Career Counseling and Services (CC&S)
The First Steps
Congratulations. You got that offer. Now what do you do? Please be sure to inform CC&S that you found a job/internship! They enjoy sharing the excitement.
- Changing your Visa Status
- Documents you need to prepare
- Documents your Company must prepare
- Where to Apply
- Changing your status before graduation
- Your status as of your graduation date
- When to use Niigata`s Immigration Office
- Applying without a Valid Student Visa
- Leaving Japan
- Designated Stay Visa – “Tokutei Katsudo”
Checking out of IUJ Dormitories: Timing and Moving considerations
Please start the procedure of changing your visa status from a “student visa” to a “working visa” as soon as you sign a contract with a company or place of employment. The official name of your Work Visa category (for most IUJ graduates) is “Specialist in Humanities/International Services Working Visa” or 人文知識・国際業務 Jinbun Chishiki Kokusai Gyoumu (those starting new companies, entrepreneurial ventures, see here). You cannot begin the procedure without this signed contract. However, your student visa is technically no longer valid once you graduate and are no longer an IUJ student (see below for details). Further, you cannot begin to receive a salary without a valid work visa stamped into your passport. The process takes at least one month and requires coordination between you are your sponsoring company.
- Present the following documents to the Immigration Office (see information about what immigration office to choose):
- Your CV in Japanese showing CLEARLY dates and lengths of time you have been in Japan (Here is a Template for your use)
- Your address in Japan. Rent an apartment (see below) and bring a copy of your housing contract (If you have not yet graduated, see the note on “Changing your Visa Status Before Graduation”). If you cannot find an apartment in a timely manner, please ask the Personnel Dept. of your company to give you temporary address (e.g., Company dormitory etc.). In this case, let them know this is just for your visa application process.
- Certificate of your Graduation (your diploma – English and Japanese versions) Take the original, and a copy. If you have not yet graduated, get a document from the IR/IM Office called “Certificate of Prospective Graduation,” and substitute it for your diploma.
- Transcript – Request this from IR/IM Office – allow two days to process your request. We suggest you get several copies of this BEFORE you leave campus.
- Bring your Alien Registration Card just in case they ask for it (you will need to change the address from Niigata to your current location beforehand – see related notes).
- Items as supplied by your company (see below)
Documents to be Prepared by your Company
The following items are recommended to be prepared by the Personnel Division of your company:
- Application For Change of Status of Residents (they might ask you to fill this in at the Immigration Office on your own – consult with the Personnel Division)
- Signed Job Offer Letter or Contract – you should counter sign a letter as supplied by them, and return it to the person in charge or take it with you to file for your change of status.
- Letter of Reason, in Japanese, explaining why the company is hiring you
- A copy of the company’s legal registration
- A company brochure
- A financial statement for the company
The Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners provides instructions in English and Japanese for how to change the visa status. To support the company hiring you, please direct them to this page, and explain you need to just CHANGE your status, not get a new visa.
Basically, companies need to supply:
This info is directed at Students, and includes what they need from companies (in Japanese).
If you have questions, please contact the Career Counseling and Services, or the Personnel Staff in charge of your contract and hiring procedures. On some occasions, not all of the documents listed above are necessary. For example, if your company is very well known, you do not need a company brochure. But if you have all of these, you should be covered. Consult with the Immigration Office for your specific case.
Leaving the Country and returning during this process
While it is NOT RECOMMENDED it is possible to leave the country after you have applied for a Change of Visa Status from Student to Work Visa and come back into the country.
BUT – you need to have someone in Japan for the immigration officers to contact in case there is something wrong with your documentation, they need more information or additional documents, and a place to send your notification that your application process is over. That person should be willing and able to help you out, know how to contact you while away, etc.
Furthermore, you MUST be in the country during the 5 days they ask you to come back to the immigration office to get your new visa stamped into your passport. You should ask WHEN that is expected, and if you cannot be in Japan then, ask for an extension at the time of application.
So again, we DO NOT recommend you leave during the change of status process, but if you must it seems – with the precautions outlined here taken before you leave – it is possible.
If you are starting a new business in Japan, you will most likely want to apply for an “Investor/Business Manager” (投資経営) visa. This special visa is hard to get, but just a few years ago it was impossible. So you have a good chance with the right preparation. You need
- Prospectus of Graduation
- Statement of where the start-up money (seed money, investment capital) is coming from
- Document showing the numberof employees, and proof that at least 2 people in the following categories will also be employed by the company: Japanese nationals or spouse of Japanese or permanent resident. (Company pamphlet or Payment of Employment Insurance (copy), or employment contracts or ledger for paying salary for each employee AND their Residence certificate: Jumin Hyo for Japanese nationals and Alien registration card for permanent or long-term residents or spouse)
- Company registration (Tohkibotohon) in Japanese issued within 3 months
- Copy of the profit and loss statement OR a business plan for the next one year in the case of a new company.
- Document showing plans for the office – company pamphlet and copy of the lease for the office space. (possible for this to be waived.)
For official documentation, ask the OSS or CC&S for instructions for an Investor/Business Manager Visa application.
We normally suggest that you apply at the Immigration Office nearest your company’s location because of the time and money saved (commuting back to Niigata to pick it up). For this reason, the Niigata Office takes more time than Tokyo Office. However, there are reasons why it would be easier for you to apply in Niigata. AND, at the time you apply, if you request them to make your documents available at a different Immigration Office, they may oblige.
Changing your Visa Status before Graduation
If you start the procedure of changing your visa status before you graduate, you have two choices.
- Apply at the Immigration Office near your company: – You can use your IUJ, Kokusai-cho, address even though you choose to apply to the Tokyo or Osaka (etc.) Immigration Offices. Be sure to attach a document mentioning why you are using this address and not one closer to your place of employment (i.e., Tokyo). An appropriate explanation is something like: “I secured employment with Company X, but have not yet graduated from my masters program and the International University of Japan, Kokusai-cho, Niigata, where I currently reside. Graduation is schedule for the end of June. After graduating, I will relocate to an apartment in Tokyo, and will register my address change and endorse my alien registration card with the nearest Town Office.” A translation of the above follows: Be sure to customize it for your needs (Company X): 私はX会社から就職の内定をもらっていますが、国際大学（所在地：新潟県南魚沼市国際町777）の大学院修士課程をまだ修了していません（6月修了見込み）。修了後、私は東京にアパートを借りる予定です。東京に引っ越した後、現在の居住地である国際町から近くの区役所に転入届を出し、外国人登録証明書に新しい住所を裏書きしてもらう予定です。
- Apply to the Niigata Immigration Office – With all the documents you prepare and your company supplies, you should have no problem. But we suggest you prepare a letter stating why you are applying in Niigata for a job in Osaka. A similar statement to that above is fine.
Changing your Visa Status at the Niigata Immigration Office
If you plan to apply at the Niigata Office, please keep in mind the following:
- Be sure your address on your Alien Registration Card shows Kokusai-cho. If you have already found an apartment in Tokyo and changed your address then you cannot use the Niigata Office.
- You must pick up your working visa from the same office to which you apply, unless you request and are granted permission to pick it up somewhere else AHEAD of time. So be prepared to go back to the Niigata Immigration Office no matter where you are living at the time it is issued (it cannot be mailed to you), or be sure to get expressed permission to pick it up elsewhere. The process takes at least one month so consider your location in one months’ time and choose the appropriate immigration office to apply. Note: If your new company is located in Tokyo, Osaka, etc. but you are still living in Urasa, you can apply to the Immigration Office nearest your new work – read the note on “Changing your Visa Status before Graduation” carefully.
- After you obtain a working visa from the Niigata Office and find an apartment near your working place, please go to the nearest town office to register your change of address. Usually, they put a stamp on the back of your Alien Registration Card.
If you find employment or accept an offer after your student visa expires, you will need to ask the company to apply to the Immigration Office to get your Certificate of Eligibility and send it to your current address (like IUJ did for many of you before you came to Japan). You can then obtain your working visa at the Japanese Embassy or consulate and then return to Japan. Obviously, if your student visa expires, you will no longer be residing in Japan. Also, see important information about your status after graduation date and proceed carefully.
Technically your student visa status becomes “ineffective” as soon as you graduate from IUJ. If you stay in Japan or leave and try to return you do so at your own risk. If the immigration officers challenge your status for being in (or returning to) Japan you may be at risk of being labeled an illegal alien or not allowed in the country. Your student visa shows an expiration date that is several months after graduation, however, because you are not enrolled in an accredited academic program you are technically not in line with your visa status. Leave the country and re-enter at your own risk. At the minimum, be sure to get a re-entry permit before you graduate!
If you face any complications obtaining your re-entry permit, or re-entering Japan, IUJ cannot help you because you are no longer enrolled as a student of IUJ and we are no longer your guarantor.
Once the documentation to obtain a “working visa” is accepted by the Immigration Office, you can continue to stay in Japan even though your student visa expires. However, you cannot leave Japan until you have a working visa stamped into your passport. You also cannot receive a salary before you have that working visa. Watch the expiration date of your student visa carefully, and be sure your working visa application papers are into the Immigration Office before it expires.
IUJ Graduating students who are eligible to remain in Japan to work, and who have been actively job hunting with CC&S support, may request IUJ to help them obtain a Designated Stay Visa. This visa is good for 6 months, and is designed to help your JOB hunt after graduation. You may work 28 hours a week with a work permit, and may leave and re-enter the country on a Re-entry permit. When you request IUJ to prepare the letter for immigration office BE SURE to ask for the permit(s) you will need.
IUJ allows its graduates to remain in their dorm room just a few days after graduation. Please see the policy statement, available from OSS. If you plan to check out well in advance of graduation, you must follow the procedure by filling out the “Application for Permanently Checking out of the Dorms.” This must be submitted at least 4 weeks prior to you checking out. Note that those checking out around graduation date do not need to worry about this procedure.
In order to rent an apartment, you must find a “hoshounin,” a guarantor for rent and any problems you may present as a tenant. The “hoshounin” must be a Japanese national, or a Japanese institution. Everyone in Japan, not just foreigners, must comply with this “hoshounin” system. It is just easier for Japanese to find a hoshounin because they can just ask a parent.
Note on Hoshounin: So far you have not had to face this problem as a student of IUJ, because IUJ was your guarantor. Most of foreign students at other universities must find a “hoshounin” on their own before coming to Japan to enter the university. IUJ provided you this service if you lived on campus. Now, however, you are on your own, and must ask a friend or your new employer for assistance…
Be prepared to pay four-months worth of rent when you move in to your new place: 1) First month’s rent, 2) owners fee, 3) maintenance fee, and 4) real-estate agent fee (even if you did not use one). Your employer may be able to help you off-set this amount of up-front cash per your salary package and negotiations.
You will probably need an official seal to rent your apartment, and perhaps for filling out your employment contract. You need to obtain an appropriate hanko – you may have to have one specially made. Take your hanko to the Yakuba at which you are registered for your alien registration. Ask them to make your hanko your official seal by registering it.
Note: most Japanese have an official hanko which they keep very secure, and use only for legal documents, contracts, loans, etc. They also have a daily use hanko for receiving registered mail, etc. If you register a hanko DO NOT lose or break it!
You are not covered by National Health Insurance after you graduate or if interning OUTSIDE of Japan. After graduation, you can extend your coverage only if your address remains in Urasa. Please be sure to obtain short-term coverage from an independent source until your company covers you. If you are interning (or on exchange outside of Japan) and need coverage, please see below for links to a few international providers. CC&S has some information, contact the Personnel Department of your new employer, or see the Japan Yellow Pages for other insurance companies. But please, do not leave yourself without coverage!
INTERNATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE Providers (not necessarily recommended by IUJ)