Highly Skilled Professional (HSP)

(Amended on October 1st, 2018)

Immigration Office grants you a visa status called Highly Skilled Professional (hereinafter referred to as “HSP”) and preferential immigration treatment to those who are classified as one of 3 categories divided by types of activities as listed below and satisfy the requirements for each categories:

(HSP-a) Advanced Academic Research Activities

Activities regarding academic research and instruction of the research based on a contract between private/public organizations in Japan, including activities regarding business management and operations.

(HSP-b) Advanced Specialized / Technical Activities

Activities which requires knowledge and skills in the field of Humanities and Natural Sciences based on a contract between private/public organizations in Japan, including activities regarding sales and planning as well as business management and operations.

(HSP-c) Advanced Business Management Activities

Activities to engage in the management and operation of for-profit entity of Japanese organizations and companies. Different from Business Manager visa status, the activities of management regarding business based on Japanese investment can be included.

One of the characteristics of HSP visa status is that you need to get specific points on the Point Calculation Table for HSP provided by the Immigration Office.

There are 2 types of HSP visa status; HSP1 and HSP2.
You need to obtain HSP1 first. You may apply for Change of Visa Status to HSP2 at least 3 years after you obtain HSP1 visa status.

HSP2 visa status

You will obtain an indefinite period of stay to engage in the activity allowed under HSP visa status.
However, your activity as HSP2 is limited to what you are allowed under HSP. Under HSP2 visa status, you cannot engage in any types of activities as a Permanent Resident (PR) can do, but you still have privilege of HSP for preferential immigration treatments which even a PR cannot obtain.

Compared with HSP2, PR is not limited to the activity – you can change your job and activity freely and you can even retire in Japan in case you are a PR. If you are applicable to HSP2, you can apply for PR most of the case. You should apply for PR if you don’t need the privilege like bringing your parents or a domestic worker (housemaid) in Japan.

PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT for HSP

【1】Permission for multiple purposes of activities

Highly Skilled Professional may engage in multiple activities of related field of study or business: you may work as a specialist in some kind of researches or studies as well as a manager of an organization or a company which is related to your study or business.

NOTE: You need to have one visa sponsor for HSP visa status even if you can engage in the multiple activities. In addition, in case of HSP1, you need to apply for Change of Visa Status in case you quit your job at the visa sponsor even if you can get enough point on the Point Calculation Table at the next job (visa sponsor).

【2】Grant of the “5 years” period of stay

Immigration Office grants “5 years” of period of stay to every foreign nationals who are classified as Highly Skilled Professional.

【3】Easing of requirements for permanent residence

You have chance to apply for Permanent Resident 1 year or 3 years after obtaining HSP visa depending on your score on the Point Calculation Table for HSP at the specific period of time.

【4】Preferential processing of entry and residence procedures

The application for Highly Skilled Professional will be processed preferentially – it will be processed within about 10 business days in case of the COE application, within about 5 business days in case of application for Change of Status of Residence or Extension of Period of Stay.

【5】Permission for the spouse of the Highly Skilled Professional to work

Spouse of Highly Skilled Professionals may work and earn money by engaging in activities in the field of visa status such as Instructor, Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services, but limited to the case of following: 1) the spouse resides together with Highly Skilled Professionals, 2) the spouse are going to receive a salary equivalent to that of Japanese in the same field.

【6】Permission for bringing the parents to accompany the Highly Skilled Professional to Japan under certain conditions

Parents of Highly Skilled Professional or his/her spouse is allowed to enter and stay in Japan subject to conditions as following:

  1. in case the parent will take care of a child younger than 7 years of age of the Highly Skilled Professional or his/her spouse; or
  2. in case the parent will take care of a pregnant Highly Skilled Professional or to a pregnant spouse of Highly Skilled Professional.

Major requirements:

  • Your household annual salary is more than 8 million yen.
  • The parent(s) lives with you.
  • Limited to the parent(s) of either you and your spouse.

【7】Permission for a domestic worker to accompany the Highly Skilled Professional to Japan under certain conditions

Those who obtain Highly Skilled Professional visa status may bring a foreign domestic worker to Japan subject to certain conditions.

  1. In case that you continuously employ a domestic worker who has been employed by him/her in a foreign country:
    • Your household annual salary is at least 10 million yen.
    • You may bring only one domestic worker.
    • You plan to pay the domestic worker at least 200,000 yen per month.
    • The relevant domestic worker has been employed by you for at least 1 year before entering Japan.
    • The relevant domestic worker is expected to leave Japan with you.
  2. In case that you employ a domestic worker not falling under (1) above:
    • Your household annual salary is at least 10 million yen.
    • You may bring only one domestic worker.
    • You plan to pay the domestic worker at least 200,000 yen per month.
    • You have certain family circumstances (e.g. where you have a child under 13 years old or a spouse unable to do housework due to illness or for other reasons).

REQUIREMENTS for HSP

Most important is that you need to have a contract with one visa sponsor and your annual salary for HSP point should be calculated the salary paid for the job in Japan (it is not based on the salary you have been paid before the application).

【1】TYPES OF ACTIVITY IN JAPAN

Your intended activity in Japan needs to fall under one of the categories of HSP above (HSP-a, HSP-b, HSP-c).

【2】SATISFYING POINT REQUIREMENT for HSP

  • You need to get at least 70 points on the Point Calculation Table of the category which your activity belongs to.
    >> POINT CALCULATION TABLE (Immigration Office Website)
  • You will need to prove your points by the specific documents. If you cannot provide the proof, you cannot obtain the points.
  • [In case of applying for HSP-b or HSP-c] You need to be paid at least 3 million yen (or equivalent amount in other currency when it is applicable to the situation) annually for your job in Japan.

【3】VISA SPONSOR

  • Your visa application must be sponsored by an organization/company who is willing to hire you in Japan to engage in the activities applicable to the visa type. In case of applying HSP-c, Advanced Business Management Activities, your company (can be a branch of foreign company depending on the case) in Japan can sponsor your visa application but the company/branch must be set up based on the requirement of Business Manager visa.
  • Your visa sponsor (organization/company) must be recognized as financially stable and managing the business properly in Japan.
  • The physical office space which you engage in working at must be found in Japan and the business must be operated at the office space.

PROCEDURES

In case you are currently residing outside Japan yet or you are staying in Japan as a temporary visitor:
>> COE Application

In case you have been in Japan under specific status and holding Residence Card already:
>> Change of Visa Status

BASIC REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

You are required to provide documents which certify your eligibility for the visa status you are applying. Required documents are varied depending on the situation of each applicant and the host organization/company.

Here’s the basic required documents. You will prepare almost the same documents either for COE Application or for Change of Visa Status.

(1) Evidence regarding the applicant’s experience and qualifications:

  • Resume or C/V which can confirm your work experience and educational background.
  • Documents which certify educational background: e.g. Diploma, Certificate of Degree.
  • Documents which certify your work experience: e.g. Certificate of Employment or Letter of Confirmation issued/signed by ex-employer(s).
  • Documents which certify your qualifications and licenses: e.g. Certificate of JLPT level

(2) Evidence regarding the applicant’s occupation in Japan and the terms and condition for the job/duties:

  • e.g. Employment Agreement, Employment Contract, Letter of Employment, Letter of Appointment issued/signed by the employer in Japan.

(3) Evidence regarding the employer/host organization:

  • Company Brochure or Leaflet.
  • Certificate of Company Registration (Toukibo Touhon, Toukijikou Shoumeisho).
  • Financial Statement for the last fiscal year.
  • In case of new company: Business Plan for 1-year, Notification of the establishment of salary payment office, Payment slip for Withholding Tax (for the past 3 months before the application) or Application for Payment of Withholding Income Tax on a Semi-annual.

(4) Point Calculation Table (in Immigration Bureau format) signed by the applicant.
>> POINT CALCULATION TABLE (Immigration Office Website)

(5) Any other documents to certify your score on the Point Calculation Table.

  • You can find some example documents on the different sheet of the Point Calculation Table.

(Amended in October 1st, 2018)

NOTE

  • All the documents written in foreign languages need to attach Japanese translation.
  • Additional documents may be required during the screening at the Immigration Office after submitting the application.
  • Some documents may be exempted in case your visa sponsor is classified under categories as follows: 1) listed company, 2) the total amount of annual withholding tax on the latest “Records for Salary Payment and Withholding Tax” counts more than 15 million JPY, 3) your visa sponsor can submit a copy of the latest “Records for Salary Payment and Withholding Tax”.
  • Any certificate of Japanese authorities (Tax/Income Certificate, Certificate of Residence, Certificate of Company Register etc.) has to be the one issued within 3 months before the date of application.

PERIOD OF STAY

Each visa status has the expiration date – you can stay in Japan with the visa during the specific period stated on Residence Card issued by Immigration Office. Highly Skilled Professionals visa status is ensured 5 years of period of stay.

In case you wish to extend the period of stay granted, you may apply for Extension of Period of Stay before the expiry date.
>> EXTENSION OF PERIOD OF STAY (VISA RENEWAL)

You have chance to apply for Permanent Resident as well.
>> PERMANENT RESIDENT

In case you would like to travel outside Japan temporarily under the visa status.
>> Re-Entry Permit

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