Making the decision to study abroad might be quite difficult. You’re balancing the often-complex area of student visas with premium educational institutions, top-notch professors, and genuine cultural experiences. However, what if there was a nation that fulfilled all of your demands and provided an additional benefit, like an expanding global community with over 230,000 international students just like you?

The country in question is Japan.

But, to travel to Japan for a quality educational experience the primary requirement is obtaining the appropriate student visa. This comprehensive article simplifies the application process for Japan, empowering you to confidently achieve your academic goals in the Land of the Rising Sun!

What Are the Necessary Documents to Submit for a Japanese Student Visa?

Getting the right student visa is necessary before you can start your academic career in Japan. Even though it’s a relatively easy process, this procedure requires proper submission of documents and thoughtful preparation. While specific requirements may differ depending on your nationality, several key documents are required for all candidates.

Start by ensuring that you have a valid passport, which must remain valid throughout your intended stay in Japan. Additionally, prepare recent photographs, a Certificate of Eligibility obtained from the Immigration Services Agency of Japan, an acceptance letter from your chosen university, a couple of filled visa application forms, and an employment certificate of your financial supporter if applicable.

Remember, these are the core documents, and additional requirements may apply based on your nationality.

What is a Certificate of Eligibility?

When entering Japan, another important document besides your passport is a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Issued by a regional immigration authority, the COE acts as official verification that your study plans are compliant with Japanese regulations and confirms your genuine student status. It essentially provides a green light for your visa application, enabling you to avoid the complex and potentially time-consuming process of applying without it. Presenting the COE at both the embassy or consulate and later at passport control significantly simplifies your entry procedures, allowing you to easily focus on your academic aspirations.

Although it is technically possible to apply for a visa without the COE, this path involves submitting extensive documentation and potentially facing lengthy delays.

How Much is the Visa Issuance Fee for a Student Visa?

The visa issuance fee for a Japanese student visa varies based on the type of visa and your nationality. A single-entry visa typically costs 3,000 yen, a double or multiple-entry visa costs 6,000 yen, and a transit visa costs 700 yen. These costs are charged in the currency of the nation (region) where the Embassy or Consulate-General is situated.

Thankfully, there are no expenses involved if your visa application is denied; however, if you apply through one of the Embassy/Consulate General of Japan’s authorized agencies, there may be additional processing fees.

Steps on Applying for a Japanese Student Visa.

Now that the key concerns have been addressed, let’s proceed through the detailed process of applying for a Japanese student visa.

Step 1. Receive acceptance from a Japanese educational institution

Securing acceptance from a recognized Japanese educational institution is the essential first step in obtaining your student visa. Explore universities and programs that align with your academic passions and offer the right fit for your career goals. Look for institutions with strong academic offerings, language support if needed, and a welcoming environment for international students.

Once accepted, the institution will provide you with an official acceptance letter, confirming your enrollment. This document is indispensable for initiating the subsequent steps in the visa application process.

Step 2. Obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

Having secured university acceptance, the next crucial step is obtaining your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) directly from a regional immigration services agency in Japan. As described earlier, the CoE verifies that your intended activities align with the conditions specified in the Immigration Control Act. Furthermore, your educational institution will also coordinate with the regional immigration authority to secure the CoE, easing the subsequent steps in your visa application process.

Step 3. Gather the required application documents

If you have applied for the Certificate of Eligibility (COE), expedite the visa application process by proactively collecting the required documents while awaiting its issuance. Rather than waiting passively, utilize this time to assemble your application package carefully. Ensure your passport remains valid for the entirety of your intended stay, have the necessary passport-sized photographs ready, and diligently fill out the visa application form well in advance. Organize your academic records, graduation certificate, and residence certificate promptly, taking into consideration the time required for any additional steps. If applicable, also secure the employment certificate of your financial supporter.

Step 4. Submit the application and pay the fees

Having successfully completed the document-gathering stage, you can now proceed with submitting your visa application and settling the associated fees. Locate the designated consulate general or embassy for your area using the official visa information resources of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Upon arrival, ensure you have all the required documents neatly organized and readily accessible. Follow the instructions at the facility to navigate the submission process, which may involve presenting your documents to an immigration officer. Settle the associated fees through the established method, typically cash or credit card depending on the specific consulate or embassy. After confirming your application is complete and accepted, you will receive a receipt or other documentation acknowledging its entry into the processing queue.

Remember, the Japanese Government recommends visa applicants to apply early for their visa, as the standard processing period is around 4-5 working days, but it’s always best to factor in potential delays.

Step 5. Track your application and prepare for departure

With your application submitted, the countdown to Japan begins! You can begin monitoring its progress through the designated online portal or by contacting the relevant consulate. Once approved, move on to the final steps—book your travel, arrange accommodation, and ensure all essential documents are in order for a smooth departure to Japan.

Equipped with this comprehensive article, the path to studying in Japan lies effortlessly before you. Research your dream university, reach out for acceptance, and initiate the visa application process with confidence. Every document gathered and form completed takes you closer to experiencing Japan’s robust student experience and rich cultural diversity!


We hope that this article was informative and helpful. To learn more about Japan, check out valuable tips and guides at Study in Japan! You can also search for available programs on Open Courses!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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