Guide to studying and living in Japan.
So, you want to study in Japan, that’s great! Our GaijinPot Student Placement Program can help you with every aspect of coming to study in Japan.
Let’s start by looking at the different visas that allow you to study in Japan.
As one would expect, the most appropriate visa would be a Japanese student visa. Most Japanese language schools can sponsor student visas and will take care of immigration procedures. You should start the application process approximately six months before the actual start date of the school term, as you will need to prepare a variety of documents to meet the visa requirements.
Under a student visa, you can work up to 28 hours a week (but no work related to adult entertainment). You can also access all the services that residents can take advantage of, including health insurance and being able to open bank accounts or get a cell phone.
Keep in mind that the student visa is only issued for a maximum of two years in total. It doesn’t matter if you change schools or leave Japan and come back again, you can’t go for longer than 2 years.
If you want to go to higher education or find a job afterwards, you will probably want to graduate in March. Therefore, most students study 1 year plus the remaining months until March graduation.
Start in April: study for 2 years
Start in July: study for 1 year 9 months
Start in October: study for 1 year 6 months
Start in January: study for 1 year 3 months
Consider this when joining a school!
If you only want to study for a short period of time, then you can come on a tourist visa. Citizens of Austria, Germany, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Switzerland and the United Kingdom can extend tourist visas up to 6 months. Most other countries get a 3 month tourist visa, but classes at most language schools are 3 months long, so the timing is perfect in that regard!
If you are not from a country that can enter Japan without a visa, then your language school can make a letter of invitation that you can give to the consulate in your country. The letter of should include the course duration and some simple details about the course, plus the school’s contact information.
For the most part, any other visa type will allow you to study in Japan without restriction, including:
For many schools, even if you plan to study for a long time, you will be considered a “short-term” student for registration purposes. In that case, you just keep registering for a 3-month class for as long as you want to study.
Do note that although some schools may have special classes for short term students, many of them will just put you in the same class as the long-term students. The expression “long-term” student is just a classification that the government uses to track those who come on student visas.
No matter what visa you have, there’s a way to study in Japan! If you have any questions or want help getting a student visa, the GaijinPot Student Placement Program can get you on the right track!
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