The Japanese Visa Series, Chapter 5: Student Visa
Friday, August 3, 2018
Get ready, it's time to hit the books!
We are back again with our popular Japanese Visa Series! For today’s article, we have been researching a subject we received many queries about, but before springing into action... Did you read the previous chapters of the series? Make sure to take a look at them! In our last featured article we introduced the costs of the working visa, and being on a budget is essential so don’t miss out!
Working in Japan is a life goal for loads of people. There are countless reasons to stay in the country - even if you have been living here for a while, you always come across new motivations to feel like saying ただいま (tadaima, “I’m home”) when you set foot in Japan. From 温泉 (onsen, Japanese hot springs) to かき氷 (kakigōri, shaved ice flavored with syrup), Japan can be a never-ending surprise.
However, no one said that accomplishing your biggest dream was an easy task. Even if Japan is changing their immigration policies to draw foreign talent, it can be a bit difficult to find a job if you don’t speak Japanese or if you didn’t finish your studies. If you happen to be in this kind of situation, a student visa might be the perfect match for you!
What is a student visa?
This visa allows you to study in Japan. People intending to study in Japan for a long-term (more than 3 to 6 months depending on your country) have to apply for a student visa. You can submit your application after being accepted in an educational institution, like a 日本語学校 (nihongogakō, Japanese language school), a 専門学校 (senmongakō, professional training college), or a 大学 (daigaku, university). Let’s take a closer look at them:
- Japanese language school: Here you can study to master the Japanese language,from beginner levels to the most advanced stages. Some schools also feature courses of business manners, interview preparation, or training for JLPT aspirants. It is a good option for those who are not so fluent in Japanese or people who want to take the JLPT examinations. Tuition costs in average around 900,000 yen per year and generally they do not offer scholarships.
- Professional training college or vocational school: It offers courses in eight areas of expertise - industry, agriculture, medical care, health, education and social welfare, business practices, apparel and homemaking, and culture and the liberal arts. The completion of the courses usually takes about 2 to 3 years. Average yearly tuition is around 1,200,000 yen and there are scholarships available that could reduce the costs.
- University: If you are a fan of Japanese animations, sure you heard about the 東大 (Todai, abbreviation for University of Tokyo), which is the most prestigious university in the country. Japan is home of some of the best ranked universities in the world - and a few of them include degrees in English! A Bachelor last 4 years and the cost of the tuition depends on your field of study and the chosen university, so it can be up to 1,500,000 yen per year. Luckily there are plenty of scholarships and exemptions for those who fit the requirements.
The time of stay will depend upon the chosen education - while Japanese language learners are allowed to study in the country for 2 years, college students may be eligible to live in Japan up to 4 years.
But I want to experience the real Japanese work environment!
Actually, you can! Student visa holders are required to study full-time (around 4 hours a day, 5 times a week), but they can engage in authorized activities up to 28 hours a week or 40 hours a week during seasonal breaks. That will let you get a glimpse of how is working in Japan like, earn some money and improve your Japanese skills.
How can I start the process?
First of all, you have to decide what you want to study, so you can choose a school that meets your objectives and learning-style. Choosing the location can also be a hard time… Check our 5 places to work and live besides Tokyo! After that, contact the staff - they will guide you through the application. The school will apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (also known as COE) once you complete the paperwork. The waiting time can take around 2-3 months - be patient and start studying Japanese in the meantime! Once you receive your COE, visit your nearest Embassy of Japan and apply for the student visa - we highly recommend you to check in advance the required documents! Return after a few days, pick up your passport with the long-awaited visa stamp on it, and go prepare your bags!
Are you ready to dust off your books and come back to the school? Contact us and experience Japan from the inside.
*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.