More Visa Comments - Part Three

More Visa Comments - Part Three

The last in our series of common visa questions answered by Marc Bergman of Strata Works, a local company consisting of accountants, judicial scriveners, immigration specialists and patent attorneys that offer a variety of services to allow clients to concentrate on their core businesses (

TL: What are the requirements to get a visa for learning the Japanese language?

Marc: The applicant must have at least graduated from High School and must show proof of having sufficient funds to support himself/herself, or provide proof that someone else (parents, sponsor, etc.) is paying for his/her expenses.

The Japanese language school must be one of the institutions designated and approved by the Ministry of Justice and the applicant must have enrolled in the school for a minimum of 6 months. The applicant will also need a Japanese guarantor (hoshounin) that agrees to financially support the applicant if necessary, including buying his/her plane ticket home if the need arises.

The applicant should complete the Certificate of Eligibility application (or Change of Status of Residence if already holding another status) along with the appropriate forms and has to provide various data including stating the aforementioned guarantor and their occupation, details of the Japanese language school, and so on.

TL: How hard is it for someone to change their visa category, once they change jobs?

Marc: It is relatively straightforward changing visa status category after changing jobs as long as you have the relevant documentation. One of the ways to ensure success when making any applications to the Immigration Office is to provide them with everything they need in a clear and concise manner.

If you are moving to a similar type of job and currently hold a Specialist in Humanities and International Services working visa (one day they'll reduce the length of that name!), it is not particularly complicated because this is such a broad category. Once you have gone through the process of being approved for a Certificate of Eligibility, as long as you always extend your visa you will not generally be put under the same scrutiny as the first time. Also, once you are receiving 3-year visas, you are looked on more favorably then someone with their first 1-year visa.

You must look at the requirements of the new status you desire to change to. For example, if you require Engineer status (because you've got an IT consultant job), you should either hold a 4-year university degree in an engineering/IT related subject, or have at least 10 years of industry experience that you can document, i.e. provide signed letters from previous employers stating what period you worked at the firm and your position on company letterhead.

When you are applying for an Extension of Period of Stay, but with a different employer, you need to supply all documentation for the new company. Typically, this would include the company's Company Registry (tokibo tohon) obtained within the last 3 months, copy of the latest corporate tax return or financial statements form the last completed fiscal year, company brochure/description, Certificate of Employment (copy of employment contract will suffice), and so on. You must also provide personal items such as your latest withholding tax slip (gensen choshusho) that is issued by your employer around February of each year as it shows proof that you have been receiving a salary and paying income tax and is essential for you to obtain an extension.

As always, my contact details are simply:

Looking forward to getting some enquiries...