HIGHLY SKILLED PROFESSIONAL / 高度専門職 (hereinafter referred to as “HSP“) is a VISA STATUS which is granted based on HSP point scheme. HSP allows you to engage in activities such as academic research, specialized/technical activities, business management etc. and receive preferential immigration treatment.

HSP is divided into 3 categories – choose one category among them, which is suitable to the activity you will engage in as an HSP at an entity/organization in Japan. Then, check how much HSP score you can get according to HSP point table. If your score is more than 70 points, you are applicable to HSP visa status.

Also, there are 2 types of HPS visa status; HSP1(高度専門職1号) and HSP2(高度専門職2号).
HSP2 is an HSP visa status with “an indefinite period of stay”. You need to obtain HSP1 first. You may apply for CHANGE of VISA STATUS to HSP2 at least 3 years after you obtain HSP1 visa status.

You may also check the Immigration Office Website >> Preferential immigration treatment based on the point-based system for highly skilled professionals


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HSP is divided into 3 categories below.
You need to apply for the one which is applicable to your activity (job responsibilities) as a highly skilled professional.
Confirm which category you should apply for and check how much HSP score you can get according to HSP POINT TABLE for each category.

Advanced Academic Research Activities (HSP-a / 高度専門職イ)

Activities regarding academic research, guidance and instruction for the research based on a contract with private/public organization(s) in Japan. You can engage in business management related to your research activities as well while you working on the research project.

Advanced Specialized / Technical Activities (HSP-b / 高度専門職ロ)

Activities which require knowledge and skills in the field of Humanities and Natural Sciences (*) based on a contract with private/public organizations in Japan. You can engage in multiple activities related to your career and academic background, such as engaging in activities of project planning, public relations and/or business management while engaging in product development.

(*) “Knowledge and skills in the field of Humanities and Natural Sciences” here cannot include “International Services” type of work allowed under “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” visa status.

Advanced Business Management Activities (HSP-c / 高度専門職ハ)

Activities to engage in the business management of private/public organization(s), law firm(s) or any types of company in Japan. You can also set up your own company for related business while engaging in working at the other company as a business manager. In case you would like to apply for this category by setting up a new company, you need to satisfy requirements for BUSINESS MANAGER visa status as well.

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HSP2 / 高度専門職2号

HSP2 / 高度専門職2号 is an HSP visa status with “an indefinite period of stay”.
HSP2 visa allowed you to stay in Japan “indefinitely” while you are engaging in the activity allowed under HSP visa status.

In addition to the activities allowed under HSP-a(高度専門職イ), HSP-b(高度専門職ロ) and HSP-c(高度専門職ハ), HSP2 visa holders may engage in other activities allowed under visa status such as Professor, Artist, Religious Activities, Journalist, Legal/Accounting Services, Medical Services, Instructor, Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/Int’l Services, Care Worker, Entertainer, Skilled Worker.

Here’s comparison between HSP2 and PR;

HSP2 / 高度専門職2号PR / 永住者
Period of StayIndefiniteIndefinite
Type of ActivityLimited to work allowed under HSPNot limited
Notification related to ActivityNeed to submitNo need to submit
Preferential Treatment for HSPApplicableNot applicable

Merits of HSP2

  • HSP2 can receive preferential treatment
    One of the most characteristics of HSP2 is that you still have privilege of HSP for preferential immigration treatments which even a PERMANENT RESIDENT (PR) cannot obtain.
  • No need to limit the entity or organization for your work as a HSP
    HSP2 doesn’t need to limit the entity you belong for your HSP visa status. Therefore, “Designation (指定書)” slip (to designate the organization you belong and the activity you engage in) will not be issued with the Residence Card for HSP2. You don’t need to apply for Change of Visa Status any more every time when you change your workplace/contract.

Demerits of HPS2

  • You must keep engaging in the work applicable to HSP and
    Different from PR, you must keep engaging in the activity of HSP while you are a HSP2 visa holder. On your Residence Card, it is stated that your visa is “limited to work based on the activity allowed under the visa status (在留資格に基づく就労活動のみ可)”, not as “not limited to work (就労制限なし)”. If you haven’t been working as a HSP, your HSP2 visa status will be subject to be revoked.
  • You need to submit Notification required for other work-type visa status
    Also, you need to submit Notification regarding accepting/contracting organization etc. when it is necessary as required for other work-type visa status.

Compared with HSP2, PR is not limited to the activity – you engage in any activity freely. Under PR status, you don’t need to consider continuing to engage in the activity as a HSP as well as satisfying requirements of HSP any more. If you obtain PR visa status, you can even retire in Japan. You should consider applying for PR if you don’t need the privilege given to HSP only, such as bringing your parents or hiring a domestic worker (housemaid) in Japan.

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Here’s the list of PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT for HSP visa status;

1. Allowing multiple activities during residence

Generally, you can engage in activity allowed under one particular VISA STATUS.
Under HSP visa status, however, you can engage in multiple activities; e.g. you engage in working as a advanced researcher/professor at a university (activity allowed under PROFESSOR visa status) while you manage business of related field of research or study (activity allowed under BUSINESS MANAGER visa status).

2. 5-years Period of Stay

Immigration Office grants 5 years of period of stay to every HSP.
You can extend the period of stay by applying for EXTENSION of PERIOD of STAY. Also, you can consider applying for CHANGE of VISA STATUS to HSP2 or applying for PERMANENT RESIDENT in a few years if you are continuing to engage in activity as a HSP.

3. Relaxation of requirements for PERMANENT RESIDENT application

You have chance to apply for PERMANENT RESIDENT 1 year or 3 years after issuance of HSP visa depending on how much HSP score you can get at the specific period of time.

4. Relaxation of requirements for Spouse’s employment

Your spouse may engage in activity allowed under INSTRUCTOR, ENGINEER/HUMANITIES etc. even if he/she doesn’t satisfy requirements regarding working experience and educational background.

5. Permission to bring parents

Either Parents of HSP or Parents of HSP’s spouse can enter and stay in Japan under the following circumstance;

  1. in case the parent will take care of HSP’s child younger than 7 years old (including adopted child), or
  2. in case the parent will take care of a pregnant HSP or HSP’s pregnant spouse.

Major requirements:

  • HSP’s household annual salary is more than 8 million yen.
  • The parent(s) will live with HSP during stay in Japan.
  • Limited to parent(s) of either HSP himself/herself or HSP’s spouse.

6. Permission to bring a domestic worker (housekeeper)

HSP may bring a foreign domestic worker to Japan under the following circumstance;

  1. (In case of entry with HSP) When continuing the employment of a domestic worker who has been employed before HPS comes to Japan;
    • HSP’s household annual salary is at least 10 million yen.
    • HSP may bring only one domestic worker.
    • Monthly salary for Domestic worker has to be at least 200,000 yen.
    • Domestic worker has been employed by HSP for at least 1 year before he/she enters Japan.
    • Domestic worker is expected to leave Japan with HSP if HSP leaves Japan and/or quit the HSP visa status.
  2. In case that HSP employs a domestic worker not falling under (1) above;
    • HSP’s household annual salary is at least 10 million yen.
    • HSP may hire only one domestic worker.
    • Monthly salary for Domestic worker has to be at least 200,000 yen.
    • HSP has to have certain family circumstances (e.g. where you have a child under 13 years old or a spouse unable to do housework due to illness or for other reasons).
  3. When HSP who engages in the activity related to investment management and employs domestic worker(s);
    • HSP’s household annual salary is at least 10 million yen.
    • HSP may hire up to 2 domestic workers. However, HSP’s household annual salary must be at least 30 million yen when the HSP employs 2 domestic workers.
    • Monthly salary for Domestic worker has to be at least 200,000 yen.

7. Priority handling of immigration procedures

Application for HSP will be processed preferentially – it will be processed within about 10 business days in case of the COE application, within about 5 business days in case of application for Change of Status of Residence or Extension of Period of Stay.

The Immigration Office has been announcing the preferential processing for HSP application as above. However, they generally need more time to process the screening these days even if it is HSP related application. It generally takes 4 – 6 weeks if it is HSP related application in the Tokyo and Osaka Immigration Office. Honestly, it would be better not to expect the preferential processing for HSP application if your visa sponsor is not a big company (category 1 or 2 on Classification of visa sponsor or workplace).

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Basic Criteria

Regardless of which visa status you apply for, you need to satisfy basic criteria listed on WHAT IS VISA STATUS? page.

Type of Activity

Your intended activity in Japan must fall under one of the categories of HSP above (HSP-a, HSP-b, HSP-c).

HSP Score based on HSP Point Table

  • Your HSP score has to be at least 70 points on HSP Point Table of HSP category which your activity belongs to (HSP-a, HSP-b or HSP-C)
    ENGLISH >> HSP POINT TABLE (Immigration Office Website)
    JAPANESE >> ポイント計算表(出入国在留管理局ウェブサイト)
  • “Academic Background” and “Professional Career” on HSP POINT TABLE has to be related to your activity to apply for HSP.
  • You will need to prove your HSP score by specific documents; e.g. Certificate of Degree, Certificate of Employment to prove your previous career etc. If you cannot provide the proof, the Immigration Office will not acknowledge the score.
  • Annual Salary on HSP Point Table has to be calculated according to expected annual salary to receive for work in Japan as a HSP. Note that it cannot be calculated based on your past or current salary. You need to prove the expected amount of salary which you will receive in the coming 12 months after the application for HSP.
  • [In case of HSP-b or HSP-c] 
    Annual Salary to be paid for work in Japan as an HSP has to be at least 3 million yen (or equivalent amount if it is paid in other currency).
  • [In case of HSP-c by setting up a new corporate entity] 
    You need to set up a corporate entity before applying HSP and the corporate entity have to be set up based on the requirements for BUSINESS MANAGER visa status. >> BUSINESS MANAGER


  • In general case, your employer will be your visa sponsor. Your visa sponsor (organization/company) must be recognized as financially stable and managing the business properly in Japan >> VISA SPONSOR
  • In case of applying HSP-c, Advanced Business Management Activities, the entity you will manage in Japan (the entity can be a subsidiary or a branch of foreign company) can be your visa sponsor/proxy. The entity must satisfy the requirement for BUSINESS MANAGER visa status (e.g. initial capital, physical office etc.).
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Contracting organization or your own company has to meet the requirements for related-type of visa status

HSP visa status is to be granted based on your HSP score., however, you cannot get approved of it if your contracting organization/corporation/own company doesn’t satisfy the requirement. The entity has to provide necessary documents required for each activities. If the entity is newly established company, they need to provide the business plan to prove the financial/business stability. Especially, in case you will apply for HSP-c based on a new company set up by your own investment and you will be the CEO and/or representative director, you have to set up the corporate entity based on the requirement of Business Manager visa and be ready for starting the business at first.

After approval…

You will receive following documents when you receive the result of the application;

  • Acknowledgement notice for HSP score / 在留資格「高度専門職」に係る計算結果通知書: this is to inform that the result of your HSP score. Specific score is not stated on the notice, but you see the range of the score such as “less than 70 points”, “70 – 79 points” and “80 points or more”. You should keep the original to apply for CHANGE of VISA STATUS or PERMANENT RESIDENT.
  • Designation / 指定書: this is a slip stapled to your passport, designating the name of contracting entity you work for as an HSP. You must keep it stapled to your passport while you obtain HSP visa status.

When you change your contracting entity…

In case of HSP visa status, your contracting entity (organization, company, university etc., – visa sponsor you work for as an HSP) is designated on Designation / 指定書 slip when you receive the RESIDENCE CARD. Also, your score is based on the activity at the designated entity. Therefore, your HSP score needs to be acknowledged by applying for CHANGE of VISA STATUS every time you change the designated entity.

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In case you are currently residing outside Japan yet or you are staying in Japan as a temporary visitor;

In case you have been staying in Japan under other visa status and holding RESIDENCE CARD already;

NOTE: Different from other work-type visa status, you need to apply for CHANGE of VISA STATUS to the same HSP visa category every time you change the organization/company stated on the Designation / 指定書.

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Highly Skilled Professionals visa status is ensured 5 years of period of stay.

In case you wish to extend the period of stay granted, you may apply for Extension of Period of Stay before the expiry date.

You may have chance to apply for PERMANENT RESIDENT as well.

In case you would like to travel outside Japan temporarily under the visa status.

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You are required to provide documents which certify your eligibility for the visa status you are applying. Required documents are varied depending on the situation of each applicant and the contracting entity (organization, company, university etc. which you work for as an HSP).

Here’s the basic documents required for the COE application, CHANGE of VISA STATUS and EXTENSION of PERIOD of STAY.

  1. APPLICATION FORM for 高度専門職 (Highly Skilled Professional; HSP)
  2. PHOTO
  3. RESIDENCE CARD and PASSPORT (except for COE Application)
  4. HSP POINT TABLE (in format provided by the Immigration Office) signed by the applicant.
    >> HSP POINT TABLE (in Excel / download from the Immigration Office Website)
  5. Documents to certify the contracting entity (organization, university, company etc.)
    Some of the documents can be omitted depending on the entity.
    • Company Brochure or Leaflet
    • Certificate of Company Registration (登記事項証明書)
    • Financial statement for the last fiscal year
    • Records for Salary Payment and Withholding Tax for the last year (前年分の職員の給与所得の源泉徴収票等の法定調書合計表)
    • In case of newly-established entity: 1-year Business Plan, Notification of the establishment of Salary payment office (給与支払事務所開設届出書), Payment Slip for Withholding tax (3ヶ月分の源泉納付書: for the past 3 months before the application) or Application for Payment of Withholding Income Tax on a Semi-annual (源泉所得税の納期の特例の承認に関する申請書).
  6. Documents to certify your score
    Check the Basic Example Documents you see in the different tab of HSP POINT TABLE in Excel. You need to provide the documents of items which you would like to claim the points – no need to collect all the items listed there.
    Here’s some of the example documents:
    • CV
    • Certificate of Degree
    • Employment Contract and Certificate of Expected Annual Salary for one year for the work as an HSP
    • Certificate of Employment, Confirmation Letter or equivalent documents which can prove your past career (e.g. occupation, position, period of work etc. issued by the ex-employers or authorities)
    • Documents to certify your qualifications and licenses: e.g. Certificate of JLPT level
    • List of papers listed in the academic journal database such as Thomson Reuters or Elsevier (you must be listed as the corresponding author)
    • Copy of Written Notice of the Grants-in-aid
    • List of Universities ranked in the top 300


  • All the documents written in foreign languages need to attach the Japanese translation.
  • Additional documents may be requested by the Immigration Office during the screening.
  • Some documents may be exempted in case your visa sponsor is classified under specific categories as follows: 1) listed corporation, government related organization, Independent administrative institution and other organization specified in this category 2) the total amount of annual withholding tax on the latest “Records for Salary Payment and Withholding Tax (給与所得の源泉徴収票等の法定調書合計表)” counts 10 million JPY or more, 3) your visa sponsor can submit a copy of the latest “Records for Salary Payment and Withholding Tax”.
  • Any certificate issued by the Japanese authorities (Tax/Income Certificate, Certificate of Residence, Certificate of Company Register etc.) has to be the one issued within 3 months before the date of application.
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