How to change visa from student to work visa

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Quite a few international students studying at a university or a technical college in Japan may be expecting to start their work in Japan this April. According to the Immigration Services Agency, the number of applications submitted by those who were on the status of residence “Students” in order to change their visa status to work for a company in Japan was 30,924, and of these student applications, 25,942 applications were approved. Among them, 93.2% of applications were the change from “Student” to “Engineer/ Specialist in Humanities/ International Services” visa category.


You can find an application guideline regarding the change of status of residence from “Student” to “Engineer/ Specialist in Humanities/ International Services” on the Immigration Agency’s website. Here are some important conditions when you change the status of residence.


1 It must be based on a contract with public or private organizations in Japan.

“Public or private organizations” refer to not only companies established in Japan, but also foreign-funded enterprises. An employing organization can be a sole proprietor as long as the sole proprietor has an office or a factory in Japan.

“Contract” includes a commissioned contract and an outsourced contract as well as an employment contract. However, the contract needs to be continuous with a specific organization. Also it includes a “worker dispatch contract”.


2 An applicant must engage in activities that require skills or knowledge in the fields of natural sciences or humanities.

The job should be something that requires skills and/or knowledge acquired at a university or a technical college. So foreigners on this status of residence are not supposed to engage in so-called manual / physical labor jobs that do not require special knowledge or skills.


3 An applicant must have majored in subjects related to skills or knowledge required for the job and graduated from an institution.

You can check approved and unapproved cases on the Immigration Agency’s website to know more about application for this visa category.


4 The salary must be the same, or higher, than that received by Japanese employees who do the same job.


Here are other important points for the application.


1 Good behavior

For example, if you have continuously engaged in a part-time job over 28 hours a week against the Immigration Law, the Immigration Agency may not approve the application due to the applicant’s bad behavior.


2 An applicant has completed his/her obligation stated in the Immigration Law, including reporting.

Foreign residents who live in Japan are required to notify the municipality or the Immigration Agency when they change their residential address, school or place of work.


For those students who graduated from a Japanese university or technical college and will be engaging in customer service or manufacturing work utilizing their high Japanese language skills, or those who continue to prepare to establish a company or continue to look for a job, it is possible to apply for the change of status of residence from “Student” to “Designated Activities” under certain conditions.


Please note that you need a recommendation letter from your university when you apply for the change of status of residence to “Specific Activities” visa status in order to continue to prepare to start your own business or look for a job after graduation.


We’re planning to hold a workshop for international students studying in Kyoto and others interested in working in Japan in the future. This will be held during spring break. We will let you know the details on this website.


We provide visa and immigration consulting and documentation service to international students and companies hiring newly graduated international students. We are proudly based in Kyoto. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions and concerns about the visa process or any other immigration procedures!

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