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How to Get a Japan Work Visa & Work Permit: Requirements & Procedure

Key Takeaways

  • Foreign nationals who wish to work in Japan must obtain a Japan Work Visa.
  • There are three types of Work Visas available for Japan: the regular Japan Work Visa, the Japan Highly Skilled Professional Visa, and the Japan Working Holiday Visa. 
  • This article covers the Japan Work Visa and its eligibility and application requirements, the application process, and the visa duration. 

As one of the most economically successful countries in the world, with strong tech, manufacturing and tourism industries, there is considerable demand for Japan Work Visas, both from prospective employees and businesses. 

While there are several possible visas that prospective employees can enter Japan using, including the regular Japan Work Visa (also known as the ‘Japan Working Visa’), the Japan Highly Skilled Professional Visa, and the Japan Working Holiday Visa, this article will cover the Japan Work Visa, its eligibility and application requirements, the application process, and the visa duration. 

Who requires a Japan Work Visa?

Every foreigner who wishes to live and work in Japan for any duration needs a Japan Work Visa. Citizens of certain countries may be exempt from holding a Japan Visa for short-term stays for tourism, business, or recreational purposes, but for long-term stays (such as for work, studying, or family reunion), everyone needs to obtain the appropriate Japan Visa.

The Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs sets out a range of occupations that are eligible for Japanese Work Visas. These include:

  • Artists — this includes photographers, songwriters, sculptors, painters and creative writers
  • Engineers
  • Senior managers — this includes senior exeuctives, and 2nd and 3rd-tier managers
  • Journalists, this includes newspaper or magazine journalists and editors
  • Teachers at all school levels
  • Academics/professors at the university level 
  • Researchers in institutes
  • Entertainers — actors, sports people and musicians are included in this category
  • Transfers from other locations of an international company (find out more about intra-company transferees at our guide to global mobility). 
  • Accountants and lawyers and related professionals
  • Medical and healthcare professionals
  • Nursing care
  • Religious workers, including clergy and missionaries
  • Technical interns
  • Skilled tradespeople and those with specific skill sets such as chefs and pilots. 

Which documents are required for a Japan work visa application?

An application for a Japan Work Visa requires that the following documents be submitted:

  • The Certificate of Eligibility
  • A valid passport along with copies
  • The application form, available on the foreign affairs website
  • Passport-size photos meeting the following requirements:
    • dimensions of 4cm by 3cm
    • being less than three months old
    • on a plain white background, 
    • containing a neutral facial expression, with a clearly visible face
    • with a good-quality image. 
  • Documents confirming previous academic and professional achievements 
  • Documents relating to the applicant’s position in the company/organization, proposed salary and length of the contract
  • Company financial statements (the company that is sponsoring the visa). 

Additional documents may be required depending on the profession. For example:

  • For artists: Any documents which show your artistic achievements.
  • For religious workers:
    • Documents which show the details of the religious organization sending you to Japan
    • Documents which show the details of the religious activities you will be involved in Japan
  • For technical interns: A letter of guarantee from the sending organization and a letter of acceptance from the host company in Japan.

How to apply for a work visa

To apply for a Japan Work Visa, you need to follow the steps below:

  • Check if you are eligible for a Japan Work Visa. Make sure that your profession is on the list of occupations that are eligible for a Japan Work Visa, and that you meet the other requirements.
  • Gather the necessary documents. You will need to prepare all the documents that are required for a Japan Work Visa application, as listed above.
  • Submit the application. You will need to submit your Japan Work Visa application, along with all the required documents, to the Embassy of Japan or the Consulate General of Japan in your home country. You may need to make an appointment to do this.
  • Wait for the processing of your application. The processing time for a Japan Work Visa application may vary, so you will need to be patient while you wait for a decision.
  • Attend the visa interview, if required. Depending on your application and the Embassy or Consulate’s requirements, you may be asked to attend an interview as part of the visa process.
  • Collect your visa. If your Japan Work Visa application is approved, you will be informed and asked to come to the Embassy or Consulate to collect your visa. You may need to pay a visa issuance fee at this time.
  • Enter Japan with your Japan Work Visa. Once you have your visa, you can make travel arrangements to go to Japan. Make sure you have all the necessary documents with you, including your Japan Work Visa, when you travel.
  • Register your residence in Japan. Within 14 days of arriving in Japan, you are required to register your residence with the local government office. This will allow you to obtain a residence card, which you will need to show when you apply for a SIM card, open a bank account, or do other things that require proof of your address.
  • Get a work permit. After you arrive in Japan, you will need to apply for a work permit at the immigration office. This will allow you to start working in Japan legally.
Japan Work Visas — get support through a Japan-based proxy


Japan Work Visas — our take 

To be eligible for a Japan Work Visa, your profession must be on the list of occupations approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and you will need to prepare and submit a range of documents as part of your Japan Work Visa application. 

For support with the Japan visa and employee relocation process, check out our list of top global relocation specialists. 


Alongside the regular Japan Work Visa, there is also a Japan special highly skilled professional visa and the youth mobility/working holiday visa 

You can find an up-to-date list of which professions are eligible for a Japan Work Visa at the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs