Visas and Government Support for Foreigners During the Coronavirus in Japan
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Useful information about immigration, status renewals, and other government support for foreigners in Japan during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Over two weeks have passed since Japan declared a state of emergency in response to the domestic spread of COVID-19. Since then the state of emergency has been expanded from the initial 7 prefectures to cover the entire country. With the constantly changing situation the Japanese government has implemented changes to immigration procedures and re-entry permissions. Here is a general summary with relevant links.
◾️Those allowed to Enter Japan (Updated information from April 23, 2020)
As of April 3, 2020 the Japanese Government banned the entry of foreigners from 73 countries, and on April 23 they announced the intention to add 10 more countries to that list. Some of the newly added countries include Russia, Belarus, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, among others. The full list can be found here.
Exceptions to this are foreign nationals who are; permanent residents, spouse of a Japanese national etc., spouse of a permanent resident etc. or those who fall into the residence category of 定住者 (teijyusha - “settled person”).
In addition all nationals arriving from the 83 designated countries are required to undergo a PCR test and are requested to wait 14 days at a location designated by the quarantine station chief and refrain from using public transportation.
◾️Those not allowed to enter Japan
Foreigners outside of the above mentioned categories cannot enter the country even if they have residence status if they left Japan after April 3, 2020.
As a general rule, foreigners who leave Japan after April 3 will be denied entry back into Japan even if they have a re-entry and/or the above mentioned residence status. Special circumstances may be considered but the the Ministry of Justice advises those living in Japan to not travel.
◾️Residence Status application/renewal extension
In order to minimise the overcrowding of immigration offices, a 3 month extension is granted to those who’s residence status needs to be renewed or updated during the months of March, April, May, and June 2020 (this excludes those on a Designated Activities Visa (特定活動 - tokuteikatsudou)).
Technical Intern visa holders who lost their position due to the economic impact of COVID-19 will be allowed to seek other employment (up to this point, technical interns were not allowed to change jobs). The new rule allows holders of the Technical Intern Visa to a "Designated Activities" visa and work in Japan for up to 1 year.
Applications for this status change began on April 20th.
◾️Other Visa Statuses
①Those in Japan on a “Short-Term Stay” Visa
⇒ Short term stay (90 days) are allowed an extension of their period of stay.
② Those in Japan on “Technical Training Visa” or “Designated Activities Visa” (includes: internship (9), summer job (12), foreign construction worker (32) foreign shipbuilder (35) foreign manufacturing employee (42)) and wish to remain in the current position.
⇒ 3 month extension is granted for the visa in order to continue working in the same position.
③ Those residing in Japan with other statuses of residence (including those from category ② but do not wish to continue working)
⇒ All are granted a Short-Term Stay visa valid 90 days.
For those in need of a certificate of eligibility but are unable to return to their home country, here is a guide for your employer (in Japanese).
◾️Those in Japan as Tourists
For those visiting Japan as tourists and those who were preparing to leave Japan permanently, the above extensions do not apply, however if there are difficulties for you to leave the country by your designated departure date, please visit your local immigration office before your visa expires.
Languages: Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish
TEL 03-5796-7112 （Calling from IP、PHS、Overseas）
Government Financial Support
The Japanese government announced that it will be handing out ¥100,000 to all residents of Japan regardless of nationality. The ¥100,000 will be given to all residents who are recorded in the 住民基本台帳 (jyumin kihon daichou - basic resident registry) with their full name, date of birth, gender, address, etc. as of April 27 and have resided in Japan for at least 3 months.
An application will be mailed to everyone eligible for the financial support or the application can also be filled in online on the government website for "My Number" card holders.
The head of each household will be responsible for applying for the whole family and the money will be transferred to that person's bank account.
It is still undecided if the application will be available in English.
To read more about who qualifies and how to apply for the money visit: ¥100,000 Japanese government support money. Do you qualify?
For Information on support hotlines for foreigners during the pandemic please visit : Japan Coronavirus Information Site List by Prefecture (Phone Consultations Available)
About the Author
I've been in Japan so long that I say my heart is Japanese. And still this country impresses me from time to time. In those moments I think, "That's why I love living in Japan."