Explore, live and work on a Working Holiday visa in Japan

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The Working Holiday visa scheme in Japan aims to foster global understanding and improve relationships between partnering countries by encouraging young people to spend time living and working overseas. The maximum length of stay varies by country with some allowing up to 18 months, and the visa is only available to applicants aged 18 to 30. Visa holders are permitted to work for the duration of their stay in order to fund their travels.

Who can apply?

Japan has Working Holiday agreements with various countries and these agreements can change over time. Countries such as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom have qualified for such agreements. Only citizens from qualified countries can apply for the Working Holiday visa in Japan, while applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 30. You may apply if you have already turned 30 as long as the application is submitted before your 31st birthday. To know whether your country has a Working Holiday agreement with Japan, check the Japanese embassy’s website in your country or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan website.

Rules and Restrictions

Aside from the standard age and nationality limitations, additional rules vary by country. It is your responsibility to familiarise yourself with the visa agreement between Japan and your home country. For example, for citizens of some countries, a six-month visa is granted with the option to extend for an additional six months.

Rules are subject to change and a lot of information online may be outdated or simply not apply to you; for accurate information on how to apply for the Working Holiday visa, contact your local Japanese embassy or consulate.

Keep in mind that you can only apply for the Working Holiday visa from your own country. If you are already in Japan on a tourist visa and have decided to do a working holiday, you will have to go home first and apply from there.

What kind of job can I get on a Working Holiday visa?

While most types of employment are legally possible, it is highly unlikely to find full-time, professional work on a Working Holiday visa in Japan. But that just means more chances and flexibility to explore this amazing place. Visa holders typically work part-time jobs in restaurants, cafes, language schools (English speakers will have the most opportunity here), hotels and resorts, factories, and farms.

Alternatively, if you have the looks for it, it is possible find work as a model or TV performer. Organisations offering full-time employment are typically looking for applicants who plan on staying in Japan longer than one year.

In some cases, it is possible for skilled workers to change their residence status from Working Holiday visa to a regular working visa in Japan, but this can be a complicated process and is ultimately the decision of the immigration bureau. In this situation, the applicant would need to be sponsored by the organisation wishing to hire him or her and submit the required documents showing proof of employment and requesting a change of status of residence.

Requirements vary greatly depending on visa type and nationality, so it is best to contact the immigration bureau directly for accurate information.

I want to study: should I just skip the student visa?

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.

Note that due to travel restrictions in place, not all language schools accept those on Working Holiday visas. You should also be prepared for some additional restrictions depending on the school.

Also 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.

Go! Go! Nihon can help you apply for a language school with a Working Holiday Visa. Just fill in our form and make sure to select “6 months or more” for your length of study, even if you plan to study for a shorter amount of time. Contact us to get your live and study in Japan journey started.

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