Qualifying for the Highly Skilled Foreign Professional Visa Schedule (1) in Japan
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Step by step explanation on the process of the highly skilled professional visa.
This article covers the details on how to obtain the Highly Skilled Foreign Professional Visa Schedule (1) (HSFP for the purposes of this article). To understand what is a highly skilled professional and other details about this visa category please read our previous article, “What are Highly Skilled Professionals.”
This information is presented for both highly skilled professionals interested in working in Japan as well as Japanese companies and institutions seeking to employ foreign professionals. For the Japanese version of this article please click here.
The visa categories under the HSFP (1) visa are:
- Advanced academic research activities (identified as subcategory (1i))
- Advanced business management activities (identified as subcategory (1ii))
- Advanced specialized or technological activities (identified as subcategory (1iii))
Point System: Points are allocated by category; e.g. academic background, career, and annual salary. This visa category was created in order to prioritize the migration of highly skilled professionals to Japan. In order to receive preferential status for the immigration process the total points should reach 70.
The HSFP (1) visa can be applied for even when the (potential) employee resides outside of Japan and can be applied for on behalf of the applicant by the employer.
1. Before Applying
Understand the categories
- Advanced academic research activities: Highly Skilled Professional (1i)
- Research, research guidance, or education
- Advanced specialized/technical activities: Highly Skilled Professional (1ii)
- Work requiring specialized knowledge or skills in the natural sciences or humanities
- Advanced business management activities: Highly Skilled Professional (1iii)
- Operation or management of public or private organizations in Japan
Those who fit into one of the above categories must first calculate whether they are suitable for a HSFP visa based on the points on the Immigration Bureau of Japan’s website. People with 70 or more points qualify for this visa.
Points are awarded by category and here is a chart with all the categories and the corresponding points.
Calculating points can be done with the "Point Calculation Table for Advanced Professional (Reference Format)" in excel format below. （Japanese Only)
2. Preparing to Apply
The application process can begin once it is determined that the applicant has over 70 points.
The first step is to fill out the Certificate for Eligibility of Resident Status specifying the subcategory on the HSFP (1) visa application is for (1i, 1ii or 1iii).
*The documents have to be submitted within three months of their date of issue
A. 1 application for certificate for eligibility of resident status
This is available at local immigration bureaus, or from the Ministry of Justice’s website. (Japanese only)
B. 1 picture (3x4 cm)
The picture must be a clear photo of the applicants face with a white background. Like standard passport photos there cannot be any obstructions and the face must facing forward. Finally the photo must be taken within 3 months of the application.
The applicant’s name should be written on the back before being pasted on the form.
C. Self-addressed stamped envelope
Write the address clearly on the envelope and use a 392 yen simplified registered mail stamp (within Japan only).
D. Additional documentation will vary based on your profession and employment
This table on the Immigration Bureau of Japan’s website lists required document next to the relevant profession. For the purposes of the HSFP(1) visa sections “professor,” “artist,” “religious activities,” “journalist,” and all the sections between “investor/business manager,” and “engineer” apply.
E. A section of the point calculation table (reference) for HSPF (1i)(1ii), or (1iii) pertaining to the type of activities that will be engaged in in Japan.
The entire reference is available in the downloadable excel sheet above or on the immigration bureau’s website (Japanese only).
F. Documentary Evidence of Points
Supporting documents are required to qualify for the points (e.g. school records, proof of employment, proof of resident status, proof of annual income, etc.). However, it is also not necessary to submit documents explaining every single applicable item as long as the documents presented support a point total of 70. (Please note the translated excerpt below is not an official translation)
3. Applications can be Submitted by the Employer
Companies employing people from outside of Japan are also eligible to submit these documents for their potential employees. After the above 2 items are prepared, the company can submit the application to their local immigration bureau.
4. After Getting Accepted
Once all the materials have been submitted, inspected, and approved, the Immigration Bureau of Japan will send the Certificate of Eligibility. The document will be mailed within Japan in the self addressed envelope provided.
If the company submitted the application on behalf of the employee the certificate will be sent to the employer. Upon receiving the certificate of eligibility (and depending on the person’s country of origin, the employee must apply for a visa at the Japanese embassy. The visa application location for each country can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Your Certificate of Eligibility will look something like this:
With both Certificate of Eligibility and visa in hand, the immigration and customs process upon arriving in Japan should be smooth. After entering the country a residence card will be issued at the airport or be sent by mail most likely to the person’s place of work.
The process is pretty straight forward for those who qualify, just as long as all the documentations in in order. And it is common for your employer to handle most of the administrative process for the visa.
Good luck with your visa application!
About the Author
I've been in love with Japan since I was twelve years old. After studying at Kansei Gakuin University and teaching for three years under the protection of Mount Tate in scenic Toyama prefecture (where you'll find the most beautiful Starbucks in the world), I returned stateside to attend Kent State University to get my Masters in Japanese Translation. Now I've been given the wonderful opportunity to intern at IZANAU for what's sure to be a glorious summer.