In order for a foreigner to work in Japan, one of three procedures is required: issuance, change, or extension of residence status/visa. Both the applicant and their employer must submit certain documents in order to apply.
▼Example of a work visa (or work status of residence)
- Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services – for office workers, translators, etc.
- Business Manager – for executives, managers of a company, etc.
- Intra-company Transferee- for employees transferred from a foreign branch office
Documents prepared by the applicant
Applicants, i.e., foreigners who wish to work in Japan, must prepare documents proving their identity and background, such as the following.
This is the basic document for applying for a work visa. The application form is prepared according to the procedure and can be downloaded as a PDF file from the official website of the Japan Immigration Bureau. You will need:
- Application form
- Photo (4×3 that meets the specified standards)
- Reply envelope (with stamps attached)
Identity Verification Documents
The following documents are required to confirm the applicant’s name and address, current residence, and immigration status. What you need to present may vary slightly depending on the process for which you are applying.
- Residence card (required for renewal or change)
- Passport (a copy is enough for visa issuance; for visa change, you need the original)
- Copy of the certificate of residence (required for the change)
Documents related to career/qualifications
Work visa requirements generally include proof of education and work experience. You must provide the following documents to prove that you can work in your profession.
- Resume (not required, but desirable)
- Proof of education (diploma, expected graduation date, etc.)
- Proof of employment history, certificate of employment
- Proof of qualification (Japanese language certification certificate, etc.)
- Proof of income (tax payment certificate, etc., if you are/were employed)
Documents prepared by the employer
The employer prepares most of the application materials for the work visa. This is because more documentation is required about the Japanese company than from applicants unfamiliar with Japanese procedures.
Documents with information about the company
The employer of the foreigner (the company inviting them) must prove the information and stability of the company and employment with the following documents. Depending on the company’s size and the business’s content, additional documents may be required, so you must inquire before applying for each procedure.
- Certificate of Registered Matters
- Copy of the Articles of Incorporation
- Copy of the latest financial statements
- Company profile (including information on the organization, business details, transaction records, etc.)
Documents concerning the employmen
The contract between the foreigner and the company must also be proven at the time of application. The basic certificates vary depending on your position within the company as follows.
▼If the applicant is hired as an employee
Employment contract (shows the treatment of the employee by the company and the salary)
▼If the applicant joins as a board member
- A copy of the minutes of the shareholders’ meeting (in the case of a Japanese corporation)
- Documents showing status, period, and compensation (in the case of a Japanese branch of a foreign company)
Documents to be submitted voluntarily
The company may also voluntarily submit a written justification of the visa application describing the circumstances that led to their invitation. In it, the company can explain how important it is that you obtain a work visa (residency status), that you are qualified for the job,, and that they can provide you continuous and stable employment.
It is not mandatory, but the examiner may decide to approve or reject the application depending on the content of this justification. Therefore, it should be written formally and in detail.