Visas in Japan: How to Get a Visa while staying in Japan if you’re an American.

Disclaimer: (This is only my experience so far in Tokyo, be smart and talk to an agent in the area where you’re applying. Certain offices may do things differently.)

Hey Reader,

You probably haven’t been able to find any information about the Japanese Visa Process.   Most websites will tell you that you cannot obtain a legal work visa, without having to leave Japan.
The Japanese Visa Process from inside Japan takes two steps, Approximately 3-3.5 months and you’ll need a few things:

  • A company willing to sponsor your employment and visa while in Japan.
  • Approx 6 months living expenses.  (Bring $9,000 USD, without a residence card, you can’t sign up for any services and its hard to find an apartment that will allow you to lease without first having a residence card.)
  • A college degree in the field that you wish to work / somewhere to close to your job duties. (those without a degree can still apply and be accepted, but processing time takes longer and acceptance is not guaranteed.)
  • a 3×4 cm photo of yourself.
  • Your passport.
  • A certification of employment from your new employer certifying that they’re willing to hire you and stating information about the company. (# of employees, last year sales) This paper should also include the company’s official seal.

Once you have all of these things you’re good to go and apply for the COE or, Certificate of Eligibility. (before you get a visa, you must be certified as eligible to apply for the visa, having a COE does not guarantee your visa, but it helps.)

Go down to the immigration bureau and submit your application for COE

It usually takes about 1 to 1.5 months depending on how slammed the immigration bureau is with applications.

After you successfully receive the COE, you can then go and apply for the change of status / residence status.

You will need pretty much everything that you had for the first application, and the certificate of eligibility.

After you have an application receipt for the COE, you will get a 2 month extension to your landing permission(90 day visa waiver) if it expires during the processing window so that you will not have to leave Japan.

If you have any questions or comments, please share them below.


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