In case you are staying in Japan under a specific VISA STATUS and have a RESIDENCE CARD already but you wish to change/switch your activity to which is not allowed under your current visa status, you must apply for CHANGE of VISA STATUS before you start engaging in the new activity.
Your new VISA STATUS will not be active until your CHANGE of VISA STATUS Application is approved and you receive new RESIDENCE CARD.
Before quitting your current activity, you should confirm whether there are a particular VISA STATUS for the activity and you and your situation can satisfy the requirements.
Here’s some example of situations you need to apply for CHANGE of VISA STATUS;
- You are currently holding STUDENT visa status, but you want to look for a job without leaving Japan after graduation from the school/university or you want to find a employer who is willing to hire you in Japan.
- You are currently holding ENGINEER/HUMANITIES (Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services) visa status, but you are wishing to quit your current job in order to set up a company in Japan and start your own business here.
- You are currently holding a specific type of working visa status, but you are going to quit your job in order to enter a university in Japan.
- You are currently holding a Spouse of Japanese visa status, but you divorced or lost your Japanese spouse.
- You are currently holding one of the HIGHLY SKILLED PROFESSIONAL (HSP) visa status as a software engineer. You quit/left the company and find a different company which you can engage in software engineering work and are able to keep HSP score of 70 points or more.
WHEN and WHERE TO APPLY
When to Apply
You need to apply for CHANGE of VISA STATUS before you engage in the different activity not allowed under your current Visa Status. Basically, you cannot engage in the different activity not allowed under your current VISA STATUS before your new Resicence Card is issued after the application for Change of Visa Status or you obtain a permit for other activity.
In most of the case especially to change your VISA STATUS to ACTIVITY BASED VISA STATUS, you should first confirm that your new activity falls under one of visa status and you situation can satisfy the requirement before you apply for Change of Visa Status.
In some particular cases, you need preparation before applying for Change of Visa Status.
In case of marriage/birth related VISA STATUS such as Spouse/Child of Japanese etc., you have to apply for it after completing necessary procedures for the marriage/birth registration. In case of applying for change to Business Manager visa status, you need to set up a company and be prepared for the business before the application.
We would recommend that you should consider the timing of CHANGE of VISA STATUS application carefully, especially in case that the date of expiry for your current visa status is coming. If your application is denied after the EXCEPTION PERIOD, you cannot stay in Japan under current VISA STATUS any more.
For more details of EXCEPTION PERIOD, jump to >> EXCEPTION PERIOD
Where to Apply
Your application have to be filed at the Immigration Office which have jurisdiction over your residence address.
BASIC REQUIRED DOCUMENTS
Required documents are different depending on for what VISA STATUS you apply.
Basically, you will need to provide documents to prove your eligibility for the VISA STATUS. Therefore, in most cases, the documents are similar to what you need to provide the COE application.
Jump to the VISA STATUS page you are applying for to check the documents;
The Immigration Office charges 4,000 yen for the application fee (Immigration tax).
You will pay it when you pick up new Residence Card for VISA STATUS granted after approval of the application. In case you hire Immigration Lawyer, their fee and some actual expenses (for some certificates, postage, travel etc.) would be charged in addition to the application fee.
PROCESS of APPLICATION
Standard Processing Period
2 – 4 weeks after submission of the application.
Processing period may differ depending on the case, timing of application and congestion of application at the Immigration Office. The Immigration Office cannot tell you schedule of the screening and/or date of decision.
- Find VISA STATUS to apply for and check whether you and your situation can satisfy the requirements.
- Look for a visa sponsor (accepting organization/person); who to be a visa sponsor is different depending on the visa status. Generally, your employer-to-be should be your visa sponsor if you are applying for Change of Visa Status to work in Japan. In case of Spouse of Japanese, your Japanese Spouse should be your visa sponsor.
- Prepare and collect necessary documents; In case you hire an Immigration Lawyer, he/she will assist the whole process on behalf of you and your visa sponsor after confirming whether you could be eligible for the visa status or not.
- You and visa sponsor sign the application form and submit documents to the Immigration Office which has jurisdiction over your residence address.
NOTE: You, applicant has to be in Japan at the time of submission of the application. You can leave and go back to Japan for travel etc. during the processing period of application.
Processing period at the Immigration Office: 2 – 4 weeks
Additional documents might be requested by the Immigration Office, processing period will get longer in that case.
- Notice of Approval (usually a postcard) will be sent to your residence address (or Immigration Lawyer in case you hire one).
- Go to pick up your new Residence Card to the Immigration Office by the date stated in the Notice of Approval (in case you hire a immigration lawyer, he/she will go to pick it up for you). You need to present the original of your current Residence Card and Passport at the counter of the Immigration Office. Also, you need to pay Immigration Tax by the revenue stamp – put the revenue stamp on the payment statement and hand it in at the counter.
- After you receive new Residence Card, you can start engaging in the new activity with your new VISA STATUS.
- You need to be in Japan at the time of submission of your application since you need to present the original of your passport and current Residence Card.
- You need to be in Japan when you pick up your new Residence Card after approval of the application. You need to present the original of passport and current Residence Card when you pick up your new card.
- You can travel outside Japan during the screening of the application. However, you will need to pick up your new Residence Card no later than 2 months after the expiry date of your current visa status.
- You must inform the Immigration Office about any change of the items in the application form and supplemental documents.
- Immigration Office cannot tell you when the screening of your application will be completed.
IN CASE OF DENIAL
If your application for CHANGE of VISA STATUS is denied, the Notice of Denial will be sent to you or your visa sponsor (or Immigration Lawyer if you or your visa sponsor hired one for the case) instead of the Notice of Approval.
You should go to the Immigration Office with the Notice to ask the reason for the denial (Immigration Lawyer can be accompanied by you or the Immigration Office can tell directly to the Immigration Lawyer alone in some case).
The Immigration Office would advise you what the major issue is. If the reason is not critical and the issue can be resolved, you can try to reapply as soon as possible.
If the reason is critical and it cannot be solved, you should consider whether you can find other way or you will leave Japan.