Japan has a Working Holiday Agreement with several other countries. Young people from eligible countries can apply for a Japan Working Holiday Visa, which would allow them to live and work in Japan for up to one year, and get acquainted with the Japanese culture and way of life.
The benefit of the Working Holiday Visa for Japan is that it does not adhere to most of the rules of the ordinary Work Visa (such as approved professions) although it is shorter.
Who is Eligible for a Japan Working Holiday Visa?
You are eligible for a Japan Working Holiday Visa if you fulfill the following requirements:
- You are from one of the following countries:
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Republic of Korea
- The United Kingdom
- You are between the ages of 18 and 30, except for:
- Citizens of Australia, Canada, and the Republic of Korea, who must be between 18 and 25 years of age
- Citizens of Ireland, who must be between 18 and 26 years of age
- You will not bring any dependents with you
- You have not had a Japan Working Holiday Visa in the past
- You are in good health
- You have the necessary financial requirements to sustain yourself at the beginning of your stay. The necessary funds you need for the Japan Working Holiday Visa depend on your country, but you will generally need between US$2,500 to US$4,000.
Additionally, there is a quota of how many Working Holiday Visas the Japanese government will issue to citizens of specific countries. For example:
- Canada: 6,500
- Republic of Korea and Taiwan: 10,000
- France and Hong Kong: 1,500
- The UK: 100
- Ireland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic: 400
- Poland and Spain: 500
- Austria, Argentina, Chile, and Hungary: 200
- Lithuania: 100
- Iceland: 30
- Australia, Germany, New Zealand, and Portugal: No limit
What are the Requirements of a Japan Working Holiday Visa?
When you apply for a Japan Working Holiday Visa, you need several supporting documents, such as:
- Japan Visa Application Form, completed and signed. You can download a copy of the application form from the website of the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (here).
- Your valid passport along with photocopies of it. The passport must be valid for the duration of your stay.
- 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)
- Proof of sufficient financial means, provided through bank statements that are issued within the last month.
- A return flight ticket. You can also submit a one-way ticket as long as you have the necessary funds to be able to purchase a departing ticket at a later time
- A resume/CV, detailing your academic and professional history
- A letter addressed to the Embassy/Consulate, detailing why you want to visit Japan
- A Schedule or Itinerary of your stay in Japan. You have to submit an itinerary of what you plan to do every month during your stay, including in which cities you will stay, what you will work, or what other activities you will engage in.
Keep in mind:
The documents you submit have to be either in English or Japanese. Consult with the consular staff regarding the language requirements of the documents you have to submit.
The documents have to be in A4 format.
The Japanese Embassy or Consulate in which you apply have the right to request any additional documents as they see fit.
Working Conditions of the Japan Working Holiday Visa
If you receive a Japan Working Holiday Visa, the work you do there should be of secondary purpose. The main purpose of your travel has to be for holidays and for recreation, rather than to work.
If you have a Japan Working Holiday Visa, you can work as many hours as you want per week, unlike with the Student Visa where there is a limit of 28 hours per week.
The Japan Working Holiday Visa allows the holder to work in any profession, provided that it does not affect “public morals in Japan”. Restricted professions for Working Holiday Visa holders in Japan include working at bars, cabarets, nightclubs, gambling establishments, love hotels, etc.
How to Apply for a Japan Working Holiday Visa?
You have to apply for a Japan Working Holiday Visa at the Embassy or Consulate of Japan in your country. The application process is as follows:
- Contact a Japanese Embassy or Consulate in your country or visit their website to learn more information. Find the Japanese Embassies, Consulates and Permanent Missions here.
- Collect the required documents for a Japan Working Holiday Visa (see the documents below)
- Submit the Japan Working Holiday 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 bo back for an interview.
- Collect the visa. Once your Japan Working Holiday Visa application has been processed, you have to go back to receive your passport. If the application was approved, you may enter Japan.
What to Do After You Enter Japan With a Working Holiday Visa?
After you use your Working Holiday Visa to enter Japan, you will receive a Landing Permit at the Japanese port of entry.
Additionally, if you enter Japan through the Narita, Haneda, Kansai or Chubu Airport 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, within 14 days of setting up residence in Japan, you have to report your stay at one of the local municipal offices (also known as Ward Offices). Your address will be printed on the Residence Card.
How Long Does it Take to Process a Japan Working Holiday Visa?
The processing time for a Japan Working Holiday Visa is between five to ten working days.
What is the Duration of the Japan Working Holiday Visa?
A Working Holiday Visa for Japan has a duration of 12 months. Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, and Canada will receive a six-month visa initially, which they can extend for another six months for a maximum of 12 month-stay in Japan.
Can You Extend a Japan Working Holiday Visa?
No, you cannot extend a Japan Working Holiday Visa, unless you have received a six-month visa and want to extend it to a full one year. Japanese Working Holiday Visas do not allow the holder to stay in the country for more than 12 months, and you cannot receive another Working Holiday Visa.
However, you can apply for a “Change of Status of Residence” at your local office of the Immigration Services in Japan. Let’s say, for example, you have found a job which is in the category of permitted occupations for foreign workers – you can apply to change your category to a Japan Work Visa and continue to live there under the conditions of your new residence status.