Before a foreign national gets their visa, they should obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) issued by a regional immigration authority under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice. It serves as evidence that the applicant fulfills various conditions of the Immigration Control Act, including those certifying that the activity in which the foreigner wishes to engage in Japan is valid and comes under a status of residence (this excludes Temporary Visitor Status).
Issuance of the visa is not guaranteed, however, under certain circumstances, for example: if there was a change in status since the issuance of the certificate or if it becomes evident that the documents submitted to obtain the certificate were false.
For students, it will basically be the preliminary visa screening process, prior to actually applying for the student visa. The Japanese government will approve the Certificate of Eligibility, and the local consulate will approve the visa.
How to get the Certificate of Eligibility
Go! Go! Nihon will send the students’ required documents to the language schools. The schools will then submit the visa application to the Immigration Bureau in Japan on your behalf. Students should receive the Certificate of Eligibility by mail once the Immigration Bureau approves the visa application.
Make sure to supply complete necessary documents for your application so the process moves forward smoothly.
How to use the Certificate of Eligibility to obtain a student visa
If the student applies through a Japanese language school using the Certificate of Eligibility, there should not be any issues in converting your visa at the embassy. Usually, the conversion procedure doesn’t take too long, but please confirm with the Japanese embassy or consulate in your city.
Once students receive the COE, they should take it and the visa application form, obtained from the Japanese embassy, photos and valid passport to the Japanese embassy or consulate in your city. The embassy will issue the student visa in a couple of days.
- Application form for visa (found on embassy’s website)
- Photo (4cmx3cm) – a photo that shows the applicant pictured alone, facing squarely to the front without any head coverings. There should be a plain background with no shadows, the photo should be sharp and clear. The photo must have been taken within three months prior to submission.
- Certificate of Eligibility (the school will send you an original by mail)
- Valid passport
Depending on the nationality of the applicant, other documents may additionally be necessary. Details can be checked on the websites of a Japanese embassy or consulate in the respective areas.