Immigration Fast Facts – Japan

At Emigra Worldwide, we know that even experienced expats can be caught off-guard when emigrating to a new country. With that in mind, here are five aspects of immigration that can trip up – or thrill! – first-time travelers to Japan.

General Information

An individual who would like to live and/or work in Japan needs to apply for a Work or Dependent Visa at the nearest Japanese Embassy/Consulate-General in their home country or country of legal residence before entering Japan. In order to secure the visa, they first need to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) at the local immigration bureau in Japan under the sponsorship of a Japanese company. On approval of the COE, the original document will be required for the visa application at the Japanese Embassy/Consulate-General. The COE is valid for three (3) months, and the individual must obtain their visa and enter Japan within that time. Once the visa is issued, the individual can travel to Japan and begin working. Upon arrival, a Landing Examination will be conducted at the immigration counter, and then a Residence Card will be issued. The residence card will be the individual’s official ID card for the duration of their stay in Japan.

Family Matters

Dependent Visas are granted to legally married spouses of the opposite sex and children who are underage (less than twenty (20) years old). Dependent Visa holders are allowed to work in Japan for a maximum of twenty-eight (28) hours per week with a part-time work permit. This permit can be obtained post-arrival at the local immigration bureau in Japan.

Highly Skilled Professionals

In order to promote the acceptance of highly-skilled foreign professionals in Japan, a points-based system has been implemented which provides highly-skilled foreign professionals with preferential immigration treatment. A number of points are allocated for items, such as “academic background,” “professional career,” and “annual salary.” If the total points reach a certain number (currently seventy (70) points), preferential immigration treatment such as “Easing of requirements for permanent residence”, “Permission for the spouse of the highly-skilled foreign professional to work”, “Permission for bringing a parent(s) to accompany the highly-skilled foreign professional to Japan under certain conditions”, “Permission for a domestic worker to accompany the highly-skilled foreign professional to Japan under certain conditions”, etc. will be granted.

Residence Registration and Re-Entry Permit

Within fourteen (14) days of moving into a permanent address, Residence Registration is required at the local ward/city office in the area of residence for the new address in Japan. A re-entry permit will be necessary to re-enter Japan if the individual leaves Japan and remains outside the country for more than one (1) year from the departure date.

Long-term planning

Permanent Residence (PR) is available for applicants who meet specific criteria and have resided in Japan for a certain period (usually ten (10) years). Highly Skilled Professionals receive special treatment for permanent residence applications and may be able to qualify for PR within one to three (1-3) years depending on the number of qualifying points they hold.