VISA STATUS(Status of Residence)


Students & Visitors
Temporary Visitor
College Student
Pre-college Student
Cultural Activities
Trainee
Designated Activities

Family
Dependents
Spouse or Child of Japanese National
Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident
Long Term Resident
Permanent Resident
Workers
Specialist in Humanities/International Services
Engineer
Intra-company Transferee
Investor/Business Manager
Skilled Labor
Entertainer
Researcher
Professor
Instructor
Artist
Religious Activities
Journalist
Medical Services
Legal/Accounting Services
WHAT IS STATUS OF RESIDENCE?

Status of Residence is the legal status under which a foreign national is permitted to stay in Japan. Your status is written on your passport. There are 27 categories of status based on the activities of foreigners in Japan. If you obtain a certain status, your activities will be limited by that status, and you must do what you claimed to the immigration office that you would be doing—for example, studying at a university. You cannot do paid work for more hours than your status allows. If your proposed activities do not fall under any of the 27 categories, you are not eligible to stay in Japan.

PERIOD OF STAY

Each status has a Period of Stay that is generally up to three years. However, you may not be able to get the full three-year term. Immigration offices decide on your permitted stay period based on your eligibility, your host organization’s eligibility and other factors. For example, if you get Investor/Business Manager status for the first time, you may be permitted only a one-year stay period. However, you may get a longer Period of Stay next time you apply if your performance in your business has been good.

If you lose your status, for example by graduation from your school or by losing your Japanese spouse, you need to change your Status of Residence to another eligible category to stay on in Japan.



Students & Visitors

Period of Stay
90 days, 30 days or 15 days

Over 95 % of foreigners who entered Japan in 2006 were categorized as Temporary Visitors. If you engage in sightseeing, recreation, sports, visiting relatives, inspection tours, attending lectures or meetings, networking with business contacts or other similar activities during a short period of stay, your status is going to be this one. You are prohibited from doing paid work with this status.

If you are from one of the 62 countries/areas that have reciprocal visa exemption agreements with Japan, you can enter Japan without a Temporary Visitor visa. Some of those countries/areas are: the U.S.A. (within 90 days), Canada (within 3 months), Korea (within 90 days), Taiwan (within 90 days), Singapore (within 3 months), Chile (within 3 months), Great Britain (within 6 months), Germany (within 6 months), and Australia (within 90 days).

These agreements may change based on each country’s situation. For the latest information, go to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

reciprocal visa exemption agreement countries
http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/02.html


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  • College Student

Period of Stay
2 years or 1 year

This status is for people who receive education at the following schools:

(1)Colleges or equivalent educational institutions such as Ryugakusei Bekka in universities;
(2) Specialized courses of study at advanced vocational schools, Sensyu-gakko;*
(3) Educational institutions that prepare foreigners with 12 years of education for entering colleges or technical colleges.

*Sensyu-gakko are generally called Senmon-gakko.

People with College Student status are basically prohibited from working. However, they can work limited hours, at limited places with a permit called the Permit to Engage in Activity Other Than That Permitted under the Status of Residence Previously Granted.

Working hour limit
Regular students

28 hours per week (during each semester)
8 hours per day (during long school breaks)
Research students and auditing students
14 hours per week (during each semester)
8 hours per day (during long school breaks)

Prohibited working place
Any place that is related to sex entertainment industry

To stay in Japan after graduation to look for work, you can change your College Student status to Temporary Visitor with a 90-day Period of Stay. This period can be extended once.


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  • Pre-college Student

Period of Stay
1 year or 6 months

This status is for people who enter these schools:

(1)high schools
(2)latter courses of secondary educational schools
(3)high school courses of special schools for disabled children
(4)higher or general courses of advanced vocational schools, Senshu-gakko
(5)vocational schools, Kakushu-gakko*

*Many Japanese language schools are categorized into Senshu-gakko or Kakushu-gakko.
Working hour limit with permission
4 hours a day
Prohibited working place
Any place that is related to sex entertainment industry

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  • Cultural Activities

Period of Stay
1 year or 6 months

Non-paid activities related to Japanese culture or the arts are allowed with this visa status. These status holders must pursue specific studies in culture or the arts under the guidance of experts. For instance, post doctor, visiting researcher, and students of professional instructors are suitable for this visa status. (Activities described in College Student, Pre-college Student and Trainee status are excluded.)


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  • Trainee

Period of Stay
1 year or 6 months

A trainee is a person who learns and acquires technical skills or knowledge at public or private organizations in Japan. The trainee system was created by Japanese government agencies to allow the exchange and training of workers by companies in Japan and their partner organizations or family companies overseas. To assure that this system would not become a way to simply get cheap labor, the Immigration Bureau sets strict requirements on both accepting and sending organizations. The Japanese International Training Cooperation Organization (JITCO) provides information and consultation about this system. You cannot become a trainee as an individual; you need to belong to a sending organization which sends you to a Japanese company.


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  • Designated Activities

Period of Stay
3 years, 1 year, 6 months or less

Visa holders in this category engage only in those activities that are designated by the Minister of Justice. Most people who are eligible for this status are either:

(1) Housekeepers of foreign officials or people with Investor/Business Management or Legal/Accounting Services status;
(2) People in the Working Holiday program;
(3) Foreign college students who do internships in Japan based on agreements between their colleges and accepting organizations;
(4) Athletes with world competition experience who play in amateur sports; or
(5) People who are preparing for retuning to their home countries.

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Workers

Popular visa statuses for foreign employees are listed below:

-Specialist in Humanities/International Services (translating, trading, international marketing)
-Engineer (lab work, computer engineering)
-Entertainment (show business)
-Intra-company Transferee
-Skilled Labor (cook, civil engineer)

Some people start business in Japan and acquire “Investor/Business Manager” status.


    • Specialist in Humanities/International Services

    Period of Stay
    3 years or 1 year

    This status is permitted to:
    (1) People who engage in service that requires knowledge of jurisprudence, economics, sociology or other human science fields; and

    Requirement
    To have a related college degree or ten years of experience in a related field
    (2) People who engage in service that requires specific ways of thought or sensitivity based on experience with foreign culture(s).

    Expected type of work
    translation, teaching languages, public relations, advertisement, overseas operation, clothes or interior design and product development.
    Requirement
    To have three years of related experience

    *For translation and teaching languages, you do not need three years of experience if you graduated from college.


    Their activities must be based on a contract with a public or private organization in Japan.

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    • Engineer

    Period of Stay
    3 years or 1 year

    Engineer status is for people who engage in services that require technology and /or knowledge of physical science, engineering or other natural sciences. Their activities must be on the basis of a contract with a public or private organization in Japan.

    For Engineer status, you must have a bachelor’s or higher degree, or over ten years of work experience in a related field. If you have a certain level of certification as an information technology engineer issued by designated organizations, you do not need a degree or a career in a related field. Designated IT certifications are listed in the Immigration Bureau’s site (in Japanese);
    Designated IT Certifications
    http://www.moj.go.jp/NYUKAN/HOUREI/h09.html

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    Period of Stay
    3 years or 1 year

    When an employee transfers from a foreign office to a Japanese office of the same company, they may have this visa status. Expected transfer is between (1) a headquarters and a branch office, (2) a mother company and a subsidiary, (3) a mother company and a sub-subsidiary, (4) a subsidiary and a sub-subsidiary, (5) subsidiaries, (6) sub-subsidiaries, (7) a mother company and its related company, and (8) a subsidiary and its related company.

    The transferred person is required (1) to have been working for the sending company more than one year and (2) to engage in services defined in Engineer or Specialist in Humanities/International Services status. The term of the job in Japan must be limited, and the salary must be equivalent to earnings in similar job categories by native employees in Japan.
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    Period of Stay
    3 years or 1 year

    The following would fall under this status:

    (1) People who found and manage a trading or other business;
    (2) People who administer a business started by a foreigner;
    (3) People who invest in and manage a business;
    (3) People who manage a business on behalf of foreign investors or founders;
    and (4) People who work as administrators with a Japanese person who manages a business on behalf of foreign investors or a foreign manager.

    Some expected job titles in this status are president, director, auditor, manager, branch manager, accountant and corporate lawyer. The business must have more than two regular employees. Its corporate capital must be more than five million yen. These requirements are made to assure the stability and continuity of the business.


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    • Skilled Labor

    Period of Stay
    3 years or 1 year

    Skilled Labor status holders are people who engage in service that requires industrial techniques or skills in special fields. They should work on the basis of a contract with a public or private organization in Japan.

    Expected job descriptions
    cook, civil engineer, architectural engineer, repairer of foreign goods, finishing jewelry engineer, animal trainer, soil survey engineer, pilot, sports instructor and sommelier
    Most of these status holders must have more than ten years of experience in a related field or have a prize in world competition.


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    • Entertainer

    Period of Stay
    1 year, 6 months or 3 months

    People who engage in theatrical performances, musical performances, sports or any other type of show business can acquire this visa status.

    The main requirements are the following:

    (1) Two years of a career in entertainment or education of applicants;
    (2) Appropriate size and circumstances of hosting organizations and their theaters; and
    (3) No criminal records of hosting organizations and staff.
    There are many detailed requirements that must be followed to avoid violations of laws related to the sex entertainment industry.


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    • Researcher

    Period of Stay
    3 years or 1 year

    This is a status for people who do research on the basis of contracts with public or private organizations in Japan. If your research contributes directly to the business operation of the contracting organization(s), your status might be Specialist in Humanities/International Services or Engineer. If you do not receive payment for your research, your status will be Cultural Activities.


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    • Professor

    Period of Stay
    3 years or 1year

    People who do research, or direct research or education at colleges, equivalent educational institutions or Kohto Senmon-gakko can stay with this status.


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    • Instructor

    Period of Stay
    3 years or 1 year

    In this status, you can do language instruction or other education at educational institutions except colleges and Kohto Senmon-gakko. If you teach at non-educational organizations, your status will be Specialist in Humanities/International Services or Engineer.


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    • Artist

    Period of Stay
    3 years or 1 year

    This status is for people who create artwork that provides income. Artists include musicians, fine artists, painters, crafters, writers, photographers, and art instructors. You need to prove that you can earn your living with your art activities.


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    • Religious Activities

    Period of Stay
    3 years or 1 year

    When members of foreign religious organizations engage in mission work and other religious activities in Japan, they can get this visa status. Information about sending and accepting organizations is required to apply for this visa status.

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    Period of Stay
    3 years or 1 year

    Permitted activities are news coverage and other journalistic work conducted on the basis of a contract with foreign journalistic organizations. Both employees of journalistic companies and freelancers with contracts with journalistic companies can obtain this status.

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    Period of Stay
    3 years or 1 year

    This status is allowed to physicians, dentists or other legally qualified people who engage in medical treatment services. Acupuncturists cannot obtain this status so far, even if they have a Japanese license for acupuncture.

    Expected medical professionals in this status
    physicians, dentists, pharmacists, health nurses, midwives, nurses, practical nurses, dental hygienists, radiological technologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, orthoptists, clinical engineering technologists and prosthetists

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    • Legal/Accounting Services

    Period of Stay
    3 years or 1 year

    This status is for certified foreign law specialists who engage in legal or accounting businesses. You must be certified by the Japanese Minister of Justice.


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Family

For family status holders except Dependent status holders, there is no limitation on doing paid work. Family members of Temporary Visitors cannot have any family status.

    • Dependents
      • Period of Stay
        3 years, 2 years, 1 year, 6 months or 3 months

        A spouse and/or an unmarried minor child of a visa status holder can obtain this status. If you are a family member of a Permanent Resident, a Long Term Resident or a Japanese National, you must get another suitable family visa status.

        This status allows you general activities except for paid work. However, you can work up to 28 hours per week if you get Permission to Engage in Activity Other Than That Permitted under the Status of Residence Previously Granted.


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        • Spouse or Child of Japanese National

        Period of Stay
        3 years or 1 year

        People in this category are:
        (1) Spouses of Japanese nationals;
        (2) Children adopted by Japanese nationals through the Special Adoption system; and
        (3) Those born as the children of Japanese nationals.

        Special Adoption is different from regular adoption, and the children who are adopted by regular adoption cannot have this status.

        In Special Adoption, children who are adopted must be under six years old. If one of the foster parents is over 25 years old and another one is over 20 years old, they can use the Special Adoption system. A single person cannot become a foster parent.


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        • Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident
          • Period of Stay
            3 years or 1 year

            If Permanent Resident or Special Permanent Resident status holders have spouses or children, both the spouses and the children can obtain this status.

            These people are eligible for Special Permanent Resident status:
            (1) Koreans and Taiwanese who were born in Japan between September 3, 1945 and April 28, 1952 and have lived in Japan continuously;
            (2) Those who have lived in Japan since before September 2, 1945 and left Japanese census registration according to the San Francisco Conference on the Japan Peace Treaty; and
            (3) Lineal descendants of people who are categorized into (1) or (2).

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            • Long Term Resident

            Period of Stay
            3 years or less

            A Long Term Resident is a person who is authorized to live in Japan by the Minister of Justice in consideration of special circumstances.

            Some people who are qualified are:

            (1) Grandchildren (third generation) of Japanese;

            (2) Spouse of Long Term Resident status holder whose Period of Stay is more than one year;

            (3) Unmarried minor children of parents who are either (a) Japanese, (b) Spouse or Child of Japanese National status holder, (c) Permanent Resident status holder, (d) Spouse or Child of a Permanent Resident status holder, (e) Long Term Resident status holder with more than one year of Period of Stay, or (f) Special Permanent Resident holder; and

            (4) Adopted children who are under six years old and whose parents are either (a) Japanese, (b) Permanent Resident status holders, (c) Long Term Resident status holders with more than one year of Period of Stay, or (d) Special Permanent Resident status holders.


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            • Permanent Resident

            Period of Stay
            Indefinite

            Requirements according to the guidelines for Permanent Resident are listed below:
            (1)You must demonstrate good behavior. You must follow Japanese laws and should not engage in socially reprehensible acts.
            (2)You must be financially stable and have either enough property to live on or sufficient skills for earning your living.
            (3)Your stay must be in Japan’s interests. These are detailed conditions:

            (a)You must stay in Japan over ten years, more than five years with working or resident status.
            (b)You must not incur payment penalties or prison terms. You must do your duties as a resident, such as paying taxes.
            (c)You must be permitted the longest Period of Stay for your current visa status.
            (d)You must not be harmful to the public health.

            EXCEPTIONS

            *Spouse or child of either a Japanese national, Permanent Resident, Long Term Resident or Special Permanent Resident
            Exempted guidelines
            (1) Good behavior and (2) Securing livelihood

            *Spouse of either a Japanese national, Permanent Resident or Special Permanent Resident
            Is eligible if they have been married more than three years and they have stayed continuously in Japan for more than one year.

            *Child of either a Japanese national, Permanent Resident or Special Permanent Resident
            Is eligible if they have stayed continuously in Japan for more than one year.

            *Long Term Resident holders
            Are eligible if they have stayed continuously in Japan for more than five years.

            *Refugees
            Are eligible if they have stayed in Japan for more than five years after getting certified as refugees.

            *People who contribute to Japan in the areas of diplomacy, society, economy or culture
            May be eligible after staying in Japan more than five years. In past cases, for example, a professor, a college instructor, an amateur athlete who had achieved world competition level, a science engineer and a sports instructor have all been given Permanent Resident status in recognition of their contributions. On the other hand, some high school teachers, painters and investors have been rejected for different reasons.

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