Note: This article was created pre-pandemic and there are now more processes and information that students need to be aware of. Please refer to our “Ultimate guide to Japan student visas” article for more information or please contact us and one of our team will get back to you.
Applying for a student visa is a long process requiring attention and patience. Each step in the process is extremely important, but applying with Go! Go! Nihon will make the process simple since you will receive help for every part of the way. After applying for a student visa, the next step is simply to wait; it will take some time to process the application. While waiting, however, you can get started on choosing your accommodation. After visa application has been processed, your school will send you something called a Certificate of Eligibility in the mail, which is used to be exchanged for your student visa.
After applying for a visa for Japan, while the application is being processed, it is a good time to start searching for accommodation. If you would like, you can request help from Go! Go! Nihon for seeking out housing options. In doing so, you will receive a form that asks you to prioritize things like location, size, price, etc. There are several different types of accommodation to choose from such as apartments, host families, or share-houses. You will be provided with a list of a few different housing options based on your preferences and Go! Go! Nihon will check for availability at your top choices.
If you are coming for long term, you will be eligible for the National Health Insurance system, which covers 70% of your medical fees in Japan. However, it takes some time for it to kick in, and the remaining 30%, if your school doesn’t provide its own insurance, will need to be covered by yourself.
Go! Go! Nihon partners with an agency which provides affordable travel insurance which can either be used to cover that in-between period before you get on the National Health Insurance, or the remaining 30% and be fully covered in Japan, regardless of your school.
Certificate of Eligibility
Another step, after applying for a visa for Japan, is to get the Certificate of Eligibility, also known as the COE. If your application goes through, your school will first receive your COE, and then they will mail it to you. Not all postal systems are created equal: if you’re worried about the COE making it to you in time (or at all), many schools give you the option of using registered mail when sending your COE. You will have to be the one covering the fee, however. Once you receive your COE, you will need to take it to your local Japanese embassy or consulate; some locations allow you to send it in the mail, and some require you to bring it in yourself. You will need to bring your passport, COE, a passport-style photo, and the visa application form. Provided that all of the information is acceptable, the consulate will then exchange your COE for a visa.
Arriving in Japan
There are a handful of things that need to be taken care of once you arrive in Japan. Some of these things must be dealt with when you arrive at the airport in Japan, such as obtaining your residence card and turning in the application for permission to work part-time. The process is very simple and you will be able to complete these actions through normal check in at the airport.
Once you get settled into your accommodation, you will need to register your Japanese residence card with your address at your local ward office within 14 days and apply for health care. This is relatively simple, but it is very important, so it is suggested to take care of this as soon as you are able. Another thing to be aware of, is that you cannot register your address if you are staying in temporary accommodation, such as a hostel or AirBnB. We recommend all students to get their accommodation sorted before they come to Japan, and we will be happy to provide help in this regard.
There are a lot of steps in making the transition to living in Japan, but Go! Go! Nihon will aid you in making that transition as seamless as possible. It is important to apply early and ask for help when you need it, since the process takes a bit of time.