Japan visa FAQ

There is lots of official and unofficial information about visas for Japan. The aim of this page is to share a bit of my *unofficial* knowledge on the subject, and help you to understand the official guidelines (i.e. the information issued by the Japan immigration, and Japanese embassies).

Always trust the official information rather than unofficial information (don’t trust me for example), but be aware that sometimes there is a difference between the ‘official’ information, and what is actually possible :)

What is a visa?

A visa for Japan allows you to be given a specific status of residence in Japan at the airport – as long as immigration allows you to enter the country. Which they probably will as you have a visa and so have already been checked out by the Japanese government. There’s no guarantee though, even with a visa you can be sent back home after reaching the airport in Japan.


This is what a visa looks like when stuck inside a passport.

japan visa working holiday

Do I need a visa to come to Japan?

This depends on what you want to do in Japan and what country you are from. If you are just coming for a holiday and are from a Western country then you probably don’t need a visa. If you are coming to start a pre-arranged job then you will.


If you come to Japan as a tourist under the visa waiver scheme you will get a ‘temporary visitor’ status of residence. If you are in Japan on the visa waiver scheme your ‘temporary visitor’ status isn’t a visa – you never had a visa! That’s the whole point of the ‘visa waiver’. Here is the landing permission stamp for a temporary visitor.

temporary visitor landing permit japan

So when most people say they have a touist visa, they usually don’t… unless they are from a country that requires them to get an actual tourist visa before visiting. In which case they get a temporary visitor visa before going to Japan which then gives them a temporary visitor status of residence.

How can I get a visa?

Again the official information at http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/ is a good place to start, but I’ll give you a summary. Here are some of the main types of visa.

  • Work visa – you will need an employer in Japan to sponsor your work visa. They will file much of the paper work for you, but you will have some paper work to do as well. Your visa will give you permission to work in a specific industry (e.g. in the public school system, as an engineer etc). Even though you need sponsorship from one company the visa does not tie you to that company, only to the particular industry for which it is granted.
  • Working holiday visa – if you are young enough and from one of the countries that has a reciprocal working holiday visa scheme with Japan then you may be able to get this type of visa which allows you to stay in Japan for an extended time and work with no employer sponsorship necessary. If you qualify for this visa it is a great scheme as it gives you a large amount of flexibility in who you work for, what type of work you do, and how long you can work. This is one of the most relaxed visas you can get for Japan. I wrote about my experiences of getting on on my working holiday visa for Japan page.
  • Student visa – if you are going to study in Japan your college / University can arrange your student visa, which gives you the potential to do a small amount of work if you get permission.
  • Medical stay visa – you can get permission to stay in Japan for extended medical procedures – you’ll of course have to have the money to afford the treatment.

There is a list of all 27 types of visa, along with basic explanations on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs webpage.


The Embassy of Japan in the UK has more detailed explanations of some of the 27 visa types.


How long will my visa be valid for?

The visa is valid between the dates printed on the visa (which should be glued in your passport). It will be invalidated the momement you enter Japan*. The immigration inspector will stamp a big ‘USED’ on it (see the visa photo above) to highlight that you visa is no longer valid!

* Unless you have a multiple entry visa which some business travellers are able to obtain, or a transit visa. Note a multiple entry visa is not the same as having a normal single entry visa which a multiple re-entry stamp. So if you are coming to Japan to do a normal job (such as teaching English) put the multiple entry visa out of your mind – you won’t need or get one. You’ll have to buy your re-entry permit once you get in the country.


My visa says ‘For stay of 1 year’ but it is only valid for three months. Why?

The dates refer to different things. The visa validity is the time period of when you must enter Japan. The ‘For stay of x years’ is how many years you can stay in Japan from the day you enter the country.

But if my visa is now invalid how can I stay in Japan?

Because as well as invalidating your visa the immigration inspector will put a ‘Landing permission’ sticker in your passport stating your residence status, and the validity of your residence status. The example landing permission sticker below says that the status is ‘designated activities’ (which you get if you enter on a working holiday visa) and the validity is one year from sometime in 2010, to sometime in 2011.

designated activities landing permit japan

It is this residence status that allows you to live, work and stay in Japan. The visa just allows you to get the residence status.

This is where people get confused, and why they find it hard to understand the official infoarmtion. If you understand the difference a visa and a residence status you should be able to understand the official information from immigration.

If the residence status if the important thing, why does everyone keep referring to visas?

Because visa is a nice short word whereas talking about landing permissions and residence statuses is more convoluted.

Most employers, people on the street, and the contributers to Japan discussion forums will talk about visas when they may be referring to either visas or residence statuses.

There’s nothing wrong with referring to your residence status as a visa to employers, friends and family as it makes it easier for them to understand. If you talk about your residence status they’ll probably just get confused.

But when you want to understand the official immigration guidance it is very useful to understand the difference.

Can I come to Japan without a visa and find a job?

Officially no. But people do this all the time.

The main advice I’d give you if you want to follow this route is: don’t whatever you do tell immigration at the airport that you are coming to Japan to look for a job! They might send you straight back. Tell them that you are here on holiday, make sure you have a return / onward plane ticket to keep them happy, and then try to find a job once you are in.

If I come to Japan without a visa and am offered a job do I have to leave the country to get my visa?

No you don’t. You don’t even need a visa – you need to change your residency status.

There is some old information that keeps being repeated on internet forums that you have to do something called a ‘visa run’ to South Korea to get permission to work. You don’t. The change of status can be done from within Japan.

All you need is for immigration to change your status of residence from temporary visitor, to one of the statuses that allows work.

As you aren’t officially supposed to be looking for work on a temporary visitor permit they have a special disclaimer in the ‘change of status’ rules. It says that a change of status from a temporary visitor status will only be allowed if due to ‘unavoidable circumstances’.


Fortunately for the large number of people who do this every year, getting an English teaching job whilst in Japan appears to satisfy their ‘unavoidable circumstances’ criteria.

How can I extend my visa?

You can’t. It is invalidated by immigration when you enter the country.

But you can extend or change your residence status which will allow you to be in the country for longer.

If you are staying in the same job or same industry your employer will have to give you the paper work to allow you to file an ‘application for extension of period of stay’.


If you are starting a job in a different industry from that which your residence status allows you to work your new employer will have to give you the paper work to allow you to file an ‘application for change of status of residence’.


Here are the passport stamps for successful change of status, and extension applications.

japan change of status extension permit

Can I stay in Japan while my application is being processed?

You may end up in a situation where you current permission to stay in the country is about to expire, and you are just about to submit your application for a change of status, or extension.

As processing can take 2-3 weeks, or sometimes more, you may be worried about being left in a state of limbo whilst you wait for the results.

Fortunately the amendments to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act that were passed in 2009 clarrify the situation. You’ll see that a special excemption has been put in place that allows you a two month grace period beyond your current period of stay expiration if you have to wait for a result.


The information on that page is a bit basic, but when you make the application (change of status / extension), you will get an ‘Application’ stamp in your passport with a reference number.

change of status application stamp japan

They should also staple in (or give you) a sheet of paper with some information. This piece of paper states that you can stay beyond your period of stay if you are waiting for a result, but that you must contact immigration if you haven’t had your notification within a certain time. It also makes it clear that this two month period is a hard deadline. If you were to stay for two months and one day without getting a result you are now an illegal resident and subject to deportation!

My period of stay expires on 4th May, can I leave on the 5th May?

Yes – But only if you want to be regarded as an illegal resident, banned for re-entering the country for five years, and possibly be interrogated, jailed or fined.

Don’t overstay by even a day – it is not worth it!

My landing permission says I can stay until the 5th July 2011, but my alien registration card expires in 2015. Can I stay until 2015?

No! The date that counts is the one on your latest landing permission / status change / extension sticker that is in your passport. The expiry date on your alien registration card is the date when you need to renew the card, and does not have anything to do with your permission to stay in Japan.

I have accidently overstayed in Japan, what do I do?

If you want to avoid being deported you should hand your self into immigration and tell them you want to leave voluntarily. They have the option to allow you to leave with a ‘departure order’ rather than being deported. Read their information on departure orders carefully to understand the consequences.


And read up about the deportation process so you know what the other option is.


Can my employer cancel my visa / residence status?

If you are still in your own country, have accepted a job, and have submitted the visa application then your employer can cancel the visa application.

If you have entered the country and got your landing permission then there is nothing your employer can do to cancel your residence status.

As you have your landing permission you can work for whoever you want (subject to the conditions of your status of residence).

Your employer can not cancel your issued landing permit / status of residence. Only immigration can cancel your residence status.

I have six months left before my residence status expires. Do I have to work?

If you have a normal work visa then you aren’t officially supposed to be unemployed for more than three months. Immigration can technically invite you in for an interview and cancel your residence status. However I don’t know how often they actually do this.

See the question “I heard that my status of residence would not be revoked even if I fail to engage in my intended activity relating to my status of residence for three months because of “justifiable reason.” It is true?” on this page.


If you have a working holiday visa then don’t worry. You don’t have to work at all. You can just have a holiday for the entire duration of your stay. The permission to work with the WHV is there to support your holiday. If you don’t need the money then you can just relax.

What is a re-entry permit?

If you want to leave Japan without cancelling your status of residence (and losing your right to work) you’ll need a re-entry permit.

japan single reentry permit

Information about the application procedure is here:


It can be issued on the day, and it will take about 30 minutes as long as there isn’t a huge queue! You can either buy a single re-entry permit, or a multiple re-entry permit. I wrote about getting a re-entry permit here.

Where can I find information about coming to Japan to study?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a good website about studying in Japan. Here is a direct link to the immigration part.


Where can I find more about the working holiday visa?

You can read my own working holiday visa account, but a good general resource is the official Japan Association of Working Holiday Makers page. It has links to all the individual Japan embassies where you can get country specific information about the programme.


Is the information on this page accurate?

I’m not guaranteeing anything. You should use your own judgement.

However as I have provided (where possible) links to official Japan government sources you can read the accurate official information yourself and make up your own mind.

Useful official links

Official visa information – http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/
Study in Japan – http://www.studyjapan.go.jp/en/
Working holiday – http://www.jawhm.or.jp/eng/
Good general info from the Japan embassy to the US – http://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/english/html/travel_and_visa/visa/faq_new.htm

Comments / corrections?

If you have further questions or comments do leave feedback below. I’ll update the article with any corrections or new questions I get.

136 Comments on “Japan visa FAQ”

  1. Hi,
    I have a question and it’s URGENT, would be very grateful if you could answer as soon as possible. So, I’m a citizen of Hungary and my country has an agreement with Japan that a hungarian citizen may come to Japan without a visa and get a stamp at the airport, valid for 90 days. I arrived on March 10, got my 90 day stamp and after arrival I married my japanese boyfriend. Due to delay in paperwork by the hungarian embassy we could only get married on the 8th. To top this off I mistook my 90 day permit for a 3 month one and overstayed a day. Actually we were pretty caught up in paperwork because we wanted to apply for a spouse visa.So my visa actually expired on the 8th and I noticed on the 9th, we ran into the immigration bureau in Tokyo and explained the situation to them, also told them it was of course not on purpose and I’m villing to depart on my own. After that they had me fill out a form and write why I need an extension on my stay, which I did. They didn’t issue me any written departure order in paper form or anything of the sort. They gave me a 15 day stamp in my passport, it says extension permit. There is also a stamp on it in red letters saying ” preparatory period to depart”. Now is this a departure order? Or an extension? This is important because we would like to leave for a weekend to Korea than return, get my passport stamped for another 90 days as temporary visitor and in that time hand in my application for spouse visa. Thank you in advance.

  2. Hi Emily – obviously this is a complex situation so I can’t tell you for sure what to do. Consider yourself lucky that they didn’t deport you right away.

    I think you should go back to immigration ASAP and find out (in writing if possible, if not make sure you get the name of who is telling you) the following:

    * Have you been given a departure order? If you have been given a D.O. you will not be able to enter the country for another year (there may be other conditions too). The fact that they have given you a 15 day stamp suggests it may be a D.O. as that is the maximum extension they will give you in this circumstance. See section 4 of http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/tetuduki/taikyo/syutukoku.html.

    * Find out if it is possible to submit your spouse visa paper work and stay in the country without leaving?

    And I’d ask them about your chances of getting let back into the country after a few days (only an option if this is an extension rather than a D.O.). They are always a bit suspicious about people leaving the country for a few days and then coming back to get a new 90 day permit. But in your case as you have overstayed you may well get red-flagged at immigration when entering the country. You should be prepared for an in depth interview when you try to re-enter.

    If you have a D.O. and you try to re-enter you will be in even bigger trouble, so don’t try this. They won’t be sympathetic.

    On the plus side you do have a genuine reason for trying to stay (you are married to a Japanese person), but this doesn’t give you an automatic right to a spouse visa.

    This is just my opinion (and I may be wrong) so do visit immigration again for clarification. Take you husband along so there are no translation issues. Unless you are a native level speaker of Japanese you shouldn’t try to deal with immigration officials by yourself on complex matters like this, there is too much chance of a misunderstanding. And the consequences of any misunderstandings for yourself and your husband are large.

    You could try asking about this in the visa section of GaijinPot as well, but of course that will just get you another set of un-official opinions.

    And whatever you do, you had better leave before your 15 days run out, or you can expect to be deported and in a whole bigger mess than you already are in.

    Good luck! And do feel free to leave another comment to let us know what happened.

  3. i have japanese spouse but he did not renew my visa after i get back to philippines! the immigration told me that i have to back to philippines because my spouse have no work..now im almost 1 year in philippines but stilll my japanese spouse not renew my visa and he never give me any support since i get back here to philippines!!! what should i do? and can i get back to japan with a tourist visa if i have a guarantor?
    please reply me back!!!! thankyou

  4. Hi lei, sorry to hear about your situation. I don’t know much about spouse visas, but I believe that if your spouse is your sponsor, and he will not help you to renew it, then you may have problems getting back into Japan.

    Looking at the Embassy of Japan in the Philippine it says you need a guarantor to get a tourist visa – the page with full details is here. However if you were previously denied entry to Japan you may find it harder to get a tourist visa.

    As you are in a difficult situation you might need to discuss this in detail with the embassy, or get some legal guidance on what your options are.

    Hope it works out for you.

  5. So, I’d like to live in Japan for the rest of my life and I thought a good start would be to fly to Japan, get a temporary visitor permit, experience Japan while trying to find a job (which I’ve heard it’s not illegal to look for one while in temporary visitor status), and if I like Japan, then I’ll stay and hopefully get a job, if not, then I’d have a nice vacation. The tricky part is, from what I understand, I need to change my residency status. I have no bachelor’s, however, from what I understand from here http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/long/visa1.html
    I don’t need a bachelor’s degree for the visa. Maybe I’ll need one for a job but I’ll worry about that. Question is, is it hard to get a specialist in humanities visa? I am an American living in Canada, and soon I’ll become a dual Canadian-American citizen which means, if need be, I could also apply for a working holiday visa (once I get my Canadian Citizenship) or have I misunderstood? The road I desire to follow seems long and hard, but from my knowledge of Japan, it seems worth it.

  6. Also forgot, if I can get an employer that would get me a certificate of eligibility, would that be good enough along with the other requirements to get a specialist in humanities visa without a bachelor’s as the MOFA website does not mention a bachelor’s is required for that particular visa?

  7. Hi Stian, Yes you can unofficially look for a job on a temporary visitor permit. The ‘unofficial rules to remember’ are 1) have a return / onward ticket when you enter the country and 2) don’t tell immigration that you will be looking for a job.

    Although the page you linked mentions nothing about a bachelors degree, you will probably require one to be issued with a certificate of eligibility. However if you are already in the country I’m not sure if you need the certificate of eligibility – I think your future employer might be able to file a ‘change of status’ application to change your temporary status into a full working one. I’m not 100% sure on this though.

    But order to get your residence status changed you will need a job offer from a company willing to sponsor your change of status. And most companies won’t do this unless you have the bachelors degree (the only usual exception being that you have a large amount of experience in a specialised field).

    Canadians can apply for a WHV. I’ve no idea whether dual Canadian-American citizens can – that is something to ask the Japanese embassy. You don’t need a bachelors degree for the WHV.

    It is easy to get the specialist in humanities visa if you get a job with an English conversation school. But most (all?) of them insist on bachelors degrees as a basic requirement for sponsorship (many of them will still give you a job if you have a WHV).

    Your big problem is your lack of a bachelors degree. I think if you are eligible the WHV will be your best/easiest route into the country – you should confirm your eligibility with the Japanese embassy in Canada.

    Hope this helps, and let us know if you manage to get a job in Japan. Good luck :)

  8. Hi,

    I have valid Engineer visa but I returned back without cancelling it. Now I want to cancel it. May I know how to cancel Japan visa outside Japan?

  9. Hi Nathan, I’ve never heard a good answer to this one. The only way I’ve heard to do this is to re-visit Japan and then surrender your foreigner card on the way out. Obviously that isn’t very convenient!

    I’d suggest asking the Japanese Embassy to see if there is a better way of cancelling your residence status. If you find out please let us know.

  10. Hi,
    Now I am at Japan with 1 year Engineer visa. After 3 months my company fired me and sent back to home county. I don’t want to go back. So I am running away. Now I am still in japan. My company said they canceled my visa. How will be next. Can I be arrested? I want to stay in japan. Please answer me How can I do.

  11. Hi Zaw, you don’t need to worry about being arrested! The visa (or rather residence status) belongs to you, and not the company. They can not cancel it. Only immigration can cancel it.

    All your company can do is to end their sponsorship of you – and this only means is that they won’t renew it for you. The residence status is yours until it expires. And before it expires a new employer can renew it for you.

    I would suggest that you start looking for a new job. According to the immigration website (see the link in the ‘Do I have to work?’ question) you aren’t supposed to be unemployed for more than 3 months. Even then you will only be in trouble if immigration actually call you in for an interview.

    Of course if you are in company owned housing you will have to find somewhere new to live, which is a pain, but can be done.

    In summary you don’t need to worry about your previous employer. You can stay in Japan for now and find a new job. The fact that you already have an engineer status may make it easier to get a new role as your next company won’t have to worry about visa paperwork.

    Hope this helps! Good luck.

  12. Dear Sir,
    Thank you very much for your reply. I left everything at my company’s house. I only carry my passport, Alien Registration Form, Flight Ticket and Educational Documents. I worked at a Bank. So they scare they were hacked their system. They want me to go back. I heard they inform police that I was carrying security card and ran away. They force police and immigration to send me back to home country. Can It be true? I sent all employee cards and security card to them. Then I asked them to send me recommendation letter and termination letter. They refused and they only say to meet them and then go back. I described their message below.

    rml: snipped Japanese text which was mangled by WordPress
    I put the letter into Google Translate and Bing Translate. The gist of it is:
    o They are worried that you have disappeared.
    o They seem to think you have taken a security card.
    o They say they have contacted immigration and the police.
    o They say that as you are on an intra-company transfer visa you cannot work for another company.
    o I think they want you to get in contact with them.

    So please kindly advice me how to get their termination letter and new job within 3 months.

  13. Hi Zaw, if they have reported you to the police for theft then that puts a different spin on things. Either 1) they have genuinely reported you in which case you will have to face the police at some point or 2) they are bluffing to scare you into leaving.

    Whichever it is there is no point in staying ‘on the run’. If you have been reported to the police you won’t be able to leave the country, you’ll be arrested at the airport.

    Have you actually done anything illegal, or is your company just bullying you? It certainly won’t have helped that you went ‘on the run’. Can you prove that you handed in your security pass?

    I think they are right that you can’t directly work for another company on your intra-company transfer visa, however if you do find another job then your next employer could change your residence status to a standard engineer one.

    Maybe you should meet them, and then you’ll discover whether are bluffing about the police, and you can get your stuff back from your company housing.

    If you leave the building without being arrested then they were probably bluffing and you can start looking for a job. What kind of job do you do? There are recruitment agencies that will help place foreign staff, but without good Japanese skills you may find it hard to get another role. The only job that is easy to get without Japanese language ability is English teaching, but for that you need native (or close) level English.

    You don’t need to be worried about being issued with the ‘letter of release’ unless you find a new job. Even if they won’t give it to you it probably won’t cause any issues with changing your residence status (immigration understand that some employers can be awkward).

  14. Sir,
    Thank you very much for your reply. The security is only employee card that can enter to the the bank. Now I returned all. For your advice I planned to go to the police station next week.

  15. Hi, this confuses me a little, can u explain. If i wanted to holiday in japan for as long as possible what visa do i get? im from the UK.

  16. Hi Ethan, if you want to holiday in Japan for as long as possible and you fit the criteria you’ll want a working holiday visa. This will let you stay for one year.

    If you don’t fit the criteria for a working holiday visa, then you don’t need a visa. You can just come over for 3 months. It is even possible (as a UK citizen) to extend your stay by a further 3 months once in the country if immigration allows it.

  17. Hi,actually i had interesting modelling offers though i am in Europe.
    For example if i have any plans to visit Japan on a valid working visa, they have said we will be more than happy to represent you as model.How this work visa thing work,i heard so many stories?
    But without university degree,i need 5 years of work experience right?For example i get soon some degrees from massage courses,but i have no experience.Well i mean what i want to ask exactly how much you need years of experience to apply for work visa by yourself if possible?Or is it not possible unless company wants to sponsor you.Thanks again for your replies.


  18. Ah also i read in July 2012 there are new changes like they give residence cards and so on.So does temporary visitor gets such stuff too or just national who stays for longer time?



  19. Hi Mari, The main requirement to get a work visa is a sponsor. This means that someone has to offer you a job and be willing to do the paper work.

    The degree/experience is a guideline rather than a hard requirement for sponsorship of certain visa types. If you have a degree you don’t need experience. But if you don’t have a degree then probably will need experience.

    You can’t self sponsor your own work visa unless you were starting a business, for which you would need a very large amount of money, and legal help. So you definitely need an employer.

    The problem with modelling is that it is usually done on a contract basis, so most agencies won’t sponsor you. However this linked page – especially the comments has some useful information on this subject.

    Regarding massage jobs; think of it from the employer’s point of view. Why would they hire a foreigner to do this job and go through the visa sponsorship process, when there are lots of qualified Japanese people who can do the job.

    English teaching is the main area where Japanese companies are willing to sponsor, simply because it is not possible to get enough native level English speakers from within Japan.

    The new residence cards will only apply to residents. If you are a temporary visitor you don’t have to worry about them. Hope this helps, and good luck!

  20. Cheers so much for answers.Really you are daysaver.
    If i have any more questions i just simply ask you.
    Thanks,domo arigatou


  21. Hi!please help me.I lost my wallet a few days ago here in the Philippines,i don’t know if it’s stolen or i just lost it but it doesn’t matter,my problem is that my alien card is in there and i’m kinda freaking out because i’m thinking if i don’t have the alien card i can’t reenter japan,.please help me,.i’m a long term residence status in japan.i hope you could advice me what to do,.

  22. Hi Jenevy, I’ve never been asked to show my alien registration card on entering Japan. Have you? Immigration are only usually interested in your passport which has the official visa or residency status stamp inside. I would guess that you should be able to enter Japan ok and then get a new card from your local city hall. It may however be worth reporting the loss to the Japan embassy in the Philippines and asking them for advice.

  23. Hi!Thanks for the advice,.I really appreciate it,.I’m planning to go to the nearest Japan embassy here in our place just to make sure everything will be fine,.God Bless You!

  24. hi there , im currently here in okinawa, japan … i came here sept 18, 2011.. i got temporary visa for 90 days and i will be back dec 15.. i wanna know how can i extend my stay even if until january 3, 2012 .. because my boyfriend got denied to leave dec 22-jan 3 for xmas and new year in philippines .. we just feel bad that we will not gonna be together on that special day.. so we want to know if there is a way or if it is possible for me to get a extension visa .. that will be 20 days extension only.. im looking forward for your answer ..

  25. Hi Gen, I’m not familiar with visitor visas for residents of the Philippines. I would guess that it probably isn’t possible for you to extend your visa for this reason – however that is a pure guess, so I’d suggest that either you or your boyfriend speak to someone from immigration who can give you a correct answer. Good luck!

  26. Hi , I’m a third generation of Japanese clan and there’s a news that the permanent visa will be no longer honor on July 2012, is this true? Thank you !!!

  27. Hi there,
    thanks very much for this website great job and really helpfull!!!

    i would have a question

    im from italy and i dont have a bachelor degree, (Im 26) and i want go to japan with the tourist visa (temporary visitor status), and then change to resident status
    so here is the fact
    my uncle is maried with a japanese (my aunt) and he has an accademy of languages

    hes is the owner, he teachs italian, and i want to ask you in this case is it possible that my uncle become my employer and give me a job as a teacher and if he is able to change my temporary visitor status to resident status, so i can work with him in his accademy and be a teacher and of course be legal in japan

    is that possible, thank in advance!!!


  28. Hi marcello, if your uncle owns his own business in Japan then I think he should be able to sponsor you in order to give you a job in his company. He’ll need to find out how to produce the paperwork that you’ll need to apply for the change of status. Good luck!

  29. my brother left japan sept. 2011 for emergency the airport from tokyo narita took his alien card but his visa is good till next year of august. he is residence there. he is now ready to go back but then he found out that his passport dont have re entry going back to japan..what should he do??

  30. Hi Maritess, I’m afraid to say that by leaving Japan without a re-entry permit your brother gave up his Japan residency*. He will almost certainly have to apply for a new visa in order to get residency again. If he re-enters the country now he will be classed as a tourist and be given a temporary visitor permit, not any kind of residency status.

    It might be worth him going to your local Japanese embassy and explaining the situation to see if there is anything that can be done.

    Hope this helps, and do update us on what happens.

    *I’m making the assumption that he doesn’t have the rare ‘multiple-entry visa’. Very few people have these types of visa. To check simply look at the ‘No. of entries’ field on the visa. You can see from the photo of mine at the top that mine is a ‘single’ entry type. I’m 99% sure that his is a single entry visa as the immigration official would only take his alien registration card if he was surrendering his residency status (whether he knew he was doing so or not).

  31. Hey,

    Thanks for taking the time to answer all these questions and for all the information you’ve provided.

    I’m currently in Japan on a college student visa, I was wondering if you know if there is any way to stay in Japan after it expires to assess my options? Can I change to a tourist visa while in japan? or would I have to leave and return? Does Japan have a visa like the UK where if you recently got a degree in that country you have a year to look for work? It seems unlikely but I thought I’d ask.


  32. Hi Nico, the easiest way to stay in Japan longer term would be to get a job from an employer who will sponsor a work visa for you.

    I have heard that students can change the status of their residency to ‘temporary visitor’* by applying at immigration with an itinerary of what you want to do with the extra time, but they might only give you a short extension (maybe a few weeks or a month).

    * (I’m assuming you are a UK resident and so the Japan ‘tourist visa’ isn’t relevant for you)

    Leaving the country and returning as a temporary visitor is another option. A lot of people do this via Seoul, but you may be questioned when you return if immigration thinks it looks suspicious.

    All these are potential options.

    Japan has no system for allowing you to stay in the country to work beyond your student residency expiry date without changing your residency status so that unfortunately isn’t an option.

    Hope this helps.

  33. hi there,

    my boyfriend and i are planning to go to Japan around september next year on the working holiday visa. just wondering how difficult it will be to find a job when we get there. I know we are expected to travel around the country but obviously funds are limited so i need to have a rough idea – it doesn’t have to be teaching jobs, could be just shops or cafes that will keep us going. is there actually going to be local offices to help us find jobs? or is it up to us to find something before we go?


  34. Hi Anna, The easiest jobs to get are English teaching jobs. And the easiest place to get them is in Tokyo. You’ll find lots of teaching jobs advertised on GaijinPot.

    It is up to you how much travelling you do – no one is going to be checking up on you, so you could spend 11 months in Tokyo and 1 month travelling for example.

    With a working holiday visa you can technically do almost any kind of job, but it can be harder to get non English teaching roles. Other roles such as waitressing, working in a hotel, etc can be found through the ‘Japan Association for Working Holiday Makers‘ – they have a job referral service – click the link for details.

    You’ll probably find it much easier to find a job once you are in the country, rather than searching beforehand. Good luck!

  35. Dear Sir/Madam
    My college student visa was sponsored by an university in Tokyo.I was stydying for two semesters and gained the credits. However, i did not continue the 3rd semester as i could not attend full time due to my health so i stopped studying temporary and went to a professional school instead. However, i decided to go back to my University after 3 months studying there. Now my university has acceptted my re-enrollment and is sponsoring my visa again but the semon gakkou is very unhappy and demands me to pay the remaining tuition fees for the whole year eventhough i had paid upfornt more than 64% by studying there for 3 months only. Recently the semon gakkou sent me a letter saying that if i don’t pay the remaning tuition fees they will report me to immigration and delete me from their school record and this will cause an obstacle for my visa extension. I am so worry as my visa has been processing now and immigration might cancel my extension when hearing something bad from the semon gakkou.Should i pay or ignore since the immigration knew i had stopped the semon and is going back university?
    Your valuable advice will be very much appreciated.

  36. Hi, it is a bit hard for me to give you solid advice on this as the situation sounds complicated. But I can say:

    Immigration is the organisation with the power to grant Japan residency statuses.
    If your university is sponsoring you then immigration would normally grant your residency.
    No one but immigration can stop you from getting a Japan residency.
    However if you signed a legal contract to pay the professional school for a whole year, and then broke the contract the school could of course write to immigration and complain.
    I have no idea how seriously immigration would take such a complaint.

    In terms of paying the professional school how much are you supposed to pay them? Did you sign a contract agreeing to pay them 100% unconditionally, or is there an option to pay less if you leave early?

  37. Dear rml,

    Thanks for your quick reply. There is no contract like i need to pay 100% unconditionally and also a clause stating that if i quit i still have to pay. It mentions only the whole year school fees which can be paid in full in advance or by three instalments on theire website. However, foreign students are allowed only 2 instalments.I have called the human rights centre and was recommended to talk to a lawyer at Hoterasu. To safeguard myself i could also tell the immigration that i will consult a lawyer in regard with this matter.Should I ? However, a letter from the school mentioning that i decided to quit schooling already submitted to the immigration.Could i request them to give me a photocopy for legal consultation purpose? Since this is a genuine case, i do no afraid to reveal the school name which is [ed: snipped].Their website states about school fees terms and condition in Japanese.

  38. Hi, if immigration were to get a letter from your old professional school I doubt they would deny your extension application just like that. If immigration thought it would be a problem they’d probably ask you to come and speak to them first.

    It might be that you are worrying about a situation that you don’t need to worry about. But this does sound complicated so I can’t give you any real help. If you are worried then talking to someone at Hoterasu might be a good idea – especially if they’ll give you free advice. Perhaps you should ask them what to do before talking to immigration. Good luck and feel free to update us on your progress!

  39. Dear rml,
    Thank you so much for your advice. Your prediction is correct. I shouldn’t have worried about that since my visa is sponsored by my university not the professional school. Today i went to the immigration and asked for the letters to be copied for legal consultation purpose and they copied them for me for free.Furthermore, to my surprise i was told my visa extension is ready to be collected and i paid 4000yen for the extension and 6000yen for mutiple entry.It seems like they don’t care about whether i owe the professional school money or not. I assume that the professional school will call immigration to report me on Monday since they demand me to pay by the 5th. However,I will just ignore it. Finally, i would like to tell those who are interested to study in professional school in Japan, please be careful and ask about their school fees terms and conditions before enrolling as they are the sponsor and they will be controlling you in Japan. It is so difficult for you to quit or change school after that. Most sponsored students have to go back their home country if they don’t like the school instead of changing. Even next time, it is so difficult to apply other school. So don’t make any hasty decision as we are foreigners and many school ask for advance school fees.
    Once again thank you so much for creating such an informative site to help people.

  40. good day,. can i ask you ma’am/sir. can i ask some questions?

    (1) How long would be the process of renewing alien card in Japan? There are changes in address, name and status.
    she is now married here in Philippines.

    (and now she should renew her alien card which is i dont want her to do, because we dont need it anymore,.
    i dont want my wife to go abroad and so my wife.
    The only problem is her Mom that lives in Japan for a long time, but she is a Filipina.)
    so how long the process would be.

    (2) what would happen if she did not renew it on time and it takes years before she renew?

    thanks.. please help, we’re runnin’ out of time.

  41. and another is,if we dont want to renew it,
    it is ok if we just leave it like that or we need to surrender it in Japan which is I’ve read in some forums?
    or can we just send it through mail for confirmation for leaving Japan. its hard because we have our baby, just 2 months old no one will take care of him.

  42. Hi nesirk.

    Are you referring to updating or renewing the alien registration card? Or are you in fact meaning to ask about renewing her Japanese residency rather than her alien registration card?

    First about the alien registration card itself:

    Updating it takes about 15 minutes at a local city office in Japan.
    I’ve no idea how long it would take to renew – I would guess a week or two as that is how long it usually takes for them to produce the initial card.

    Secondly about residency status:

    However if you wife is now living in the Philippines does she still have valid Japan residency? You would only be able to update/renew the card if you are a Japan resident.

    If people decide to give up their Japan residency then they would normally give the alien registration card to immigration when leaving the country. If they don’t do this then the residency status expires on the date of the residency status / landing permission sticker in the passport.

    I’m not aware of any procedure for surrendering Japanese residency outside of Japan (other than waiting for it to expire) but you could ask at your local Embassy for Japan.

    If you were late with renewing the alien registration card then you’ll probably just get a mild telling off from the city hall official.

    If you are late with renewing the residency status then you lose your residency status and would have to apply for it again which could take many months (assuming that you still qualify).

    Hope this helps.

  43. hello, oh im referring in renewing alien card…

    at least 2 weeks or at most 2 weeks? 2 weeks would be the minimum of the process? what if there are some changes in name and status? She got her Long Term Visa when she was single, and now when she went home here in Philippines.
    We decided to be married, there are changes in her name and status from single to married. how can she manage to update it? will she update it in her City in Japan too? how long would be the process for that..

    We are having a trouble because its to soon for the expiration. The alien card will expire in January 10, 2012. That means if she did not renew it before January 10, She cant go back to Japan from January 11 onwards? Our baby is only 2 months old and have a sensitive condition for her to carry him to Japan, and if she leaves the baby, no one will care for him cause im in Manila studying in she was in province. The baby needs her. So we decided not to renew it because we dont need it anymore. We dont have planning to stay in Japan, maybe if we visit there for days only. But, we could still visit there if we have tourist visa right?

    (1) if she did not renew it before January 10, she cant go back to Japan in January 11 onwards, so how can she surrender it back?
    (2) if she did not renew it, can she still apply for Tourist Visa or Long Term Visa again after years?

    by the way, thank you so much for your response, help and information. Thank You!!

  44. lastly, as far as I know, the requirements for entering Japan (if he/she has still a valid VISA) are Alien Registration Card, Passport and Ticket.

    what if she has a Valid (Long Term Visa), a ticket at a passport but EXPIRED alien card? Can she still go to Japan?
    and can she still renew it after the expiration date?

  45. Hi nesirk, I can’t say for definite what the situation is for people from the Philippines, but as a UK citizen I know that I don’t need my alien registration card to enter Japan. All I need is my passport with the valid visa or with a residency status stamp / reentry permit.

    If it is the same situation for her she would be able to enter Japan even if her alien card has expired, as long as she still has valid residency.

    She could then renew her card in the country after the expiration date – but she might get a telling off from the city hall official. It would probably take an average of two weeks to renew. But if you are lucky they might get it done sooner.

    I’m speaking from the point of view of a UK citizen, so you might want to confirm this with your local Japan embassy.

    The most important thing is always the official stamps in the passport. The alien registration card is just a secondary ID. It is the stamps/visa in the passport that give you the right to be in the country, not the alien registration card. Hope this helps.

  46. hi,

    i have submitted my resignation letter to my employer.
    he asked me to sign a waiver that i agree that he can cancel my japan visa. is this legal? or even if i signed it , will the immigration consider the letter of cancellation?


  47. Hi vineyard,
    Did the waiver letter really say that they will cancel your visa? Or did it say they will end your visa sponsorship?

    If it is the first then they sound like a dodgy company because it is not possible for them to do that. Immigration won’t cancel your visa (or more accurately ‘residency status’) because a former asks them to. Your residency status if yours until the expiry date.
    Of course their visa sponsorship of you will end when you leave, but that is not a problem until it requires renewal.
    Whether you sign the paper or not will make no difference to you being able to stay in Japan and get a new job, so don’t worry!
    Hope this helps.

  48. Hi,

    I need a very specific kind of help.
    I have been working in Japan for 8 years and I’m moving to Singapore next january, however I will be keeping my job in Japan. My job schedule allows me to take another job in Singapore and fly to Japan eventually for my work here.
    The question is: I’m leaving Japan next friday. Should I return the alien registration card at the airport dropping my resident and visa status here or keep the resident status because of the convenience for the visa when returning? My company said they can apply for a new visa in case I leave and give away the alien card at the airport. But I’m really in doubt here.
    Any help will be very much appreciated. Thanks!

  49. hi,

    i have passed a formal resignation letter, but my employer got mad at me. he told me if i dont sign the non compete clause papers like im not allowed to transfer to competitors, he will file a case and it will be very bad for me. Im so afraid now. What if I escape? will I get jail? Please advise.


  50. Hi Jonny, this is a decision that you obviously have to think carefully about.
    If you give up your Japan residency and then your company change their mind about getting you a new visa then you are a bit stuck.
    On the other hand if you remain registered as a Japan resident you might continue to accrue resident’s tax.
    Hope this helps.

  51. Hi vineyard,
    If you employer wanted you to sign a new non-compete clause then he should have asked you to do it before you joined the company. This sounds like very shady behaviour. Unless he is simply asking you to sign a letter confirming a pre-existing non-compete clause which was in your original contract. Certainly don’t sign any new non-competition clause as you’d then limit your options in Japan.

    It sounds like they are just trying to scare you (and it is working!). It is not a crime to leave a job and get a new job. No one is going to come after you or put you in jail!

    Maybe you should ignore your old employer, find a new job in Japan and stop worrying :) Hope this helps.

  52. Hi,

    What do you think if I escape from my employer?

    Is it OK? or I will be in deep trouble?


  53. Hi vineyard – as I said above it is not a crime to leave a job and get another job – even in Japan! If you want to leave then leave. You won’t get in trouble with anyone :)

  54. Hi,

    I am a New Zealander currently in Japan on a working holiday visa. I will be changing to an instructor visa soon (I already have employment and my company will sponsor me etc).
    Do you know whether your passport needs to still be valid for a certain time period (example needs to be valid for six months) at the time of application for a change of residence status?
    The reason I ask is because my passport will expire in July 2012, and I will most likely need to apply for the change of residence status by March 2012, and I’m worried that if my passport is not valid until at least September 2012 (six month period from date of application), that perhaps it will affect the processing of my application.
    Sorry if this is confusing. I guess I’m asking whether I need to urgently renew my passport to ensure smooth sailing for the change of residence application.


  55. Hi Sophie, one of the potential reasons for visa rejection according to http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/faq.html is “The period of validity … of your passport is insufficient”.

    I can’t find anywhere that states what validity is sufficient. I suggest asking immigration about this.

    When you get your passport renewed I think you’ll need to get your existing residency status stamps transferred across to the new passport by immigration as well.

  56. hi i have a dual-citizenship philippines and taiwan as per an agreement with taiwan, taiwan passport w/ the ID number, which i have, holders dont need visa, but i have a philippine passport and will be coming from the philippines when i go to japan….do i still need a visa even though i’m also a citizen of taiwan?

  57. Hi Vicky, the answer may well depend on which passport you use to leave the Philippines and enter Japan. As the consequences for getting it wrong are big (i.e. getting denied entry to Japan) I would suggest you contact your local Japanese embassy and explain the situation.

  58. Dear Sir,

    Thank you for your thorough explanations above. I have a couple of questions I hope you may be able to shine some light on. I live and work in Japan.

    I have a multiple entry visa valid until Jan 2015. The landing permission is also until Jan 2015. The status is “Instructor”. I have my alien certificate, just need to pick up the card at the beginning of Feb. My partner and I both work at the same company. He arrived in Japan 5 months before me and the company leased apartment is under his name.

    However, I have discovered that the job is not going to work out. I would like to know:

    1. If I resign, will the visa, landing permission and residency status all still be valid?

    2. Can the company ask that I not live in the apartment?

    3. Can the company ask for any expenses involved in the visa application process to be paid by me?

    4.I plan on staying in Japan with my partner for 18 months from now. I will be studying in this time. Does this change my status? If so, how likely are immigration to find out?

    5. I read that one needs to work within three months of leaving the current position. Would part time teaching suffice?

    Do you have any other resources or websites that I could look at to get clarification?


  59. Hi I.A.M.
    1. Yes, they will all still be valid. They are not connected to your job.

    2. It depends what is in your contract, but potentially they could ask you to leave. That is the disadvantage of having your accommodation arranged by your employer.

    3. They might try (if they are a dodgy company), but they shouldn’t really be asking you to pay for this.

    4. Will you be studying on a proper course at a Japanese college/university/school? Or is this informal study that you want to do? If you become an official student at an institution they will have to change your visa status to ‘student’. You aren’t officially allowed to stay in the country to do informal study on an instructor visa. Immigration probably wouldn’t find out, but if they did they could ask you to leave the country.

    5. That is correct. Although as above immigration probably won’t notice if you aren’t working. However to be on the safe side getting a part time job would cover you.

    In the main article of this post I have links to the official Japan immigration websites. If you search through them you’ll find confirmation of many of these answers.

    Good luck!

  60. Hello!!
    I just wnted to do a little question about what you think it’s the best because I’m quite confused about what to do.
    Actually I amb married with a japanese and living together in Japan. I got one year visa that will expire on next September but actually I’m pregnant and I’m thinking about to go back my country for 6 months because of some reasons. The thing I’m thinking about is what it will be better, to try to do a renewal before leave and this way have all fine for the return (I don’t know if that’s possible) or, don’t worry about anything, the visa will end itself and do it again when comming back… What do you recommend me? ;)


  61. Hi Mire, from what I’ve heard it tends to be easier to renew a visa, than apply for a new one. If it is possible to renew it before leaving it might be a good idea to do that.

    However as yours expires in September I don’t know if you will be able to renew it yet, they might only accept application in the two months before expiry. I suggest you contact the embassy to see if it is possible to renew now. If not it shouldn’t be any problem for you to reapply again as you are married to a Japanese.

  62. Hi rml:-). I had read all your explanations and it really helps! I ,too have questions about tourist visa . I want to sponsor my father , sister and boyfriend to go on tour here in Japan . I have a working visa( specialist in humanities). Now, my question is , is it possible to invite my boyfriend too here with my father and sister? Would there any chance of him being denied and only my father And sister will be granted visa? He had a Japan visa before and has been entering and leaving Japan for many times.. I would like to change his status when he reach Japan like working visa i(if he will find job ) .. Please advise! Thank you very much !

  63. Also, how long a tourist visa can be valid ? Is it 3 months or there may be cases like the japan embassy in Philippines will only give 1 months or less? Please advise … Thank you and more power! You are great on giving advices!

  64. Hi Showena, I can only speak from experience about applying from the UK. I don’t know much about applying for tourist visas for Philippine citizens. But there is official information on their website at http://www.ph.emb-japan.go.jp/visiting/new%20visa/tourism.htm

    There is always a chance that any visa application is denied. You could ask the embassy for advice, but they are often very vague on the topic of whether you are likely to have your application accepted or declined. The only sure way to find out is to make the application.

    From what I see on the embassy page the standard length of the tourist visas is 3 months.

  65. i stay illegalyy in japan for 3 years.i work there then i caught by the immigration officer while working.they detained me for 2 moths.while i’m in the jail i got married with my japanese boyfriend.but after that i deided to go back here in the philippines ang wait here my visa.i almost 3 years here and i born our baby boy..now my question is if i apply my spouse visa this year is there a possibility to grant me?even though they told me that my penalty is 5 years.plss help me..thank you

  66. Hi virgo009, these kind of situation are far too complex for me to offer anything other than a complete guess as to what will happen.

    I would guess that if you have been banned for 5 years you won’t be granted an early visa. You would have to speak to an immigration lawyer or the Japan embassy for a better guess as to what will happen.

    Good luck, and I hope you manage to get back to Japan some day.

  67. Do you know if an individual who already has a visa can be legally hired by an organization that cannot take over sponsorship of his visa? Does the previous employer need to issue a letter of release in order to do so? I’ve checked out all your links, but so far haven’t found anything definite.

  68. Hi Jones. The issue of ‘visa sponsorship’ is much misunderstood. Sponsorship isn’t a continuous thing, it is more like a single event that happens when a visa/residency status is applied for / renewed / modified.

    If you now have a visa you can move between employers as often as you like (within the restrictions of your visa). You don’t need a new ‘sponsor’.

    You will only need a new sponsor when it comes time to renew / modify that visa.

    Your new employer may ask for a ‘letter of release’ from your previous employer, but that is not related to sponsorship. That is just another one of those unnecessary pieces of bureaucracy that the Japanese like to inflict on themselves! :) Good luck!

  69. Hi there I am a refugee from Burma staying in UK. I want to get married a girl from my country who is studying in Japan. Since I can’t go back to my country and she can’t come to UK because of visa problems I decided to go to Japan. What do I need to get married in Japan.My girlfriend made some enquiry at local ward office and the officer said I need to bring the proof of burmese citizenship and not married before but I don’t have those documents as I had fled my country. What can I do? please… I am planning to go there around July

  70. Hi Khainglin13, this is such a specific situation that you really need to speak to a Japan immigration solicitor/lawyer specialist to get the answers you want. Good luck and hope it works out :)

  71. I am a long term resident in Japan but currently in Australia. My 3 years residency will expire in May 2012.
    I will apply for an extension but my question is do I have to wait in Japan while waiting for my application approval? Or can I leave Japan and then return once the application is approved? Due to my work I have to be in Australia. How that can be arranged?

  72. Hi Sharrie, I’m really not sure about this. It is a question I’ve seen asked many times, but I’ve never seen a definite answer from an official source. You should try to get an official answer from immigration as if you get this wrong the consequences could be bad! Good luck.

  73. hi good day!! i just want to ask ..

    i am pregnant filipina girl with my japanese boyfriend. i am here in the philippines. i just got back here last month just finish my 6 months tourist visa in japan purposed to takecared of my auntie who is pregnant that time. and now i am 3 months pregnant and my japanese boyfriend decided to bring me in japan with a tourist visa and get married there? i already had the taiji ninchi of my baby, do you think it is possible for me to get tourist visa?

    thank you so much.

  74. and i forgot . my japanese boyfriend will serve as my guarantor. do you think i have a chance to get approve my tourist visa? thank you. i want to give birth to my baby in japan and with the father of my baby. ;( thats why im very hopeful that i will get it !!!

  75. Hi Jean, you do have a very good reason for visiting Japan again so I hope they let you in.

    But with a matter as important as this you would get better information from immigration. Perhaps your boyfriend should phone them up to get some advice.

  76. yes thank you so much. i hope so !
    because im reading some forums and im scared of my visa to get denied.

    i heard that getting visa in japan is very rare.
    and i also heard there is no fiance visa in japan.
    but if i apply tourist visa ofcourse my bf will indicate in daily sched or the taizei nitteihyo the date that we will get marry in japan. is it okey ??

    and one more thing my bf only have yokin zandaka shomeisho or the show money is that ok?? he doet have income certificate which the immigration said its okey if he dont have unless he had show money for me . do you think it can affect in my visa??

    other requirements that he had is juminhyo or residence certificate and mimoto hoshosho or the letter.

    im little bit scared. because im really hoping for the approval of it. since i am 3 months pregnant now.

    thank you for your response.

  77. Hi Jean, the only thing I can confirm for definite is that Japan has no fiancee visa. If you get married then of course it will become possible to apply for the spouse or dependant visa. For the other questions I suggest your boyfriend phones up immigration in Japan. Good luck!

  78. Hello.
    I am Canadian, married with a Japanese National, our baby is Japanese, we married 2 1/2 years ago.
    we recently bought a house, the house is under her name.
    Right now I have a 3 years spousal visa.
    My question is, can I apply for my Japanese permanent resident now, or do I have to wait until the 3 years are up.
    what documents generally do I have to present to immigration in order to get the PR.

    Thank you very much for your help.



  79. Hello, I have permanent residency here in Japan. I want to move back to Australia with my Japanese wife and our daughter. Don’t want to cancel my Japanese visa, I have re^entry visa until March 2014. I intend on coming back before that date to renew it.
    We have talked about staying in Australia fro 5 to 7 years, then move back.
    Want to do all this without loosing the permanent residency.
    I want to tell the local city office, so I dont have to keep paying for medical insurance etc.
    If I call immigration and tell them, will they want to cancel my Visa?
    Thank you.

  80. Hi Bruce, I don’t know much about permanent residency, but I did a Google search. From what I can tell in order to keep your permanent residency you have to be a resident (or at least pretend to be). Renewing your re-entry permit looks to be essential. And telling immigration of your plan may lead to a visa cancellation. From reading the unofficial opinions in these links (link1, link2, link3) it sounds like you will still be liable for tax. I’d suggest you get professional advice on this, otherwise you could be taking a risk with your permanent residency. Good luck!

  81. i been applying spouse japan visa here in manila last march 27,2012,how many days working for the processing?

  82. Hi Maribeth, you should ask the embassy for a more accurate answer, but I would guess it could be up to 2-3 months. Good luck!

  83. Hello,im a filipina and recently staying here in japan with a tourist visa,i met a japanese guy,(introduced by my brother in law)to mke the story short we fell in love,is it possible to get marred in japan with a tourist visa?

  84. Hi,

    I am a Filipino i have a question that need to be answered,

    Long time ago when i was 6years old me and my mother overstayed in japan for about 2 years. then my mother decide to surrender in Japan immigration to continue my study here in the Philippines,

    After 18 years i applied again my Visa and fortunately my visa is granted for 30days visit the bad thing is i got overstayed for about 2 months and i got caught by immigration officials,

    they deported me back to my country but i don’t know if how many years is my penalty, today is my 5 years stay in my country..

    is there any possibility that i can go back again in japan ?.. or what are the thins should i do ?…

  85. Hi haiksyo, after being given a deportation penalty it is only possible to apply for a visa once the penalty is over. You need to find out the length of the penalty. I suggest you ask your local Japan embassy to find out. Good luck!

  86. Hi!

    I am reading the threads and comments and I was wondering if you can also provide me a helpful information regarding japan tourist visa application. I applied japan tourist visa tru an accredited agency ere in the philippines but it’s been more than a month now and I haven’t heard any feedback yet. My agency informed me that my application is still in process and Japan Embassy has not return my passport nor my application up until now.

    For the record, I applied tourist visa with no sponsorship. I indicated in my application that my trip will be my own expense ( for 7 days tourist). I own a small business here in philippies and I submitted original bank certificates to prove my financial capacity. My $ account has 25,000 and other account has Php 200,000.

    I am well travelled person and I never overstayed in ny countries I visited so far. I am so worried why my application is still pending until now. oh bytheway, I remember I forgot to include my travel itenerary in my application papers and I think the agency failed to check it too. what shall I do now?. I want to visit japan this april efore my mba class starts :(.

    Thank you.

  87. Hi Zenyorita, there isn’t much I can suggest other than to contact the agency or embassy. If you are worried about forgetting the travel itinerary that is certainly something to ask the agency about. Good luck!

  88. Hey,

    Thanks for the super informative guide. I had one question if you don’t mind!

    I have a 3 year engineering visa which expires in 2014. It is very likely I will be changing jobs before it is up. You mentioned elsewhere that you need a sponsor when you apply for a visa and also renew it. Is this actually true? From what I have been told the process is much simpler and is more of your own responsibility. Like just submitting proof of a sustainable income and taxes paid.

    The reason I ask this is, I may either be starting a branch office (if things go well) or working at a much smaller company who would be my new “sponsor”. Id like to renew and get the maximum time, but I fear moving to a much smaller company would effect my chances.

    If a renewal requires a sponsor, what exactly are the main differences between renewing a work visa and applying for one? If this was covered above, I apologize.


  89. Hi Matt, it is possible to self sponsor your own visa if you can prove that you have been making solid money and can sponsor yourself. A Google search with ‘japan visa self sponsor’ will give you some accounts of doing this. You’ll have to talk to immigration to find out the current requirements for doing this.

    However almost everybody just gets their company to sponsor their renewal as this is by far the easiest and quickest way to do it. The company and you just have to fill in some simple forms and hand them in. It isn’t difficult.

    Applying for a visa is what you did before you had a Japan visa. Renewing it (or rather extending) is what you do from now on. Good luck!

  90. hi ! i have a problem with my passport, im a dual citizen, i have my philippines passport and japanese passport, but then i lost my japanese passport, and these coming july i will go there, so what can i do,,pls help me..i lost my japan passport..

  91. Hi Yumi, what you need to do is very simple. You need to go to the Japan embassy and report your passport as lost. They can then cancel the lost one and issue you with a new one. Hope this helps!

  92. Hello! thank you for your response. Sadly, I just got a word from the agency today and my application was denied. It’s devastating :(.

  93. hi! just need some advice. i stayed in japan for about 5 yrs holding a spouse of jap national visa. unfortunately we got separated 2 yrs ago… then i met a guy (Filipino national too) the we had a baby. i went back here to Philippines and we got married. now my fil husband is planning to apply for my coe, do you think i have a great chance to go back to Japan again? i never overstayed there. by the way, my husband is holding an instructor visa that will expire on Sept and he will renew it. should we apply for coe this month? any words of wisdom? thanks in advance!

  94. Hi, I have an issue. I am a foreigner.
    I left japan one month ago with reentry permit.
    I had family issues and will not be able to come back to Japan. My visa expires in September.
    I took my alien card while leaving japan.
    However, I sent my card to my friends through post to submit to city office.
    Will it cause any problem in future if I need to get VISA after a couple of years?

  95. Hi Nook, I think you need to get a ‘dependant visa’, not a ‘spouse visa’. As I understand it spouse visas are for the spouses of Japanese nationals. Dependant visas are for spouses of foreign nationals. I really have no idea what your chances are, but you could ask the embassy or an immigration lawyer for advice to make sure you do the application correctly. Good luck!

  96. Hi Sumi, you should be fine for getting a future Japan visa as long as you wait until after your current visa has expired in September before re-applying. If you didn’t settle all your final taxes, NHI, utility bills, etc, before you left you may well have to pay them if you go back.

  97. Hi,

    I have a question regarding steps needed to be taken when resigning from a job in Japan (after you have resigned). I understand that the visa/residency status cannot be cancelled by the company if you resign (as you have clearly mentioned in previous comments), but what steps need to be taken once you’ve quit? Would you need to go to the Tokyo Immigration Office to inform them you no longer work for the company which sponsored you? Or is this information passed along by the company? Are there any other things you’d need to do?

    Thank you very much

  98. Hi Emily, you don’t need to inform anyone that you have quit your job, but you will have to notify someone when you start your new job. Currently you need to notify your local government office. They will update your alien registration card.

    The rules will later this year when the 2012 immigration act comes into force. See: http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/newimmiact_1/en/index.html Under the new system job changes will need to be notified to immigration instead.

  99. I have got a 3 year working visa (multiple entry)…i got this when i renewed my visa on June 2011….but ever since then i havent been to japan……i was in my home country…..i am planning to leave to japan probably by the end of this june (2012) – would i have any problems in entering japan?__????

    like i said i was working there in japan….and i shall be working at the same place from june onwards….my employer is happy about me coming back to japan…..

    pls advise
    hope to hear from you as soon as possible….
    Thanking you in advance….


  100. Hi i have a question about coming to live and work in japan! I have a long term japanese girlfriend of nearly a year we have done 2 holiday visits each to japan and australia! As our relationship is established and we want to be together i want to come and find a teaching position in japan! The only problem is i dont qualify for a working holiday visa as im a few years over 30 and also to get a japanese school to sponsor you a BA degree is required for the visa? So is there any other visa or way i can work in japan? Im thinking the only way will be a spouse visa is this correct? I have completed a begginners japanese coures, have enrolled and am completing a tefl course and have a 2 year college degree!

  101. Hi Kris, as long as your visa is still valid you shouldn’t have any trouble getting back in. I don’t know much about multiple entry visas so you might have to ask someone more knowledgeable to check how they work on entry /re-entry. Maybe ask on GaijinPot if you want a wider range of opinions.

  102. Hi Jason, you do usually need a degree to get a working visa, but if you have a TEFL they might make an exception. If you can get a work visa then your other options are a spouse visa (if you get married), or a student visa (if you want to study in Japan). Good luck!

  103. hi good day ! my gf daughter is in the Philippines now she’s a Japanese national unfortunately her passport expired last year is it possible her to go back here in Japan even her passport was expired? thank you so much really need ur advice ..

  104. Hi John, she should contact the embassy to see if she can get her passport renewed.

  105. Hi, I am have visited Japan as temporary visitor for 90 days. I arrived my home country on 8th April from the date of I arrived after how many days again I can apply for Japan visa for 90 days.

  106. Hi, I’m not aware of their being any official restriction, but I have heard from others that they get suspicious if you try to spend more than 180 days in the country in a single year. If you try to spend too much time in the country as a temporary visitor you may well get questioned on why you are spending so much time in the country.

  107. Hello,

    I have some questions for you about my visa I need to get.
    I am currently in Japan with my husband who Is a Japanese citizen. I am here on a visitor waiver for 90 days. We want to remain in Japan together. I am also pregnant with his child. What is the best way for me to be able to stay here in Japan? What steps and procedures are required in my current situation? I am currently 5 months pregnant and don’t want to have to leave Japan. We really want to keep our family together. I would greatly appreciate your advise.
    Thank You,

  108. Hi Sea, If your husband is Japanese he should be able to help you get a spouse visa. A spouse visa will allow you to stay in Japan as long as you remain married to him. There is plenty of English information about Japan spouse visas on the internet, and your husband will be able to read the Japanese information related to it. Good luck!

  109. Hi I have a friend who was arrested by immigration pfficers for illegal stay and already now in their custody.now my concerned is ,is it possible for her japanese boyfriend to save her being deport from japan?her jap.bf is willing to marry her ,is it possible to get a visa and stay in japan?

  110. Hi Ma pearlie buenviaje, The Japanese immigration authorities are unlikely to be sympathetic as your friend broke the law. Her boyfriend could try talking to them, but I can’t imagine he’ll have much luck.

    If they formally deport her it is likely she will be denied entry to Japan for 5 years (for a first offence). Even after that she may find it hard to get a new visa.

    The only alternative to deportation is to leave voluntarily with a departure order. If you leave with a departure order you are only prevented from returning for 1 year.

    However if she has been arrested and is in custody it is probably too late to get a departure order (these are usually only for people who voluntarily hand themselves in).

    She could pay for an immigration lawyer, but I doubt there is much they will be able to do (other than take her money).

    Sorry I can’t sound more optimistic, but there aren’t many happy endings for people who break Japan’s strict immigration laws.

    I hope things work out for your friend.

  111. I would like to ask again if is it possible to bring along w/me my child who?is only 3 yrs old when visiting my friend who is a deportee in immigration?how many are allowed to get inside?

    thank you

  112. Hi,

    Company XXX in Japan has applied working visa for me to work with them in Japan(Still in progress). However I have changed my mind and would like to work company YYY(also in Japan) instead. May I know is this possible? What should I do on the visa in order to work with company YYY?

  113. Hi PT, Are you already in Japan or not?

    If you aren’t yet in Japan then you could tell CompanyX (who will probably cancel your application) and then CompanyY can apply for the correct visa on your behalf.

    If you are already in Japan you could collect your visa sticker (from CompanyX) and then work for CompanyY with this visa, or if it is the wrong visa CompanyY will have to get the visa status changed.

    There are lots of possibilities depending on your circumstances, so you really should talk to CompanyY about this. Good luck.

  114. Hi,

    Thanks for your reply. I’m not in Japan yet. If i decided to work with Company Y, I have to compensate company X for the visa+work permit application cost. Do you know how much for this?


  115. Hi,

    *** THIS IS URGENT ****
    I have got work permit for 3 years(applied during Feb’12), but my visa stamping is valid till may 28.My travel for work would be around Mid of June. Do i need to go for re-stamping? or do i need to get a new work permit and then stamping.

    How could i extend the visa with the same Work permit?

    Also, Please provide us the possible solution to enter into japan.


  116. Hi PT, why do you ‘have to compensate CompanyX’? Have you signed an agreement with them to say that you will?

    Having candidates drop out of a pending job is a normal risk any company has to deal with. Charging candidates who drop out isn’t normal.

    Producing the visa paperwork will take less than an hour for a Japanese company who regularly employ foreign workers. There are no actual ‘costs’ other than printing out the forms and the time taken to fill them in. A smaller company may well pay for immigration advice from an outside lawyer if they aren’t familiar with the procedure, but they still shouldn’t really ask you to compensate them for dropping out (although I have heard that some Japanese companies do this). Good luck with your job at CompanyY!

  117. Hi Newbie, I’m afraid I don’t understand what you are asking. What is ‘visa stamping’? I don’t understand what it is that is valid until 28th May. Is it the case that you are outside of Japan now and need this visa to move to Japan to start a job over there?

    Anyway, if this is urgent you should probably be asking the Japanese embassy rather than asking a random person (i.e. me!) on the internet.

    If you clarify your situation and what you are asking I can give you my personal opinion.

  118. Hi,

    Thanks for your reply.
    Here is my case. Yes currently i am outside of japan. I have work permit(Intra company transfer) valid upto 3 years. But, my visa to enter into Japan(visa in my passport by Japan Embassy in my country) is valid until 28th May 2012. Heard that, the extension can be done for 3 years once i enter into japan. Now, my travel date from my company is delayed and may be during Mid of June. Is it a way to extend the visa from my home country?

    What is the process for the same?


  119. Hi Newbie, if your visa to enter Japan expires before you go to Japan that could be a problem. You need to talk to the Japanese embassy about this and find out what to do from an official source. Or if your work place has access to immigration experts maybe they can help you. Good luck.

  120. Hi there!
    I am currently working here in Japan. My visa supposedly will expire this July but my employer gave me an extension for another year ( we applied for 3 yrs visa but the immigration granted me only 1 yr ). Now I have two questions. One, is it possible for me to sponsor my husband for a tourist visa? If yes, how?
    Two, granted that he was approved for a tourist visa, can he find a job here during his stay and later on change his residence status?
    i am looking forward to your advice :)
    Thank you and Godbless!

  121. Hi joannenijoel, I don’t really know much about tourist visas as I’m from a country that doesn’t need them.

    However if you have a valid visa then maybe you should see if you can apply for a dependant visa for your husband. This type is visa is for people who want their husbands/wives to join them long term in Japan.

    Officially I don’t think you are allowed to look for work on a tourist visa, but a lot of people do. If it possible to change from a tourist visa to a work visa if you find someone who will sponsor you. Good luck!

  122. First, i would like to say i came across this site and it is extremely useful. I have a bit of situation i could use some advice. I have been having a lot of difficulty, i met a japanese girl while she was on visa in canada and i dated her for a year.

    She went back and i saved money to come to Japan, while in canada i found the paperwork and procedures to enter japan on WHV so hard and decided to come here on a tourist instead and look for job and switch to stay longer.

    Now i have almost month left and not sure what my options may be at this point. My passport expires in october, i have to leave july 10th. immigration gave me website that was not helpful to renew passport but said i could not apply for WHV in japan and i have to go back to canada and come back.

    I read and heard people say there are other ways to extend a stay from tourist waiver. People do it, so at this point are my only chances by finding a sponsor to get a residency change, or getting married… seems like lots of people have similar problems like me to figure out. If so does anyone else have experience to share in this.

    when i talked to immigration the first guy was nice and helpful and spoke english which he soon re-directed me to a woman who didn’t speak english and kept telling me just no! immigration doesn’t seem to want to help but quick to tell me no. oh and i tried applying for jobs teaching but i don’t have any degree, i have found some places that will accept without one but not without a visa. so i’m stuck in between a rock and a hard place. any advice to help me too would be great.

  123. Hi Brandan, You only ways to stay in the country are to get a job (which as you have found is extremely difficult without a degree/visa) or married (which I’m guessing you don’t want to do right now). There is also the option of becoming a student, but that will be very expensive.

    Your most realistic and cheapest way of spending more time in Japan will be to go back to Canada and get a WHV. The paperwork isn’t hard. You just need to spend a bit of time doing it. I have a page on this site about my own experience of applying for a WHV.

    You might find it easier to renew your passport in Canada before getting the WHV. If you want to get back into Japan as soon as possible then there may well be a service that allows you to get the passport renewed more quickly for a charge.

    I would guess that renewing your passport when back in Japan would be considerably more expensive than doing it in Canada, and then you have the complication of getting your visa stamps transferred across to the new passport.

    Of course there is never any guarantee that you will be granted a WHV, but I hope you manage to get one – Good luck!

  124. Comments closed:

    I’m closing the comments for this post as the comment count has now got a bit too big, and also because many of the questions are about topics I don’t know anything/much about.

    I’m no expert on issues such as spouse visas, COEs, immigration law, or immigration into Japan from countries with strict entry requirements such as the Philippines.

    You will probably already find many of the answers to your questions on this page, or the official Japan immigration pages linked from it. I also have other Japan related posts on this site that may be relevant.

    For example:

    If these don’t help you then I’d suggest asking immigration / your local Japanese embassy. Or you could try posting on a Japan related forum such as the one on GaijinPot where you will get you question seen by a much larger number of people.

    Good luck!

  125. Hi ,I have concern … May i know how to cancel my working visa.? To be honest i applying for entertainer in japan and i sign in contract to my agency then , I have japanese boyfriend he said na cancel my visa tell to my agency im not go , but my manager told me if im not go i make penalty what the best way to do? Im just waiting my visa how to cancel it … My japanese boyfriend want to married me but i applying for talent visa … How to cancel my visa without penalty. Plss help me thank you and God bless…

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