Japan Work Visa – Specialist in Humanities / International Services – How to Apply

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If you are teaching English in Tokyo or working in a humanities-related/engineering related field (ie. software development), you will need a certain type of Japan work visa.

This article will show you how you can change residency status to acquire your Engineering / Specialist in Humanities / International Services visa.

Here is the step-by-step process (As of July 2020)

  • Fill out the following application form
  • Gather the required documents (required documents list)
  • Visit Shinagawa or Tachikawa Immigration
  • Submit your application
  • Receive the postcard
  • Pick up your application and pay for a revenue stamp

Note: You need to already have your certificate of eligibility. If you are coming from outside the country into Japan you will need to go through the process to acquire this certificate before applying for a Japan work visa.

The term for this type of working visa is “Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services.” (Japanese: 技術・人文知識・国際業務 )

Please take note that as of July 21, the application forms are listed on the Ministry of Justice website as no. 7 in English, and no. 8 in Japanese. So just make sure not to get mixed up if you visit the Japanese site as well.

Japan Work Visa Application Form

The application form itself is 6 pages to be filled out partially by you, and partially by your employer. You need to fill out the first 2 pages, and your employer is responsible for the remaining 4. There is a seventh page that does not need to be turned in or filled out.

You can download the application form here, or alternatively you can find them on the English and Japanese website links listed above. The application is in both English and Japanese.

The 2 pages for which you are responsible is fairly simple and requires basic information. Things like name, nationality, address in Japan, current residency status, desired residency status, reason for changing residency status, highest academic degree, company name & address, and the like.

However some confusing points of clarification might be:

  • “Period of stay” refers to the official period of stay on your current resident card, not the time you have been in Japan.
    • ex. If you are on a 2 year student visa but have been in Japan for 4 years, you would still write “2 years”
  • The place to sign is a bit confusing, it is on the second page towards the bottom under the segment for “legal representative.” Don’t forget to sign and date here.

The other 4 pages are to be completed by your employer, but there are still other documents you will need to submit.

Required Documents for Your Japan Work Visa

The main additional documents you will need can be found here in English and here in Japanese. In a nutshell, these are:

  • 4cm x 3cm photo (we recommend getting this done at a photo booth at a nearby train station)
  • Supporting documents (see below)
  • Passport and residence card
  • A document proving the status (in case of a legal representative)
    ex: 在学証明書 (certificate of enrollment at a school)

Supporting Documents

You will need several additional documents both from your company and from yourself to submit to immigration along with your application. The list from the official website calls for the following supporting documents:

  • Copies of the company registration and a statement of profit and loss of the recipient organization.
  • Materials showing the business substance of the recipient organization.
  • A diploma or certificate of graduation with a major in the subject regarding the activity of the person concerned, and documents certifying his or her professional career.
  • Documents certifying the activity, the duration, position and the remuneration of the person concerned.

In Japanese:

  • 収入を伴う研究活動
  • 自然科学若しくは人文科学の分野の専門的技術若しくは知識を必要とする業務又は外国の文化に基盤を有する思考等を必要とする業務に従事すること
  • 熟練した技能を要する業務に従事すること
  • 介護福祉士の資格を有する者が介護又は介護の指導を行う業務に従事すること

We know it can be a hassle to hunt down and round up all of these documents, but doing so will prepare you as much as possible for a smooth application process. It also drastically reduces your chances of getting rejecting to come fully prepared.

Going to Immigration to Apply for Your Japan Work Visa

The immigration hours are 9AM – 12 PM, 1PM – 3PM Monday through Friday (assuming it is not a holiday).

When you show up, there are generally 2 sections, one is for embarkations and the other is for residency applications. You will need to go to the second one, and before anything receive a numbered ticket from the machine.

From there, wait until your number is called and then go to the window. Upon turning in your documents, they will ask you to wait for a few minutes before calling you back up – by name instead of number this time, so be ready!

Tips for the Best Times to Visit Immigration

This visit can be quite stressful, so here are some tips that may help you as you plan in advance:

  • It is in your best interest to go as early as possible. The Shinagawa location especially is known for having very long lines and wait times – even from opening. So try to be there at least an hour early or so.
  • Bring a buddy. Especially if your Japanese is not so good, having a buddy along can help you pass the time and also help you know what to do and where to go.
  • Go ahead and plan on devoting your whole day to this visit. While there are often cases in which people spend no more than 2 hours or so, realistically it is wise to plan on it taking up to 6 hours.

List of Regional Immigration Offices in Tokyo

Depending on which area you are in Tokyo or the greater Tokyo area, there are options for different immigration offices you can visit.

Additionally, full list with details for the services provided can be found here. But we have provided a list of the Tokyo ones below:

Tokyo Regional Immigration (Shinagawa)

Jurisdiction: [Application for residency and certificate of eligibility] Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Niigata, Yamanashi and Nagano

5-5-30 Konan, Minato-ku, Tokyo Pref.

Phone: 0570-034259
(IP phone, overseas: 03-5796-7234)

Saitama Branch Office

Jurisdiction: [Application for residency] Saitama, Chiba, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Yamanashi and Nagano
[cert. of eligibility] Saitama

Saitama Second Legal Affairs Joint Gov’t Bldg. 1F 5-12-1 Shimo-ochiai, Chuo-ku, Saitama City, Saitama Pref.

Phone: 048-851-9671

Chiba Branch Office

Jurisdiction: [Application for residency and certificate of eligibility] Chiba, Ibaraki

Chuo Community Center, 2-1 Chiba-minato, Chuo-ku, Chiba City, Chiba Pref.

Phone: 043-242-6597

Tachikawa Branch Office

Jurisdiction: [Application for residency and certificate of eligibility] Tokyo, Kanagawa(Sagamihara City) and Yamanashi

Tachikawa Legal Affairs Joint Government Bldg., 3-31-2 Kita, Kunitachi City, Tokyo Pref.

Phone: 042-528-7179

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