Can you get a work visa for five years or longer?│How foreigners can continue to work in Japan for a long time


Generally, the length of stay for work visas is up to five years, and you must apply for an extension at least every five years. If you are applying for the first time, it is usually approved for a relatively short period, such as three months or one year.

The maximum duration of the work visa is five years

The maximum length of stay for a work visa (working status of residence) is usually five years, except for diplomatic visas. Unless you change/extend your residence status, it is impossible to stay and work in Japan for more than five years.
In reality, many people stay in Japan much longer than five years by continuing to work in the same industry with a similar job.

How to determine the length of stay

Most types of work visas fall into the following five categories, which will be discussed in more detail later. In most cases, however, the visa is issued to first-time applicants for only three months or one year.

5 years(the maximum amount of time)
3 years
1 year
3 months
The period specified by the Ministry of Justice

Under current immigration and residence procedures, there is no reliable way to easily obtain the maximum length of stay of five years. This is because the examiner determines the length of stay on a case-by-case basis depending on the content of the application.
When you first receive a residence permit, it is generally approved for the shortest possible period based on your employment contract. Each time you renew the residence permit, you are given more credit to be able to work in Japan and you will eventually be approved for the maximum period.

Conclusion│If you renew your period of stay, you can work for longer than five years

Applications for renewal of status of residence are accepted three months before the expiration date. If you continue to work until then without significant problems, the next period will be determined at the time of renewal.
If you apply for a residence permit extension each time the expiration date approaches, you can work in Japan for more than five years.

Benefits of obtaining the five-year visa

Acquiring the longest length of stay has two major advantages, both of which are beneficial to your personal life. Another benefit is that it reduces the frequency of renewal procedures and the time and effort required to obtain documents.

It can be changed to a permanent/long-term visa

To apply for permanent resident or long-term resident status, you must have a long-term resident visa at the time of application. While the requirement for the number of years you have spent continuously in Japan must be met, a five-year visa is the first step toward permanent resident status.

Obtain credit for various transactions [mortgages, car loans, etc.

For contracts that provide for installment payments on a house or a car, the longer the period of stay, the better the credit screening results will be. So if you have a five-year work visa, you can more easily make major purchases and improve your lifestyle in Japan.

How to get a five-year stay with a work permit n

If you are aiming for a five-year visa with a work permit, it is advisable to carefully review your job and employment contract. In particular, the following points will be beneficial to your application.

Your employment should be with a large company

Screening for certification of eligibility and extension of status of residence requires that the employer have the financial strength to provide you with continuous employment. The criterion for this is the amount of recent profits and share capital. It is assumed that the larger a company’s profits and capital, the less likely it is that the company will suffer from management difficulties that could result in the layoff of employees.

For the “Technology / Humanities / International Business" residency status, which has the most holders, the size of companies is clearly divided into four categories, and it is generally considered that it is advantageous in determining the length of residency if your employer is classified in category 2 or higher.

 ▼Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services

Category 1Companies listed on a Japanese stock exchange, public interest corporations, independent administrative agencies, etc. 
Category 21. Individuals or organizations whose withheld taxes (as listed in the total statutory report) from the previous year amounted to 10 million yen or more2. Institutions that have received approval to use the online residency application system
Category 3Individuals or organizations that filed their total statutory report, including withheld taxes for earned income from the previous year
Category 4Those who do not meet any of the conditions listed in the other categories

Sign an indefinite-term contract

The length of stay is based on the term of the employment contract, even if you are only applying for an extension permit. If the duration of the employment is long and the career plan is reasonable during this period, the examiner will most likely determine the appropriate length of stay.
In other words: If you enter into a permanent employment contract with a reasonable ability to perform your duties, you will likely be approved for the maximum five-year period of residence.

For foreigners to work for longer than five years

If you wish to work in Japan indefinitely, it is best to apply for permanent residence or become a naturalized citizen. The pre-application residency requirements may be lowered if the applicant is married or engaged to be married in Japan, etc.

Advantages and disadvantages of obtaining permanent residence

The advantage of obtaining permanent residence in Japan is that there are no restrictions on activities or length of stay. Spouses are also not subject to restrictions and are free to work and increase the family income.
However, the procedure for re-entry permits is the same as for other statuses of residence, and you cannot obtain the right to vote or eligibility to take the civil service exam.

What is an application for a naturalization permit?

An application for naturalization is a procedure by which you can renounce the citizenship of your home country and acquire Japanese citizenship. Even if you were born in another country, you will be treated the same as Japanese citizens in terms of immigration, social systems, voting rights and other systems for Japanese citizens.
The problem is that there are so many criteria and information needed to make a decision that it can take a year or even longer to complete the screening. In addition, you must continue to renew your status of residence while applying for a naturalization permit.

Conclusion│The duration of stay of a work visa may not exceed five years

If you are staying on a work visa, you must renew it at least every five years. If you wish to work in Japan for more than five years without going through a residency renewal process, you must usually apply for permanent residence or naturalization.
However, obtaining a visa once for the longest possible period is a prerequisite for a permanent residence permit. If you wish to work longer or continue to live without a time limit, you should consider future procedures before the next visa renewal.