Career Guide

Apply for a Student Visa to Study and Work in Japan

Apply for a Student Visa to Study and Work in Japan

A visa is an entry permit to another country issued by that country's embassy or consulate. There are several types of visas depending on the purpose of entry, and a "student visa" must be obtained for study purposes, whose holders are generally called "international student" in Japan. Any non-Japanese nation studying at an educational institution, including a high school in Japan must apply for a student visa.

How to apply for a Japanese student visa

Like any other visa, a student visa must be applied for at the Japanese embassy or consulate. You can make the application yourself, or authorize a proxy like a school to do it, or in some cases do it through a travel agent approved by Japanese embassy or consulate. In any way, the steps will be as follows.

1. Prepare for the COE (Certificate of Eligibility).

A Certificate of Eligibility is issued before a visa application by a regional immigration authority in Japan. To apply for a COE, you must provide documents to explain what activities you will engage in Japan and these activities are not fraudulent, and you promise not to engage in other activities. As you still have no visa and are not able to enter Japan, you need a friend or a school in Japan to help you submit documents.

Though a COE takes 1-3 months to apply for and is not a guarantee of student visa's issuance, it can help you get a student visa issued more easily at an embassy or consulate within five working days from the day of the application's acceptance. Of course it's possible to make the visa application without this COE, but it will be necessary to submit a large number of additional verifying documents and the processing time will be several months.

So we really recommend you to apply for a COE before making the visa application. The needed documents will be listed in Part 2.

2. Prepare for the student visa application documents required by the embassy or consulate.

The documents will be listed in Part 2.

3. Once you receive the COE, take the visa application documents and the COE to the Japanese embassy or consulate in your city.

4. You will be issued the actual student visa within five working days.

The documents needed for student visa application

Applying for COE, the following documents should be submitted to the regional immigration office in charge of your intended school in Japan.

・One application form which can be downloaded from HP of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

・One 4cm×3cm photo taken within three months prior to submission

・A return-mail envelope affixed with stamp worth 392 yen

・Academic documents showing that you've graduated from school, like diploma and official transcript

・Financial documents certifying that you can defray all the expenses incurred during the stay in Japan, including tuition, living costs, school fees, etc. You can use bank statements, or income statements, or financial aid award letter, or scholarship award letters, or scholarship award letters to show that you can support yourself.

The cost varies from schools, but it is recommended to show an average of ¥2,000,000 or more. Please make sure that all documents you provide are under your passport name. If the expenses are defrayed by another person, documents showing who and why he or she intends to defray all the expenses for you will be needed. And all financial documents should be under his or her name.

・A copy of the certificate of admission from the school where you intend to study.

For student visa application, the following documents are needed.


・One visa application form which can be downloaded from HP of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

・One photo of passport-size

・Original COE and one copy

How to find a part-time job with a student visa

So during your student life in Japan, you may want to find a part-time job to get some extra money. You can try the following 2 ways to search one.

Finding one on the Internet

There are many job search websites in Japan with extensive part-time jobs posted and updated. Quick Jobs Japan is a great website specialized for foreigners to find a job in Japan with more than 10000 job listings and over 300 companies. You can easily search for part-time jobs by industry like eating and drinking, customer services, factory and so on.

Get introduction from your homestay

You can also talk with the owner of your homestay if there are any part-time vacancies and get introduced. In this case it's highly possible for you to get a part-time job nearby.

Warnings when international students to work part-timely in Japan

Student visa holders are not allowed to work paid in Japan as you promised to engage in study only when applying for the visa. However, if you apply for Permission to Engage in an Activity Other Than That Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted (which will be called Unqualified Activity Permission below) from the immigration office, you can work paid in Japan.

To obtain a work permit

You can apply for the Unqualified Activity Permission at the airport's immigration office immediately after landing on Japan, or submit application documents to immigration office after entering Japan. The former one is highly recommended as it costs less time.

After obtaining this permission, you will get a seal of verification attached to your passport or a written permission with The details of the newly permitted activity indicated. There's one thing to note that if your student visa expired, the Unqualified Activity Permission expires too, so renew the permission with your student visa together.

Time limitations of part-time job

Getting the Unqualified Activity Permission doesn't mean that you can work as you want. Actually there are two conditions in The details of the newly permitted activity of the permission. One is that an international student is not allowed to work over 28 hours per week while 8 hours per day during holidays.

Workplace limitations of part-time job

The other condition is that an international student is not allowed to work at amusement or entertainment businesses, such as clubs, cabarets, pachinko, and game centers. Note that any job in such places will be prohibited including dish washing.