A Japanese work visa is required if you wish to work in Japan (日本) full-time. Doing so and moving to the country in the process is getting more and more popular in recent years. As Japan gets more accessible and open to foreign workers, expats gladly take this opportunity.
Unfortunately, getting a Japanese work visa is not that easy, depending on what you want to do. As a general rule, you need to get hired by a Japanese company (or a foreign company with a Japanese office) which then “sponsors” your visa.
Regardless of the profession, a work visa always requires a bachelor’s degree of some sorts. Of course, having a degree in the field that you want to work in helps immensely. But for teaching English for example, you can have just about any degree.
An easy way to get the visa?
Speaking of English teaching, this profession is easily the most popular among foreign expats. If you are from an English-speaking country (mainly UK, USA, Australia or Canada) and have a degree, you already fulfill the basic requirements for this job.
Because this is almost always the easiest way to get a work visa in Japan, most people go this route. People from non-English-speaking countries can also teach English in Japan, although proving sufficient English skills will be tougher. From there, many people search different jobs once they’ve settled in Japan and are ready for a different environment.
Getting hired and having your visa sponsored is the most important step. The required documents for the work visa application are mostly the same as the study visa. The Certificate of Eligibility (CoE) now needs to be from the hiring company instead of a school.
While some companies hire people from oversees (via Skype interviews for example), it is much easier when already in Japan.
A good way to approach this is to first sign up for a language school. This will provide you with a study visa during which you can look for work. Should you be successful, you can change your visa status to a work visa after your school is done.
Doing the same thing on a tourist visa is not recommended as it is forbidden to work on this visa. Also, it is harder to change your visa status.
Takeaway on Japanese work visa
For everyone looking to work in Japan, you should first look into companies that hire from overseas. If you have native-level English skills or are a native speaker, choosing the path to teach English is very doable. Only if neither of these is a possibility do you need to look for a way to apply from within Japan.
A full list of the required documents for all the three visa types that I covered is available in my tourist visa article. Just add the CoE and you’re done (some countries may require additional documents that you should look up at your country’s Japanese embassy).
That’s it for the work visa, I hope it was helpful!
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My next post will take us to a whole different city not yet covered, Sapporo (札幌)!
See you there!