Work Permits for Japan

There are a number of different work permits for Japan, and these are categorised by the type of work one intends to do, such as legal/accounting services, entertainer, medical services and researcher, to name a few.

For most types of work permits, including the Specialist in Humanities permit to teach English, expats will need a job offer from a company in Japan before they can apply for the work permit. Before officially applying for the permit, the company, acting as the applicant’s sponsor, also needs to organise a Certificate of Eligibility. This certificate testifies that the bearer meets the requirements for a visa. Once this has been obtained, the work permit is applied for at the Japanese embassy in an expat's home country.

Changing a visa in Japan

There's no need for expats to change their visa status if they change employers while in Japan, as long as they still work in the same visa category (English teachers, copywriters and translators all fall under the Specialist in Humanities category, for example). Visas can be renewed from within Japan on an annual basis at the local Immigration Office.

Getting a Resident (Zairyu) Card for Japan

Expats who intend staying in Japan for the long term, including for work purposes, are required to have a Zairyu Card, which will be issued to them upon arrival at the airport (Narita, Haneda, Chubu and Kansai). If not arriving at one of the listed international airports, the card will be delivered in the mail.

The residence card grants expats in Japan the right to multiple re-entries into the country and it extends the maximum length of stay from three to five years. Expats working in Japan who hold a valid resident card will be able to re-enter the country and continue to work as long as they re-enter within one year of leaving Japan.

Having a residence card in Japan makes life much easier for expats and allows them to engage with the country’s infrastructure by opening a bank account, getting a mobile phone contract, a driver’s licence or registering for the National Health Insurance benefits.

*Visa and work permit regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats are advised to contact their nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for the latest information.

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