If you want to study in Japan as an international student, you will need a Japan Student Visa.

The Student Visa for Japan is a type of long-term visa, which means you need a Certificate of Eligibility before you can apply for a visa to enter Japan.

Who Needs a Japan Student Visa?

Everyone who wants to study in a Japanese educational institution has to get a Japan Student Visa.

The Japanese government has a visa exemption policy for citizens of several countries. However, the exemption is only for short-term purposes such as for tourism, visits, conducting business or attending a conference. If you are visa-exempt but intend to enter Japan for a purpose that’s longer than 90 days, you still need to apply for a visa as per the purpose of your travel.

What Documents Do I Need for a Japan Student Visa Application?

When you apply for a Japanese Student Visa, you need several documents that support your application. The documents you need for a Japan Student Visa application include:

  • Spouse Visa Application Form, which you can download from
  • Your valid passport along with photocopies of it
  • Passport-size pictures with the following specifications:
    • Dimensions: 4cm x 3cm
    • Taken within the last three months
    • Plain white background, without any patterns and shadows
    • You must be starting straight ahead, with a neutral facial expression
    • Your face has to be fully visible
    • The picture must be good quality (focused, clear, and sharp)
  • The Certificate of Eligibility
  • Letter of Admission into the Japanese educational institution, indicating the duration and details of the course
  • Previous academic and/or professional qualifications, as applicable (diploma, transcripts, etc.)
  • Proof you can meet the financial requirements for the duration of your stay in Japan. The financial requirements for a Japanese Student Visa are about 2 Million Yen for one year. You can show that you meet the necessary financial requirements through:
    • Bank or income statements
    • Proof of a Scholarship
    • Proof you receive Financial Aid
    • Letter of Sponsorship, if someone is sponsoring you, along with your sponsor’s proof of income and bank statements
  • If required:
    • Letter of Invitation and Letter of Guarantee issued from your educational institution
    • A Motivational or Cover Letter, written by you stating the reason for your travel

You also have to send documents several of these documents to your school so they can apply for the Certificate of Eligibility.

Keep in mind:

  • The documents have to be printed on A4 paper
  • Consult with the Embassy or Consulate whether you should submit copies of the documents or the originals. In some cases, your documents will not be returned to you.
  • This is not an exhaustive list of requirements. The Embassy or Consulate in which you apply can request any additional documents, as per your specific case.

How to Apply for a Japan Student Visa?

The application process for applying for a Student Visa for Japan is divided into two parts:

  • Obtaining the Certificate of Eligibility
  • Submitting the Japan Student Visa application

Obtaining the Certificate of Eligibility in Japan

Every foreigner who enters Japan for non-temporary reasons needs to get a Certificate of Eligibility from the Immigration Services in Japan. However, since you have to get this before you enter Japan, it is your school that’s in charge of handling the COE application on your behalf. You have to send them the required documents.

The purpose of the Japan Certificate of Eligibility is to support the actual visa application process. It serves to show you have the approval of the Japanese Immigration Services and that you meet the entry requirements set by the Japanese government for international students.

However, the Certificate of Eligibility for Japan is not the same as a visa; it is merely a prerequisite; you still have to apply for a Japan Student Visa from your home country.

The application process for a Japanese Certificate of Eligibility  takes between one to three months.

Applying for the Japan Student Visa

After you receive the Certificate of Eligibility, your school has to send it to you so you can use it to apply for the Student Visa from a Japanese Consulate or Embassy in your country. You have to:

  1. Contact a Japanese Embassy or Consulate near you. Find a list of the Japanese Embassies, Consulates and Permanent Missions here.
    • Some Embassies/Consulate don’t accept direct visa applications, in which case you need to apply through an accredited travel agency or visa application agency.
  2. Collect the required documents for a Japan Student Visa (see below)
  3. Submit the Japan Student Visa application either directly at the Embassy/Consulate or at the travel agency or visa application agency. If the Consulate or Embassy considers it necessary, you may also have to go back for an interview or to submit additional documents.
  4. Collect the visa. Once your Japan Student Visa application has been processed, you have to go back to receive your passport. If the application was approved, you may enter Japan.

Once You Rnter Japan With a Student Visa

After you enter Japan with a Student Visa, you will receive a Landing Permission at the port of entry by the Imigration Officers. If you have a single-entry visa, it will become invalid once you get the Landing Permit, whereas a multiple-entry visa with a longer validity remains valid even after you get the Landing Permit. The Landing Permit replaces your visa and allows you to legally stay in Japan.

In addition to the Landing Permit, you also have to get the following:

A Residence Card

If you enter Japan through Narita, Haneda, Kansai or Chubu Airports you will receive a Japanese Residence Card  upon entry. If you enter through any other port, you can get the Residence Card at one of the local municipal offices in Japan.

Then, regardless of whether you have gotten the Residence Card on entry or later, within 14 days of setting up residence in Japan, you have to report your stay at one of the local municipal offices. Your address will be printed on the Residence Card.

A Re-Entry Permit

If you want to be allowed to leave and re-enter Japan for the duration of your visa, you can apply for a Japan Re-Entry Permit  at your local Japanese Immigration Office.

How Long Does it Take to Process a Japan Student Visa?

When you apply for the Student Visa itself, the application process can take between 5-10 working days. However, the application to receive the Certificate of Eligibility can take up to three months.

What is the Duration of the Japan Student Visa?

Japan Student Visas are issued for the following durations:

  • Six months
  • One year
  • One year and three months
  • Two years
  • Two years and three months

The duration that you are allowed to stay in Japan is stated on your Landing Permission as well as on your Residence Card.

However, regardless of the duration of your issued visa, you can apply for an extension of your stay before your current visa expires.

Extending a Japan Student Visa

You can apply for a Japan Extension of Stay  up to 90 days before your visa is set to expire at the local Immigration Office. You need the following documents when you apply:

  • Application Form for Japan Visa Extension
  • Your passport
  • Passport-size pictures with the following specifications:
    • Dimensions: 4cm x 3cm
    • Taken within the last three months
    • Plain and light-colored background, without any patterns and shadows
    • You must be starting straight ahead, with a neutral facial expression
    • Your face has to be fully visible
    • The picture must be good quality (focused, clear, and sharp)
  • Your Residence Card
  • A copy of your Registration Certificate issued by your educational institution
  • A copy of your Results Certificate issued by your educational institution
  • Proof you can meet the financial requirements related to your stay

The application for Visa Extension is issued within two weeks to a month.

How Much is the Japan Student Visa Fee?

The fees for Japan Visas are as follows:

  • Single-entry visa: 3,000 Yen
  • Double-entry or multiple-entry visa: 6,000 Yen
  • Transit Visa: 700 Yen

However, you only have to pay the visa fee if the application is approved.

Keep in mind:

The fee for the visa can change depending on the country, the purpose of your visit, as well as the local currency.

Working With a Japan Student Visa

A Japanese Student Visa on its own does not authorize you to work. In order to work, you have to get a Work Permit from the local Immigration Office in Japan.

Additionally, as a Student Visa holder, you cannot work more than 28 hours a week and there are some restricted occupations, such as working in a bar, club, adult stores or hotels, massage parlors, etc.

Once you graduate, you can apply to change the category of your visa from student to work in order to be allowed to work. However, you need a work contract to be able to do so.

How to Change a Student Visa to a Work Visa in Japan?

If you are an international student in Japan and find employment while you are on a Student Visa or after you graduate, you have to apply to change the category into a Work Visa. You and your new employer can apply for a Work Visa at one of the local Immigration Offices in Japan by submitting the following documents:

  • Application Form for permission to change the status of residence
  • Your passport and a copy of your passport
  • Your Residence Card
  • Your CV
  • Proof of Graduation (diploma)
  • Proof of the previous academic and/or professional history
  • Your school Transcripts
  • A copy of the Employment Contract, stating the details of your employment
  • Your employing company’s documents, such as:
    • Registration Documents
    • Financial statements of the latest Fiscal Year
    • Income statements

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