A Certificate of Eligibility is issued before a visa by a regional immigration authority under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice as evidence that the applicant fulfills various conditions of the Immigration Control Act, including those certifying that the activity in which the foreigner wishes to engage in Japan is valid and comes under a status of residence (excluding Temporary Visitor Status).
The Certificate of Eligibility has the advantage of reducing the time required to obtain a visa and complete immigration procedures, since a foreigner in possession of such a certificate can probably acquire a visa at an embassy or consulate without any inquiries being made to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, by showing the certificate to the immigration officer, obtain landing permission more easily. The number of days the embassy or consulate will take between accepting application and granting the visa differs somewhat from county to country. Visas are issued when you go through customs when you come to Japan.
The minimum documentation required when applying for visa overseas at a Japanese embassy or consulate is Certificate of Eligibility and two photographs (45 mm x 45 mm). Depending on the country, the embassy or consulate may require other documents. Thus, checking in advance with the embassy or consulate is recommended.
Please note, however, that even if a foreigner possesses a Certificate of Eligibility, an embassy or consulate will not issue a visa in certain circumstances - for example, if there has been a change in the situation since the issue of the certificate (such as the company that was planning to hire the foreigner deciding not to do so because of business difficulties) or if it becomes evident that the documents submitted to obtain the certificate were false.
There are two processes for acquiring a Certificate of Eligibility. An application is usually made by a proxy in Japan (an example: your Japanese language school at the nearest regional immigration authority to the proxy's place of residence in Japan. The second process is limited to special cases, such as applicants who happen to be residing in Japan and are prepared to leave the country to apply for a visa
After obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility in Japan, applicant can apply for visa at a Japanese embassy or consulate overseas. Recently, changing a visa status from short-term to long-term is possible within Japan with a certificate of eligibility.
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