Are you considering living and studying in Japan for 6 months but you don’t know how or when to start? Don’t worry, we’ve made this helpful study-in-Japan guide for you, including a planning timeline. This is the same process you should follow if you are interested in living and studying in Japan for 1 or 2 years with a student visa.

Let’s get started.

New application timeline English

Anytime up to 6 months before: Research your options

If you have made up your mind to study in Japan for 6 months or more, you should start gathering information about your available options as soon as possible.

Japanese language school terms start every January, April, July and October. But not all schools in Japan open courses four times a year. Our staff can help you to see what term options, cities and schools are available for your desired school term. Normally you need to book your slot for school six months before. If you want to come to Japan and enrol in school in July, you should contact our staff at the latest in the autumn of the previous year.

You can start to get a feel for which school is best for you by visiting our website, reading our blogs and watching our YouTube Channel.

12 – 6 months before: Secure your spot

In order to study in Japan for 6 months or more, you will need to apply for a student visa. The application procedure includes several steps – from completing paperwork and doing document checks, to submitting paperwork to your chosen school and Japanese immigration – which means the process can take a long time.

More importantly, schools have limited spots for language students and they can fill up very quickly, so the sooner you start the process to secure your spot the better. We recommend you do this between 12 to 6 months before the application deadline to secure a place in your chosen Japanese language school.

Don’t miss our article about student visa application procedure, to know better how it works.

6-5 months before: Send your documents

You need to provide a series of documents and evidence to support your application if you use our service. Our staff will let you know what you need to send based on your individual circumstances. It can take a few weeks to complete this step, depending on your background and on the school requirements. However, our staff will help you every step of the way. While we’re waiting for a response from the school (it usually takes around 2 weeks), you can get more information about life in Japan by reading our blog articles.

4 months before: Study Hiragana and Katakana

Once your application is confirmed it’s time for you to focus on your Japanese skills. If you are a beginner, you will have to learn Hiragana and Katakana before starting your Japanese language course. You will review them in class as well, but it is really helpful if you are already used to Japanese characters as your lessons will start using them straight away.

Recently, Japanese immigration has started requesting some student visa applicants complete basic Japanese studies in order to accept their visa application. You can read more about this here.

If you are not a beginner, make sure to keep reviewing your Japanese because you will need to take a placement test on your first day of school. Based on the result of your placement test you will be assigned to the correct class for your level.

4-3 month before: Pay your tuition fee & book flights

Our staff will send you the 6 months tuition fee invoice issued from the school. Once you receive this you need to pay your tuition straight away in order to complete the enrollment procedure. Until you do this step it is impossible to move on with the visa process.

Once your payment is confirmed you should then purchase your flight ticket to Japan. You should aim to arrive just a few days before the school starts. This is because the student visa will be valid upon your arrival in Japan and the visa length is linked to the school terms you applied for. Meaning that if you arrive 3 weeks before the school starts and your visa is valid for 6 months, you most likely won’t be able to stay in Japan until the end of the course. So, be careful with this step and ask us for advice if you need it.

3-2 months before: COE and receiving your visa

After you have paid the tuition, approximately 1 to 2 months before lessons start the school will mail you your COE (Certificate of Eligibility) by post. The COE is the document that you need to submit to the Japanese embassy in your country to officially apply for the student visa. We recommend you to go to the embassy as soon as you get your COE. Depending on how busy your embassy is, it can take time to get your Japan student visa processed.

1 month before: Organise accommodation

Most of the accommodation agencies in Japan don’t have availability more than 1 month earlier than the arrival date. This is because in Japan there’s usually only a month’s notice to leave an apartment or a share house. Go! Go! Nihon partners with a wide selection of partners with different accommodation options from private apartments, to houseshares and homestays, so you can choose the best option for you. Just check out our accommodation page for all of our options and get in touch if you want to know more or are ready to book.

Passports on suitcase

3-2 weeks before: Pack for Japan!

At this point you should have your student visa applied on your passport, the school tuition should be confirmed, and your accommodation booked. It’s time to pack your things and get ready for Japan. We have a full recommendation packing list for you in one of our articles.

In Japan

Don’t forget to double-check with your student coordinator when the first day of school is and to check also the school address. Don’t be late on your first day!

Grades and attendance rate will affect your final result at the end of the term and you can only move into the next level if you pass your final exam. When you come to Japan with a student visa, your main purpose according to your immigration status is learning Japanese. Therefore, you must go to class every day, complete your homework and keep your studies up. With a student visa, it’s possible to work part-time up to 28 hours per week, but don’t forget that studying and going to school should be your main priorities.

Want to stay longer?

It’s normally possible to extend your student visa with the same Japanese language school if you are passing your course. In most cases, you don’t have to go back to your home country to extend your visa. However, you should check with your school, or with your Go! Go! Nihon student coordinator, whether you can extend your course and for how long.

For any questions about the student visa application procedure or if you want to get started, contact our Go! Go! Nihon staff today. We will assist you during the whole process.

If you like to read more about Japanese culture, make sure to follow our blog where we cover everything you need to know about Japan!