Digital Nomad Visa in Japan: Requirements & How to Apply

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Person looking at a city view of Kitano Ijinkan Town (European village) in Japan.

The digital nomad visa in Japan is a six-month “specified activities” visa where foreign nationals can work remotely from anywhere in the country without the need to be hired by a company in Japan. The visa program was introduced in early 2024 by ​​the Immigration Services Agency of Japan (ISA) to attract high-income earning travelers to the country to live.

The program is unique in many ways compared to the digital nomad visas offered in other countries. If you are considering applying for a digital nomad visa in Japan, there are important points to keep in mind, such as eligibility, requirements, and benefits.

Go! Go! Nihon’s main focus is to help international students apply for language school and student visas in Japan. Because of the uniqueness of the Digital Nomad visa in Japan, Go! Go! Nihon has partnered with a Japanese immigration lawyer who can apply for the visa on your behalf! To get professional help in English contact us here.

Person searching on a laptop about the digital nomad visa in Japan while an iced matcha latte sits on the table next to them.

What exactly is a digital nomad?

In short, digital nomads are a group of people who choose to work remotely while traveling and living in different countries, usually in the short term. This lifestyle helps people enjoy a balance of work and travel and has grown more popular in recent years as more jobs rely on technology and the Internet.

To adapt to this, many countries have started creating visas specifically for digital nomads, so they can stay longer than the time permitted on a typical tourist visa. However, the eligibility and requirements to get a digital nomad visa vary from country to country.

For Japan, while the digital nomad visa is different from a tourist visa, and it doesn’t fall under the category of a work visa, it is classified as a specified activities visa. This luckily means that while applicants still need to meet certain requirements, the process in most cases will take longer than a tourist visa, but shorter and less strict than a work visa. But who is eligible for the digital nomad visa in Japan, and what are the requirements?

Who can apply for a digital nomad visa in Japan?

Anyone from the following 49 countries that have visa-free entry and double-taxation agreements with Japan can apply for a digital nomad visa. However, there are a few other requirements needed in order to qualify. 

Applicants need to demonstrate the following:

  • Valid passport from one of the 49 countries.
  • Be over the age of 18.
  • Stable source of income (10 million yen annually)
  • Health insurance coverage valid in Japan. 
  • Clean criminal record.
  • Overview statement for the certification of eligibility (COE). (what the applicant will be doing during their time in Japan, along with where they will be staying).

 Let’s examine a brief overview of each requirement.

Financial requirement
Perhaps the most difficult requirement to hit is the income qualification. Applicants must be able to show proof of a 10 million yen annual income (US $70,000 based on exchange rates when this article was written) from overseas employment or freelance work. The reason for this is to prove that applicants have enough funds to live in Japan during their stay. Proof of these finances can be given through bank statements or pay slips. While it might be the most difficult requirement to hit for a lot of hopeful digital nomads, luckily if you do reach that milestone, there isn’t much else holding you back from getting the visa.

Health insurance
Applicants and their families staying in Japan must hold private medical travel insurance which covers death, injury, and illness during their stay as specified by the immigration services agency.

Certificate of Eligibility

Finally, applicants should present a clear plan for their stay, including intended accommodations and duration of stay, ensuring compliance with visa regulations. This will be important for receiving the Certificate of Eligibility (COE), which is a part of the application process for the visa.

If you plan to bring any family members with you, their documents and insurance proof will also be required.

Benefits of the Digital Nomad Visa in Japan

One of the main benefits of a digital nomad visa in Japan is the length of stay granted to visa holders and their families. Rather than entering Japan on a tourist visa, which needs to be renewed by leaving the country every 90 days, having a digital nomad visa in Japan will allow you to stay for six months along with your spouse and children.

Digital nomad visa holders are also granted temporary re-entry with a passport, making it easier to re-enter the country, and traveling in and out of the country more convenient.

Person waiting for their luggage to arrive at the airport baggage claim in Japan.

How to apply for a digital nomad visa in Japan

If you would like to get professional visa support for your Digital Nomad visa from a lawyer in Japan contact us here.

There are two ways to apply for a digital nomad visa for Japan.

  1. Applying from within Japan for the visa.
  2. Applying outside of Japan for the visa.

For applicants applying within Japan, the digital nomad visa application must be applied for at the immigration office in Japan. To save time, receive help with documents, and avoid a lengthy visit to the immigration office, applications can also be handled and applied for by an immigration lawyer. Please note that the applicant must be physically present in Japan only at the time of application.

Also, you can’t switch from a short-term stay visa to a Digital Nomad Visa right away. You need to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) first. But if you are in Japan when the COE is issued, you can then change your short-term stay visa to a Digital Nomad Visa.

Applicants living outside Japan at the time of application can apply directly at their local Japanese consulate

While these are the general guidelines for applying for a digital nomad visa in Japan, it is a new visa and the rules and application system may change based on the decision of immigration authorities in Japan.

At this time, there is no confirmed processing period for the digital nomad visa application when applying from within or outside of Japan.

Keep up with life in Japan

If you are curious about what other visas will allow you to live, work, or study in Japan, check out our articles on J-Find and J-Skip, Specified Skills, and student visas.

Let us know how we can help by contacting us through our Go! Go! Nihon contact form here and we will help get you started on your path to becoming a digital nomad in Japan! While you wait for your visa, or if you’re interested in what life is like in Japan follow our blog for updates on events, activities, culture, and more!

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