Going to Live in Japan on a Student Visa

Japan has students coming from all over the world for higher education. According to the most recent data available the number is close to around 280,000 overseas students currently studying in Japan.

The Visa process can be extremely easy or extremely difficult depending the country you are applying from and whether there is an already established relationship to the Japanese Immigration system.  In some cases, one slight spelling error or a crooked line on a document can cost you the visa, but if you have luck on your side even a distinct error can be ignored.

Visa Process

  • Select a Japanese Educational Institution

It can be a Japanese Language School, Japanese Vocational School, or a Japanese University. Most Japanese Vocational schools are conducted in Japanese therefore you may need to be proficient in your Japanese (at least JLPT N3/日本語能力試験N3). Japanese language schools also may ask you to learn the two basic Japanese Alphabets (Hiragana/Katakana) in order to be accepted, on top of that you will have to pass an interview in Japanese with one of the school’s teachers (simple questions such as your name, age, hobbies, etc) . When applying for a English medium university in Japan you will have to have passed preferably TOIEC/IELTS, and for Japanese medium universities JLPT N2 (while some universities accept from JLPT N3). Some advanced universities may have more complicated requirements.

Note: In order to apply for any school in Japan you must have had completed 12 years of school in your home country.

 School’s Visa Application Form

This might be the most complicated phase of the visa process in coming to Japan as a student.  Once you are accepted by the school, the school will send you the following documents to be filled out, the school will then check the documents and re-write them before sending them out to immigration.

  •  An application form for your personal information (always double check that your name matches the name on your passport exactly)
  • Educational background form: Where you write your educational history from elementary school to high school (or more)
  • Occupational history form: If you have any work experiences you may write it here
  • Purpose of choosing Japan essay: This should be written with a specific purpose in mind
  • Financial support: You will be asked to provide financial proof, showing you are able to pay for your education and living cost during your period of stay
  • Copies of all educational transcripts
  • Passport copies and photos.

All these documents can be overwhelming but you will be guided along the way by your school or institution.

  • Certificate of Enrolment (CoE)

Once all the documents are completed your school will submit them to the Japanese immigration office, the process can take anywhere from 3 to 5 weeks, if all the documentations are in order, you will be granted the CoE.

However, for the school to send you the original copy of the CoE you will have to have paid the first semester (or what the school requires) . The CoE expires after 3 months from the issued date, so make sure you have your funds ready.

  • Applying for the Visa

Before going to the Japanese embassy in your home country make sure you have the following documents with you.

  • CoE
  • Passport and photos
  • Visa application form

Note: additional documents maybe required depending on your countries Japanese embassy, please double check.

There is very little chance that your Visa could be denied by the embassy after you have attained the CoE.

  • To the Land Where the Sun Rises First

Get your flights booked once the visa has been approved. If you have come this far you definitely must have had a busy 3 to 4 months, but don’t worry, it will all of been worth it!

Hope you enjoy your stay in Japan.

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