Flowers in Japan

Visa applications

To apply for a visa, the applicant must apply in person to an embassy or consulate.

There is no system by which a proxy can carry out the application procedures in Japan.
When applying for a visa at an embassy or consulate, the documents to be submitted or shown differ according to the purposes of the visit, so please make inquiries to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or an embassy or consulate beforehand and then apply with the necessary documents.
When applying for a visa at an embassy or consulate, you might be requested to submit documents in addition to those mentioned in this pamphlet. Also, please note that applications might not be accepted if documents are inadequate.
There are three processes of visa application, as shown in the accompanying diagram. In principle, applications usually follow the first process. The second and third processes are used when necessary.
Japan has seven types of visa, including two types of visa for short-term stays. Working visas are issued for 14 statuses of residence. There are also cases where a visa is not necessary for landing permission. Purposes for entering Japan are broadly divided into those requiring short-term stays, such as tourism, and other purposes, such as work, necessitating long-term stays. Visa applications for these two categories are explained in sections A and B below, respectively.


Short-term Stays (Excluding Work)

Short-term stays refer to temporary visits of up to 90 days for such purposes as sightseeing; sports; convalescence; visits to relatives, friends, or acquaintances; amateur participation in athletic meetings or other contests; business trips (such as market surveys, business liaison, business talks, signing contracts, and after-sale service for machinery imported into Japan); and friendship visits. These activities require either a temporary visa or transit visa. (However, this category excludes profit-making operations and paid activities.)


Work and Long-term Stays

If a foreigner wishes to enter Japan for activities other than those described in section A, he or she will need a diplomatic visa, official visa, working visa, general visa, or specified visa. Naturally, foreigners who enter Japan having acquired a working visa are able to work in Japan. Typical types of employment include the long-term assignment to Japan of foreign company personnel; employment in Japanese companies to make use of the foreigner’s knowledge of other countries; entertainment activities, such as concerts, theater, and sports; and educational activities, such as foreign-language teaching.
It is also possible to get permission for long-term stays for some activities that meet certain criteria, such as Japanese university or college education or company training, although work is not permitted in these cases. Permission for long-term residence in Japan is also granted in the case of spouses of Japanese nationals and others who settle in Japan.
When applying for a visa for the above-mentioned activities, it is advisable to apply in Japan beforehand for a Certificate of Eligibility. If a foreigner submits a visa application to an embassy or consulate together with a Certificate of Eligibility, he or she will be able to obtain a visa in a shorter time than applicants without such a certificate.
Foreigners can apply for a visa without such a certificate at an embassy or consulate in the case of long-term stays also. But if the purpose of the stay is work, the application documents might be forwarded to a regional immigration authority in Japan for screening. In this case applicants are advised to leave plenty of time for their application to be processed.

Source: Website of MOFA (The Ministry of Foreign Affairs)


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