Depending on your country of origin and the purpose of your visit, you will need to get a Japanese visa before entering Japan (日本). I’m sure most of you have heard the term “visa” before, it’s basically your entry ticket to Japan. There are many different types, some more special than others.
In this article, I am going to focus on the three most commonly found types: Tourist, Work and Study.
Regardless of the type, every visa has to be acquired before entering Japan. To get one, prepare all the necessary documents and head to a nearby Japanese embassy or consulate. The documents vary with each type, so make sure to look them up beforehand.
Once everything is without problems, your visa should be done in about 2 weeks (can take longer on some occasions).
Let me now start with the tourist visa:
1. Tourist Visa
This is the easiest one to get from the 3. For some countries it is especially easy as they don’t even need a visa to enter Japan as a tourist (e.g. Germany). People from such countries just need a valid passport to enter Japan. This process is called Visa exemption and includes 68 countries (e.g. US, UK, most European countries, Hong Kong, etc.).
For the full list, click here.
If your country is not among the ones listed here, then you need to get a Japanese visa to enter Japan.
Tourist Visas are usually given in either 15-, 30- or 90-day periods. The length you get depends on your travel itinerary and the financial means you can present.
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2. Student Visa
This one is usually easy to get once everything is done with the language school or the university. That’s the requirement for this visa: You need to get enrolled in some sort of school or university. Doing this, you will get a document called Certificate of Eligibility (CoE) with which you can apply for your visa.
A Student Visa allows you to work for 20 hours a week in addition to your study.
Keep in mind that this is not a cheap endeavor. Depending on your length of stay, a language school can cost over 1,000 $USD excluding housing. Furthermore, you will have to provide financial statements to prove your ability to sustain yourself.
If you plan to study at a university and then work in Japan, you can use this visa to set up your network and find a workplace.
3. Work Visa
The Work visa is definitely the hardest one to get. For this, you will also need the above-mentioned CoE. Instead of a school though, your future employer will have to provide this document.
And that’s the tricky part: You need a “sponsor” for your visa. This means you’ll either have to apply from abroad or get to Japan with a different kind of visa first (keep in mind that it is illegal to work with a tourist visa). Once you found an employer, it’s pretty easy.
Applying from abroad can be very difficult as only few companies even hire people that do not yet live in Japan. Many people have done it though so don’t lose hope if that’s what you want to do.
4. Working Holiday Visa
This is a fourth type of visa that is only available to select countries. It allows you to stay up to one year (or 1,5 years for some countries) and study, work or travel in Japan. It basically combines the first three visa types for a limited time. More about this visa in my next article.
Takeaway on Japanese Visa types
And that’s it for the main Japanese visa types! In the future I will likely cover some of the many other types available.
For now, I hope this post was helpful. If it was, it would mean a lot to me if you shared it with your friends and family!
Thanks for reading and as mentioned, my next article will be about the Working Holiday visa!
See you there!