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 category:

(HSP-a) Advanced Academic Research Activities

Activities regarding academic research, guidance and instruction for the research based on a contract with private/public organizations in Japan. You can also engage in activities regarding business management related to your research activities.

(HSP-b) Advanced Specialized / Technical Activities

Activities which require knowledge and skills in the field of Humanities (it doesn’t include “International Services” type of work/skill in “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” visa status) and Natural Sciences based on a contract with private/public organizations in Japan. You can engage in multiple activities related to your career and academic background, such as engaging in activities of project planning, public relations and/or business management while engaging in product development.

(HSP-c) Advanced Business Management Activities

Activities to engage in the business management of a private/public organization, a law firm or any types of company in Japan. You can also set up your own company for related business while engaging in working at the other company as a business manager.
* If you would like to be eligible for this category by setting up your own company without belonging to any other companies, you would need to satisfy requirements for Business Manager visa status as well.

One of significant characteristics of HSP visa status is that this visa status grants you preferential treatments; such as fast-track screening for the application, 5-years period of stay and relaxation of requirements for Permanent Resident application etc.

However, you must be qualified as a highly skilled professional.
You need to prove that you obtain enough points on the HSP Point Calculation Table provided by the Immigration Office. Also, you must satisfy the requirements of HSP and must provide proof documents that you are eligible for one particular HSP category which you can be applicable to based on your career, and background as well as your prospective job in Japan as a highly skilled professional.

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

HSP2 is a HSP visa status with “an indefinite period of stay”.
HSP2 visa allowed you to stay in Japan “indefinitely” while you are engaging in the activity allowed under HSP visa status. In addtion to the activitis allowed under HSP-a, HSP-b and HSP-c, HSP2 visa holders may engage in other activities allowed under visa status such as Professor, Artist, Religious Activities, Journalist, Legal/Accounting Services, Medical Services, Instructor, Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/Int’l Services, Care Worker, Entertainer, Skilled Worker.

HSP2 doesn’t require to limit the organization/comopany you belong for your HSP visa status. Therefore, “Designation” slip (to designate the organization you belong and the activity you engage in) will not be issued with the Residence Card for HSP2.

You still have privilege of HSP for preferential immigration treatments which even a Permanent Resident (PR) cannot obtain.

Compared with HSP2, PR is not limited to the activity – you engage in any activity freely. If you obtain PR visa status, you can even retire in Japan. You should consider applying for PR if you don’t need the privilege given to HSP only, such as bringing your parents or hirign a domestic worker (housemaid) in Japan.

NOTE: HSP visa holders need to apply for Change of Visa every time you change your job (employer)

HSP visa status is granted based on one particular organization/company you belong to as an HSP. Therefore, you should note that you need to apply for Change of Visa Status every time you change the organization/company you belong to.


【1】Permission for multiple activities related to his/her career and backgound

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.

The Immigration Office has been announcing the preferential processing for HSP application, however, they generally need more time to process the screening these days even if it is HSP related application. It generally takes 4 – 6 weeks if it is HSP related application in the Tokyo and Osaka Immigration Office. Honestly, it would be better not to expect the preferencial processing for HSP application if your visa sponsor is not applicable to category 1 or category 2.

【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).


Regardless of which visa status you will apply for, you need to satisfy the criteria first.
>> BASIC CRITERIA of visa status

The most important point 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).


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


  • 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)
  • Your work experience/career and academic background to satisfy the HSP point requirement must be related to your intended activity in Japan.
  • You will need to prove your points by the specific documents; e.g. Certificate of Employment to prove your previous career etc. If you cannot provide the proof, you cannot obtain the points.
  • Annual salary to satisfy the HSP point requirement is not calculated based on your past salary – it should be added in based on what you will be paid for your prospective/intended work in Japan after you obtain HSP visa status.
  • [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.


  • 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.


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
Different from other work-type visa status, you need to apply for Change of Visa Status to the same HSP visa category everytime you change the organization/company stated on the Designation (指定書, Shiteisho), a note stapled on your passport at the time of approval of HSP.


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)


  • 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 10 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.


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.

You have chance to apply for Permanent Resident as well.

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

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