Immigration 101: How to Extend Job-Hunting Period After Graduation

A guide for graduating students in search of a job in Japan.

When your student visa is close to expiring, and you decide to look for a job in Japan, there may be a chance you might not be able to finish the process on time. But no need to fret! In this article, we will share with you an option so you can continue your job-hunting while still in Japan.

There is the ambiguously named
Designated Activities Visa. This type of visa can cover a wide range of jobs and activities, which include internships, nurses and certified care workers (including candidates and students) under bilateral agreements between Japan and their home country, and those who are job-hunting or shuushoku-katsudousei

We list down the following FAQs on doing the immigration procedure from changing a
Student Visa (Ryuugakusei Visa) to a Designated Activities Visa (Tokutei Katsudou)  in Japan.

What must be done first?

You would need to secure a recommendation letter
(suisenjo) from your school. 

What happens to your current visa? 

Your current Student visa will expire until the date of validity as indicated on the landing permission seal affixed on your passport even after your graduation. Do take note though that if you are working part-time with a
Permission to Engage in Activity Other than that Permitted in Status of Residence Previously Granted stamped at the back of your residence card, it will expire on the same day as you graduate. However, after receiving the Designated Activities Visa for job-hunting, it is possible to receive Permission to Engage in Activity Other than that Permitted in Status of Residence Previously Granted once again.

While your student visa is valid until its expiration, it is advised that you immediately apply for a new visa as keeping the student visa without any activities for more than three months might result in visa cancellation.

What are the basic requirements for eligibility?

One has to be a university or a
senmon-gakkou (technical institutions) graduate in Japan, as well as actively seeking job opportunities even before graduation. For senmon-gakkou, what you studied must match with what the Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services visa covers, which is the most common type of visa for foreigners to work in Japan.

What are the required documents? 

The documents that you need are:







Application for permission for a change of status of residence (for applicant)


2 parts (for applicant=yourself & for organization=company?as 1 set of application form


Photo (4 x 3 cm)


Prepare the photo taken within 3 months.

If you use the same photo as your previous one, you must submit again.


Passport (original)


Show it at the Immigration Office.


Residence card (original, the most recent one?


Show it at the Immigration Office.


Documents to prove you have enough money to support yourself

Ex. Proof of remittance, copy of passbook



Certificate of graduation from the last university you studied



Recommendation letter from the last university you studied



Documents to prove you are doing the job-hunting

Ex. Documents distributed at  company information sessions, notices of the employment screening results


These are the basic documents. Depending on which companies you will work for, or the applicant’s status, the number of documents to be submitted might increase or decrease. You should prepare one set of documents each. It must be written in Japanese. If not, you must attach a Japanese translation.


Can I go back to my home country (or overseas) during the visa-changing procedure? 

Yes, as long as you return to Japan within your student visa validity. But just in case your return exceeds past the date of your visa validity and your new visa application is on-going, you would need to apply for a visa extension at the Immigration. In this case, you must return to Japan within two months or on the day you receive the result, whichever comes first. Upon your application for visa extension, you will get a stamp on your residence card at the back, bottom right corner. Depending on the prefecture or region, you might receive a piece of paper or be attached to your passport. Do not forget to take the paper with you all the time.

What are the chances of getting my visa application approved? 

As long as you have not exceeded the allowed working hours, you have good attendance in school, and you have enough means to support yourself, you have better chances of getting approved. These three factors are the most common reasons why an applicant is denied a new visa.

How long is the validity of the Designated Activities Visa?

On your first application, you will be issued with six months' permission to stay, and you can renew it once for an additional six months. 

In general, when you are changing visa types in Japan, the general procedure usually takes between a month to 3 months. Most application forms are in Japanese or English only. Lastly, kindly take note that laws, rules, and regulations may change without prior notice and this article only serves as a guideline.

Need some assistance in finding a new job? Check out this article.

Created with FORECAST Administrative Scrivener Corporation.

 (27 August 2019)

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