Visa and Immigration Procedures

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Visa and Immigration Procedures
How To Change Your Student Visa to Stay in Japan
February 9, 2017  |  By Mike Kozlowski

If you are currently studying at a language school in Japan and want to either continue your studies or start working full time, you will need to change the status of your visa.

If you are currently studying at a language school in Japan, it might be just your first step. You can either continue your studies at a trade school or university, or you want to start working full time in Japan. Either way, you will need to change your visa status. Fortunately, the process isn’t too complicated!

Changing from a language school student visa to a different student visa

If you’re planning to continue study in Japan, then you will have to change your student visa. Despite being the same student visa in name, there are actually different classes of visas, each with their own restrictions, with university being the “strongest.”

You can apply for this change yourself, although your current school should be able to help you and, in many cases, can submit the application for you.

To change your student visa to another school you will need the following documents:

From your current school:

  • Current school attendance record
  • Transcript of your grades
  • Certificate of planned graduation

From your new school:

  • Certificate of admission (NOT notification of admission)
  • Pages 4 and 5 of the visa application form (Don’t worry, the school will know what to give you.)

Prepare yourself:

  • Copy of your residence card (front and back)
  • Copy of your passport (main page and current work permit stamp)
  • Money (Immigration charges ¥4,000. If your school is going to submit your application for you, then they might also charge a fee for that.)

If you are going to a trade school (senmon gakko), you may need to submit the following:

  • Copy of your bank book showing the current balance
  • If you have had money sent to you via bank transfers, you need copies of the transfer receipts
  • If you had gone home and brought large amounts of cash with you, you will need to submit copies of the entry and exit stamps in your passport of those trips.

Your school will be able to tell you if you need to submit these or not.

Be aware that if your attendance is not very good at your school, you may be denied the visa. This is out of the hands of the school to decide, if immigration thinks that you’ll be a bad student at your next school, they won’t give you a chance, and there will be no way to appeal the decision. Do make sure to have good attendance at your school!

Changing from a student visa to a working visa

The documents you will need depend on the visa class you want to change to but, for the most part, all of the needed documentation will be handled by your new company. They may ask you for some specific documents from your school, so just do what they say!


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