3 years), pay taxes and contributions to the official Japanese social security system during the required period, there is a guarantor (Japanese or permanent resident visa holder) to support the application, and be physically staying in Japan more than 6 months in a12 months period prior to and during the application process.
In the following cases, requirements for residence for 10 consecutive years will be shortened.
Spouse of a Japanese nationals and a permanent residents who has been married for over three years and has been in Japan for over a year.
Children of Japanese nationals and permanent residents living in Japan for over 1 year
Long term resident visa holders or refugee certifier who has stayed continuously in Japan for 5 consecutive years or more
At the time of application, we got 70 points and always during the latest three-year residence period until application
Applicants who acquired 80 points during the period of stay over the past year until the application
For those who have been recognized to make a significant contribution to Japan in terms of diplomatic, social, economic and cultural aspects, there is a period of stay of more than 5 years. It is necessary to stay in Japan for a total of more than 6 months during 12 months prior to applying for a permanent visa and during the processing of the application.
Permanent resident applications are very time consuming (generally 4 to 8 months) and if the expiration date of your permanent resident application expires, you need to update your current visa There is.
Working Holiday Visa in Japan
The Japanese Government currently has agreements on Working Holiday Visa’s with the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Denmark, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea. Each agreement is slightly different in its way of how it works (length, age limit, etc.)
You must be a citizen of each country and to live in that country at the time of application. You need to provide evidence that you have enough money to support yourself during the initial days of your stay in Japan. The application is to be submitted to the Japanese Embassy or Consulate close to where you live. It is not possible to submit the application at the Immigration office in Japan.
Work permission for student and “dependent” visa holders
Students and “employees” visa holders can not work full-time, but you can work part-time by asking permission beforehand at Immigration office.
It is called “permission to engage in activities other than those permitted by previously permitted status of residence” If you do not obtain this permission in advance, you will work illegally.
With this permission, you can work within 28 hours a week. There is no restriction in the type of activity and income limit (except for the sex industry).
If you want to work on full time you will need to change your visa status to the appropriate working visa. You must satisfied those requirements such as your educational or professional background, job description, employer’s financial performance.
Even if you are not Japanese citizens, it is possible to get legally married in Japan. The qualifications subject to marriage differ from each country, and you are bound by things in your country.
Once you are legally married, you have the following qualifications.
If your spouse is Japanese national, your spouse of Japanese national visa.
If your spouse is a long term resident visa holder, long term resident visa for you.
If your spouse is a permanent resident visa holder, your spouse of permanent resident visa. If your spouse has a work visa or a student visa, a dependent visa for you.
When you apply for one of the visa above, it is necessary to submit marriage certificate, income certificate or spouse’s certificate issued by the authorities of both countries.
How to obtain a Visa for Japan
To enter and stay in Japan, it is necessary to obtain a visa (status of residence) in advance. The category of visa that you will need to apply for depends on the type of activities that you intend to engage in Japan. If you intend to stay longer or wish to work, it is necessary to obtain a long term visa. Once you have chosen the type of visa that best suits your case, you will need to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (if you don’t live in Japan under a long term visa yet). Certificate of Eligibility is issued before a visa application by a regional immigration authority under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice as evidence that the foreign national meets the conditions for landing in Japan.
You can obtain the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) at the Immigration Office in Japan, rather than applying at the Japanese Embassy / Consulate directly.
Or, the application can be submitted by a family member staying in Japan (for the family related visa), by a personnel of the hosting organizations (for other types of visa), by the applicant himself visiting Japan with a temporary visa, or by certified Japanese Immigration Lawyers. You have to know it takes about 1-2 months to receive the result of the application. Once you have your COE, you will then need to get a visa at Japanese Embassy or Consulate in your own country.
To obtain a working visa (status of residence), you will need to submit :
- Application form
- Contract with your employer, letter of appointment, invitation letter, or any other documents to prove your activities, position, salary, period of time you will need to stay in Japan, etc.
- Registry Certificate of the company who employs you in Japan
- The Company’s most recent financial statements
- The Company’s withholding tax report
- Description of the company’s activities
- Your CV/resume
- Certificates of degree, certified transcripts, certificates of diploma, training, awards or qualifications
- Documents to prove your previous working experience
- Portrait photo (3cmx4cm)
There could be other necessary documents depending on each individual case.
Change of visa status
It is necessary to file the application for the change of your visa status at the nearest Immigration Office if you want to change your visa to another type of visa for stay in Japan.
It is possible to change from the temporary visitor visa to another type of visa only if the COE is issued within the validity of your temporary visitor visa. Otherwise, it is not possible to change directly from the temporary visitor visa to another type of visa except”Spouse of Japanese national” visa.
It is necessary to apply for the change of visa status when a student or a dependent visa holder has found a full-time work, you are married or divorced a Japanese national, or you have changed jobs to a different category or industry of work.
If you submit the application for the change of visa status revisions, your visa is automatically extended for 2 months, during which time the application is processed and the result is not notified.
It is possible to travel outside of Japan while the application of the change of visa status is being processed as long as you will come back to Japan before the end of this 2 months’ extension.
In case your application is rejected, a new temporary status will be given, which will allow you to prepare for the departure.
The application for the Permanent Residence is a completely separate procedure, and you will still need to extend your current visa if it will expired while the application for permanent is in process (which is generally about 6 to 8 months).
Please note, the fact that you have applied to the permanent resident visa does not automatically give you the right to stay, so make sure not to forget to extend your visa until the permanent residency is finally granted….
All visas (status of residence) except Permanent Resident Visa have a certain period of stay, so if you stay for a long period you need to extend it.
Please submit your application for renewal of your visa to the nearest Immigration office. There is no limit on the number of extensions that can be granted (except for some types of visas such as trainee and cultural activities) as long as all requirements are met.
When a visa renewal application is submitted, the current visa will be automatically extended for two months, during which the application will be processed and the results will be notified.
If you plan to return home before the end of this two month extension, it is possible to travel in Japan while processing the application for visa renewal.
If your application is rejected, you will be given a new temporary status and be ready for departure.
If you return home two months after the expiration date of your visa, your visa will be canceled even if an update application is in progress.
In case of returning to Japan within 12 months, it is no longer necessary to obtain a re-entry permit. If you will apart more than a year, you need to obtain a re-entry permit in advance. Your current visa (including permanent resident visa) will be automatically canceled if you return in 12 months. In addition, if you apply for “re – entry permit exemption” and leave Japan, you can not extend the re – entry permit at the Japanese consulate overseas.
If there is a possibility of leaving Japan for more than 12 months, we recommend that you obtain a re-entry permit before leaving Japan.
Change jobs in Japan
Even if you change your job, your Japanese working visa is valid until the expiration date. If you change your job for any reason, the original employer can not waive your visa. If the type of activity is the same, you can work with the new employer under the original visa. However, the Immigration office has the authority to cancel your visa unless you find a new job within 3 months of leaving the previous job.
Also you need to notify to the Immigration office about the chane of the employer within 14 days.
If the type of activity is changed, the visa category will be inappropriate, so it is necessary to change the visa (status of residence) as well.
It is possible to get a working visa still if you work with several different employers or sign contracts with multiple clients as freelancers, rather than don’t work full time for just one employer . This procedure is often called self sponsorship.
However, since there is no “self-sponsor visa”, we apply for a regular work visa like “Humanities and international specialists”.
You need to prove that you have a stable contract with different employers / clients in Japan. This will earn enough income to earn your own income (at least about 200,000 yen / month). This can work for a foreign-affiliated company if enough income is secured for a Japanese company, but if you have a contract with an overseas company that does not have an office in Japan, it will not work.
In addition, we obtain a certain number of documents such as registry certificate, financial statement, withholding tax report etc from one of Japan’s main employers / clients, print official seal on the application, “visa sponsor”
If you are trying to start a new business but you do not have a fixed customer yet, we encourage you to consider applying for an “investor / business manager” visa.
Private lessons will not be counted unless Japanese companies regularly organize.
Sending employees to Japan
If a foreign company wishes to send employees to Japan without having a hosting organization in Japan, it is necessary to establish at least a representative office. To do this, no registration procedure is required, but a dedicated / physical office space is required.
If your visa applicant has worked for over a year at an overseas company sending you to Japan you can apply for an “internal transfer” visa.
If the applicant does not spend enough time to apply for an in-company transfer visa, if the applicant meets the requirements, obtain another visa such as “humanities / international service engineer / specialist” It is possible to do.
However, in a representative office, we can not afford to engage in commercial activities in Japan and can only sponsor a work visa, so consider considering establishing branches and subsidiaries according to activities in Japan please.
If the visa applicant is the representative director of a Japanese subsidiary, the appropriate visa status is “investor / business manager” visa.
Employment of foreign workers
When employing foreigners in Japan, you must confirm that the alien has legal right to work in Japan.
There is no problem if employees [planning to hire] already have a permanent visa or spouse visa.
If they do not have the proper visa yet, they need to get it.
In this case, it is necessary to confirm that the job content coincides with the educational or occupational background of the applicant and the type of visa applied.
Even if employees [planning to hire] already have a work visa such as Specialist in Humanities or Skilled Labor, it does not mean that you can legally hire them.
There are some conditions that require employees to satisfy employment, such as the type of business and financial performance.
Also, even if their education and work experience meets visa requirements, the new job content does not match the background of the applicant or the visa category, or the new employer hires another staff financially, you can not hire if you think you can not do it.
If the Certificate of Eligibility, change of visa status, or application for visa renewal is rejected by Immigration Bureau, it is important to understand the reason. The Immigration Bureau will explain the reason in detail as soon as you go there and ask by asking the application number.
Otherwise, if you think that you can submit additional documents, please apply again. Re-application can be submitted at any time after dismissal, there is no limit on the number of times, but we strongly recommend you to note the type and content of documents to be submitted for consistency.
What you need to provide depends on the reason why the previous application was dismissed. This may be related to your employer’s financial record (annual profit, tax payment …), or your qualification and work experience.
The only reason your application was rejected is that the application was not prepared enough to convince the immigrants.
There is a case that the application has been approved by correctly preparing the document, so there is no need to give up.
Japanese Descendants (nikkei)
If there are Japanese grandparents, or if the spouse is a child or grandchild of the Japanese citizen, it is qualified as “long-term visa”. As this belongs to a group of visas granted based on family status, this visa has no restrictions on the type of work you have chosen.
If your parents have Japanese citizenship or have Japanese citizenship on your birthday, you will qualify as “Japanese Child / Spouse”.
In either case, you need to track and identify the family register of your Japanese family (family registration).
Plan your life ahead
If you want to stay long in Japan and want to apply for permanent residence, you need to plan in advance.
If you are obtaining a work visa in Japan, please confirm that you have the required degree or related work experience. If staying in Japan is part of a future project, the training and training experience chosen will be very important and you will need to choose to obtain the appropriate visa.
It is also indispensable to know what type of work is being done for foreigners in Japan, to have a requirement to obtain a work visa, and to not obtain a work visa There is a job waiting for you in Japan.
If your ultimate goal is to obtain permanent residence, you need to make sure that consecutive stay will not be interrupted in the middle, maintain stable job / income and pay tax.
Running your own business in Japan
If you already have a visa (status of residence) that has no restriction in the type of your activities such as Permanent Resident, Spouse or Child of Japanese National, you are free to choose your business structure whether it is a sole proprietor (kojin jigyo) or a company (KK or GK).
If you would like to start a business in Japan but don’t have a long term visa that allows you to do so, it is necessary to apply for the Investor / Business Manager visa.
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