If you want to come study in Japan, you are most likely going to need to obtain a visa. There are several different types of visas that allow you to study in Japan, and it is important to know the differences between the types so that you can choose the visa that is most suitable for you. We often get asked if there is an age limit to apply for a student visa, and that’s something we will cover in this article as well!
The three 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 clearly written rules about age requirements, but if one wants to study and live in Japan for more than 3-6 months, one needs to apply for student visa. Some schools, like high intensity schools, have stronger requirements and one of those is that one has to have finished 12 years of education. It doesn’t mean students without 12 years of education have to give up on their dream of learning Japanese in Japan, but these cases are a bit different, so if this applies to you, we recommend you to get in touch directly to see what your options are.
Usually, people under 19 years of age will receive some special attention from the immigration office, same when someone over 30 years of age applies for a long-term student visa. Typically, this means the school will ask for extra questions or extra forms. If you are under 19 or over 30 years of age and want to receive guidance on how to proceed, contact Go! Go! Nihon directly.
The student visa, as its name suggests, was created in order to give students an opportunity to study 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.
While there is no age limit for student visas, more documents will typically be required for students over 30 years of age. Some schools may also require extra steps, such as an interview, but usually applications are processed on a case-by-case basis.
Aside from a handful, most countries are allowed a tourist visa for Japan. The tourist visa is the most easily attainable visa and for many countries, it does not require you to apply before coming to Japan, since you can apply for it at the airport once you arrive.
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, and it does not allow its owner to sign contracts or open a Japanese bank account.
The working-holiday visa for Japan is only available for citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Republic of Korea, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark, and residents of Taiwan and Hong Kong. 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 to this type of visa are time-sensitive: in most countries, you need to be no older than 30 in order to apply.
All of the visa options will allow you to study in Japan, but depending on your goals, some will be more suitable than others. If you want more information about visas you can check out the visa section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan website.
Technically, any long-term visa will allow you to sign up for language classes, but a work visa may not be the best way to go, especially for beginner language students. This is because if you have a work visa, it probably means that you are working full-time, may or may not have some overtime, and therefore will not be able to make language learning a priority. Japanese lessons offered during evenings or on the weekend tend to be rarer and more expensive overall.
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.