After a foreign national applies for their visa for Japan, they will receive a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) if their application is approved by the local immigration authority. The COE serves as evidence that the applicant fulfils 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).
Once you have a COE, you can then take it to your local Japanese embassy to convert it into a valid visa.
Issuance of the visa is not guaranteed though, under certain circumstances. For example: if there was a change in status since the issuance of the COE or if it becomes evident that the documents submitted to obtain the Certificate of Eligibility 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.
COE and visa issuance during COVID-19
As of October 2021, Japanese embassies are not issuing visas, even if you have a valid COE, due to Japan’s border closure. However, in the meantime you can still apply for your visa and receive a COE. It’s important that if you are planning to study in Japan in the future, you proceed with your visa application as normal so that you receive your COE on time.
If you don’t start that process at the right time, you will not be able to get your visa for when borders open.
Our team can help you with this process, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
How to get the Certificate of Eligibility as a student
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 for Japan by mail once the Immigration Bureau approves the visa application. Make sure to supply all the 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 Certificate of Eligibility for Japan, 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)
- Passport that is valid for at least 6 months from when you enter Japan
Depending on the nationality of the applicant, other documents may be necessary. This is something that Go! Go! Nihon will be able to help you with as part of the application process, so don’t hesitate to contact us!