Types of Immigration Procedures

You have to take necessary Immigration procedures according to your situation before and after entering Japan. There are types of procedures as follows:

(1) Before residing in Japan
Those who don’t obtain any visa yet and live outside Japan, but intend to obtain visa to enter Japan and stay long-term or work in Japan. -> Certificate of Eligibilty (COE) Application

(2) After residing in Japan
Those who have been granted Residence Card and currently reside in Japan and;

Also, you must apply for the above at proper Immigration Office. -> Where to Apply.

Certificate of Eligibility (COE) Application

In case you are living outside Japan and wishing to obtain a visa in order to live, work or study in Japan, basically you have to apply for Certification of Eligibility (COE) based on a specific Status of Residence indicating your intended activity in Japan before you enter Japan.

If you are not familiar with visa and immigration system in Japan, you must refer to the following page first. >> Introduction: Overview of Visa and Immigration System in Japan

The COE application requires that you already find a hosting person (e.g. your family member) or organization (e.g. a company which you will work at, school you will enter, and so on) which accept you in Japan. Since you have been outside Japan yet, your hosting person or organization will be considered as your proxy for your COE application.

However, it is difficult for your hosting person or organization to determine whether you are qualified for a specific type of Status of Residence and what documents you need to prepare for the application. Therefore, we recommend you to hire an Immigration Specialists/Lawyer in Japan so that you can proceed the application without any stress.

Necessary Forms and Documents for the COE application

You must file the COE application with necessary documents in order to certify that you are eligible for the Status of Residence you are applying based on your circumstances. Application forms and necessary documents are varied depending on types of Status of Residence and your situation. Go to Types of Status of Residence page and find what type you need to apply and check out whether you would satisfy the requirements.

Application Fee

Application fee at Immigration Office is free of charge. You need to estimate the costs involved in the service of Immigration specialists if you ask for help.

Process of the COE Application

Here is the process showing how to apply for COE and enter Japan.

  1. Find out whether you could satisfy the criteria and requirements for the application. Check the following page >>Introduction: Overview of Visa and Immigration System in Japan.
  2. Look for a hosting person or organization (hereinafter refers to as "a proxy") related to the type of Status of Residence you are applicable to.
  3. Prepare for the COE application and collect necessary documents to prove your eligibility for the status.
  4. Your proxy or Immigration Lawyer files your COE application to the Immigration Office.
    * You might need to come to Japan with short-stay (temporary) visa at the time of application depending on which status you are applied to.

    ↓Screening by the Immigration Office (a month to 3 months)
    Immigration Office may request additional documents by mail during the screening if necessary.
  5. Your COE is issued and sent to your proxy in Japan. Your proxy sends it to you abroad.
  6. After receiving the COE, go to the Japan Embassy or Consulate-General near you before expiring the COE in order to apply for a visa to enter Japan.
    * The COE is valid for 3 months after the day of issuance.
  7. Visa issuance. You may fly to Japan.
  8. Your Residence Card is issued at the airport when you enter Japan. >> Check Residence Card page.
  9. You need to register your residence address at City Hall or Ward Office in the jurisdiction of your address within 14 days after the arrival. >> Check Residence Registration page.
  • This process does NOT apply to the application for Temporary Visitors.
  • In general, Temporary Visitors who already enter Japan cannot apply for Change of Status of Residence. They must apply for the COE first.

Special Re-entry Permit or Re-entry Permit

In case you want to go outside Japan for a while to travel, business, or see your family and reenter Japan again, you are required to have Re-entry Permit.

(A) In case you will reenter Japan within 1 year of your departure and continue your activities in Japan after reentering Japan. -> Special Re-entry Permit

In this case, you don’t need to apply for Re-entry Permit – just be sure to present your residence card at the airport and check the column indicating your intention of departure by the Special Re-entry Permit System on an ED card for Special Re-entry Permit.

[Note] You will lose your resident status if you fail to reenter Japan within 1 year of your departure with Special Re-entry Permit. Also, please ensure that you reenter Japan before the expiration of your period of stay stated on your Residence Card.

(B) In case you will reenter Japan more than 1 year after your departure and intend to continue your activities in Japan after reentering Japan. -> Re-entry Permit

In this case, you need to apply for Re-entry Permit at the Immigration Office in the jurisdiction of your residence before you leave Japan to other country. The duration of Re-entry Permit is 5 years and there are 2 types of Permit – Single or Multiple.

  • Single: you can reenter Japan only once within the period of expiration of Re-entry Permit (5 years). Application fee is 3,000JPY.
  • Multiple: you can reenter Japan any times withing the period of expiration of Re-entry Permit (5 years). Application fee is 6,000JPY.

Immigration Office issues Re-entry Permit on the same day of the application.

Change of Status of Residence

In case you already have your Residence Card under specific Status of Residence, but you are planning to change your activity as following examples, be sure to apply for Change of Status of Residence before you actually change the activities.

Remember that you need to confirm that you can satisfy requirements of Status of Residence you intend to change to before you decide to quit current activity.

[Examples]

  1. You are currently holding Student visa status, but want to look for a job without leaving Japan after graduation or find a employer who is willing to hire you in Japan.
  2. You are currently holding Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services visa status, but you are trying to quit your job in order to start your business and set up a company in Japan.
  3. You are currently holding a specific type of working visa status, but you are going to quit your job in order to enter a university in Japan.
  4. You are currently holding a Spouse of Japanese visa status, but you got a divorce or lost your Japanese spouse.

In other words, you should apply for "Change of Status of Residence" regardless of the expiration of current visa if you are going to quit your current activity and change to a new one in Japan.

Note that you cannot engage in the new activity before Immigration Office approve your application of "Change of Status of Residence".

Necessary Forms and Documents

You must file "Change of Status of Residence" with necessary documents in order to certify that you are eligible for new activity which you are going to engage in. The documents are varied depending on the desired Status of Residence.

Application Fee

Application fee at Immigration Office is 4,000JPY. It should be paid at the time of approval.

Standard Processing Time at Immigration Office

2 weeks to a month.

Extension of Period of Stay

In case you want to extend the period of your current visa status, be sure to file the application for "Extension of Period of Stay" before the expiration of your period of stay – you cannot overstay in Japan even a day. If you fail to apply for it by the date of expiration, you lose your Resident Card and have to leave Japan.

You may apply for "Extension of Period of Stay" 6 months before the expiration of your current visa status in case you have more than 6 months period of stay.

Necessary Forms and Documents

You must file "Extension of Period of Stay" with supporting documents. The required documents are different depending on your Status of Residence.

Application Fee

Application fee at Immigration Office is 4,000JPY. It should be paid at the time of approval.

Standard Processing Time at Immigration Office

2 weeks to a month.

Permission to Engage in Other Activity (Shikaku-gai Katsudou Kyoka)

In case those who are Student status, Dependent status or any other status want to engage in a part-time job or a different types of activity from your current status and get paid, you should file the application for Permission to Engage in Other Activity which called as Shikaku-gai Katsudou Kyoka in Japanese.

Permit of Sihkaku-gai Katsudou will be issued if the immigration office allows you to engage in different types of job other than the activity which is allowed under your current visa status. You should carry this permit all the time when you engage in the activity written on the permit.

[Example cases when you have to apply for "Shikaku-gai Katsudou Kyoka"]

  • University Student with Student status wants to engage in a part-time job.

In case you are a Student or Dependent status holder:

  • You cannot engage in the activity which is classified as Fuzoku Eigyou (adult entertainment businesses such as "Kyaba-kura", "Sunakku", "Pachinko Parlor" and so on).
  • You may work a maximum of 28 hours a week (8 hours a day during the long term break like summer break) under this permit.
  • In case of a Student status holder, you should ask your school/university for the application.

Necessary Forms and Documents

  • Application Forms
  • Passport and Residence Card (Original)
  • Documents which clarify the intended activity which the applicants will engage in.

Application Fee

Application fee at Immigration Office is free of charge.

Standard Processing Time at Immigration Office

2 weeks to 2 months.

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