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How Do I Get a Japan Work Visa For Teaching English?

You've been looking to teach English in Japan? Learn how to get a visa for Japan as an English teacher. Process, application, requirements, we cover it all.

Download Your Japan TEFL Guide

If you're interested in teaching English in Japan, you've come to the right place. Visas are an important part of planning your adventure overseas, so you want to make sure you're familiar with the process before you head abroad. The following is the most common type of Japan teaching visa that can be obtained.

Work Visa in Japan For Teaching English: What to Know

How to Get a Visa for Japan as an English Teacher

To teach English in Japan, you will be required to submit certain documents for your work visa to the Japanese consulate in your home country before departure (however, Japanese embassies in any country can process your visa). Please note you will be without a passport as they process your visa.

The type of visa you'll need in Japan (and how you get that visa) will depend on your nationality, teaching job, and perhaps other factors like whether you get your job in advance of your arrival, or if you get hired locally in Japan.

Read more: What Is a Visa and Do I Need a Visa to Teach English Abroad?

Be sure to speak to an International TEFL Academy Advisor by calling 773-634-9900 to discuss your specific questions and concerns about your Japan teaching visa.

Facts About Japan Teaching Visas

Name: Highly Skilled Professional Visa

Cost: No cost, but there is a stamp fee/multiple-entry fee of 6,000 yen (approx. $55 USD).

Documents: You will need your passport, one completed visa application form, and one photograph (passport style). For additional document requirements, please see visa process below. 

Length: This depends on your teaching contract length, but it typically is 1 year and can be renewed in-country. It is also available in 3 and 5 years (based on your contract length). 

For more information, you can check out the Embassy of Japan in the United States of America website.

**Note that this is specific to US citizens applying for a Japan teaching visa, and that these visa laws can change, so please check out their website for more documents or fees needed.

How to Apply for a Work Wisa in Japan as an English Teacher

What are the Japan Work Visa Requirements?

To obtain your highly skilled professional visa for Japan, you will need to meet the following requirements (Note, it can take 4 business days to 2 weeks for your documents to be reviewed):

  1. Own a passport and one passport-style photograph
  2. Fill out the visa application
  3. Collect documents provided by your school, including the contract and certificate of eligibility

Let's go over these requirements in detail:

Certificate of Eligibility

An applicant who wishes to enter Japan under the visa categories of Employment /Working, General, or Specified should obtain, in principle, a certificate of eligibility. The certificate of eligibility is a document issued by the Immigration Bureau, Ministry of Justice in Japan.

To obtain a certificate of eligibility, you are required to have a sponsor in Japan such as an employer, a school, a relative etc. The sponsor in Japan must contact the local immigration Office to apply for it on your behalf.
How to get a visa to teach English in Japan

If The School Does Not Provide the Certificate of Eligibility

Even though these cases are rare, you will then need the following:

  • Applicant's valid passport, properly signed by bearer;
  • VISA APPLICATION FORM TO ENTER JAPAN (available here), completely filled out and signed by the applicant;
  • One photograph (2"x2") attached to application form;
  • Material showing the outline of the recipient organization: copies of the corporate registration (Tokibo Tohon, issued within last 3 months) and documents describing the its activities (e.g. an annual report);
  • Documents certifying the applicant's qualifications such as relevant degrees and/or educational license obtained by the applicant;
  • Documents certifying the professional history such as employment verification letters and/or applicant's CV;
  • Documents certifying the activity, its duration, the position, and the remuneration of the person concerned (e.g. a copy of a contract, a letter of acceptance);
  • One clear photocopy of all the documents you are submitting;
  • This process can take several months.


Japan Work Visa Process

This visa is typically processed in the home country. However, it can technically be processed in any country that has an Embassy. Please note you will be without a passport as they process your visa. The length of the visa process is as follows:

  • With a certificate of eligibility – It takes 4 business days to 2 weeks (depending on what consulate you go to and the country);

  • Without a certificate of eligibility – it can take several months.

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