These Are the Most Common Japanese Visa Types Issued to Foreign Residents

In case you're thinking of moving to live and work in Japan.

Photo Pixabay

We have already listed the different
working visa types that are currently issued in Japan. Here, we would like to show you a comparison of the most commonly issued visa to foreign residents.

Read on below to find out what are the requirements for each visa. 

Engineer/Specialist in Humanitarian/International Services

One must find an employer first to host their visa. Though fluency in the language is not required to obtain this visa, eligible applicants are those with a university or college degree or working experience of more than ten years. Once issued with this visa, there are no limitations as to how many times they can renew their visa as long as their employer is willing to continue hosting them. After ten years of continuously working and living in Japan, they may be given the chance to upgrade to permanent residency.

The holders of this visa can bring their spouse and children to live with them. To do so, they should apply for the previously mentioned Dependent visa.

Technical Intern Training: (i) 1 Year, (ii) 2 Years, (iii) 2 Years

This visa started back in 1995 when Japan welcomed trainees to acquire or develop their skills which are difficult to acquire in their home countries. This allowed them to earn an income in Japan even without a degree or work experience. However, they should learn and be able to speak the very basic of the language so they can communicate in the workplace.

By completing three consecutive years of Technical Intern Training (i) & (ii), they can either go back to their home country, transfer their acquired skills, and return to Japan with Technical Intern Training (iii) and master their skills for another two years
or upgrade to Specified Skilled Worker visa to be able to work and stay in Japan for another five years.

Specified Skilled Worker: (i) Maximum 5 Years, (ii) No Limit

This program, which has just started this year 2019, will allow people to work from 14 specified industrial fields. Compared to the aforementioned visa, the application process has been simplified where it doesn’t require seeking an intermediary. This also allows them to work for as long as five years for Specified Skilled Worker (i), or longer with Specified Skilled Worker (ii), and can even change employers. Moreover, the proper learning of the language and skills prior to entry is no longer necessary as long as they pass the skills and language proficiency tests.


As mentioned, if a technical intern trainee completed its three years of Technical Intern Training (i) & (ii) and wishes to upgrade to this visa type, they will no longer be required to go back to their home country nor take any tests as long as they will be working in the same industry as they had their training.

Furthermore, if a specified skilled worker has shown remarkable mastery of skills and proficiency, and has been recognized, they can even be allowed to bring their family and live with them.


From studying the Japanese language, arts, or entering universities, the student visa allows the holder to stay in Japan depending on the length of their studying period. Students of universities and colleges are also given the chance to bring their spouse and children to stay with them in Japan as long as they will be able to finance themselves.

And with that being said, student visa holders can also be allowed to work but are limited to twenty-eight hours per week, same as the Dependent visa.

Dependent (Family Stays)

While there is a different visa for dependents of Japanese nationals, this visa is issued to the spouse and children of foreign workers that have a residency status of either professor, instructor, researcher, business manager, artist, entertainer, religious activities, journalist, legal/accounting services, medical services, engineer/specialist in humanities/international services, intra-company transferee, skilled labor, cultural activities. Students can also bring their spouse and children to live with them depending if the institution they are attending to is a university or college. The duration of the visa depends on the length of stay given to the sponsor.

Basically, the visa holders for this visa type are not allowed to work in Japan. However, they can still apply for
permission to work with a limited work hour of twenty-eight per week. If the spouse has a profession and work experience back in their home country and has attained some level of fluency in the Japanese language, they can find a full-time job and later on apply for a working visa.

Permanent Resident

Aside from having the freedom to stay and work in Japan, the majority of the foreign residents in Japan has obtained this visa. If you have been in Japan for more than ten years, or you are married to a Japanese national for three years and have lived in the country for at least one year, you are eligible to apply for permanent residency.


As long as the holder is financially stable, they, too, can be able to bring their family to Japan and be able to upgrade their residency status the same as their sponsor.

Sources: Immigration Bureau of JAPAN and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

 (29 March 2019)

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