top of page

How to Get a Work Visa for Japan (Application and Requirements)

Obtaining a work visa is a gateway to experiencing the rich cultural heritage, advanced technology, and unique opportunities in Japan for the long term. Japan offers various types of work visas, each tailored to specific job categories and requirements. There are Specified Skilled Worker Visa, Working Holiday Visa, and regular work visa.

In this guide, we will walk you through the essential steps and requirements to secure your Japan work visa.

Work Visa Japan

A work visa in Japan is a type of visa that allows foreign nationals to work legally in the country. To get a work visa in Japan, you typically need a job offer from a Japanese employer who will act as your sponsor. The employer will be responsible for initiating and supporting your visa application.

Jobs to Do in Japan

Japan offers a diverse range of job opportunities across various industries. You may hear about popular jobs such as English teacher and translator/interpreter, but there are many more options for foreign residents in Japan. Here are some occupations that are eligible for Japanese Work Visas.

  • Artists, such as photographers, composers, songwriters, sculptors, etc.

  • Business managers, such as a company president, director, etc.

  • Engineer or specialist in humanities or international services, such as a scientific or IT engineer, an interpreter or copywriter, a foreign language teacher, a designer, etc.

  • Entertainers, such as actors, musicians, singers, dancers, sports players, etc.

  • Instructor or teacher at elementary, intermediate schools, or high school.

  • Intra-company transferee (someone transferred to the Japanese branch of a company)

  • Journalists, such as newspaper or magazine journalists, editors, news cameramen, announcers, etc.

  • Legal or accounting workers, such as attorneys, judicial scriveners, public accountants, tax accountants, etc.

  • Medical services, such as physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, etc.

  • Nursing care

  • Professor, such as a university professor or an assistant professor, etc.

  • Religious activities, such as monks, bishops, missionaries, etc.

  • Researchers at research institutes

  • Skilled workers, such as foreign chefs, animal trainers, pilots, sports trainers, or foreigners who have expertise and skills in certain industrial fields, etc.

How to Apply for a Japan Work Visa

Congratulations on a job offer in Japan! Once you have accepted the job offer, there are two essential steps you should take for your new job and life in Japan.

1. Getting a Certificate of Eligibility

The difficult part of getting a Japanese visa is not the application for the visa itself, but the process beforehand. To enter Japan for long-term purposes, every foreigner must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the Immigration Services in Japan. Your sponsor (employer) will handle the COE application on your behalf since it must be submitted within Japan. You will need to provide them with relevant documents for the application.

Do keep in mind that the process of obtaining the Certificate of Eligibility for the Work Visa may take one to three months. You have to send original documents by post to your employer. The mail takes time, especially if you live far away from Japan and have limited access. In some events, the immigration office asks for additional documents, making it take longer to complete. The actual process after submitting all documents is around three to four weeks.

It's important to note that the Certificate of Eligibility for Japan is not a replacement for the Work Visa. Rather, it serves as a prerequisite. You still need to apply for a Japan Work Visa from your home country. However, the COE demonstrates that you have received approval from the Japanese Immigration Services and that you meet the entry requirements established by the Japanese government for foreign workers.

2. Applying for a Japan Work Visa

Once the COE is approved, your sponsor has to send you the original document. Then, you can proceed to apply for a work visa in your home country. You must gather all the necessary documents for your visa application and come to either the Japanese Embassy/Consulate or the travel agency or visa application agency. You also need to pay the visa fee in your country’s currency when applying.

Documents Requirement

Some documents are required to obtain a work permit in Japan for several important reasons. These documents serve as evidence and verification of various aspects of your application, ensuring that you meet the eligibility criteria for the specific work visa category you are applying for. You and your sponsoring employer must complete all documents needed.

When applying for a Japan Work Visa, you have to submit the following documents:

  • The Certificate of Eligibility

  • Japan Work Visa Application Form, completed and signed

  • A valid passport and the photocopies

  • Passport-size pictures

  • Documents detailing your position in the company/organization, the salary you will receive, and the duration of the work

  • Documents attesting to your previous academic and professional history

  • Documents related to the receiving company, such as company registration, statement of profit and loss, etc.

Other than these documents, the Japanese Embassy or Consulate has the right to request any additional documents they deem necessary. The supporting documents are personalized for each profession.

For artists: Any documents which show your artistic achievements.

For religious workers: Documents which show the details of the religious organization sending you to Japan; Documents which show the details of the receiving Japanese organization; Documents attesting to your religious position and career.

For researchers: Documents related to the receiving organization; Academic and professional qualifications.

For instructors or teachers: Documents related to the receiving organization; Academic qualifications or an educational license.

For intra-company transferees: Documents attesting to the relationship between the two offices/companies.

Collecting the Visa

If the Japanese Embassy/Consulate deems it essential, you might be required to attend an interview or provide supplementary documents. If everything is good, you will be notified to retrieve your passport with a Japan Work visa in it.

The processing time for the actual Japan Work Visa is between 5 to 10 working days. However, the actual time depends on the specific office in which you apply and how many applications at the time.

Duration of a Japan Work Visa

Japan Work Visas can be issued for varying durations, based on several factors such as your profession and the duration of your work contract. It can be three months, four months, one year, three years, or five years. However, regardless of the duration of your visa, you can apply for an extension of your Work Visa before it expires if you meet the requirements. You have to apply for a Japan Visa Extension (also known as Extension of the Period of Stay) at the local Immigration Office where you live and work.

Bringing Family Members to Japan

Japan allows work visa holders to sponsor their family members to join them in the country through dependent visas. The eligibility and specific rules for dependent visas may vary based on your work visa category and the Japanese immigration regulations at the time of your application.

Similar to your work visa application, your family members will also need a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to apply for their dependent visas. You will need to apply for their COEs through the Japanese immigration authorities. As a visa holder, you must demonstrate that you have sufficient financial capacity to support your family members during their stay in Japan.


Obtaining a Japanese work visa can be a fulfilling yet challenging process. By understanding the specific visa requirements, preparing the necessary documents, and securing a job offer from a Japanese employer, you can increase your chances of success. Remember to stay informed about any updates or changes to Japan's immigration policies and consult with official sources or the Japanese embassy for the most accurate and up-to-date information.


Looking for career opportunities in Japan?

Create your profile in Tokhimo and let recruiters approach you!

Set up your account easily and for free.



Looking for career opportunities in Japan?

Create your profile in Tokhimo Jobs and let recruiters approach you!
Set up your account easily and for free.

Contact Us



© 2023 Tokhimo Inc. All Rights Reserved.

bottom of page