Student Visa and the Immigration Procedure in Japan

If you want to study in Japan, do apply for student visa.  A student visa falls under the visa category of General visa and the Status of Residence is College student. Glance through this post to know about the process of applying for Japanese visa.

General Visa

Status of Residence: College Student
Period of Stay can be 2 years, 2 years and 3 months, 1 year and 3 months, 1 year or 6 months

Applying Ways and Means

 There are two ways of applying for student visa-

When there is No Certificate of Eligibility for a Status of Residence Issued.

In this case, the International Student wanting to study in Japan should apply for a visa directly to an overseas Japanese embassy or consulate. Fill in an application form with all the personal and other relevant details and submit it to your home country Japanese embassy or consulate. The processing time by this way is longer as the application documents are sent back and forth between the students’ home country and Japan.

When the “Certificate of Eligibility for a Status of Residence” is Issued

A proxy or an employee of the educational institution in which the international student is scheduled to register makes an application to the pertinent immigration office for a Certificate of Eligibility for Residence Status on the international student’s behalf. Or even the students can directly apply for the “Certificate of Eligibility for a Status of Residence” to the regional Immigration Bureau in Japan. Once the Certificate of Eligibility is granted, international students wanting to study in Japan can take their Certificate of Eligibility to an overseas Japanese embassy or consulate and file an application for a visa

Certificate of Eligibility for a Status of Residence: A Certificate of Eligibility for a Status of Residence is issued before a visa application by a regional immigration authority under the control of the Ministry of Justice as a proof that the international student satisfies the terms and conditions for arriving in Japan.

Key Documentation

Following documents are needed for students visa-
  • A valid Passport and photographs 
  • Visa application form 
  • Certificate of Eligibility: Issued by the Ministry of Justice in Japan
  • Documents demonstrating financial resources
  • Academic Transcripts
** Depending upon the candidate’s nationality, other documents may be required in addition to the above mentioned documents. To know about them, contact your home country embassy. 

Processing Time

It takes about five working days from the visa application for the issuance of visa. However, in instances where the application is not accompanied by a Certificate of Eligibility, it takes approximately 2 to 3 months. 

Immigration Procedure

Step 1: Get a Passport
Obtain a passport as per the procedure set down by your country.

Step 2:  Application for “Certificate of Eligibility”
To study at a higher education institution in Japan, you are required to possess a “College Student” visa when going to Japan. To apply for a “Certificate of Eligibility,” the institution in Japan generally apply for it with the regional immigration bureau or office of the Ministry of Justice on behalf of the pupil. The immigration office then scrutinizes the application. If after screening, all the conditions are satisfied, the “Certificate of Eligibility” is issued.

The mandatory documents to apply for the “Certificate of Eligibility” are as follows-
  • Application forms and photographs
  • Admission Certificate photocopy: It should have the name of attending course
  • Last institution attended Records and Transcripts
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Evidence of Financial Support
  • Valid passport
  •  Japanese Language Proficiency Test Certificates  

Status of Residence: Classification
The Status of Residence is classified on the basis of type of activities, statuses and positions of foreign nationals. Following are the Statuses of residence applicable to international Students-
Status of Residence














Extending Term of Residence: To extend your residence period, you are required to submit an application for the same at Regional Immigration Bureaus.

Changing Status of Residence: To change the status of residence, you are required to submit an application for the same at Regional Immigration Bureau.


Step 3: Apply for  a Visa
Fill in an application form for visa and Submit it to your nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate, along with one photo, Certificate of Eligibility, and other relevant documents.

Step 4:  Arrival in Japan 
After you arrive in Japan, show your passport with a valid visa, a Certificate of Eligibility and other documents at the entry port in order to apply for entrance permission. Your status of residence and period of stay in Japan is officially determined by an immigration officer at the time of entrance permission.

Immigration Process for Exam Purposes

A temporary visitor visa is needed when entering Japan to take an exam. To apply for this visa, an exam slip from the relevant school must be submitted to the Japanese Embassy or Consulate in your home country. 
  • Allowable Period of Stay: 15, 30 or 90 days 

Non-Japanese Registration

International Students who wish to stay in Japan for more than 90 days are required to apply for the Non-Japanese Registration Card within 90 days from the date of entry in Japan, at the city/ward office in the area/region they are living in. Application must be made personally and directly to the municipal office of the respective region/area. You are required to fill in a non-Japanese registration form and submit it to the concerned municipal office along with 2 photos. Also, you are required to carry this card along with you all the time and everywhere!

Notification to the Immigration Bureau 

If there is any change in name, date of birth, nationality or school, then it must be informed to the Regional Immigration Bureau within 14 days after the modification is done.
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