Individuals who would like to live in Japan must get a visa that corresponds to your intended activity in Japan. Corporate entities and entrepreneurs who plan on expanding or starting their business in Japan can apply for Short-Term Visa to start their market research, location scouting and even incorporate your company if have or can obtain the necessary documents during your short-term stay. The cost and time required to establish a company in Japan can be found here (http://www.setupjapan.com/).
Short-Term Visa holders can a stay up to 90 days for tourism, business, visiting family/friend/relatives, etc. but MUST NOT engage in any remunerative activity. Some Countries and Regions have the benefit of not needing to obtain a Short-Term Visa prior to landing in Japan. In this scenario, customarily the length of your short-term stay will be determined by your nationality or region during your Landing Procedure.
You can find information about Short-Term Visa exempt Countries and Regions here(https://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/short/novisa.html).
The governing body for individuals applying for Long-Term Visa and obtaining the right to reside in Japan are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs(https://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/index.html), who will grand you the permission to land in Japan and the Immigration Bureau of Japan (http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/), who will issue your residence card for your long-term stay in Japan. This means, you will need to prepare different set of documents for each institution.
There are about 30 types of visas in Japan which require different prerequisites and procedures depending on the activities you plan on engaging in Japan.
It is important that you meet the prerequisites for the Long-Term Visa you are applying for, this means you need to; find employment in Japan before applying for working visa, be accepted to a university in Japan for student visa or have set up your business for business management visa.
This step is crucial in order to apply for Certificate of Eligibility (COE) at the Immigration Bureau in Japan. The application can be submitted by yourself while entering Japan with a Short-Term Visa, family member (family related visa), or lawyers and consultants like Gerbera Partners(https://gerbera.co.jp/) who have certified lawyers.
Your Japanese connection will apply for your COE at their Regional Immigration Bureau. The process time for the application will vary depending on numerous factors, such as the category of visa, location of Immigration Office, size of the sponsoring organization and the capacity of your proxy.
For example, applying for COE in Tokyo, the standard processing time will be 2 to 5 months. If the sponsor for your visa is a large listed corporation or you are applying for Highly Skilled Professional Visa the process can be shortened by a significant amount.
*please note that the timeline may vary significantly depending on the ability of the Immigration office, policy change and/or under extraordinary circumstances. (COVID-19)
Once you have your COE, you will apply for the type of Long-Term Visa at the Japanese Embassy or Consulate in your country. Other documents you many need are:
Depending on your nationality, some additional documents may be required. Check the official website for the Japanese Embassy or Consulate in your country for more details.
To validate your COE and visa issue will usually take between 3 to 5 business days. Please be aware that the issued visa expires in three months and you will need to continue with the procedures at the Immigration Bureau to ensure your status of residence within 90 days after entering Japan.
Visit the official website of Gerbera Partners Japan for more detail of visa process (http://www.setupjapan.com/).
This is a residential status to support entrepreneurs coming to Japan
Startup Visa does not qualify for a Long-Term Visa but it is a good start for some entrepreneurs who are still in the process of establishing their business in Japan but has not met the financial or logistical barriers to do so. This status of residence still falls under the category of “Business Manager Visa”. If you meet certain requirements such securing office space in Japan you can take advantage of this residence status and stay in Japan for up to one year to set everything up and obtain Business Manager Visa to run your company.
Startup Visa is supported by the municipalities; thus, it may not apply for regions which has not adopted this program. Also, requirements may vary depending on the municipality.
This residence status is issued for entrepreneurs who are operating their public or private business organization in Japan or individuals who are managing such a business.
The duration of this visa usually ranges from 3 months to 5 years and given to company managers, administrators, CEO, COO, CFO, CTO, etc. There is not requirement for these individuals to have graduated or hold an undergraduate degree or above.
These requirements must be met in order for the investor/business manager to obtain a Business Manager Visa.
This residence status is for expats who are employed by a company who has a business office in Japan and transferred to said business office temporarily.
The length of this visa is between 5 years to 3 months and the jobs must entail the same or similar duties as “Engineering/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” which we will get into later.
Period of stay for this residence of status is between 5 years to 3 months. The people who apply for this visa must engage in one of the following categories.
Engineer: Activities engaged in services of physical science, engineering, or other natural science.
Specialist in Humanities: Engage in services in legal, economic, sociology fields.
International Services: Engage in services in translation, interpretation, language instruction, public relation, international trade, fashion design, interior design, product development.
Requirements: The requirements for each of these job descriptions vary from one another. You can find more information on the official Immigration Service Agency of Japan website(http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/tetuduki/kanri/qaq5.html).
This residence status was introduced in May of 2012 by the Japanese Government and its intended purpose is to attract workers who are likely to have positive impact on the Japanese economy.
The process selection is a point-based system on academic background, professional career, annual salary, and academic achievement. If the individual is able to accumulate 70 points or above in their evaluation, the Highly Skilled Professional Visa is issued.
The perks of this visa include:
These are the common types of visa for entrepreneurs or skilled individuals for long term stay in Japan. Please remember that once you have landed in Japan and have gone through immigration at the port entry, you must apply for your residence card at the Immigration Bureau of Japan.
This will take around 2 to 3 weeks and the local Immigration Bureau will issue your residence card. In the meantime, your only identification document will be your passport with the visa and landing permit you received upon arrival in Japan.
Application for Individual Number Card can be done online or by mail. This is process is 3 to 4 weeks long. Individual Number Card is gradually becoming an important identification card for many day-to-day activities. It is highly recommended that any foreign long-term status residents to apply for this card.
You can find more about the Individual Number Card at their official website(https://www.kojinbango-card.go.jp/en/).