Japan Work Visa
Many travel to Japan and fall in love with the culture and want to stay and work. Many more, presumably, travel to Japan in hopes of finding work and staying. Regardless of how you came to it, if you are in Japan on a tourist visa and want to work, this article is for you!
For some countries, a work visa is easy to achieve, your tourist visa can be turned into a holiday work visa quite easily. For citizens of the US, it is not so easy. If you are arriving in Japan with a work visa, you know how involved the process can be: Your Japanese employer must prove you are eligible for work and apply for your certificate of eligibility. This certificate is then sent to your US home, and you must take it along with your passport to your nearest Japanese consulate, where it is converted into a work visa. When you arrive into Japan your work visa is stamped. If you are staying in Japan more than 90 days, you are required to apply for and get an alien card. This process is challenging, but if you are able to achieve a work visa before entering Japan by all means do so.
If you are already in Japan as a tourist and want to work, your process can be lengthy and involved as well. Until two years ago, to get a work visa you had to leave Japan for a few days and wait at a foreign Japanese Embassy for processing. Luckily, that has changed, and the process is a lot simpler.
If you have a company that already wants to hire you, your chances of getting a work visa are greater. If you do not have an employer, your chances are totally up in the air. The easiest way to achieve a work visa is to have your employer accompany you to the local immigration authority (located in most major cities throughout Japan). When you are at the immigration center, bring with you everything you would for a job application, including resume, list of credentials, references, skills, EVERYTHING. You are in essence applying for permission to work, and you must prove your worth to the immigration office. Your eligibility is entirely up to the immigration office. You may have to apply for a certificate of eligibility first. This process can take much time or could be done very quickly, again entirely up to the office.
After you have been deemed eligible to work in Japan, the process actually gets very easy. You are required to fill out a Change of Status form. For this you must know many details of your new job and employer, so it is advisable that you take someone from your job with you. If you do not speak Japanese, the office claims to speak English, but a taking a translator is advised.
The Change of Status Fee costs 4,000 yen (just under $40.00), and can be finished in minutes or days, depending on the office’s workload.
The more specialized your trade, experience, and skills, the more likely you are to work in Japan. Don’t expect to get a low level job in retail just because you want to live in Japan. Japan is expensive, so plan ahead. A loan or credit card can help you on your trip and on your job hunting.