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Procedure of Changing from a Student Visa to a Working Visa

Procedure of Changing from a Student Visa to a Working Visa

International students are holding the Student visa to study in Japan, including language schools, vocational schools, universities, etc. Basically they are not allowed to work full-time, but are able to work part-time after receiving a work permission from Immigration Bureau. So what happen to their visa if they graduate from school?

According to Japanese Immigration Control Act, Student visa will turn invalid once the holder graduates from school, even though the expiration date printed on the residence card still has several months left. If the holder can't change to another valid visa before the Student visa expires, the holder has to leave Japan, otherwise he or she will become an overstayer. This article will introduce the visas to which graduate students can change depending on their choices. When and how to change from a Student visa to a working visa, which is the most common choice of students, will be talked in detail.

Visas that international students change to after graduation

Student visa: Continue studying in Japan

Though called the same Student visa, they are different visas, for example changing from a Precollege Student visa to a College Student visa. Both the documents from the current and the future school will be required for changing visa.

Designated activities visa: Continue job hunting in Japan

If the Student would like to work full-time in Japan but failed finding a job and plans to continue searching after graduation, he or she can change to the Designated activities visa allowing for a maximum stay of 2 years. Documents from the current school and the plan of finding a job will be required for visa change.

Tourist visa: Travel and enjoy Japan

If the Student just wants to stay in Japan for a little longer after graduation, he or she can change to a Tourist visa, which allows for a short stay of three months. Required documents will be easy but note that a Tourist visa can't change to any other working visa and the holder can't work paid during residing. If a tourist visa holder succeeded getting a job offer during stay, he or she can apply for a corresponding working visa by applying for a Certificate of Eligibility.

Working visa: Work full time in Japan

If the Student received a job offer, he or she can change to a Working visa, which allows a long-term stay in Japan. The details of changing from a Student to a working visa will be introduced in the following.

When to change from a Student to a working visa?

Understandably, the new staff should hold a valid working visa on the first day starting work, which is usually April 1, Japanese new fiscal year. If the international student graduates earlier, he or she should get the working visa ready before graduation. It's better to prepare early considering that visa application takes for two months. But as a signed employment contract is necessary for applying for visa change, students are highly recommended to start applying immediately after receiving a job offer or unofficial offer.

How to change from a Student to a working visa?

The applicant should prepare and submit necessary documents to the Regional Immigration Office. Some companies may do the submission on behalf of the hired student, so confirm with the company's Personnel Division first. According to the future job category, the Student can change to different working visa, such as Nursing care for certified care worker, Specified skilled worker for certain industrial fields, etc. But let's take the most common one Engineer/Specialist in humanities/International services as an example of required documents.

Documents from not only the applicant, but also the future employer are required.

From the applicant

・Valid passport, residence card

・A filled in application form for change of status of residence (for the applicant) with a photo pasted

・A latest CV with the dates and lengths of time the applicant has been in Japan shown

・Reason for application. No particular written format is defined, but it will make the process easier to write down the relevance of the field the applicant majored in the school with the future work duty.

・Certificate of Graduation, or a Certificate of Prospective Graduation if not graduated yet

・Transcript may be also required

From the employer

・A filled in application form for change of status of residence (for the employer)

・A copy of signed job offer letter or contract with labor period, work duties, work hours, work place, salary and allowances presented

・A copy of the company's legal registration

・A financial statement of the company

・A company brochure

・Reason for employment. No particular written format, but the relevance of the applicant's major and the work duty will help.

Screen criteria and check points of Immigration Bureau

As can be imaged from the required documents, both conditions of the applicant and employer will be checked carefully by the Immigration Bureau to determine whether grant a working visa or not.

The applicant side

・Whether the applicant has graduated or has the prospect of graduation from a school

The employer side

・Whether the future work duties correspond to the allowed activities of the working visa, for example IT engineering in the case of an Engineer working visa

・Whether the future work duties can utilize the applicant's technical skills and knowledge

・Whether the future work provide a salary the same or more than a Japanese national in the same position

・The stability, continuity and necessity of employment of the future work

So prepare the required documents according to the screen criteria will lead to a successful visa change application.

How to find a part-time job for international students?

International students can only work part-time before changing to a working visa. The most popular part-time jobs among students must be staff of convenience stores, kitchen or hall staff of restaurants, assistant at construction sites.

Quick Jobs Japan, a part-time job search website specialized for foreigners, provides enormous job information all over Japan. International students can search the website by industry, location and Japanese language level easily to find a suitable part-time job.