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Entry and Residence Procedures for Foreign Students  jp
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Here, we will describe the immigration procedures necessary for entry into and residence in Japan for foreign students considering studying at universities and Japanese language institutes in Japan.

  1. Status of Residence and Period of Stay
  2. The Status of Residence of Foreign Students Studying in Japan
  3. How to Acquire a Visa for Entering Japan—Application Procedures for Certificate of Eligibility for Residence Status
  4. Procedures for Entering Japan—Air and Sea Port Immigration Inspections
  5. After Arrival and Finding a Domicile—Procedures Related to Basic Resident Registration
  6. Working Part Time—Application Procedures for Certificate to Engage in Activity Other than that Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted
  7. When Moving—Notification Procedures Related to Basic Resident Registration
  8. When Visiting Home and Traveling Outside of Japan—About Special Re-entry Permission
  9. When Continuing to Study in Japan after the Initial Period of Stay is Expired—Application Procedures for Extension of Period of Stay
  10. When Bringing Family Members to Japan from One’s Home Country—Application Procedures for Certificate of Eligibility
  11. When Changing Jobs and Graduating, etc. —Procedures for Notification of Accepting Organization
  12. When the Foreign Student Finds Employment in Japan after Graduation—Application Procedures for Change of Status of Residence
  13. To Continue the Job Hunt after Graduation—Application Procedures for Change of Status of Residence from College Student to Designated Activities
  14. To Continue Activities to Start-up Own Company after Graduation—Application Procedures for Change of Status of Residence from College Student to Special Activities
  15. Precautions related to Filing Applications
  16. Consultation Services related to Entry and Residence—the Immigration Information Center
1.
Status of Residence and Period of Stay

The immigration procedures for foreign students are based on the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (“Immigration Control Act”), which stipulates the procedures related to entry and residence in Japan by all foreign nationals and establishes 30 statuses of residence according to the activity the relevant foreign national will be undertaking while in Japan or their position. It also establishes a period of stay (how long the foreign national may reside in Japan) according to status of residence.
(See Table)

2.
The Status of Residence of Foreign Students Studying in Japan

What then is the status of residence of foreign students studying at a university or Japanese language institution in Japan?

Foreign students studying at one of the following educational institutions are eligible for a College Student residence status.

(Excludes cases where student studies at a night school or through correspondence courses exclusively.)

(1) Students studying at universities (undergraduate and graduate), junior colleges, special training colleges (post secondary courses only), preparatory educational institutions, colleges of technology.

(2) Students studying in high schools and advanced and general courses (excludes post secondary courses) at special training colleges as well as students enrolled in miscellaneous schools or equivalent educational institutions.

3.
How to Acquire a Visa for Entering Japan—Application Procedures for Certificate of Eligibility for Residence Status

A visa must be acquired in order to study in Japan. There are two ways in which the visa may be acquired.

(1) The foreign student wishing to enter Japan for studies should files an application for a visa directly to an overseas Japanese embassy or consulate.

(2) An employee of the educational institution in which the foreign student is scheduled to enroll makes an application to the relevant immigration office, etc. for a Certificate of Eligibility for Residence Status (“Certificate of Eligibility”) on the foreign student’s behalf. Once the Certificate of Eligibility is granted, the foreign student wishing to enter Japan takes his/her Certificate of Eligibility to an overseas Japanese embassy or consulate and files an application for a visa. (See diagram)

The Certificate of Eligibility provides proof that s/he conforms to the conditions for entry as prescribed in Article 7 Paragraph 1 Item 2 of the Immigration Control Act. Therefore, being in possession of a Certificate of Eligibility will make the procedures for visa issuance at overseas Japanese embassies, etc. as well as the immigration inspection at a Japanese airport go smoothly.

The documents necessary for filing an application for a Certificate of Eligibility to the immigration office is described at the Immigration Bureau of Japan website. Please note that because the documents required by a Japanese educational institution may differ from school to school, you should consult the school in which you are scheduled to enroll for details.

4.
Procedures for Entering Japan— Air and Sea Port Immigration Inspections

An immigration inspection must be undergone upon arrival at an air or sea port in Japan.

A valid passport with valid visa affixed, Certificate of Eligibility (if one has obtained a certificate) and ED card (embarkation and disembarkation card: normally distributed in the plane during flight but also available at the port of arrival) are submitted to the immigration officer and personally identifying data (fingerprints and facial photograph) provided.

The matters inspected include the following:

(1) That the passport and visa are valid

(2) That the activities that the foreign national will be engaged in while in Japan as stated in the application are true and falls under one of the status of residence categories described in "1. Status of Residence and Period of Stay " above and conforms to the standards stipulated by ministerial ordinance.

(3) That the period of stay requested conforms to the period as established by law.

(4) That the foreign national does not fall under any of the grounds for denial of disembarkation.

The immigration inspection for (2) above will be simplified and speedy for those who have obtained a Certificate of Eligibility.

Once the foreign national is deemed to conform to aforementioned conditions (1) through (4) above, entry is authorized and a seal of verification for disembarkation is affixed on the passport, either as a sticker or stamp. The disembarkation permit seal contains information such as the status of residence, period of stay and date of expiration.

A foreign national granted long-term residency status in his or her disembarkation permission (hereinafter referred to as a “mid- to long-term resident”) will be issued a Resident Card. If the air or sea port that serves as the point of entry is unable to issue a Resident Card, a stamp stating that a Resident Card will be issued later will be placed in the foreign national’s passport and a Resident Card will be issued by mail after filling out a form providing notification of moving into a new domicile (notification of address) at the local city, ward, town or village government office.

A foreign national who has received disembarkation permission as a mid- to long-term resident must fill out a form providing notification of moving into a new domicile (notification of address) with his or her local city, ward, town or village government office within 14 days of moving into a domicile.

http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/newimmiact_1/port-city.html

*The old Alien Registration System has been abolished. Visit the following website for details.

http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/newimmiact_1/
point_3-4.html#anchor-point4

5.
After Arrival and Finding a Domicile— Procedures Related to Basic Resident Registration

Within 14 days of moving into a domicile, a foreign national who has received disembarkation permission as a mid- to long-term resident must bring their Resident Card (or passport if he or she was not issued a Resident Card at the air or sea port through which s/he entered the country) and fill out a form providing notification of moving into a new domicile with the city, ward, town or village government office where s/he lives (presenting one’s Resident Card and providing notification through the Basic Resident Registration System of moving into a new domicile is considered reporting your address under the Immigration Control Act).

6.
Working Part Time—Application Procedures for Certificate to Engage in Activity Other than that Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted

Foreign students in Japan with the status of residence of College Student or Pre-college Student who wish to work part-time in Japan must make an application for Permission to Engage in Activity Other than that Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted and receive approval in advance.

A foreign student who has just arrived at an air or sea port in Japan with the status of residence of College Student or Pre-college Student whose Period of Stay is six months or longer and who has been granted disembarkation permission can immediately apply for Permission to Engage in Activity Other than that Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted. If you do not apply for Permission to Engage in Activity Other than that Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted or you wish to extend the validity of said permission, you must make an application at the local immigration bureau, branch office or detached office (hereinafter collectively referred to as the "local immigration office") in one's area of domicile.

The following documents are necessary for making an application for Permission to Engage in Activity Other than that Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted.

(1) Application form for Permission to Engage in Activity Other than that Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted (Available at the local immigration office, etc. The application form can also be downloaded from the Immigration Bureau of Japan website.)

(2) Passport and Resident Card (when already received)

Note that even if you have Permission to Engage in Activity Other than that Permitted by the Status Residence Previously Granted, there are restrictions placed on the amount and type of work you may do. For example, activities related to adults entertainment business (e.g. Pachinko parlor clerk, host/hostess of bars and cabarets, etc.) are prohibited.

Hours of work permitted are also restricted as follows:
-As a basic rule, within 28 hours a week (up to 8 hours a day during summer break and other long vacation periods)

No fee is charged to apply for Permission to Engage in Activity Other than that Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted.

Additionally, students enrolled at a university or high-school (4th and 5th year non-degree graduate programs only) who are working as a teacher’s assistant or research assistant as per a contract with that university or high-school do not need to apply for Permission to Engage in Activity Other than Permitted by the Status of Residence Previous Granted.

7.
When Moving—Notification Procedures Related to Basic Resident Registration

When a mid – to long-term resident moves, etc., s/he must fill out a form providing notification concerning their address at their city, ward, town or village government office.

(1) Procedures for providing notification of moving into a new domicile accompanying changes in status of residence, etc.

A foreign national who previously was not a mid- to long-term resident and who has newly become so due a change in his or her status of residence, a change in the Period of Stay or due to receiving a status of residence must bring his or her Resident Card to the city, ward, town or village government office in the area where s/he lives and fill out a form providing notification through the Basic Resident Registration System that s/he has moved into a domicile within 14 days of moving into a new domicile (for a foreign national already living in a domicile, from the day s/he became a mid- to long-term resident) (presenting one’s Resident Card and providing notification through the Basic Resident Registration System of moving into a new domicile is considered reporting your address under the Immigration Control Act).

(2) Procedures for providing notification moving out of an old domicile and into a new domicile (notification of a change of address)

A) A mid- to long-term resident moving within the same city, ward, town or village must bring his or her Resident Card to the city, ward, town or village government office in the area where s/he lives and fill out a form providing notification through the Basic Resident Registration System that s/he has moved into a domicile within 14 days of moving into a new domicile (presenting one’s Resident Card and providing notification through the Basic Resident Registration System of moving into a new domicile is considered reporting your address under the Immigration Control Act).

B) A mid- to long-term resident moving to a different city, ward, town or village must fill out a form providing notification that s/he is moving before s/he moves to the city, ward, town or village government office in the area where s/he lives. After moving, s/he must bring the change of address certificate s/he received and his or her Resident Card to the city, ward, town or village government office in the area where s/he now lives and fill out a form providing notification through the Basic Resident Registration System that s/he has moved into a domicile within 14 days of moving into a new domicile (presenting one’s Resident Card and providing notification through the Basic Resident Registration System of moving into a new domicile is considered reporting your address under the Immigration Control Act).

C) As a general rule, when a foreign national graduates from a school in Japan and leaves Japan to live in another country, s/he must fill out a form providing notification s/he is moving prior to leaving Japan to the city, ward, town or village government office where s/he lives.

8.
When Visiting Home and Traveling Outside of Japan— About Special Re-entry Permission

If travelling to your home country or other overseas destination during school breaks, etc. one can return to Japan to continue one's studies without having to acquire a new visa if you use the Special Re-entry Permission system.

Special Re-entry Permission eliminates the need for a foreign national who possesses a valid passport and Resident Card from having to receive a Re-entry Permit prior to traveling that allows him or her to continue working or studying once s/he returns to Japan if s/he returns within one year after leaving (if the Period of Stay will end in less than a year, by the last day of the Period of Stay).

When traveling outside of Japan and taking advantage of the Special Re-entry Permission system, you must present a valid passport, Resident Card and Embarkation Card for Reentrant with a check mark in the box marked “Departure with Special Re-entry Permission” to the immigration inspector at the air or sea port you are departing from.

(http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/newimmiact_1/point_3-4.html)

9.
When Continuing to Study in Japan after the Initial Period of Stay is Expired—Application Procedures for Extension of Period of Stay

If one wishes to continue studying in Japan beyond the Period of Stay (shown on the disembarkation permit) initially granted upon entry, one must make an application for permission to extend the Period of Stay. Applications are accepted roughly three months prior to the end of the Period of Stay. The application must be made without fail before expiration of the Period of Stay.

The application for extending one's Period of Stay is made at the local immigration office (excludes branch offices and detached offices with jurisdiction over air and sea ports only; same for below). The fee to apply for permission to extend the Period of Stay is 4,000 yen. (A revenue stamp for the fee is necessary at the time of application.) The following documents are necessary for the application.

(1) Application form for Application for Extension of Period of Stay (Available at the local immigration office. The application form can also be downloaded from the Immigration Bureau of Japan website.)

(2) 1 photograph (must be a clear picture taken from the front within 3 months of the application; the head of the subject must be uncovered; the background must be blank; size: 4 cm high and 3 cm wide)

(3) Passport and Resident Card

(4) Certificate of school enrollment, school transcript, etc. (Differs according to student type)

i) University undergraduate and graduate students, junior college students, preparatory educational institution students, college of technology students, etc. -Certificate of school enrollment (with enrollment period listed)

ii) Students in a special university course and students in post secondary courses at a special training college
-Certificate of attendance and school transcript

iii) Research students
-Certificate of school enrollment (with enrollment period listed)
-Certificate of content of research (issued by an institution such as the university department, etc.)

iv) Audit students
-Certificate of school enrollment (with enrollment period listed)
-Certificate such as a copy of a course report with the audited subjects and number of hours listed (issued by an institution such as the university department, etc.)

v) In the case of a students studying in high schools and advanced and general courses at special training colleges as well as students enrolled in miscellaneous schools or equivalent educational institutions
-Certificate of school enrollment (with enrollment period listed), certificate of attendance and school transcript (all issued by the school of enrollment)

(5) Document certifying that the student can meet expenses while staying in Japan

10.
When Bringing Family Members to Japan from One’s Home Country—Application Procedures for Certificate of Eligibility

If a foreign student studying in Japan under the residence status of College Student wishes to bring family members to Japan to live together, a visa for living together in Japan must be acquired. Note that family members who can be brought to Japan are limited to his/her spouse and children. Also note that only foreign students studying at an educational institution that corresponds to item (1) in “2. The Status of Residence of Foreign Students Studying in Japan“ may bring family members to Japan to live together with them.

As explained in 3. above, there are two ways of acquiring a visa for Japan. One way is to go directly to an overseas Japanese embassy or consulate and apply for a visa. The second way is for the foreign student to make an application for a Certificate of Eligibility at an immigration office in Japan on behalf of his/her family. Once the Certificate of Eligibility is granted, it is sent to his/her family, who then takes it to a Japanese embassy or consulate to apply for a visa.

The following documents are necessary for the application for a Certificate of Eligibility for bringing family members to Japan.

(1) Application form for Application for Certificate of Eligibility (Available at the local immigration office. The application form can also be downloaded from the Immigration Bureau of Japan website.)

(2) The passport, Resident Card and a copy of the Alien Registration Card of the foreign student making the application

(3) One of the following documents that prove the relationship between the foreign student making the application and his/her family member(s) being brought to Japan:

(i) (In the case of a spouse) Marriage certificate (copy)

(ii) (In the case of a child) Birth certificate (copy)

(iii) Documents that are the equivalent of the above

(4) Document verifying the income of the foreign student making the application

(i) Certificate of deposit balance for a bank account in the name of the foreign student making the application or a document verifying that the foreign student is receiving a scholarship (listing the amount and period of the grant)

(ii) Documents that are the equivalent of the above and certify that the foreign student making the application can meet living expenses

(5) 1 photograph of the family member(s) being brought to Japan (photograph of the person(s) who will be entering in Japan taken within 3 months of the application. Must be a clear bust shot (upper body) taken from the front with bare head and nothing in the background. The size of the photograph must be 4 cm high and 3 cm wide.)

(6) 1 self-addressed standard-size envelope with stamp(s) worth 380 yen affixed (for recorded delivery purpose)

The residence status of the family member will be "Dependent." Note that if the family member wishes to remain in Japan beyond the original Period of Stay, s/he will also need to make an application for Extension of Period of Stay.

The family member can also use the Special Re-entry Permission system if s/he returns to Japan within one year (if the Period of Stay will end in less than a year, by the last day of the Period of Stay) to live with the foreign student.

11.
When Changing Jobs and Graduating, etc.—Procedures for Notification of Accepting Organization

When a foreign student with a residence status of College Student on his or her Resident Card transfers to another school, s/he must fill out a Notification of the Accepting Organization form to the local immigration office within 14 days of switching schools.

S/he must also similarly fill out a Notification of the Accepting Organization form if s/he graduates or leaves school.

As form items and examples vary depending on what the content of the notification, please visit the Immigration Bureau homepage.

http://www.moj.go.jp/nyuukokukanri/kouhou/
nyuukokukanri10_00014.html

12.
When the Foreign Student Finds Employment in Japan after Graduation—Application Procedures for Change of Status of Residence

If a foreign student who has obtained a university or specialist degree and graduated from a university, vocational college, etc. finds employment in Japan, s/he must change his status of residence from College Student to one that authorizes him/her to work in Japan.

Statuses of residence that authorize employment in Japan include Engineer, for working in services in the field of science; Specialist in Humanities/International Services, for working in the field of humanities such as an interpreter, translator and in international trade; Researcher, for working in research; Investor/Business Manager, for managing one’s own company; and Instructor, for teaching at Japanese elementary and middle schools. According to the Immigration Bureau, of the 8,586 foreign students who found employment in Japan during 2011, about 70.0% were authorized a change of status of residence to Humanities/International Services, and about 19.5% were authorized a change to Engineer. Therefore, we will explain here the application procedures for changing the status of residence to Humanities/International Services and Engineer.

Criteria such as “Employment is based on a contract with a Japanese company, etc. (one cannot work on a freelance basis),” “The content of the work utilizes the specialized knowledge gained through university education, etc.,” “The person has an education of a university graduate or higher or has 10 years or more hands-on experience,” and “The salary is equivalent to or higher than that of Japanese nationals” must be met. (Note that residency status is granted based upon a liberal understanding of the connection between the field studied at university and the content of work.)

The application for Change of Status of Residence is made at the local immigration office. The fee to apply for Change of Status of Residence is 4,000 yen. (A revenue stamp for the fee is necessary at the time of application.)
Materials necessary for applying for a change of residency status from College Student to either Engineer or Specialist in Humanities/International Services vary depending on the size of the employing company. Please refer to the Immigration Bureau’s homepage for details: For Engineers:

http://www.moj.go.jp/ONLINE/IMMIGRATION/ZAIRYU
_HENKO/ shin_henko10_10.html(Japanese)

For Specialist in Humanities/International Services:

http://www.moj.go.jp/ONLINE/IMMIGRATION/ZAIRYU
_HENKO/ shin_henko10_11.html(Japanese)

13.
To Continue the Job Hunt after Graduation—Application Procedures for Change of Status of Residence from College Student to Designated Activities

Foreign students for whom employment in Japan was not gained before graduation from a university, graduate school, etc., or foreign students who graduated from special training colleges and acquired a specialist degree and who wish to stay in Japan and continue searching for employment in Japan after graduation are authorized to stay for a maximum of 1 year.

In such cases, the status of residence becomes Designated Activities, and the period of stay is, as a general rule, 6 months. 1 renewal of the period of stay is allowed.

The application for Change of Status of Residence to Designated Activities is made at the local immigration office. The fee to apply for Change of Status of Residence is 4,000 yen. (A revenue stamp for the fee is necessary at the time of application.) The following documents are necessary for the application.

1 In the case of graduation from a university or graduate school:

(1) Application form for Application for Change of Status of Residence (Available at the local immigration office. The application form can also be downloaded from the Immigration Bureau of Japan website.)

(2) 1 photograph (must be a clear picture taken from the front within 3 months of the application; the head of the subject must be uncovered; the background must be blank; size: 4 cm high and 3 cm wide)

(3) Document that certifies that the applicant can meet living expenses while residing in Japan

(4) Diploma from a university, etc. or certificate of graduation

(5) Letter of recommendation for continued job search activities from the university of graduation

(6) Materials that show that job search activities are continuing

2 In the case of graduation from a special training college and acquisition of a specialist degree

(1) Application form for Application for Change of Status of Residence (Available at the local immigration office. The application form can also be downloaded from the Immigration Bureau of Japan website.)

(2) 1 photograph (must be a clear picture taken from the front within 3 months of the application; the head of the subject must be uncovered; the background must be blank; size: 4 cm high and 3 cm wide)

(3) Document that certifies that the applicant can meet living expenses while residing in Japan

(4) Certificate of acquisition of a specialist degree

(5) Diploma from a vocational college or certificate of graduation and school transcript

(6) Letter of recommendation for continued job search activities from the special training college of graduation

(7) Materials that show that job search activities are continuing

(8) Document that shows details of the content learned at the special training college

As described above, a letter of recommendation from the university or special training college of graduation is required in order to continue job search activities after graduation. Please consult with the university, etc. when desiring to continue the job search after graduation.

If a job offer is received during the Designated Activities period of stay but the date of joining the company is ahead in the future beyond the period of stay (for example, an offer is received in September to join the company in April), one can continue to reside in Japan until that time (granted that the date of joining the company is within 1 year of the job offer and does not exceed 1.5 years after graduation). In such cases, the application to renew the period of stay under the resident status of Designated Activities will require documents to certify that one can meet living expenses during the period of stay, materials for making an application to change the status to residence to one that conforms to the activity that will be carried out after joining the company from which the job offer is received, the job offer letter and pledge from the company making the job offer (to be in contact with the former foreign student to whom the job offer is made once every certain period of time, to report to the Immigration Bureau without delay if the company withdraws the job offer, etc.)

14.
To Continue Activities to Start-up Own Company after Graduation—Application Procedures for Change of Status of Residence from College Student to Special Activities

If a foreign student who has graduated from a university or graduate school wishes to carry out activities to start up one’s own company after graduation, activities to start up a company may be continued for a maximum of 6 months after graduation. Please view the following link for procedure details.

http://www.moj.go.jp/ONLINE/IMMIGRATION/
ZAIRYU_HENKO/zairyu_henko10_21.html

15.
Precautions related to Filing Applications

Please note the following points when filing applications with the local immigration office.

1) Of the documents to be submitted to the local immigration office, certifications that are issued in Japan must have been issued within 3 months of submission.

2) Japanese translations must be attached to materials written in a foreign language.

3) Documents submitted to the local immigration office are not returned as a general rule. If you wish the return of the original document, etc., please request the return at the Immigration Bureau when making the application.

4) The submission of documents other than those listed above may be required for submission during the process of examination of an application by the local immigration office.

5) The application procedures, necessary documents, etc. described above are current as of September 2012.

Please confirm the latest information at the Immigration Bureau of Japan website, etc. or inquire with the Immigration Information Center described in 16 below.

16.
Consultation Services related to Entry and Residence—the Immigration Information Center etc.

The Immigration Information Center responds to inquiries and consultations regarding entry and residence procedures. Consultations are accepted by face-to-face interview, telephone or email. Email consultations are limited to the Foreign Residents Information Center.

Immigration Bureau of Japan, Immigration Information Center:

One Stop Information Center (Japanese):

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