Want to move to Japan? Here’s how.
Here at moveMeJapan, we are experts at all things visa-related. Japan is an incredible country, rich in culture, history and with a thriving business and social scene that can make it highly attractive to anyone wanting to experience the Japanese take on life. But we know that moving here can seem like a daunting process, with the visa system often confusing, not to mention the language barrier to many potential newcomers from the Western world. We are here to guide you through your immigration journey, step by step. Whether you’re already here and want to stay, or you’re mulling over a new life here, we can help.
Types of visa
The first thing to get your head around is what kind of visa you’re going to need. You may have visited Japan before and not needed a visa; tourists from a number of countries, such as the US and UK, can enter Japan and stay for 90 days on a valid passport (see the full list of visa exempt countries here). But if you’re planning to move to Japan permanently, you’re going to need to apply for a visa. Which one depends on what you plan to be doing once you’re in Japan. Ultimately, why are you coming here? And what type of visa do you actually qualify for? It’s no good planning to come to Japan on a highly skilled professional visa if you don’t have sufficient qualification, or on a spouse visa if you’re not married!
Apply from home
If you don’t live in Japan as yet, then you will also need to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility. This has to be done in-country, not via your Embassy or Consulate. So you’ll need your lawyer, sponsor or a family member (if you have one) to apply for you at the Immigration Office, or you’ll need to visit and apply in person.
The COE allows you to make an application for a long-term visa from your own country. You now need to work out what visa you qualify, with most settlement visas being granted on grounds of either:
If you are marrying or are already married to a Japanese national, or someone who has settled status in Japan, then you simply need to go to your local Embassy or Consulate and apply for a spouse visa. You will need a number of do_cuments to support your application, to prove the validity of your relationship and to show that you and/or your spouse have sufficient means to support the move to Japan. Assuming the visa is granted, you will then be able to move with your spouse, and after three years of residency, should be eligible to apply for permanent residency.
There are a number of different types of work visa available to people wishing to come and earn a living in Japan. They are divided into two main categories:
- Highly skilled foreign professional
- Based on a points system, depending on education, work experience, salary and professional qualifications
- General working visas
- For a number of specific careers, including: professors, intra-company transferees, artists, journalists, business managers, legal/accounting services, medics, teachers, engineers, interpreters and entertainers)All the visas (status of residence) except for Permanent Resident visa have a certain time period of stay, and need therefore to be extended if you wish to stay in Japan longer.
Apply in Japan
If you’re already in Japan on a valid visa, then you can apply to renew or change your visa, depending on your circumstances. You apply to your nearest Immigration Office, who will automatically extend your current visa for 2 months, to allow your application to be processed.
Applying for residency
Depending on your existing visa and your length of stay, after a few years in Japan, you’ll be able to apply for residency. Generally speaking, the length of stay required is as follows:
- Spouse visa: 3 years
- Highly skilled foreign professional visa: 3 years (1 year if your application scored 80 points or more)
- General work visa: 10 years
It’s not as straightforward as simply having been resident, however. You will also need to have kept up with your taxes, maintained a clean criminal record, and, in some cases, meet a minimum income threshold.
How we can help
Need help relocating to Japan? moveMeJapan works with both individuals and businesses to ensure your transition is smooth. Contact us today for your free consultation.