If you want to come study in Japan, you are going to need to obtain a visa. The most obvious one is the student visa, however there are other types of visas that allow you to study in Japan.
The 3 types of visa for Japan that you need to be aware of are the tourist visa, student visa, and working- holiday visa. Basically, the tourist visa is designed for short-term stay, and the student visa is specifically designed for students who wish to stay for a longer period. The working-holiday visa is a special type of visa and is only available for citizens of a few select countries.
Some visas have age limits, so it’s important to keep that in mind as well when considering your options. Let’s look at that question first.
Too young or too old to apply for a language school in Japan?
There are no official age requirements for a Japan student visa. However, there are other restrictions in play that will affect you if you’re under 18.
Most of the language schools that we partner with require students to have finished 12 years of education in their home countries. This automatically excludes anyone under the age of 18. And while you could technically obtain a student visa when you’re under 18, your accommodation options are extremely limited as a minor.
If you’re a minor with a dream to study in Japan, use this time to prepare for the future. Read more about how in our article on how to get ready to apply for Japanese language school if you’re under 18.
If you don’t have 12 years of education, don’t fret. It doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dreams. However, these cases are a bit different, so we recommend you to get in touch directly to see what your options are.
Older student visa applicants (30 years and above) tend to draw some attention from immigration. They may ask for extra documentation or ask more questions. Go! Go! Nihon has successfully helped many older students apply for their student visas, so don’t hesitate to contact us if this applies to you.
Japan student visa
The student visa, as its name suggests, was created in order to give students an opportunity to learn Japanese in Japan for an extended length of time. If you intend to study in Japan for more than 6 months, this is the visa you will need to apply for. The student visa allows students to study abroad in Japan at a language school for a maximum of 2 years. However, you can study longer if you attend university in Japan.
There are also some benefits of having a student visa, such as being able to participate in part time work up to 28 hours per week, and being able to sign contracts for things like apartments, cell phones, and banks. Unlike the tourist visa, this visa takes some time to apply for.
If you wish to apply for a student visa, it is important to contact Go! Go! Nihon at least 6 months prior to the date you wish to arrive in Japan. Go! Go! Nihon will help you through all steps in the application process to make sure everything is taken care of smoothly and without difficulty.
Read our ultimate student visa guide to learn all the basics about the Japan student visa.
Most countries are allowed a tourist visa for Japan. It does not require you to apply for the visa before coming to Japan, since the visa is granted upon arrival.
Depending on the country, there are different lengths of stay allotted to applicants of the tourist visa, ranging from 14 days to a maximum of 6 months. A tourist visa is restrictive in other areas as well. For example, it prohibits its owner from participating in work of any kind, including part time work. It also does not allow its owner to sign contracts or open a Japanese bank account.
Working Holiday visa
The working holiday visa for Japan is only available for citizens of a few select countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Sweden, Spain and more. This 1-year visa is designed to allow citizens of foreign countries to move to Japan to deepen their understanding of Japanese culture and strengthen intercultural relations. It will allow its owner to participate in part-time or full-time work. Applications of this type of visa are time-sensitive: in most countries, you need to be no older than 30 in order to apply.
It’s possible for you to study in Japan on a Working holiday visa, as long as you have a language school as a sponsor. This is a great option for anyone who wishes to study for a shorter length of time at a language school, since student visas are only available for those who are studying for 6 months or longer. It’s also a good opportunity to see if living and studying in Japan is the right experience for you without committing to a longer-term visa.
Be aware that once you complete a Working Holiday visa, you can’t extend or redo it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime use per person per country. So if you would prefer to use the Working Holiday as a chance to travel and explore the country, then we would recommend you seriously consider studying in Japan with a student visa instead.
Work visa for Japan
Theoretically, any long-term visa will allow you to sign up for language classes. This includes the work visa – however, since the work visa is usually dependent on a company offering you a full-time job, you won’t be able to prioritise your language learning.
There are some language schools that offer flexible or part-time study options. But these tend to be less common and more expensive. Another option if you have the money is to pay for private lessons.
Knowing Japanese is extremely valuable to living a fulfilling life in Japan and it’s difficult to establish a career in Japan without knowing the language well. That’s why we highly recommend you to learn Japanese in a Japanese language school before finding employment in Japan.
Go! Go! Nihon is here to help
As you can see, there are quite a few possibilities if you are interested in learning the language! Which one is right for you? If you’re in doubt, let us know, and we will be happy to guide you.
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