The Japanese Visa Series, Chapter 4: Costs of a Working Visa
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Everything in life has a price, but it does not mean it has to be expensive!
Welcome back to our Japanese Visa Series! We have prepared a new chapter for you this week but before moving any further, have you read the previous chapters? In the first chapter, we did a bit of research on the different types of visas in Japan. The second chapter was about the Japanese working holiday visa, a popular way to spend a year abroad, and our third chapter was focused on the requirements for getting a working visa in Japan. So, are you up to date? Perfect, let's go!
The process of getting a working visa can be long and exhausting. You have to prepare a stunning profile, nail the interviews, find a company that will support your visa, gather documents, start learning basic Japanese, check your housing options, and more. But there is also an important question you might be wondering at this stage:
"How much is this process going to cost me?"
Before you go into panic mode, take a deep breath! We have great news for you; there is nothing to be afraid of, the visa application itself doesn’t cost anything, and it doesn’t cost much to prepare everything you need.
Before the application:
The required documents for the application need to be gathered by your company. The Immigration Bureau usually doesn’t ask for any hard to find or unique documents, so your employer likely already has the required documents prepared in advance. The forms are also available online or at the Immigration office for free. All you have to provide are the records of your academic and professional background or other relevant documents. Sometimes you can do this by email, but your company may ask you to send them by post. In that case, you may have to take care of the shipping fees.
During the application:
Once the forms are filled out and all the required documents have been gathered, the next step is applying for your Certificate of Eligibility (COE). The application is free of charge, but must be submitted together with a return envelope affixed with postage stamps worth 392 yen.(If you already live in Japan and hold a different visa type, you have to apply for a change in residence status, which requires 4000 yen paid in revenue stamps. (see below) Please note that this process is slightly different and the required documents may vary).
Long-term residents in Japan may already be familiar with revenue stamps (also known as fiscal stamps or tax stamps). These stamps are printed by the Ministry of Finance and work as currency when paying certain administrative fees. You can purchase revenue stamps at your local post office, at larger Immigration Bureaus, or at convenience stores.
There are three different types of revenue stamps, the national revenue stamp, or 収入印紙 (shuunyuu inshi), plus prefectural revenue stamps and municipal revenue stamps. These will have the name of the prefecture or municipality, followed by 収入証紙 (shuunyuu shoushi). For visa application purposes, you will need to purchase national revenue stamps.
- Submitting the application: Take all your forms, documents, and COE to your nearest Immigration office and submit your application for a working visa. If everything goes well, after a few days you will receive your passport back with the visa stamp on it. This final step is free of charge as well.
So as you can see, the application process is quite inexpensive. In many cases, your company may also take care of the costs for you. What we outlined here were the minimum fees for the application. If you want to go all-out and hire a lawyer specialized in immigration affairs, naturally the expenses will increase. There are many English-speaking immigration lawyers in Japan, here are the names of just a few of them:
- Morii&Nitsu (Tokyo)
- June Advisors Group (Tokyo)
- Frontier Immigration (Osaka)
- i-socia Advisors (Osaka)
- Saito (Yokohama)
- Aizen (Fukuoka)
*Visa applicants are responsible for their own application and IZANAU cannot be held responsible if authorities applied changes after the redaction of this article.
About the Author
Half writer, half reader. Tokyo based and deeply in love with - you can easily find me meandering around Shibuya or Shin-Okubo. Communication and marketing assistant by day, video game localizer by night.