How to Set Up Business in Japan Laws & Regulations on Setting Up Business in Japan

Section 2. Visas and Status of Residence

2.3 Process from acquisition of Certificate of Eligibility to acquisition of visa

Visas are applied for and received at Japanese diplomatic missions abroad. However, Japanese diplomatic missions abroad may be unfamiliar with circumstances in Japan, leading to delays and other difficulties in screening applications for long-term stay visas such as those for foreign nationals seeking to work in Japan. In light of this, the Immigration Bureau in Japan often screens these applications to determine whether or not the activities intended by the foreign national wishing to enter and reside in Japan correspond to the conditions for the visa being sought; if it is determined that these activities do in fact meet the visa conditions, a Certificate of Eligibility is issued. If this Certificate of Eligibility is presented to a Japanese diplomatic mission abroad together with a visa application, the conditions for entry/residence will ordinarily be deemed satisfied and a visa promptly issued. A Certificate of Eligibility is not applicable to temporary visitor visa.

Flowchart from application for Certificate of Eligibility to visa acquisition and entry into Japan (general example)

In Japan

Application for Certificate of Eligibility (submitted to Immigration Bureau in Japan) by the applicant or his/her proxy

Issue of Certificate of Eligibility (by Immigration Bureau in Japan); sent to applicant or his/her proxy in Japan

* If a foreign national who has applied for a Certificate of Eligibility is already in Japan on a temporary visitor status of residence when the Certificate of Eligibility is issued, that foreign national may be able to change his/her temporary visitor status of residence to the status of residence approved in the Certificate of Eligibility while still in Japan, without the need to apply for and receive a visa at a Japanese diplomatic mission outside Japan.

Outside Japan

Visa application accompanied by Certificate of Eligibility at Japanese diplomatic mission abroad

Visa issue at Japanese diplomatic mission abroad

In Japan

Entry into Japan (landing permission: In principle, it shall be acquired within three months from the issuance date of Certificate of Eligibility); presentation of passport and visa, submission of Certificate of Eligibility, and receipt of seal of landing verification in passport at port of debarkation, and issuance of resident card to foreign nationals residing in Japan for the mid to long term

(Note) At Narita, Haneda, Chubu, Kansai, Shinchitose, Hiroshima and Fukuoka Airports, besides having a seal of landing verification stamped in their passports, mid-to long term residents will be issued a resident card.
At other ports of entry/departure, a seal of landing verification will be stamped in the passport and a resident card will be issued after a mid-to long-term resident follows the residency procedure at the municipal office of the city/town/village. (Basically, a resident card will be mailed by the Regional Immigration Bureau to the reported place of residence).
A resident card will be issued to mid-to a long-term residents when granted permission pertaining to residence, such as landing permission, permission for change of resident status and permission for extension of the period of stay(see 2.7).

Section2. Visas and Status of Residence

Samples of forms businesses are required to submit to authorities

No. Section Form English Japanese
1 2-3a Application for Certificate of Eligibility "Intra-company Transferee" English / JapanesePDF file(729KB) 
2 2-3b Application for Certificate of Eligibility "Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services" English / JapanesePDF file(794KB) 
3 2-3c Application for Certificate of Eligibility "Business Manager" English / JapanesePDF file(734KB) 

These sample application forms indicate the essential points and descriptive examples of registration, visa, taxation, and personnel and labor affairs that are necessary when a foreign company establishes a corporation etc. in Japan. These documents are not published by competent authorities and therefore are not official. Therefore, when going through the official procedures consult a specialist or download the official documents from the competent authorities.

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