Working Visa Japan:

Which Visas to Get & How?

Working Visa Japan: Which visa to get and how? Also for many, the working holiday visa is a great visa to start with if you qualify.

The situation for Americans is more complex as they cannot get a working holiday visa. What should Americans do about working in Japan? Indeed the American situation is unique compared with citizens of Germany, Canada or the UK for example. Let`s explain the American situation in more detail.

Pictured: a temple building entrance (by Paul Canosa)

The easiest and most convenient (Working Visa Japan) to get is the working holiday visa, but not everyone can get this.

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Working Visa Japan: The Working Holiday Visa

You can arrange to get a working holiday visa at the nearest consulate if your country offers it.

Many people arrange to get a working holiday visa before they come to Japan. It usually takes a few days to a couple of weeks to get. One of the consulates stated it would take just a few days.

Visit the working holiday visa site to learn more about working holiday visas for Japan.

Working Visa Japan: Japanese Language Study Visa

Immigration confirmed that it`s ok to work part time (up to 30 hours it seems) while studying on a Japanese Language Study Visa.

You just need to put in some paperwork to get permission which takes 1-2 weeks after arrival.

This seems like a great visa for Americans or others who cannot get a working holiday visa. As it allows you to work and study!

Plus you can always switch over to a working visa if you want to work more in the future.

Working Visa Japan: Many People get a Working Visa

Your school will put in the paper work for this visa and sponsor you. It is a fairly big responsibility for the school. If the school really wants you however, they should be willing to sponsor you for a working visa.

This usually takes a month or more to get the visa. When immigration is really busy it can take quite long however,and this causes problems and stress for everyone concerned.

Working Visa Japan: Immigration

The fact that Japanese immigration can be so slow, explains how some schools will actually ask you to come to Japan on a tourist visa then switch it over to a working visa. They sponsor you after you arrive in Japan. This was how I was hired when I first came to Japan. A reputable school in Aichi asked me to do this. It is very common. I was a bit leery of doing it, until I learned that the reality of the work situation for "gaijin" in Japan. I asked some people who had lived in Japan and they said it happens all the time.

This is actually against the law, but the schools need a teacher and often immigration is simply too slow. Sometimes laws as we know, do not coincide with the actual reality of the situation. Some bureaucrat in Tokyo decides things and everyone suffers. Immigration seems to have steamlined things, and things are always improving, however world events have a way of affecting how easily you will be able to get a visa. 9/11 didn`t help anyone, anywhere for example.

Remember too, immigration`s job is not to give you a visa. It is too keep out undesirables to Japan. Their goal is not speed of visa issuance, but safety for Japan.

Two weeks is all that is legally required so it doesn`t give schools enough time to interview, hire and sponsor a teacher for a visa.

One of our teachers left with four days notice! Fortunately that has been very rare with our school. He apologized but admitted he did it for money. It caused a lot of problems for us!

Legally, the situation is impossible for schools. So don`t be at all suprised if an interested school asks you to come on a tourist visa. They may well be a great place to work, and they want you badly--now.

The big schools are hiring all the time, they often have agents abroad interviewing prospective teachers. They will have a large bank of teachers available to come to Japan. The smaller schools (and in my humble opinion) they are the best schools to work for--don`t have a large supply of teachers readily available. Especially if they are in the suburbs or the countryside. There are still too few non-Japanese living there to build up a network of possible teachers in the event of a teacher quitting. Japan is still far from multicultural except in the largest of cities.

So again, if one asks you to come on short notice on a tourist visa. Trust your gut feeling. Are they good or not? Most probably, they are a good school that simply needs a teacher soon.

Self-Sponsored Visa

A lesser known visa is the self-sponsored visa. You don`t really sponsor yourself but you line up enough work to make 250,000 yen or more per month and have the companies employing you put in the appropriate paper work. They then sponsor you (in effect) for the self-sponsored visa.

It helps smaller schools that cannot hire you for fulltime hours, but can be part of a group of one or two other schools, that together, sponsor you by (putting in the appropriate paper work) for the self-sponsored visa.

There are a few other visas available, but the visas listed above are the most common for English teachers.

Can teaching at an English school in Japan be a career?

Pictured: a typical street in Japan (by Paul Canosa)

More on Working Visa Japan: and for other countries

At Direct they help tourists and business travelers with their travel documents before they go on international travel.

They are a US Passport and travel visa expediting service.

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