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All You Need to Know About the Job Hunting Visa in Japan
Oct 02, 2023
4 min read
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If you are a student currently enrolled in a degree school in Japan (this includes Japanese universities, Japanese language schools or vocational schools) and you’re still looking for a job, chances are, you’ll need some extra time to get settled down. Unfortunately, your visa is about to expire soon since you are about to graduate. So you might want to consider applying for a job-hunting visa to extend your stay in Japan while you find a job. It’s important to note that the visa itself falls under the category of “Designated Activities” and that there’s no particular category known as a “job-hunting” visa. If you receive a Designated Activities visa for job hunting, it will only be available for one year.

Eligibility for a Job Hunting Visa

Only those who are already in Japan and have at least one degree from a degree school, either from or outside of Japan are eligible for the visa. The current status of residence for these individuals has to be “Student”. In other words, you already have a Student visa. The job hunting visa is for those students who were already looking for a job prior to their graduation and want to continue on their hunt afterwards. Moreover, if you are from a specialized training school, you’ll need to show that your degree is related to a work-related status of residence.

What You Need for the Job Hunting Visa

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Generally, you’ll need the following documents if you’re applying by yourself and not using a proxy or legal representative:

  1. One copy of the application form for change of status of residence

  2. One photograph – you’ll be able to find more details on the photograph requirements at the Immigration Services Agency (ISA) of Japan.

  3. Passport (or Certificate of Eligibility). Note: If this is not possible, you must provide a written explanation as to why this is the case.

  4. Current Residence Card

  5. Materials related to activities in Japan

The following are the requirements for university-enrolled students:

  1. Certificate of graduation from the university you’re enrolled in. You can also provide a copy of your diploma. If you want a submitted document returned to you, make sure to indicate that during your application process.

  2. Recommendation letter from the university for you to continue job hunting in Japan. The ISA has a template that can be used.

  3. Documents to show that you’re continuing full-time job hunting activities such as interview schedules.

You will be asked to provide financial documents to show that you or your sponsors have enough financing to cover all expenses that are to be incurred during the rest of your stay in Japan.

The following are the requirements only for those enrolled in a professional training college:

  1. Certificate of professional engineer status from the professional training college where you studied

  2. Copy of Diploma or the certificate of grades from the professional training college you attended

  3. Recommendation letter for continuing your job search from the professional training college that you recently attended. The template is the same as above.

  4. Documents clarifying that you’re continuing your job hunting

  5. An official copy of the documents clarifying details of the professional training college’s coursework

Note that the deadline for the job hunting application is one day before the final day of the period of stay. Also, if the submitted documents are in a language other than Japanese, you’ll have to attach English translations for them.

Good Luck with Job Hunting!

Job hunting can be an exhausting period for anyone in any country, but perhaps the effects of it are felt more acutely within Japan’s hierarchical and bureaucratic processes. It’s natural for it to take some time, hence the creation of the Specially Designated Activities for job hunting in the first place. The documents shouldn’t take more than a month to process generally, so we hope that you’ll have a renewed visa in no time and continue with your job hunting without any trouble.

Important – The information in this article is based on the sources below and is valid on the date of publish. Don’t forget to double-check the official MOFA and immigration websites for official information!

・Immigration Services Agency of Japan Website – Designated Activities

・Immigration Services Agency of Japan Website – Change of Residency Status

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