Certificate of eligibility

In order to obtain a work permit, the visa applicant must first apply at an immigration office for a certificate of eligibility.

To make that application, the applicant usually has to apply for and obtain a short-term visa (people from countries with which Japan has a visa exemption agreement do not need such visas) from her local Japanese government office, and enter Japan on a temporary travel basis.

When applying for a certificate of eligibility, you must know what kind of work permit is required. In the model case outlined here, the visa status is "investment/management"; one of the requirements of this is that the visa applicant must employ at least two Japan residents (or citizens), while other visa statuses have other requirements, and it is absolutely vital to check these before applying.

The actual application process is simple: fill in the application form and submit it along with the photographs and other necessary documents to the appropriate office.

Note that the documents required to be submitted with the application form differ in accordance with the relationship between Japan and the applicant's country of citizenship: make sure you check which documents you need to submit before applying.

If all goes well, the certificate of eligibility should be issued between one and three months from the time of application. Be aware that even if you have submitted your application for the certificate of eligibility, you are not permitted to overstay your short term visa. It is possible to apply for a certificate of eligibility without entering Japan by having an administrative scrivener act as proxy; the applicant does not have to set foot in an immigration office at all, making the process somewhat more efficient.

Using an administrative scrivener can also make it easier to deal with any problems which might arise, however be aware that administrative scriveners charge anywhere from ¥150,000 to well into six figures. If you are already considering having an administrative scrivener carry out company registration and tax and other official notification procedures on your behalf at a later stage, it would certainly be more efficient to have the same professional handle your application for a certificate of eligibility as well.

Having been issued a certificate of eligibility, the visa applicant must then return to his or her home country and submit an application to the local Japanese government office for the actual work permit. The applicant will require his or her passport, certificate of eligibility, photographs, and other documents (these differ according to the country of eligibility). The visa will generally be issued within a few days.


Tokyo Immigration Control Bureau Chiba Office 043-242-6597