Japan Visas

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Japan Visas, Work Permits and Migration

Companies targeting Japan for international expansion face unraveling the complexities of work permit, visa, and immigration laws if they intend to move existing staff into this powerful Pacific Rim and Asian economy, the third strongest in the world.

Organizing documentation and dealing with high-level bureaucracy, coupled with migrating staff across the world, would require a designated in-house department. Few companies have the time, the resources or want to invest in such an operation, particularly facing the many-layered procedures needed to obtain Japanese work permits and visas.

Bradford Jacobs does have the resources to sidestep all these issues. As an international payroll provider, we ensure all your employees comply with work permit and visa regulations with our Employer of Record (EOR) platforms.

What Types of Work Visas, and Permits for Japan are there?

Japan applies both restrictions and exemptions regarding visas and work permits, with more than 30 visas to choose from, allowing different activities from family-related to work-related.

  • Temporary Visitor or Short-Term Stay Visa is for foreigners visiting family, for tourism or short business trips. There are exemptions for specific nationals; for example, British citizens can stay visa-free for up to six months on an extendable 90-day visa whereas Australians can only stay visa-free for three months. Everyone must have a valid passport with blank pages for any entry/exit stamps, plus proof of a return or onward ticket

Note: Japan is expected to introduce an Electronic Visa System in 2021

  • Work Visa or Long-Term Stay Visa has 16 sub-categories: for example, for education, training, nursing, medical services etc.

Generally, workers need a job offer to apply for the work visa from their country of residence through an embassy or consulate. The employer/sponsor then applies for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) at the local immigration office where the applicant will live in Japan. This confirms the employee’s reason for entering Japan, e.g., to work or teach and is required for the work visa.

  • Highly Skilled Foreign Professional Visa (HSFP) is for highly talented foreign employees with specific skills and qualifications on a points-based system (70 points to qualify).  A job offer is required plus all regular visa documentation including a COE. This visa can be for five years and has preferential benefits:
  • Specific Skills Visas 1 and 2 fill gaps for specific industries. 1-SSV1 must have a level of Japanese and pass technical exams, e.g., hotels, shipbuilding, nursing care etc. Visa for one year – renewable up to five years; families are not permitted. However, employees can upgrade to 2-SSV2 when achieving further qualifications or increasing skill levels which allows indefinite stays plus family will be permitted
  • General Visa for students, occupational training, dependents, and cultural activities
  • Working Holiday Visa for some nationalities between 18-30 years old with a valid passport to work and support themselves during an extended holiday (with some exceptions)