I am not going to go over each kind of visa, but I would like to share a brief run-down of some popular ways that I’ve seen people use to allow them to move to Japan. If it worked for them, it can also work for you….
1.The Working Holiday Life
If you come from certain countries that have bilateral agreements with Japan for working holiday visas, you will be able to get a working holiday visa for six months and then renew for two more six-month periods for a total of 18 months.
The working holiday program first started with Australia in 1980 and now includes 14 countries as of July, 2015. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan website, 10,000 young people get their working holiday visas to Japan annually from 14 different countries.
and pay close attention to the age, residency, and nationality limitations.
Please note: The U.S.A. is not included among the 14 countries. For those wanting to live in Japan from the U.S., you will not be able to enter the country on this visa. These countries include:
In order to get a working holiday visa, you will need to prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself. You also need to submit a CV or resume along with all other required documents. Once you arrive in Japan, you must also need to register with the embassy of your home country. It is also important to note that the working holiday visa only allows entry to Japan once. If you need to leave Japan during the length of your working holiday visa, you may run the risk of being denied re-entry into Japan. Working holiday visas are often granted for six-month periods and can be renewed twice for a total of 18 months. This may vary from country to country, so please check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs link above.
2.Cultural Activities Visas
For those people not covered by a student visa but who wish to stay longer than the typical period covered by a tourist visa, the “Cultural Activities Visa” is an option. This is a common route for martial arts students coming to Japan. Application for this visa includes the list of normal documents required along with proof of your cultural activities.
3. Volunteer Visa
Attention citizens from the United Kingdom!
Under a bilateral agreement between the United Kingdom and Japan, the “Volunteer Visa Scheme” makes it possible for UK citizens to volunteer in Japan for up to one year. Individuals on the Volunteer visa may volunteer in Japan for up to one year and must work for a registered charitable organization providing services to the public (such as The Red Cross). In addition, those on a Volunteer Visa may not receive payment for their work or bring children or spouses with them to Japan.
4.Specialist in Humanities/International Services” visas.
Some companies in Japan that hire people from abroad to work as Assistant Language Teachers in Japanese public schools will put new hires on what is known as an “Instructor’s Visa”. This visa is restricted to Japanese public schools. By its definition, the “Instructor’s Visa” does not allow someone working with it in Japan to work in as many capacities/types of companies as someone would be on a “Specialist in Humanities/International Services.” This makes it harder to transfer to non-teaching companies on the “Instructor Visa.” It is possible to get this visa changed by a new employer, but it may take longer starting out on the “Instructor’s Visa.”
Something important to note about working visas in Japan is that your visa belongs to you in Japan once you receive it. Those who teach in certain other countries, such as South Korea, for example, are no in control of their own visas. If you cut your contract early with the public school or conversation schools in these countries, you will have to leave the country and cannot switch companies on the same visa. In Japan, as long as you still have time left on your visa, you can switch to working with a different company on the same visa while continuing to stay in Japan.
There are other ways to stay in Japan. Please feel free to ask any questions.
Koji Kitada. Licensed real estate agent.