BASIC CRITERIA for Visa Status

You must obtain Visa Status to engage in the activity over the limit of Temporary Visitor visa. In order to stay in Japan not as a Temporary Visitor visa holder, your situation should meet the basic criteria listed on this page below and you must fall under one particular visa status.

Considering your eligibility in all aspects, the Immigration Office will grant you the visa status to engage in the specific activity in Japan with an authorized period of stay.

If you are not familiar with immigration procedures in Japan, you should know about it first since the Japanese immigration system is not so simple.
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If you are currently outside Japan yet and you wish to stay in Japan under on particular visa status, the first process is to apply for Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for the relevant visa status through your visa sponsor in Japan.
>> COE Application

BASIC CRITERIA for visa status

Basic criteria for obtaining visa status are comprehensive, you must look into all of the items below:

(1) The applicant must have a reason or purpose to come and stay in Japan and have a “visa sponsor” designated based on visa/residence status you are applying.

First of all, the Immigration Office in Japan grants you a visa status only when you have specific reason or objectives to reside in Japan and you are recognized to satisfy requirements for one specific visa status you are applying. You cannot apply for any visa status if you are not going to reside in Japan for your intended activity after you obtain the Residence Card. Also, you are not eligible for Permanent Resident status if you currently reside outside Japan and don’t have any visa status in Japan yet.

Also, you need a visa sponsor who can support your visa application and act as your proxy in Japan. If you don’t have any visa/residence status in Japan yet, you need a proper visa sponsor who can sign your application form on your behalf to process the COE (Certificate of Eligibility) application to invite you to Japan.

>> Visa Sponsor
>> COE Application

In case of considering expanding business into Japan or setting up a business entity (branch office or subsidiary/company) in Japan, you should start with finding what types of business entity would be appropriate for your situation. Basically, a physical office space for the entity must be found in Japan and the entity must complete necessary registration before the COE application. Also, you will need to enter Japan under Temporary Visitor visa at the time of COE application if you are the only one who can represent the entity in Japan and may not have any person in Japan working for the entity except yourself.

(2) The applicant must be applicable to one particular visa/residence status and satisfy the requirement.

The foreign nationals who intend to apply for the COE/visa status in Japan must be recognized to be eligible for one particular visa/residence status designated by the Japanese Immigration Office.


Your intended activity must be applicable to one particular visa status. Each visa status has its own requirement. You need to certify your eligibility for the visa status by supporting documents. The Immigration Office discloses basic documents required for each visa status, however, they may require different and additional documents case by case since each applicant has different situation, nationality, background, purpose of activity in Japan, visa sponsor etc. – no one is exactly the same situation like you. You should understand that each country has its own laws and regulation, format of official documents, manners and customs in order to prepare and provide precise documents. All supporting documents should be translated into the Japanese language.

Do not try to make a lie or commit a fraud – it is quite easy to find the fraud if we see all the documents you provide and if we hear all the answer for our questions. It is important to keep consistency of each document and evidence. The Japanese Immigration Office or any immigration lawyer don’t process your case by taking money under the table.

(3) The applicant must not have a bad behavior.

Specifically, those who have criminal records or legal penalties will be judged less capability to adapt to circumstances in Japan, so it could be one of the reason of denial of application.

(4) The applicant and the sponsor (and guarantor when it is required) must be recognized as financially stable.

You must be recognized to have financial stability or ability enough to make a living while staying in Japan. Also, your sponsor (and guarantor if any) must be financially stable and be capable of supporting you when necessary.

(5) The applicant must be deemed to pay taxes properly.

You are required to do the tax return in Japan (or “year end adjustment” for withholding tax if you are an employee and not required to do the tax return) and pay taxes properly during your stay in Japan. At the time of COE application, a copy of tax related notification are required to submit to confirm you and your sponsor knows the process of tax payment. At the time of visa renewal, Income/tax Certificate and Tax Payment Certificate will be required to check your status of tax payment.

If you fail to pay taxes, the Immigration Office would consider your situation negatively and they might not approve your visa renewal in Japan any more.

(6) The applicant must fulfill duties of administrative procedures as well as immigration procedures, and follow the laws and regulations in Japan.

You must fulfill responsibility and duties for your life in Japan and process relevant administrative procedures properly when necessary (e.g. any changes regarding residence address, job and visa sponsor, school, organization, marital status, or any other circumstances). Some procedures has to be done at the city/ward office and some has to be processed at the immigration office. Please note that each country has its own rules and regulations, which is not always the same as your country.


(7) In case of working visa, the applicant’s labor condition must be appropriate, not against the laws and regulations in Japan.

There are laws and regulations regarding labor conditions/standard in Japan. Your terms and condition must be prepared in accordance with the laws and regulations. In general, employer has responsibility for the conditions of their employees, so the Immigration Office will take it into consideration in case the employer violates the labor laws and regulations.

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