You’ve made up your mind on coming to Japan. Great! You’ve shopped around and looked at schools and maybe even started learning Hiragana to get a head start on Japanese lessons. But wait! There’s one more very important step: a student visa for Japan. All students coming to study Japanese full time (3 to 4 hours a day, 5 days a week) in Japan for 6 months or more must have a visa. Once this is secured, you’re off on your adventure.
Getting a Student Visa in Japan
The study semester in Japan starts four times a year: January, April, July, and October. It’s best to apply around 6 months before the desired semester in order to receive a visa on time. For example, if the school term starts in October, the application deadline would be in April. Deadlines for the next application term can be found on our homepage near the top.
What’s a Certificate of Eligibility and How Can I Get One?
Good question! A Certificate of Eligibility reduces the time required to obtain a student visa for Japan and complete the immigration process. A foreigner in possession of this certificate can under most circumstances acquire a visa at a Japanese consulate in their home country. With our help, the process is a pretty painless procedure.
Go! Go! Nihon starts by emailing prospective students two application links. We’ve created our own personal online application form used universally in conjunction with all of our partner schools, thus minimizing errors and the time it takes to apply. We also forward them the application form of their chosen school and help them to fill it in properly, preventing any mistakes that could possibly lead to refusal by Immigration.
Along with the application forms, students send copies of: a clear photo of their face, a diploma/certificate from the last institution they attended, a passport (the page with name and photo, plus pages citing previous entries into Japan if they’ve ever visited), a current bank statement, and a proof of income or an oath of expenses if they’re young and don’t have a job yet. An oath of expenses is a document wherein a family member or other person guarantees s/he will support the student financially during their stay in Japan. We’re proud to say that 100% of students that have applied to Japanese language schools with us have successfully received a Certificate of Eligibility from Japanese Immigration!
After submitting all forms and required documents as well as paying the application fee (not applicable for some short-term courses), Go! Go! Nihon checks for and corrects any errors, then sends everything off to the school. The school approves and submits the application to Japanese immigration, then issues the student a tuition invoice. When the invoice is paid, the student is directly mailed their Certificate of Eligibility. All that’s left is for the student to head to the nearest Japanese embassy or consulate in their home country and convert that certificate into student visa for Japan. To do that, potential students must submit a valid passport, passport-sized (45mm x 45mm) photo, and the Certificate of Eligibility. Phew! Not so bad, huh?
What You Can Do With Your Student Visa in Japan
Student visa holders can study for up to two years. It’s possible to study for a year, go back home, then come back for the 2nd year; however this means you MUST re-apply for that 2nd year. The visa also allows part time work for up to 28 hours per week, which can help offset the cost of living. Students are allowed travel in and out of the country without having to re-apply for a visa each time, provided they fill out a re-entry permit slip at the airport.
Anyone with a student visa staying longer than 6 months and wishing to work must submit an application for “Permission to Engage in Activity Other Than That Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted.” This can be done immediately upon arrival at the airport or later on at a local immigration bureau. There is no fee, so make sure to do so if you plan on working.
Getting your student visa for Japan may seem a little tricky up front, but Go! Go! Nihon walks students through the entire process, so there’s no need to worry. All you have to do is shoot us an email and we’ll work together with you to get you over here. Go ahead and find a school, contact us, and we’ll see you soon!