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Visa and Status of Residence

About Visa, Status of Residence and Certificate of Eligibility

All foreign people who intend to enter Japan must have a valid passport with, in principle, a visa already stamped on it *1. When entering Japan, they are examined by immigration officers to determine the Status of Residence and duration of residence, which are stamped on the passport. It is only after these procedures that foreign people can enter Japan.

Status of Residence is a permit to stay in Japan. If you intend to study / research at Tohoku University, you need to obtain appropriate Status of Residence. In order to obtain the Status of Residence, you need a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). When you have obtained one, go to your nearest Embassy of Japan or Consulate-General of Japan to undergo procedures to obtain a visa. Please make sure to allow about three months before your desired day of departure. If the procedure starts later, there is a possibility that the visa will not issued in time and you will have to reschedule your flight.

*1 There are countries and areas whose residents are not required to have a visa if their stay in Japan is for less than three months and they are not engaging in an activity in which compensation will be awarded. Please see here for the list of countries and areas with visa exemption. If your country is not one of those exempted countries, see here for "Visa procedures for a short stay".

Visa

Under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a visa is issued to a passport as a condition of entering Japan, in advance of the departure at Embassies of Japan or Consulates-General of Japan abroad. It is a "recommendation" for entry and please be aware that it does not guarantee your entrance. Once you use the visa to enter, it is no longer valid, unless your visa is valid for multiple entries.
To obtain a visa, please make sure to refer to multiple sources of information, including, this website, the MOFA website, and your nearest Embassy of Japan or Consulate-General of Japan abroad.

Status of Residence

As a basic mechanism of control on landing and residence, the Immigration Control Act adopts the system of status of residence.Foreign nationals residing in Japan shall, as a general rule, reside subject to the status of residence determined upon landing at a port of entry. Type of Status of Residence is designated by law (*2) according to the nature of activity the applicant intends to engage in while in Japan. It is stated beside the "Landing Permission" seal on the passport, and regardless of the expiry date, it becomes invalid as soon as the person concerned no longer works on the designated activity. When your Status of Residence is changed, you have to report the change to your nearest Immigration Bureau without delay.

Certificate of Eligibility / COE

A Certificate of Eligibility is necessary if foreign people stay in Japan for longer than 60 days. They should in principle first obtain one before coming to Japan. The Certificate of Eligibility is issued by a regional immigration authority under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice in Japan. It will make the examination process smoother in obtaining a visa and in landing. The COE is valid for three months after issuance.

(Certificate of Eligibility)

Article 7-2 (1) Upon advance application by a foreign national intending to land in Japan (except for those who intend to engage in the activities listed in the column below corresponding to "Temporary Visitor" specified in Appended Table I (3)), the Minister of Justice, pursuant to the provisions of an Ordinance of the Ministry of Justice, may issue a certificate of eligibility stating that the foreign national concerned conforms to the conditions set forth in Article 7, paragraph (1), item (ii).

Residence Card

This is issued by the Ministry of Justice in Japan for foreign nationals who are on mid- and long-term residence with permission for residence granted when landing, or when applying for change in Status of Residence or Renewal of Residency. In order to prevent forgery, it has an embedded IC chip that contains all or part of the information stated on the card. Foreign nationals who are older than 16 years old have to carry their Residence Card all the time.

*2 Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act Article 22-2 and 22-3

Name Example Description
Visa Added to blank passport page
Landing Permission Stamped on passport
Certificate of Eligibility Printed on heavy paper, about A5 size
Residence Card Plastic card with embedded IC chip

Reference

About required procedures (Immigration Bureau)
http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/tetuduki/index.html
About Visa and Status of Residence (Immigration Bureau)
http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/tetuduki/kanri/visa.html
Types of Residence Status (Immigration Bureau)
http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/tetuduki/kanri/shyorui/Table4.html
Application for Certificate of Eligibility (Ministry of Justice)
http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/tetuduki/kanri/shyorui/01.html
Supporting Documents for Certificate of Eligibility Application (Immigration Bureau of Japan)
http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/tetuduki/kanri/shyorui/Table3-1.html
Residence Card (Immigration Bureau)
http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/newimmiact_1/en/point_1-2.html
Visa (Ministry of Freign Affairs)
http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/index.html
Guide to Living in Japan (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/pdfs/guide_living_en.pdf
FAQ on Visa (Ministry of Foreign Affiars)
http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/faq.html#q1-1

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