Matsuda Tokyo Immigration Legal Advisor - work permit, visa application, administrative procedure in japan



Matsuda Tokyo Immigration Legal Advisor >> NEWS


Change in Guarantor's necessary documents for Permanent Resident visa application

Concerning Permanent Resident (PR) visa application, effective from June 1, 2022, the immigration authorities simplified necessary documents related to a guarantor as follows.

If you are interested in applying for Permanent Resident (PR) visa, please contact me by clicking on an "Inquiry" button above.


Self-Sponsored Visa for Freelancer/Sole Proprietor is Urban Myth!

You may have heard someone talking about a self-sponsored visa for a freelancer/sole proprietor (kojin jigyo) in Japan. But actually it is an urban myth. There is no such thing as a self-sponsored visa. Even if you choose to be a freelancer/sole proprietor instead of an employee, you must ask your largest corporate client (not an individual but a customer with a legal entity in Japan) to become an organization that sponsors a working visa (e.g. Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services visa) for you.

More specifically speaking, you must ask your largest corporate client to fill in the page 4 (select "Entrustment" at the type of contract) and the page 5 of an application form in the link below.

In addition, you must ask your largest corporate client to provide necessary documents such as the copy of corporate registration, recent financial statements, and the copy of the total statutory report including withheld taxes for earned income from the previous year.

Realistically speaking, a freelancer/sole proprietor is not recommendable for a Highly-Skilled Professional visa (5 years validity period guaranteed), because the immigration authorities would value stable income based on non-fixed term employment (seishain) for an HSP visa applicant.


Designated Activities visa for entrepreneur-minded students to prepare for Business Manager visa

Government of Japan is expected to grant Designated Activities visa (2 years period in maximum) to international students who aspire to prepare for Business Manager visa application with an aim to start up a business in Japan as entrepreneurs. Eligible students are those who have graduated from Japanese universities that are specified by Ministry of Education (MEXT) including Tokyo University and Kyoto University among others and have obtained recommendation letter by universities based on their business plans and relevant activities. If you are interested to know more details on this matter, please contact me by clicking on an "Inquiry" button above.
News Source: The Nikkei (Nihon Keizai Shimbun) on September 22nd, 2020
Japanese page
English page


Designated Activities visa for those who lost jobs by layoffs due to COVID-19

There are foreign nationals in Japan who have lost their jobs by layoffs due to negative impact of COVID-19, and their work visa (Engineer/ Specialist in Humanities, etc.) will be expiring soon. Japan's immigration authorities allow them to apply for permission to change the status of residence to "Designated Activities (Job Search)" if they intend to keep seeking a job in Japan. They are also allowed to apply for permission to engage in a part-time job activity. Please be careful about changing the status of residence to "Temporary Visitor", because this will make it nearly impossible to engage in a part-time job activity. The related information is posted to the government website in Japanese only. If you are interested to know more details on this matter, please contact me by clicking on an "Inquiry" button above.


Ordinary Re-entry Permit versus Special Re-entry Permit

Foreign nationals with permanent residency in Japan rarely bother to apply for an Ordinary Re-entry Permit at Regional Immigration Bureau prior to a temporary departure from Japan. Instead, they usually leave Japan by the Special Re-entry Permit system which exempts an Ordinary Re-entry Permit application procedures on the condition that they will be re-entering Japan within 1 year of their departure. If they fail to do so, they will end up losing permanent residency, but such possibility is unthinkable in normal times. Now, under Covid-19 special circumstances, permanent residents in Japan may want to consider applying for an Ordinary Re-entry Permit, because its validity period will be 5 years instead of 1 year. You never know what will happen in the future due to the coronavirus pandemic worldwide. For just in case, obtaining an Ordinary re-entry Permit at Regional Immigration Bureau in advance would minimize the risk of losing permanent residency in Japan due to unexpected problems abroad associated with the coronavirus infections. If you are interested in an Ordinary Re-entry Permit application, please contact me by clicking on an "Inquiry" button above.

* Immigration Services Agency has recently announced new information for permanent residents who have difficulty re-entering Japan within the valid period of their re-entry permission or special re-entry permission due to the impact of the new coronavirus. Please check the following government website.
(English Page)
(Japanese Page)


Highly-Skilled Professional seeking Permanent Residency together with Spouse and Children

Are you considering a Permanent Residency application as a Highly-Skilled Professional on the "fast track" points-based system? Are your spouse and children foreign nationals who stay in Japan with a Dependent visa under you? Are you married with your spouse for more than 3 years? In such case, you may be able to apply for a Permanent Residency together with your spouse and children as a family at the same time. If you are interested to know more about this topic, please contact me by clicking an "Inquiry" button above.


Designated Activities Status of Residence for Job Hunting Activities

Unlike foreign students at Japanese universities, junior colleges, etc., those who study at Japanese language schools are not qualified to apply for a "Designated Activities for Job Hunting" visa, even if they want to remain in Japan for continuing job search activities after graduation from Japanese language schools. So, if working in Japan is a goal, Japanese language school students must find a job (which is in line with Japan's immigration control law) before a "Student" visa expires. If you are interested to know more about this topic, please contact me by clicking an "Inquiry" button above.


Required documents for Permanent Residency Application

July 2019, Japan's Immigration Bureau announced that PR (Permanent Residency) applicants must submit additional supporting documents (which are not required before) as follows.

1) Certificate by a tax office that there is no unpaid tax on the national taxes including income tax, consumption tax, etc. Previously, only residential tax payment certificate by a local city hall was required to submit.
2) Documents to certify that you have paid residential taxes over the last 5 years (3 years for Spouse visa holder) in proper timing. The required period became longer than before.
3) Documents regarding the public pension plan including the payment of pension premium over the last 2 years.
4) Documents regarding the public health insurance system including the payment of insurance premium over the last 2 years.

Please refer to the links below at the government website for more detailed information in Japanese language only.
- Those who have Spouse visa:
- Those who have Work visa:

If you are interested to know more about this topic, please contact me by clicking an "Inquiry" button above.


Switching visa status of residence directly from Students to Business Manager in National Strategic Special Zones

Government of Japan is expected to submit a bill on the revision of National Strategic Special Zones Law to an extraordinary Diet session in October 2019 so that foreign students with entrepreneurial mind will be able to switch his/her status of residence directly from “Students” to “Business Manager” visa while still in college for starting up their own companies within the area of National Strategic Special Zones only.
(The original news source: The Nikkei (September 2nd 2019))


Guarantor requirement for Permanent Residency

As for a guarantor requirement in applying for permanent residency, some people asked me about using a guarantor service company. Based on what I heard from Tokyo Immigration Bureau, using a guarantor service company would give very bad impression to the immigration authorities, and therefore, it would be recognized as a negative element in a PR application review process. This, in return, would lead to a high possibility of the application being rejected. So, please avoid using a guarantor service company. I recommend asking your boss or colleague (who knows an applicant well) to sign a letter of guarantee. A guarantor does not have to be a Japanese citizen. A foreign national with permanent resident visa can also be eligible for a guarantor. If you have a specific question on this topic, please don't hesitate to contact me by clicking on the inquiry button above.


Follow-up: Ministerial Notification Amendment on Designated Activities targeting Foreign Students graduating from Japanese 4-year Universities

From March 12, Japan's Ministry of Justice started soliciting public opinion at the e-Government website about the amendment of Ministerial Notification on "Designated Activities" targeting foreign students having a good command of Japanese (JLPT N1 level) and graduating from 4-year universities in Japan. The implementation date is expected to be around the end of May 2019 with the intention of allowing qualified foreign nationals to get a full-time job such as a store clerk in the service and hospitality industries which have high demand for bilingual staff thanks to the inbound tourism boom in Japan. If you are interested to know more on this topic, please contact me by clicking an "Inquiry" button above.
The e-Government website (Japanese only)


Designated activities visa for foreign students graduating from Japanese universities with JLPT N1 certificate

Japan's Ministry of Justice is planning to amend the Ministerial Notification on Designated Activities within March 2019. Consequently, foreign students graduating from Japanese universities with JLPT (Japanese-Language Proficiency Test) N1 certificate can be permitted to obtain a Designated Activities status of residence, even if there is no close correlation between a major subject of study and a job responsibility based on an employment contract. While the specific details are not disclosed yet, this amendment is expected to make it easier for qualified foreign students with bilingual language skills to work in the hospitality industries (such as electric home appliance retailer) with customer service jobs which are increasingly in high demand thanks to the growing inbound tourism in Japan. If you are interested to know more on this topic, please contact me by clicking an "Inquiry" button above.
(The original news source: The Asahi Shimbun)


Highly-Skilled Professional Visa: Bonus Point for Graduates from Specified Universities

Applying for a Highly-Skilled Professional visa, at least 70 points are necessary based on the Points Calculation Table with criteria such as annual salary, academic background, etc. Fortunately, those who graduated from top-notch universities (specified by the Ministry of Justice) can add 10 points as bonus point. As of today, only 13 Japanese universities (including Tokyo University, Kyoto University, Keio University) are specified as such universities, but the government is planning to increase the number of qualified Japanese universities dramatically to more than 100 universities (targeting many universities located in the countryside) by March 2019, according to the recent press article. Definitely, the availability of 10 points as bonus point will make a big difference for those who have just 60 or 65 points now based on the calculation table. If you are interested in a Highly-Skilled Professional visa, please contact me by clicking an "Inquiry" button above.
(The original news source: Nikkei Asian Review "Japan lures foreigners to local universities with visa incentive")


Designated activities visa (maximum 1 year) for foreign entrepreneurs in preparation for starting new business in Japan

Designated activities visa for maximum 1 year period can be granted to foreign entrepreneurs (including foreign students graduating from Japanese universities) in preparation for starting new business in Japan. Those who are eligible for this visa must receive municipal assistance by the Japanese local governments on their business plans.
(The original news source: The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Japan News)


Legalization of Japanese documents: One-stop Apostille service by Japanese Notaries

Notary public offices in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture can produce authenticated documents attested by the Legal Affairs Bureau and the Foreign Ministry of the Japanese government. In addition, consular authentication from a local embassy in Tokyo will be required if documents are going to be submitted to a foreign government which is not a member country of the Hague Convention, so-called the Apostille Treaty. Please don't hesitate to contact me If you need help on legalization of Japanese documents.


Correlation between a college major and job duty for foreign graduates to work in Japan

Currently, international students graduating from Japanese universities can obtain a work visa (such as Engineer / Specialist in Humanities/ International Services) on the condition that there is correlation between what subject they majored in at universities and what kind of job they perform based on an employment contract. However, Japan's Ministry of Justice may consider an option which will exempt the above-mentioned correlation as long as a job requires Japanese-speaking work environment and pays annual salary of at least 3 million yen. According to press coverage, such change may take place as early as the spring of 2019 if everything goes smoothly.
(The original news source: Nikkei Asian Review)


Japan's visa renewal guidelines would be revised to require the payment of social insurance premium.

Currently, Japan's Ministry of Justice is considering the revision of visa renewal guidelines so that the fulfillment of social insurance obligations will be counted as one of crucial element in addition to the fulfillment of tax obligations and other requirements. If the revision is realized, habitual non-payers of social insurance premium would be rejected from renewing the status of residence in Japan.
(The original news source: The Yomiuri Shimbun (The Japan News))


New program for 4th-generation Japanese immigrants

The Government of Japan has introduced a new program for 4th-generation Japanese immigrants such as Japanese Americans and Japanese Brazilians. Those who satisfy certain requirements (e.g. age, Japanese proficiency, supporter, financial ability, etc.) may be able to stay in Japan for a maximum of 5 years. For more details, please refer to the following government website.


Shared offices can be OK to qualify for Business Manager visa?

Currently, a physical office must exist in order to obtain a Business Manager visa, but this is not easy for a foreign national entrepreneur, because a real-estate agency usually requests a Japanese guarantor for a foreign national to rent a physical office. To address this issue, Japan's METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) and MOJ (Ministry of Justice) are expected to relax this regulation about business office requirement by accepting shared offices in order to attract prospective foreign entrepreneurs who want to run a start-up business in Japan. The specific details on the conditions for eligible shared offices will be announced by the Government probably within this year.
(The original news source: Nikkei Asian Review)


Allowing foreign national employees at Japan's local government offices to engage in multiple job activities concurrently

Under Japan's residency management (status of residence) system, foreign nationals who are employed by local government offices to engage in translation jobs fall into the "Specialist in Humanities / International Services" visa category. On the other hand, foreign nationals who are employed by local government offices to engage in assistant language teacher (ALT) jobs fall into the "Instructor" visa category. If a foreign national who is hired as ALT at a local public school intends to engage in a translation-related job at the same local government after school hours, he/she must go through time-consuming application process in advance for obtaining a permission to engage in an activity other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted. However, Japan's Ministry of Justice is expected to introduce new visa operational rules which will enable those who are employed by local government offices to engage in multiple job activities such as ALT and translation tasks easily and flexibly. Specific details will become clear shortly as the Ministry of Justice is expected to revise relevant ministerial ordinance soon.
(The original news source: Nikkei Asian Review)


Does a retirement visa exist in Japan?

For wealthy foreign nationals, Japan may be an attractive place to live after retirement. Unfortunately, based on Japan's immigration control policy, there is no visa category such as a retirement visa for those who are retired from work. (It doesn't matter how much financial assets are readily available for securing independent living in Japan.) Indeed a retirement visa doesn't exist in Japan, but a Designated activities visa (Long Stay for sightseeing and recreation) may be worth consideration for those who are from visa waiver countries and hope to stay in Japan for a few years. The eligibility for this visa requires at least 30 million yen in a bank saving account with sufficient coverage of private insurance as illustrated in the following government website:

The period of stay for this visa is 6 months, and it is renewable for one time, leading to maximum 1 year period of stay in total. Then, soon after departing from Japan, it is technically feasible to apply for this visa once again from scratch. So, if the permission of the second round visa application is granted, almost 2 years can be possible to stay in Japan for wealthy foreign nationals meeting the eligibility criteria. If you are interested to know more about this visa (Designated activities: Long Stay for sightseeing and recreation), please don't hesitate to contact me by clicking an inquiry button above.


Applying for Naturalization and Permanent Residency at the same time in parallel

Foreign nationals who are seemingly eligible for both "Naturalization" and "Permanent Residency" may be tempted to file both applications at the same time in parallel. However, I don't recommend it, although it is technically possible to do so. If the government authorities (either Legal Affairs Bureau for Naturalization or Regional Immigration Bureau for Permanent Residency) notice it, they may feel suspicious about the applicant's true intention as to whether to become Japanese or retain a foreign citizenship. If you have a specific question on this topic, please don't hesitate to contact me by clicking on the inquiry button above.


Visa type in Japan may cause a problem on your taxation in future

If you are a foreign national having a large amount of property (assets) not only in Japan but also in other countries, you may need to think carefully about your visa / status of residence. Japan's taxation (inheritance tax, gift tax, exit tax) can be different depending on which type of visa you possess: either "activity-based visa" such as "engineer/ specialist in humanities/ international services" versus "personal relationship-based visa" such as "permanent resident" and "spouse or child of Japanese national". As Japan's tax laws are revised often, it is recommended to get expert advice based on the latest information by a certified tax accountant (Zeirishi) in Japan. If you need assistance for changing your visa from one type to another, please don't hesitate to contact me by clicking on the inquiry button above.


Follow-up on Permanent Residence Guideline Revision in 2017

Some people misunderstand that the 2017's revision of Permanent Residence (PR) guidelines affects Highly-skilled professional visa holders only. That is not correct. Those who don't have Highly-skilled professional visa may be qualified to apply for PR as a special exception, if he/she continues to maintain 70 points over the last 3 years (or 80 points over the last 1 year) based on the point calculation table.
For PR application, it is required to find a guarantor who can endorse you by signing Letter of Guarantee.
If you are interested in more details, please don't hesitate to contact me by clicking on the inquiry button above.


Preferential Treatment for Spouses of Highly-Skilled Foreign Professionals to Work

Foreign nationals with the status of residence (visa) as "Dependent" are in principle not allowed to engage in work unless otherwise permitted for a limited amount of time. If he/she prefers to engage mainly in activities for work, certain criteria on qualifications must be met such as educational background, work experience, and so on. Spouses of "Highly-skilled professional" visa holder, in contrast, may engage in activities which fall in the visa category of either "Researcher", "Instructor", "Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services" or "Entertainer", even if he/she does not meet specific requirements on educational qualification and work experience. (Note: Salary level must be consistent with Japanese national. Other types of activities such as "Business Manager" and "Skilled Labor" are excluded from the list.) This preferential treatment for Highly-skilled professional's spouse can be permitted only if husband and wife are living together in the same house. Please refer to the following government website (written in Japanese language only) for more details.
If you have any question on this topic, please don't hesitate to contact me via "Inquiry" button above.


Pros and Cons: Highly-Skilled Professional versus Permanent Resident

Highly-Skilled Professional visa holder can enjoy preferential treatment (under specific conditions) such as “inviting his/her parent from home country for baby-sitting” and “hiring a domestic helper (housekeeper)”, the privilege which Permanent Resident cannot enjoy. Consequently, while Highly-Skilled Professional visa is advertised as a shortcut to Permanent Resident, for some people, it may not be a wise decision to switch from Highly-Skilled Professional visa to Permanent Resident. By the way, Highly-Skilled Professional visa is directly linked to a sponsoring organization, and therefore, it will become invalid when a foreign national changes a job to work at a different company/organization. In such a case, he/she has to apply for Highly-Skilled Professional visa once again from scratch. On the other hand, in principle, Permanent Resident don’t need to worry about visa even if he/she makes a career switch to a new job at a different company. So, considering pros and cons between them, it is a tough call to make as to which visa is better, either Highly-Skilled Professional or Permanent Resident, depending on circumstances surrounding each foreign national and his/her family. If you have any dilemma on similar situation, please don’t hesitate to contact me via “Inquiry” button above.


New immigration policy for 4th-generation Japanese descendants

Japan’s Ministry of Justice is planning to introduce a new immigration residency status program which makes it possible for 4th-generation Japanese descendants living overseas to enter and work in Japan on the condition that they have local supporters (such as Japanese relatives, host families, employers) who will keep providing them with various assistance including the Japanese language education, medical health information, support for cultural adaptation, etc. It is said that the program is targeting those who are aged 18 to 30 years old with basic Japanese conversational skills (N4 level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test), and that successful applicants can be granted with “Designated Activities” status of residence for one year period which is renewable annually for maximum 5 years in total if their Japanese language skills are improving. In principle, it is not allowed to accompany their family members from a home country into Japan. The government is expected to request public comment shortly for the new program in order to introduce it within 2018.

Original news source: Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) dated January 1st, 2018, Morning Edition


New visa for "business startup preparation" would be introduced in Japan

METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) and Ministry of Justice are jointly considering the introduction of the "business startup preparation" visa nationwide within the year of 2018. Foreign entrepreneurs who want to start a business in Japan usually apply for "business manager" visa. For successful application, it is required to open a business office and hire at least two full-time employees or have at least five million yen's capital investment. Currently, only Tokyo metropolitan government and Fukuoka prefectural government have exceptional relaxation system based on the national strategic special zone. This initiative makes it possible for foreign entrepreneurs to obtain a six-month "business manager" visa before completing the standard requirements as mentioned above. Many foreign entrepreneurs, however, feel that "the six months are too short" as a necessary preparation period for renting a business office, opening a bank account on a startup loan, and so on. To address this problem, the planned new visa for "business startup preparation" is intended to offer a one year "period of stay" nationwide for alleviating the anxiety of foreign entrepreneurs.

Original news source: Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) dated December 8th, 2017, Morning Edition


Guidelines for foreign students to work at the Cool Japan industry sector

The Justice Ministry released the guidelines in September 2017 to clarify if foreign nationals who studied in Japan are qualified to work at the so-called “Cool Japan” industry sector such as animation (manga cartoon) and fashion design with some case-study examples on both permitted applications and rejected applications. For example, a foreign student who studied animation at a university (Daigaku) or a professional training college (Senmon Gakko) in Japan can be permitted to obtain “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” visa, if he/she is hired by an animation & game production company for a job position specializing in the design work of animation character creation. But, if an expected job is a simple task as an assistant which can be performed without any special expertise (e.g. just painting characters in colors), in such case, the visa application will most likely be rejected by the Immigration authorities even if he/she studied animation in Japan. The original guidelines are posted on the government website in Japanese language only.

If you are interested in knowing more about this topic, please contact me by clicking on the “Inquiry” button above.


Reporting Obligation of Mid and Long Term Foreign Residents in Japan

It may be confusing for foreign nationals living in Japan, but there are two types of reporting obligation in terms of where you report to.

Procedures at Municipal (City) Office

When you decide a new (initial) place to live or you change a place to live, you have to report it at a local municipal office within 14 days.

Procedures at Regional Immigration Bureau

For thorough and detailed information, please refer to the following link within the Immigration Bureau website on various kinds of reporting obligation.


Permanent Residency Guidelines Revised on April 26, 2017 by Japan’s Ministry of Justice

If you are “highly-skilled foreign professionals” currently living in Japan, a special exception would be granted in obtaining “permanent residency” according to the revision of the guidelines by the Japanese Ministry of Justice.  Those who score 70 points based on the Ministry’s points calculation table would be eligible for applying for permanent residency after 3 years on the condition that they meet several specific criteria. On top of that, for those who score 80 points, the waiting period could be shortened to just 1 year on the condition that they meet several specific criteria. The Government website is available only in Japanese language on this matter.
For further clarification, please contact me by clicking on the Inquiry button above.


Validity Period of Residence Card for “Permanent Resident” and “Highly Skilled Professional (II)”

When your application for permanent residency is permitted, you may think that you no longer have to renew your visa.  Actually, it’s not as simple as that.  The validity period of Residence Card is 7 years after its delivery date for permanent residents who are aged 16 years old or more.  So, application for renewal of residence card should be made from 2 months before the 7 years’ deadline date.  The same thing applies to “Highly Skilled Professional (II)”, those who have engaged in activities of "Highly Skilled Professional (I)" for three years or more.  Please refer to the following government website.

If you are interested in “Permanent Resident” or “Highly Skilled Professional”, please contact me by clicking on the “Inquiry” button above.


Highly-skilled foreign professional in high demand by the Government of Japan

In order to stimulate breakthrough innovation in technology and economy, the Government of Japan is desperate in attracting so-called “highly-skilled foreign professionals” (who have highly-advanced expert knowledge and skills) from overseas. Recently, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) opened the following information portal website “Open for Professionals,” with strong intention to raise awareness of foreign highly-skilled professionals on this matter. If you think you are “highly-skilled foreign professional”, please send e-mail me to on any question and clarification.

The Government portal URL:

Immigration Control and Refugee Act Amendment 2016

To cope with the problem of “imposter residents (bogus visa holders)” who illegally obtain visa status in Japan by filing false declaration with fake documents, the immigration control and refugee act was amended in December 2016 to include penalty clause for punishing imposter residents as well as anyone who facilitates the execution of such action for the purpose of profit. The criminal penalties include up to three years’ imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of JPY 3 million. Please see the following government website (only in Japanese) in the link below.


Special Exception on the Period of Stay in Japan

You may find yourself in a situation where the expiration date of your visa is just around the corner and you are about to apply for the change or extension of the status of residence. What will happen if your permission to stay in Japan expires while the application processing is still underway? In such case, two months of grace period in maximum may be granted as stated in the Immigration Bureau website. Quote “A special exception shall be made for a foreign national who has filed an application by his/her expiration date of residence, yet has received no official decision on the application by the said date. In such case, he/she is allowed to stay until the point the decision is made for the application or two months after the expiration date, whichever comes earlier.” Unquote. Please confirm with the link below.

*Note: Temporary visitor is beyond the scope of this special exceptional treatment. Temporary visitor visa, in principle, cannot be changed to another visa directly while in Japan.


Point-Based Preferential Immigration Treatment for Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals

Highly skilled foreign professionals to be defined based on the points evaluation system may be able to get various preferential immigration treatment such as bringing parents to take care of a baby and bringing a household employee to accompany to Japan. For those who are interested in the point evaluation system, please contact me by clicking on the “inquiry” button above.


Importance of Resident Tax Payment

Depending on the previous year’s income, local government shall levy resident tax on city residents including foreigners. If a foreign resident does not bother to pay resident tax, he/she may face problem in renewing his/her visa or in applying for permanent residency. Please refer to the following government website.


Part-time job Restriction for International Students in Japan

In case of Student visa, if an in-advance permission is given by Tokyo Immigration bureau, under certain conditions, it can be possible to engage in part-time work up to 28 hours per week maximum. Foreign students exceeding the limit (by working extra hours and/or working for multiple employers) may face problem including deportation order and denial of visa renewal. Please refer to the following government website.


Trusted Traveler Program

Japan started the Trusted Traveler Program in last November. Under the Trusted Traveler Program, foreign business persons and other eligible foreign nationals who meet certain requirements will be able to use the automated gates in major airports with a “registered user card” issued by the Minister of Justice.


New status of residence “Nursing care” will take effect next year

Finally, it’s official that “Nursing care” will be added to occupation categories which can permit mid-long term residency to foreign nationals. The legislation which passed on November 18th will take effect within the year of 2017, allowing foreign caregivers to continue to work at nursing care facilities in Japan on the condition that he/she passed Japan’s national exam to be certified as “Kaigo Fukushi-shi” (Certified Care Worker).


Attention to "Designated Activities (Long Stay for Sightseeing and Recreation) Visa”

For retired business persons, if you are wealthy enough to have more than 30 million Japanese yen in your bank account, why don't you consider obtaining "Designated activities” visa on “Long stay for sightseeing and recreation” in order to travel across Japan beyond 90 days? With the Japanese yen weakening against US dollar, now is a good time to visit Japan and explore various aspects of traditional Japanese culture. For more details, please see the following government website.


Shortcut for permanent residency under consideration by the Japanese government

For highly skilled professionals (foreign nationals with excellent management or academic / technical expertise), Japan’s Immigration Control Act currently requires at least 5 years to become eligible for applying for permanent residency. According to informed sources, this waiting period would be shortened to 3 years, and there is a possibility for those who are regarded as the best talent among them to get a 1 year pathway to the permanent resident status. The specific details of this plan is still under consideration, but it is expected to be finalized by the end of March next year.


Examples of successful and unsuccessful visa applications to work in the Japanese anime industry sector.

Thanks to “Cool Japan” strategy, increasing number of foreign students come to Japan for studying how to design and create “Anime” at vocational schools (professional training colleges / Senmon Gakko) in Tokyo. According to Immigration Bureau, here are some information on both successful and unsuccessful visa application examples.

- Successful example: A foreign student, completing a cartoon & anime specialized course and graduating from a professional training college (Senmon Gakko) in Japan with Diploma (Senmon-shi), applies to work at a computer IT service company in Japan for dealing with anime gaming application development including anime character design.

- Unsuccessful example: A foreign student, completing a cartoon & anime specialized course and graduating from a professional training college (Senmon Gakko) in Japan with Diploma (Senmon-shi), applies to work at an anime creation company for dealing with assistant job only such as background painting without having any initiative in creative activity.


The lower house of the Diet approved a bill to add "Nursing Care" visa as a new status of residence.

On Oct. 21, the House of Representatives Judicial Affairs Committee approved a bill to revise the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act for adding "Nursing Care" as a new status of residence. Subsequently, the House of Councilors will deliberate the bill and most likely pass it into law during the ongoing extraordinary Diet session. The purpose of the revision is to allow foreign nationals who hold Japan’s nursing care license to live and work for a long period in Japan as professional care-givers at senior care homes.


Are you aware of the Departure Order System?

Under the Deportation Procedure, in principle, illegally-staying foreign nationals are detained and deported from Japan by Immigration Bureau.  However, under the Departure Order System, overstaying foreign nationals can be allowed to leave Japan without detention if they meet criteria such as


(1) Voluntarily appearance at a regional immigration office

(2) Intention to leave Japan as soon as feasible

(3) No crime record (imprisonment) such as theft after entry into Japan

(4) Non-repeater of illegal-stay

(5) High reliability of leaving Japan at the earliest possible convenience


Another advantage of the Departure Order System is the prohibition period before reentering Japan.  Those who are deported from Japan under the Deportation Procedure cannot reenter Japan for at least five years.  In contrast, the reentry prohibition period for those who leave Japan under the “Departure Order System” is one year.  This difference deserves attention.  For more information, please visit the Immigration Bureau’s website.


Heads-up on Residence Card

Foreign nationals have to notify local regional immigration bureau within 14 days in cases such as…

If you have any questions on necessary procedures and documentation, please send e-mail to


Government of Japan considers shortcut to permanent residency for highly skilled foreign professionals.

Currently, those who are staying in Japan with the “highly-skilled-professionals” visa can apply for permanent residency after five years. This waiting period could be reduced to less than three years. By obtaining permanent residency, it gets easier to make a home mortgage loan with a bank in order to buy a house in Japan. Legislative bill to make a change in the waiting period will most likely be submitted to the regular Diet session in 2017.


Prospect for the creation of new visa category “Nursing Care”

Diet discussion has been carried on for a legislative bill to create a new “Nursing Care” visa (status of residence) from last year’s 189th session to this year’s 190th session which is still ongoing. Considering Japan’s super-aging society and serious shortage of caregivers, people have high expectation for this legislation.


National strategic special zones allow foreign nationals to enter Japan for working as a housekeeper.

In principle, Japan’s immigration control policy prohibits foreign nationals from entering Japan with intention of engaging in housekeeping service. However, this ban can be lifted under certain conditions within the “National Strategic Special Zones”, designated special areas where regulations are relaxed for stimulating Japan’s economy. The conditions for foreign nationals include (1) basic capability to communicate in Japanese; (2) experience of working as a housekeeper at least for 1 year; (3) employment contract with a government-approved organization, etc. Link to the government relevant page.


Ota-Ku (Tokyo) is planning to start a new type of accommodation facilities (Min Paku) in 2016, targeting foreign nationals.

With the number of foreign visitors increasing, Ota-Ku (Tokyo) has drafted a local government ordinance (so-called “Min Paku Jourei”) to relax regulation on accommodation facilities for foreign nationals who stay at least for 7 days. The Japanese government selected Ota-Ku as one of the “National Strategic Special Zone” which is entitled to relax various administrative regulations. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic is expected to attract increasing number of visitors from overseas, because Haneda international airport is located within Ota-Ku. As an incentive for foreign entrepreneurs to start businesses, it is also planned to relax Immigration Control Law’s visa requirements within the “National Strategic Special Zone” including Ota-Ku.


A legislative bill to create a new status of residence (Nursing Care category) did not pass in this year’s 189th Diet in Japan.

A legislative bill to create a new “status of residence” category for foreign nurses and caregivers did not pass the Diet approval process this year. It should be discussed again in the next Diet session, most likely in 2016. Related link (in Japanese)


The Social Security and Tax Number System (so-called My Number System) starts on October 5, 2015

You will be notified of your Social Security and Tax Number (so-called My Number) at your registered address in or after October. If you are unable to receive your Social Security and Tax Number (My Number) at your registered address for reasons beyond your control, please hand-deliver or mail the application form to the municipal office where you are registered between 24 August and 25 September. For more details, please see the following homepage.


Designated activities (long stay for sightseeing and recreation) visa to nationals and citizens of visa waiver countries started on the 23rd of June 2015.

Wealthy foreign nationals meeting criteria can obtain specified visa (designated activities) to stay long for sightseeing and recreation in Japan.

For more details, please see the following homepage.


Impact of newly introduced "Exit Tax" on foreign nationals in Japan

The national tax agency Japan sets the following rule on "exit tax" to be introduced from 1st of July 2015.

Link to relevant page on National Tax Agency Japan website (available with only Japanese language)


For any inquiry, please click here.