The one question that we at Bond Lingo often get is how hard it is to get a visa to be able to live in Japan. This question is complex, yet simple at the same time. In this article, we lay out the different kind of visa options that you may have available depending on your current situation.

Japanese Visas: How hard is it to get a Japanese visa as a foreigner?

The complex part about Japanese visas is that there are 27 different kinds of visas, and the requirements for each of them are different. The 27 visas are divided into 3 groups outlined below:

  • Working visas: Visas which allow you to work in Japan.
  • Non-working visas: Those that don’t allow you to work but reside in Japan.
  • Family-related visas: Those granted on the basis of family status.

If you are a foreigner with no family ties, and want to work in the U.S, the working visas are divided into 5 work types, outlined below:

Engineer + Specialist in Humanities and Special ServicesEligibility

  • Work in the fields of engineering, physical/natural sciences (10 years of experience)  
  • Working in humanities, legal, economic, or social fields (10 years of experience)  
  • Working in translation, international services, public relations (3 years of experience)

Intra-company Transferee – Eligibility

  • Expats of foreign companies or subsidiary of Japanese firms overseas.  
  • Must have worked at least 1 year in the said office overseas.


Skilled Labor – Eligibility

  • Foreign cooking, processing of stones, metals, fur, etc,

Business Manager – Eligibility

  • Starting or investing into a business in Japan or managing business on behalf of other investors


Highly Skilled Professional

  • Determined by the individual’s professional and educational background

If, however you are looking to stay in Japan through a non-work visa, there are still options for you as well, outlined below:

  1. Students – Students enrolled in some form of education
  2. Trainee – Training to learn technology at Japanese organizations
  3. Technical Internship – Internship after training under trainee visa
  4. Dependent – Spouses or children under someone with working or non-working visa
  5. Cultural Activities – Cultural or artistic activities

Temporary Visitor

  • Tourism, vacation, sports, etc.

While complex, it’s probably clearer which bracket and sub-bracket you fit into. Based on this, we highly recommend you investigate more details, as this quick read was only designed to help give you a high-level understanding of the Japanese visa process ☺

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