How to Set Up Business in Japan Section 2. Visas and Status of Residence
2.4 Types of working statuses

2.4.1 Principal working statuses related to investment in Japan

Below are shown the principal statuses of residence related to investment in Japan and the activities authorized in Japan for each status.

Table 2-1
Business Manager Active in operating or managing international trade or other areas of business within a public or private organization in Japan.
Engineer/
Specialist in Humanities/
International Services
Engaged in services which require skills or knowledge pertinent to physical science, engineering or other natural science fields, or in services which require knowledge pertinent to jurisprudence, economics, sociology or other human science fields, or in services which require special consideration or sensitivity based on experience with foreign culture, based on a contract with a public or private organization in Japan.
Intra-company Transferee A staff member transferred to a business office in Japan for a limited period of time from a business office established in a foreign country by a public or private organization which has its head office, branch office or other business office in Japan, to conduct work at said business office in Japan which is listed in the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" column of this Table.
Legal/Accounting Services Engaged in legal or accounting work, which is required to be carried out by registered foreign lawyers ”Gaikokuhoujimubengoshi”, or certified public accountants “Gaikokukoninkaikeishi” or those with other legal qualifications.
Skilled Labor Engaged in services which require industrial techniques or skills belonging to special fields based on a contract with a public or private organization in Japan.

2.4.2 Documentation needed when applying for a Certificate of Eligibility

The following documentation is generally needed when applying for a Certificate of Eligibility for all working statuses:

  1. Application for Certificate of Eligibility
  2. One full-face photograph (4 cm in height x 3 cm in width)
  3. Return-mail envelope (with 392 yen postage affixed)
  4. A copy of employment agreement
  5. Document certifying academic qualifications (may not be necessary in some cases)
  6. Curriculum vitae (may not be necessary in some cases)
  7. Certified copy of the company register of an organization of affiliation (organization to which the foreign resident belongs) in Japan
  8. Company brochure of an organization of affiliation in Japan
  9. Copy of financial statements of an organization of affiliation in Japan (When a corporation, branch, or representative office to be newly established in Japan serves as the organization of affiliation, a business plan stating the cash flow forecast of such organization)
    1. If an affiliated organization is a listed company, a copy of “Shikihou (Japan Company Handobook)”,etc.
    2. If an affiliated organization is not a listed company, a copy of the total lists of withholding statement, etc. for the previous year.
    3. If neither of the above can be submitted as the affiliated organization is newly established, the following documents can be substituted
      • If the organization is exempted from withholding at source, certificate on the foreign corporation’s exemption from withholding at source or other document stating that the organization does not require withholding at source.
      • If the organization is not exempted from withholding at source, a copy of Notification on the Establishment of a Salary-Paying Office and a) a Statement of Collected Income Tax on employment income and retirement income of the last three months (a copy of the document with receipt date stamp) or b) if the organization is subject to special provisions regarding due dates, a document stating the approval for that.

In addition to the above, submission of a copy of a certificate of job content, certificate of employment by current and past employers, foreign company's business brochure, business license, and similar documents will be required depending on the type of status of residence. Furthermore, when the organization of affiliation in Japan is a representative office of a foreign company, it is not possible to obtain the certified copy of the company register specified in 7 above. Instead, documents such as the lease agreement and layout plan of the office, and a document certifying the resolution made in the home country of opening a Japanese representative office are required.

2.4.3 Documentation needed when applying for a working visa

The following documentation is generally needed when applying for a working visa at a Japanese diplomatic mission abroad after a Certificate of Eligibility has been issued:

  1. Visa application form
  2. Passport
  3. Certificate of Eligibility and copy thereof
  4. Full-face photograph (1-2 photos, 4.5 cm in height x 4.5 cm in width)

2.4.4 Relation between type of operation in Japan and status of residence

A foreign company can establish a business presence in Japan in one of three ways, as described in 1.1 "Types of operation in Japan". Typically, companies do so by establishing a representative office, branch, or subsidiary company. The status of residence is determined depending on the content of the applicant’s activities in Japan and not on the type of operation. However, for the relationship between each of these types of operation and the status of residence of their representatives, the following is generally likely to be applicable:

  • Representative of representative office : "Intra-company Transferee"
  • Representative of branch : "Intra-company Transferee" or "Business Manager"
  • Representative of subsidiary company : "Business Manager"

The status of residence of foreigners (except persons falling under the category of "Business Manager") employed by a representative office, branch or subsidiary company will be "Intra-company Transferee" or other statuses matching each employee's academic/work record and the nature of his/her work in Japan ("Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services", etc.).

2.4.5 Status of residence for foreign IT professionals

Foreign IT professionals are generally considered to fall under the status of residence for "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services". If a professional is deemed highly skilled by the "points-based system" based on educational background, work experience, annual income, etc. and gains the status of residence for Advanced specialized/technical activities: "Class 1 (b) Highly Skilled Professional", the person may be eligible for preferential immigration treatment (See 2.11). If a person wants to obtain the status of residence for "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services", then the person has to have an income equal to or higher than the amount a Japanese would earn in the same job and should fall under any of the following:

  1. Majored in subjects related to skill/knowledge in the field of natural sciences or humanities and graduated from university, or received education at a similar level or higher
  2. Majored in subjects related to skill/knowledge in the field of natural sciences or humanities and completed a specialized course at an advanced vocational school in Japan (Only those who have been given the diploma or Advanced diploma")
  3. Have more than 10 years of work experience (including the period spent majoring in the related subjects at university, etc.)

However, 1. to 3. above are not required if the person has one of the IT qualifications or has passed one of the IT exams specified in announcements by the Minister of Justice.

2.4.6 Necessity of securing an office

In order to obtain the status of residence for “Business manager,” it is required for the Japanese subsidiary, branch, or representative office, etc. that serves as the organization of affiliation to have an exclusive and physical office independent from other companies. With a non-physical virtual office, a shared office with a related corporation, or an open space such as a co-working space or a shared workspace, which are often used when a foreign company advances into Japan, the possibility of not obtaining the status of residence for “Business manager” becomes higher (When it is not possible to secure an independent office immediately, you can consider using “Program to increase foreign entrepreneurs” as stated later in 2.12 ). When securing an office by renting, it is, as a general rule, required to clearly state in the lease agreement of such property that it is used for business purposes and that the name of the lessee to be such corporation, etc. When the lease period is short, such as using a short-term rental space on a monthly basis, it is treated as if the office is not secured.

Furthermore, when applying for a status of residence other than “Business manager,” depending on the case, the Immigration Bureau of Japan might require to submit the lease agreement of the office, and photos, etc. of the interior and exterior of the office in cases where there is a suspicion whether the office is substantial or not, such as the cases where there is a rental office at the registered location of the head office or where the location of the head office is the same as the representative’s residential address.

Section2: Contents & Reference

Section2: Table of Contents


Section2. Samples of documents businesses are required to submit to authorities

These materials contain samples of documents regarding registration, visa, taxation, personnel and labor matters that are necessary when a foreign company establishes a corporation or other entity in Japan as well as descriptive examples of how to fill them out. A portion of the English content has been updated through a provisional translation. These documents are not published by competent authorities and therefore are not official. For those who are going through the official procedures, please download the latest official documents from the competent authorities and related bodies or consult a person who specializes in advising on such information and procedures.

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