Work visas in Japan


There are different types of visas for professional trips to Japan: work visa, investor visa and Working Holiday Visa (WHV).

There is a multitude of work visas available for foreigners who intend to live, study or work in Japan. Globally speaking, there are three main types of visas: visas which allow you to live in Japan, visas which allow you to live and work in Japan and visas you get by marriage.


Before starting your work visa application, make sure you’ve received your certificate of eligibility. If you have a job offer from a Japanese employer, or if you are registered in a Japanese university or language institute, your host institution will have to ask the immigration bureau a certificate of eligibility for you. Upon acceptance by the Japanese immigration bureau, your host institution will send you the certificate back. Once you have received the certificate of eligibility, you will be in a position to apply for a visa at the Japanese embassy or consulate in your home country.  

Work visa

As mentioned above, if you apply for a work visa in Japan, you'll first have to get a valid job offer from a japanese employer beforehand. Your employer in Japan will then have to contact the immigration bureau and ask for a certificate of eligibility for you.

According to the consistency of your application (CV, diplomas, professional experience, commands of Japanese etc.), the certificate will be issued by the bureau of immigration in Japan. Note that a certificate of eligibility is not compulsory when applying for a work visa. However, getting the certificate makes the visa procedures faster, safer and easier.

Types of work visas:

« Investor / Business Manager » visa designed for people wishing to invest in Japan (import-export for instance) ; « Instructor » visa designed for people wishing to teach foreign languages in Japan; « Engineer » visa designed for engineers or skilled technicians; « Specialist in Humanities / International Services» visa designed for people specialized in economics, humanities, translation, public relation, international commerce etc.; « Intra-company Transferee » visa designed for expatriates working for foreign companies implanted in Japan and the « skilled labor » visa designed for skilled professionals in foreign craft industries (decoration, haute cuisine etc.).

Other types of visas are available to diplomats, foreign officials, artists, religious missionaries, journalists, experts, healthcare providers, university lecturers etc.

Pre-requisites may vary according to the type of visa you are applying for (professional experience, education, skills in Japanese etc.) For more information about work visas in Japan, or to find out which visa you are eligible for, please check out the Japanese ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Working holiday visa

The working holiday visa allows people aged between 18 to 30 coming from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany and South Korea to live, study or work in Japan for a period up to one year. Working holiday visa requirements may vary according to your country of origin. For more information about the working holiday visa, contact the Japanese embassy or consulate in your home country.

  Good to know:

The working holiday visa is not renewable. It’s nonetheless possible to apply for another work visa while in Japan. Note that French and British nationals have to leave Japan before applying for another visa at the Japanese embassy or consulate in their home countries.

The working holiday visa is available to citizens coming from the above-mentioned countries only. Applicants must live in their home country when applying for the visa. Proofs of sufficient funds to maintain themselves in Japan during their stay are requested. For more information, contact the Japanese embassy or consulate in your home country. Fees apply for the visa.

Permanent residence visa

A permanent residence visa allows its holder to live and work in Japan on a regular basis without restrictions. If you have stayed at least 10 years in Japan, you are eligible for a permanent residence visa. If you are married to a Japanese national and have stayed at least one year together in Japan, you are eligible for a permanent residence visa. If you are married to a Japanese national and have lived at least 3 years abroad together, you’re also eligible for a permanent residence visa.


If you're settled in Japan but have to leave the country even for a short time, you may need to apply for a « re-entry permit » at the Japanese immigration bureau. Indeed, if you leave Japan without having applied for a re-entry permit beforehand, the Japanese immigration bureau may invalidate your original work visa. As a result, you may not be able to come back to Japan unless you re-apply for a work visa. Check out if you hold a multi-entry visa or ask the immigration bureau if you need to apply for a re-entry permit before leaving Japan. Note that you can’t apply for a re-entry permit from abroad.

Once in Japan, you can take another visa if your situation changes. Ask the Japanese immigration bureau for more information.

  Useful links:

Japanese ministry of foreign affairs
Japan Association of Working Holiday Makers

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