Japan Visa Page

Work permit, residency, application requirements

Work Visa in Japan

This section contains general information on the requirements, timeline, procedure and characteristics of work visas in Japan, for new hires, transfer or relocation of foreign workers and their families to Japan.

The Immigration Law of Japan provides for almost 3o types of visas, all classified based on the nature of activities permitted under the visa or a certain relationship between the holder and the Japanese country or specific Japanese citizens.

Those who work or plan to work in Japan will have the option of applying for a working visa based on their respective work activities. However, it is important to note that the Japanese Immigration law does not issue work visas for all jobs in Japan - the issuance of work visas are limited to only those that require specialized skills or the specialized knowledge of non-Japanese citizens, and as a result, work visas are not issued for jobs that are considered (in the view of the Immigration Law) to be relatively simple tasks, or those that do not require special skills and talent from the foreign community. This is a decision based on the Japanese Immigration policy to only invite the foreign working community to engage in certain roles, with the aim of protecting the work opportunities of Japanese nationals in areas where international skills are not required.

In practice, work visas are issued for a wide range of positions requiring international skills, but historically have excluded construction site workers, waiter/waitress positions and cashier operators, etc.

General Work Visa Requirements

In order for an applicant to obtain a work visa in Japan, the following three requirements must be fulfilled:
  1. a) The work description must be one for which a work visa will be granted.
  2. b) The applicant must fulfill certain requirements relating to him/herself, the specific requirements of which will vary according to each position (job description). Typically, these requirements relate to the applicant's educational history, work history, working conditions or any combination of the foregoing.
  3. c) For the majority of work visas, a "visa sponsor" is necessary. This is generally a term referring to the employer in Japan (note: does not necessarily need to be an employment agreement, as long as there is a regular, direct contracting relationship between the parties). In other words, the applicant must have a specific job or job offer from a Japanese entity that is willing to sponsor the visa application, and the necessary requirements must be met.
  4. d) The visa sponsor must fulfill the general requirements as an adequate visa sponsor. For example, it must provide certain documents relating to its taxes, financial status and business, etc.

List of Work Visa Categories

Please refer to each of the subcategories for more details.

Work Visa Procedure


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