Japan Work Permit and Visa 2024 – Cost, Eligibility, Application, Processing time, etc

Japan is an attractive destination for individuals looking to work abroad, offering a unique blend of rich culture, technological advancements, and a thriving economy. However, before embarking on a journey to the Land of the Rising Sun, it’s essential to understand the intricacies of Japan work permits and visa requirements. In this article, we will explore the various work permits and visa types available.

However, the first step towards working in Japan involves securing a job offer from a Japanese employer. The employer acts as a sponsor and initiates the work permit application process. The type of work permit issued depends on the nature of the job. For instance, there are specific permits for highly skilled professionals, researchers, engineers, and intra-company transferees, among others. Each category has its own set of eligibility criteria that the applicant must meet.

Overall, once the work permit is granted, the next step is to apply for a visa. The type of visa corresponds to the type of work permit and the intended duration of stay. It’s important to note that the visa doesn’t serve as a work permit; it merely allows the individual to enter and stay in Japan for a specified period. The work permit, on the other hand, grants the individual the legal right to work in Japan.

Types of Work Permits and Visas in Japan

Japan offers several types of work permits and visas, each tailored to specific occupations and skill levels. Some of the most common work visa categories include:
  1. Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services: This visa is for individuals with specialized skills and expertise in fields such as IT, engineering, and business.
  2. Skilled Labor: This visa is for individuals with technical skills in areas such as construction, agriculture, and manufacturing.
  3. Intra-Company Transferee: This visa is for employees of foreign companies who are being transferred to a Japanese branch or subsidiary.
  4. Business Manager: This visa is for individuals who plan to start or manage a business in Japan.
  5. Highly Skilled Professional: This visa is for highly skilled professionals in fields such as research, engineering, and business management.

Japan Visa Application Process

1. Job Offer or Business Engagement:

To apply for a Work Visa, securing a job offer from a Japanese employer is a crucial initial step. Also, for the Highly Skilled Professional Visa, demonstrating high levels of expertise may require additional documentation.

2. Legal Representation:

Many applicants engage the services of a legal representative in Japan, such as an immigration consultant or a designated employer, to assist with the application process. Also, legal representation ensures compliance with Japanese immigration regulations.

3. Gather Required Documents:

Commonly required documents for work permits and visas in Japan include a valid passport, proof of financial means, a job offer letter, educational qualifications, and a certificate of eligibility.

4. Visa Application:

Submit your visa application, along with all necessary documents, to the nearest Japanese embassy or consulate in your home country. Alternatively, your employer or legal representative in Japan may assist with the application process.

5. Certificate of Eligibility:

For Work Visas and certain other categories, a Certificate of Eligibility is typically required. This document is obtained by your employer in Japan and submitted to the immigration authorities on your behalf.

6. Preliminary Approval:

Japanese authorities will review your application, considering factors such as your qualifications, the job market, and the economic impact of your presence in the country.

7. Medical Examination:

Depending on the type of visa and your circumstances, you may be required to undergo a medical examination in Japan.

8. Wait for Approval:

Processing times can vary, so it’s crucial to be patient while waiting for final approval from Japanese authorities.

9. Travel to Japan:

Once your visa is approved, you can travel to Japan and commence your work or business activities. Additional registration and immigration procedures will be necessary upon arrival.

10. Residence Card:

Upon arrival in Japan, you will be issued a Residence Card, which is a crucial identification document during your stay.

How long does it take to get a work permit and visa in Japan?

The time required to obtain a work permit and visa in Japan can vary. The standard processing period for a visa is 5 working days from the day following the date of receipt of the application, provided that there are no issues with the application. However, if there are any problems with the application, or if a large number of visa applications converge at a short-time period, it may take longer.

However, if the purpose of the visit is to work or for a long-term stay, it is recommended that the visa applicant obtains a Certificate of Eligibility from the regional Immigration bureau in Japan before making the visa application. Also, if a Certificate of Eligibility is not submitted when the visa application is made, issuance of the visa will take a long time, typically one to three months.

Overall, the entire process for obtaining a work permit takes at least 5 days and can take up to three months. This duration is subject to timely and correct document submission from your end, and the processing speed of Japanese immigration authorities.


Can I apply for a work permit without having secured employment in Japan?

Generally, it is not possible to legally work in Japan without obtaining a valid work visa first. One of the main requirements for applying for a work permit in Japan is an offer of employment from a Japanese company. The employer acts as a sponsor and initiates the work permit application process.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule that allow individuals to stay and work in the country without having to apply for a work permit or obtain sponsorship from an employer. Also, it’s always recommended to check with the Japanese embassy or consulate in your home country for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

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