Using a Certificate of Eligibility for Japan Student Visa Application

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Passeports, ces pièces indispensables après l'obtention d'un certificat d'éligibilité, alignés sur une table.

Updated September 2023
After a foreign national successfully applies for their Japan visa, they will receive a Certificate of Eligibility for Japan (COE) if their application is approved by the local immigration authority. The COE 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).

Once you have an original or electronic 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 any of the information or documents submitted to obtain the Certificate of Eligibility were incorrect or 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 for Japan, and the local consulate will approve the visa.

Example Certificate of Eligibility for Japan form.

How to get the Certificate of Eligibility for Japan as a student

Go! Go! Nihon will send the students’ required documents to their language school. The schools will then submit the visa application to the Immigration Bureau in Japan on your behalf.

As of 2023, students should receive their electronic COE as a PDF document that can be printed out and submitted to their local Japanese embassy. However, in the past, the COE was sent by mail in paper form to students, and in some cases, embassies may still require the paper COE instead of the electronic one. Students can request to receive the original Certificate of Eligibility for Japan by mail, once the Immigration Bureau approves the visa application. Please contact your local embassy and confirm if they accept the electronic COE, or need the original to be shipped.

Make sure to supply all the necessary documents for your application so the process moves forward smoothly.

How to use the Certificate of Eligibility for Japan 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 a valid passport to the Japanese embassy or consulate in your city. The embassy will issue the student visa in a couple of days.

European Union passport sitting on top of a Japanese study book.

Necessary documents

  • 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 (A PDF version will be sent to you)
  • 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!

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