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Home > Immigration and Visa Information > Japan Immigration > Visa Categories

 

 

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Japan Immigration

   

Categories of Visa

At present Japan has two types of visa: a seal type, in which a visa seal is stuck inside the passport, and a stamp type, in which a visa stamp is marked in the passport. The seal type is used by overseas Japanese diplomatic establishments that issue a large number of visas, as in Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Other Japanese diplomatic establishments use the stamp-type visa.
In the case of foreigners who do not possess a passport that is recognized as valid by the Japanese Government, such as stateless persons, Japan issues a special "travel document for aliens."

B. Categories of Visa and Scope of Each Status of Residence

Japan has seven categories of visa. Visas are issued according to the purpose of the foreigner's visit. The following tables show the visa category, the corresponding status of residence and term of residence, and the range of foreigners who are permitted to enter Japan under each category.

1. Statuses of residence for engaging in specified activities in Japan

(a) Statuses of residence permitting work


VISA CATEGORY
Status of residence
(term of residence)

Activities authorized to engage in


DIPLOMATIC VISA
Diplomat
(during mission)


Activities on the part of constituent members of diplomatic missions or consular offices of foreign governments hosted by the Government of Japan, and activities on the part of their family members belonging to the same household.

Activities on the part of those who are provided with similar privileges and/or immunities as are given to diplomatic missions in accordance with treaties or international customary practices (for example, heads of state, ministers, and parliamentary speakers of foreign countries; the secretary general of the United Nations; the secretary generals of specialized agencies of the United Nations; etc.), and activities on the part of their family members belonging to the same household.


OFFICIAL VISA
Official
(during mission)


Activities on the part of those who engage in official business of foreign governments or international organizations recognized by the Government of Japan, and activities on the part of their family members belonging to the same household.


WORKING VISA
Professor
(3 years or 1 year)


Activities for research, research guidance, or education as professor, assistant professor, or assistant, etc. at universities, equivalent educational institutions, or technical colleges (koto senmon gakko).


Artist
(3 years or 1 year)


Activities for the arts that provide income, including those carried out by composers, songwriters, artists, sculptors, craftspeople, photographers, etc.


Religious
Activities

(3 years or 1 year)


Missionary and other religious activities conducted by members of foreign religious organizations.


Journalist
(3 years or 1 year)


News coverage and other journalistic activities conducted on the basis of a contract with a foreign journalistic organization, such as a foreign newspaper company, news agency, broadcasting station, documentary movie company, etc. (Specifically, activities carried out by newspaper journalists, magazine journalists, report writers, editorial chiefs, editors, media photographers, television and radio announcers, etc., including freelancers.)


Investor/
Business
Manager
*
(3 years or 1 year)


Activities to commence the operation of international trade or other business, to invest in international trade or other business and to operate or manage that business, or to operate or manage international trade or other business on behalf of foreign nationals (including foreign corporations) who have begun such an operation or have invested in such a business. The business in question must meet certain conditions of scale. Applicants who wish to engage in business management must fulfill certain conditions concerning work status and personal history.


Legal/
Accounting
Services
*
(3 years or 1 year)


Activities to engage in legal or accounting business. Applicants must be attorneys or public accountants certified to perform their duties in Japan, or those with other legal qualifications recognized by Japan.


Medical
Services
*
(3 years or 1 year)


Activities to engage in medical treatment service. Applicants must be physicians, dentists, or those with other medical qualifications, and must be qualified under Japanese law and fulfill certain conditions concerning work status, etc.


Researcher*
(3 years or 1 year)


Activities to engage in examinations, surveys, research, etc. on the basis of a contract with a public or private organization in Japan. Applicants must fulfill certain conditions concerning personal history and work status.


Instructor*
(3 years or 1 year)


Activities to engage in language instruction and other education at elementary schools, junior high schools, senior high schools, schools for the blind, handicapped children's schools, miscellaneous schools (kakushu gakko and senshu gakko), or other educational institutions equivalent to kakushu gakko in facilities and curriculum.


Engineer*
(3 years or 1 year)


Activities to engage in service that requires technological skill and/or knowledge pertinent to physical science, engineering, or other natural science fields, on the basis of a contract with a public or private organization in Japan. Applicants must fulfill certain conditions concerning personal history and work status.


Specialist in Humanities/
International Services
*
(3 years or 1 year)


Activities to engage in service that requires knowledge pertinent to jurisprudence, economics, sociology, or other human science fields. Activities to engage in service that requires specific ways of thought or sensitivity based on experience with foreign culture, such as interpreting, translation, copywriting, fashion design, interior design, sales, overseas business, information processing, international finance, design, or public relations and advertising based on a contract with a public or private organization in Japan.
Applicants must fulfill certain conditions concerning personal history and work status.


Intracompany Transferee*
(3 years or 1 year)


Activities on the part of personnel who are transferred to business offices in Japan for a limited period of time from business offices that are established in foreign countries by public or private organizations with head offices, branch offices, or other business offices in Japan and who engage at these business offices in the activities described in the "Engineer" or "Specialist in Humanities/International Services" sections of this table. Applicants must fulfill certain conditions concerning personal history and work status.


Entertainer*
(1 year, 6 months, or 3 months)


Activities to engage in theatrical performances, arts, song, dance, musical performances, sports, or any other show business. Applicants must fulfill certain conditions concerning personal history, work status, and form of entertainment.
Activities such as the production of television programs or movies, the photographing of models, etc. Applicants must fulfill certain conditions concerning work status.


Skilled Labor*
(3 years or 1 year)


Activities to engage in service that requires industrial techniques or skills belonging to special fields on the basis of a contract with a public or private organization in Japan. Applicants must fulfill certain conditions concerning personal history and work status.


*Statuses of residence to which the Ministerial Ordinance to Provide for Criteria for Landing Permission does apply.

The Immigration Control Act stipulates the basic legal framework for foreigners staying in Japan in terms of status of residence and also, regarding several types of status of residence, stipulates further that criteria established by an ordinance of the Ministry of Justice in consideration of the impact on Japan's industry and general welfare shall apply as a condition for granting landing permission.

These conditions for granting landing permission are stated in the Ministerial Ordinance to Provide for Criteria pursuant to Article 7, Paragraph 1 (2) of the Immigration Control Act (Ministry of Justice Ordinance No. 16 of May 24, 1990). (See Appendix 1.)

For the criteria for each status of residence, refer to the page(s) indicated below the term of residence.


(b) Statuses of residence not permitting work


VISA CATEGORY
Status of residence
(term of residence)

Activities authorized to engage in


TEMPORARY VISITOR'S VISA

Temporary
Visitor

(90 days or
15 days)

Sightseeing; recreation; sports; visiting relatives, friends, or acquaintances; visiting a sick person; attending a wedding or funeral ceremony; participating in athletic tournaments, contests, etc. as an amateur; business purposes (such as market research, business liaison, business consultations, signing a contract, or providing after-sale service for imported machinery); inspecting or visiting plants, trade fairs, etc.; attending lectures, explanatory meetings, etc.; academic surveys or research presentations; religious pilgrimages or visits; friendship visits to sister cities, sister schools, etc.; or other similar activities during a short period of stay in Japan.
TRANSIT VISA
Temporary
Visitor

(15 days)


Activities are limited to sightseeing, leisure, and rest. Applicants must be foreigners traveling to a foreign country from another foreign country via Japan who wish to stay in Japan for a short period (up to 15 days).


GENERAL VISA
Cultural
Activities

(1 year or
6 months)


Academic or artistic activities that provide no income, activities for the purpose of pursuing specific studies on Japanese culture or arts, or activities for the purpose of learning and acquiring skills in Japanese culture or arts under the guidance of experts (for example, ikebana, tea ceremony, judo, etc.).


College
Student
*
(2 years or 1 year)


Activities to receive education at colleges or equivalent educational institutions, specialized courses of study at miscellaneous schools (senshu gakko), educational institutions designated for preparing persons who have completed 12 years of education at schools in foreign countries to enter college, or technical colleges (koto senmon gakko). Applicants must fulfill certain conditions regarding ability to pay living expenses, etc.


Precollege Student*
(1 year or 6 months)


Activities to receive education at high schools, high school courses of schools for the blind or of handicapped children's schools, higher or general courses of miscellaneous schools (kakushu gakko and senshu gakko), or of other educational institutions that are equivalent to kakushu gakko schools in facilities and curriculum. Applicants must fulfill certain conditions regarding ability to pay living expenses, etc.


Trainee*
(1 year or 6 months)


Activities to learn and acquire technology, skills, or knowledge at public or private organizations in Japan (including not only training in industrial techniques and skills but also administrative training in local governments and other public bodies and clerical training to acquire knowledge).


Dependent*
(3 years, 2 years,
1 year, 6 months
or 3 months)


Daily living activities on the part of the spouse or unmarried minor child of those who stay in Japan with a status of residence mentioned in Table (a) (excluding Diplomat and Official) or with a Cultural Activities or College Student status of residence.


*Same as note for Table (a).

(c) Whether work is permitted or not depends on the contents of individual permits


VISA CATEGORY
Status of residence
(term of residence)

Activities authorized to engage in


SPECIFIED VISA
Designated
Activities

(3 years, 1 year,
6 months, or a
designated
period of less
than 1 year)


Activities that are specifically designated by the Minister of Justice for foreign individuals. (For example, activities on the part of foreigners who wish to enter Japan as personal help privately employed by diplomats, consular representatives, etc.; foreigners who wish to enter Japan under bilateral working holiday agreements*; foreigners who are employed by companies, etc. and are active as athletes in amateur sports and their dependent spouses and children; foreign lawyers engaged in international arbitration affairs, etc. university students engaged in internship activities.)


*Working Holiday Agreements: Based on bilateral agreements, working holiday programmes permit young people (between 18 and 30 years of age) from the countries concerned who are visiting a partner country on vacation to engage in work there so as to supplement their funds to travel and stay in that country, thereby providing them with an opportunity to get to know that country's culture and general lifestyle. At present Japan has such working holiday agreements with five countries: Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea.

2. Statuses of residence without restrictions on activities in Japan


VISA CATEGORY
Status of residence
(term of residence)


Personal relationship or status based on which the residence is authorized


NO VISA GIVEN
Permanent
Resident

(indefinite)


Those who are granted permanent residence by the Minister of Justice. Application for Permanent Resident status is not possible at overseas Japanese diplomatic establishments.


SPECIFIED VISA
Spouse or Child
of Japanese
National

(3 years or 1 year)


Spouses of Japanese nationals, children adopted by Japanese nationals in accordance with the provisions of Article 817-2 of the Civil Code (Law No. 89 of 1896), or those born as children of Japanese nationals.


Spouse or Child
of Permanent
Resident

(3 years or 1 year)


Spouses of those who stay with Permanent Resident status or those who are Special Permanent Residents as described in the Special Law on Immigration Control, which covers those who have lost Japanese nationality through a peace treaty between Japan and another nation, or those born as children of Permanent or Special Permanent Residents.


Long-term
Resident

(3 years, 1 year,
6 months, or a designated
period of less
than 3 years)


Refugees as stipulated by the convention relating to the Status of Refugees, Indo-chinese refugee settlers, second- and third-generation Japanese settlers, etc.




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