If you have recently graduated and are eyeing the prospect of launching your career in the Land of the Rising Sun, you’re not alone. Japan, one of the two Asian nations listed in the Forbes rankings, comes in the top 10 largest economies in the world and boasts a staggering GDP of over 4.2 billion US dollars. This strong economic power makes Japan full of career opportunities, especially for those seeking growth in industries like technology, manufacturing, and finance

Yet, for those who have secured employment in Japan, the next critical step is obtaining a working visa. Read this detailed article where we shed light on the process and prepare you to handle the complex work visa process with confidence!

Steps to Apply for a Japanese Work Visa

With the fees and requirements covered, let’s look into the specifics of applying for your Japanese work visa. This section provides a step-by-step guide to ensure you handle the process smoothly and efficiently.

Step 1. Land a Confirmed Job Opportunity in Japan with a Potential Visa Sponsor

The first important step in obtaining a Japanese work visa is to secure a job offer from a reputable employer in Japan. This company or employer must be licensed to sponsor work visas, meaning they can officially support your visa application process. To effectively do this step, you need to actively seek employment opportunities aligned with your skills and qualifications.

Once you receive an offer letter, carefully review it to ensure it’s a formal document, explicitly stating the company’s commitment to sponsoring your work visa application.

Step 2. Confirm Your Eligibility

Not all work visas are created equal! Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs offers various visa categories like “Highly Skilled Professionals” or “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services“. Understand the distinct criteria and requirements associated with each category.

Assess which classification best suits your job role and qualifications. Each category has specific conditions that must be met for a successful application. This thorough evaluation ensures that your eligibility aligns with the chosen visa category.

Step 3. Initiate Certificate of Eligibility (COE) Application

With a confirmed job offer and eligibility assessment completed, the next step is to initiate the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) application. Collaborate closely with your prospective employer in Japan, who will play a pivotal role in this process. Your employer must apply for the COE on your behalf to the regional immigration authority in Japan.

Remember, communication and active follow-up are key, as processing times can vary from weeks to months. Upon approval, the COE will be delivered to your sponsor and then to you. Carefully review it to ensure all information aligns with your visa application details.

Step 4. Compile the Required Documentation

While your employer applies for the COE application on your behalf, it’s your turn to focus on another important step: compiling the required documentation for your formal visa application. This may include providing your passport, application forms, and any other materials specified by the Japanese embassy or consulate. Depending on your work visa category, you might also need academic certificates, professional licenses, or work experience documentation.

Step 5. Submit and Make Payment

With all the required documents and Certificate of Eligibility (COE) in hand, locate the designated consulate or embassy as outlined by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Submit your application, following facility guidelines. Present your COE and settle the associated fees using the approved payment methods, typically cash or credit card.

Once your application is verified and accepted, you will receive documentation confirming its entry into the processing queue. Applying early is recommended, considering the standard processing period is around 4-5 working days, with potential delays.

Gather your documents, polish your resume, and connect with your potential employer. With each carefully accomplished step indicated in this thorough article, you will not only shape your own future but also contribute to the dynamism of Japan’s 4.2 trillion dollar GDP. So, go forth with confidence, ready to leave your mark on the Land of the Rising Sun!

Documents Needed for a Japanese Work Visa

Whether you want to enter Japan as a journalist, an educational professor, an artist, or simply as an engineer, most of the core required documents for a Japanese work visa remain crucially similar. Common essentials include a valid passport, recent passport-sized photographs, a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) issued by the Immigration Services Agency of Japan, a couple of properly filled application forms, and proof of residence.

The specific documents may vary based on your nationality and job category, so it’s essential to refer to the guidelines provided by the Japanese embassy or consulate in your region for accurate and up-to-date requirements.

Certificate of Eligibility

As compared to other nations, the core requirements of a Japanese work visa contain a unique document: Certificate of Eligibility (COE). This official document, not found in all visa processes, acts as a preliminary approval for your work visa application. It verifies that your planned activities comply with their regulations and confirms your legitimate employment status.

But, how do you obtain a COE, and what happens if you apply without one?

Obtaining a COE involves your prospective employer in Japan applying on your behalf to the regional immigration authority. Without a COE, the application process becomes more complex and time-consuming, requiring you to submit a more extensive set of documents to prove the legitimacy of your employment and the purpose of your stay.

FAQs: Work Visa Applications for Japan

What is the Visa Issuance Fee for a Work Visa?

Securing a Japanese work visa involves some important financial considerations, one of which is the visa issuance fee. As of the latest information from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the fee for a single-entry visa is 3,000 JPY, while a multiple-entry visa costs 6,000 JPY. Additionally, a transit visa is available for 700 JPY.

It’s essential to note that these are general costs. Visa fees can be subject to potential reductions or variations depending on your nationality and specific visa category. Furthermore, certain circumstances, like visa rejections, may not require any fee payment.


We hope this article has made it easier for you to understand all you need to prepare for a Japan work visa. Learn more about Japan by checking out the  Available Courses in Japan and Study in Japan pages!

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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  1. zoritoler imol August 18, 2023 1:40 pm - Reply

    Regards for helping out, good info .

    • Hyun Lee August 18, 2023 4:01 pm - Reply

      You are welcome!

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