Japan Work Visa: Overview
JTAX works with its clients to assist foreign employees obtain proper Japan work visas.
Visa requirements need be considered as early as possible - ideally as part of the initial planning prior to the establishment of a Japan entity. Early planning is important since issues that are decided as part of the incorporation (for example paid in capital) can have an important bearing on the Japan entity’s ability to obtain work visas for its employees.
The work visa application process starts by matching a visa category with an applicants proposed activities, qualifications, and work experience.
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Japan Work Visa Solutions - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The typical flow of a Japan work visa application is as follows:
Step 1: Assessment of the Japanese entity If a client does not already have a Japan entity, our team is able to advise regarding setting up an appropriate entity that will maximize the chances of successfully obtaining Japan work visas.It is crucial that the Japan entity be correctly structured. Particular attention needs to be paid to the issue of paid in capital.
Step 2: Assessment of the applicant In order to determine the best available work visa category, JTAX carefully assesses the applicant’s proposed activities, qualifications, and experience.
Step 3: Certificate of Eligibility (“COE”) application
A Certificate of Eligibility (“COE”) is a document issued by the Japanese immigration authorities. It certifies an applicant’s eligibility to undertake a category of employment in Japan.
A COE application must be submitted in person at a regional immigration office in Japan, i.e., COE applications cannot be submitted by mail or at a Japanese embassy outside Japan. JTAX’s certified Japanese immigration professionals are able to handle this crucial step on behalf of our clients.
Step 4: Change of Status application or work visa issuance Once the COE is granted, it is converted to a work related status of residence (“SOR”). This can be done via a change of status in Japan or upon arrival in Japan after obtaining a visa at a Japanese embassy or consul abroad.
The time taken for the Japanese immigration authorities to approve a Japan work visa can vary depending on the circumstances of the Japan entity and also the applicant’s situation. However, four to six weeks is typical.
In order to minimize post-application information requests from the immigration authorities, JTAX goes to great lengths to ensure that work visa applications are complete at the time they are submitted.
Once a Japan work visa has been granted, there are a number of critical post-arrival issues to consider. These include:
1. Japan Residence Card: A Japan Residence Card can be obtained from the local ward office. The card is very important since it is required in order to obtain such things as bank accounts, cell phones, and drivers licenses.
2. My Number: My Number is a government issued personal identification number system that was introduced in Japan starting from 2016. It is similar to a United States Social Security Number (“SSN”) and is required in dealings with the Japanese authorities (including the tax and social insurance administrations.) In addition, it may not be possible to open a bank account until your My Number has been issued.
3. Bank accounts: It is important to open a Japanese bank account as soon as possible since nearly all payments in Japan (including salary) are done via bank transfer.
4. Individual tax issues: It is important that you note the Japanese tax filings deadlines that apply to you. The most important deadline is the Japanese individual tax filing deadline on 15 March. No extensions are possible.
If you are US Person (this includes US citizens and green card holders) you will continue to have US tax filing obligations even though you are residing in Japan. You should ensure that you work with a US CPA who is experienced dealing with individuals working outside the United States.
If you have not considered tax efficient structuring of your compensation package, this may be the last opportunity. This may include consideration of tax efficient benefits such as company provided housing and part off-shore salary payment.
There are more than 50 visa categories for foreigners wishing to live / work in Japan.
However, the work visa categories most often relevant to our clients include:
- Japan Investor Visa / Investor Business Manager Visa.
- Japan Engineer Visa
- Japan Specialist in Humanities / International Services Visa
- Japan Intra-company Transferee Visa
- Japan Dependents Visa (for family members)