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, and hopefully before graduation. You cannot begin the procedure without a signed contract. However, your student visa is technically no longer valid once you graduate and you are no longer an IUJ student (see below for details).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 and your sponsoring company. IUJ can provide information, but no further assistance as this is a matter unrelated to IUJ.
Further information, guidance and instructions are provided on the Career Counseling and Services website, “After the Search” section.
Present the following documents to the Immigration Office (see information about what immigration office to choose):
- Your CV in Japanese showing CLEARLY the dates and lengths of time you have been in Japan. Download a copy of a Japanese Rirekisho appropriate for visa applications.
- 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 a 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 in place of 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.
- Copy of your passport (be sure to have the original with you when you apply)
- 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).
- 2 Photos (4cm x 3cm)
- Items as supplied by your company (see below)
Documents to be Prepared by your Company
The following items must 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
If you have questions, please contact the OSS- Career Counseling and Services, or the Personnel Staff in charge of your contract and hiring procedures.
Where to Apply
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). Further, when the Immigration Office has questions about the company, it is easier for them to contact the company if it is located near by. 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.
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, Yamato-machi, 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, Yamato-machi, 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 with the nearest Town Office.”
- 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 Yamato-machi. If you have already found an apartment in Tokyo and changed your address you cannot use the Niigata Office.
- In principle, you must pick up your working visa from the same office to which you apply. However, if you ask at the time of applying for the documents to be made avialable at a different office, they will probably oblige. If you do not ask for this special treatment, 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). The process takes at least one month so consider your location in one months’ time and choose the appropriate immigration office. 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. They put a stamp on the back of your Alien Registration Card.
Applying Without a Valid Student Visa
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.
Before you get your Work Visa, Your Status and Leaving Japan
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, or allowed in on a tourist visa (tourist visas cannot be transferred to a work visa). 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 have a re-entry permit. 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 pplication papers are into the Immigration Office before it expires.
For more information on Visas in Japan, please contact the Immigration Office.