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The Basics of Working as a Student in Japan

Most language schools will divide the lesson schedules into morning or afternoon classes. This gives you plenty of time to explore the city you are living in, but at some point you might want to start looking for a part-time job.

Your first stop should be to register on GaijinPot Jobs to access hundreds of offers throughout Japan. Be aware that some job agencies will promise to find you work and try to charge you a registration fee. It’s important to remember that nobody can guarantee you will get a job! If they do, then there’s no telling what kind of job they’ll introduce you to. Stick with trusted services like GaijinPot Jobs!

Working limitations

As a student you can work up to 28 hours a week. This is a combination of all the places you work, so if for example you work two jobs, you can only work 14 hours at each one. If you leave your school, since you will no longer doing activities related to being a student, your work permit will become invalid.

Applying for the work permit

Initially, a student visa does not allow one to work in Japan. It is necessary to apply for “permission to engage in activity other than that permitted in status of residence previously granted,” or a work permit, for short. The application is rather easy and there are two ways to do this:

  1. Fill out this form before coming to Japan and give it to the immigration officer when you arrive at the airport. Download form here.
  2. If you already have a residence card but did not receive your work permit, you can apply within the country by filling out a more detailed form and going to the immigration office. Download form here.

We highly recommend filling out the form before you arrive in Japan if you intend to work, as you’ll be able to work right away. If you do it once you’re in the country, it can up to a month before you are issued your work permit.

Once your permission is approved, they will stamp the bottom space of the back of your zairyu, or Japanese residence, card with a black stamp. They will also put a sticker in your passport.

That’s it — you’re all set to work!

Restricted jobs

As a student you can apply for almost any kind of job posting but you are not allowed to partake in those that are related to adult entertainment. These types of jobs would include the following:

  • Bars (restaurants that serve alcohol are fine)
  • Hostess bars or host clubs
  • Video game arcades
  • Pachinko parlors
  • Love hotels
  • Adult goods or video stores
  • Massage parlors
  • Anything related to the sex trade

You get the picture. Even if you are not involved in any kind of inappropriate acts, just working in the same venue is illegal. This includes working as a janitor, kitchen staff or server! If you have any questions at all about your job, contact your school and they’ll let you know if it is allowed or not.

Don’t be a middleman for crime!

Criminal activity is heavily punished in Japan and being ignorant of what’s against the law is no excuse. Organized crime groups often target foreign students to carry out their schemes. They will give you money for simple tasks, such as:

  • Withdrawing money using someone else’s ATM card
  • Ordering products online using someone else’s information and payment information
  • Receiving packages for someone else and giving it to them later

Don’t fall for such things! If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is — and consult your school!

Don’t sell or lend your personal ID or items to anyone!

Recently there has been an increase in scams where people will give you money to “borrow” your personal documents. They will then use your documents to do things such as opening cell phone contracts or other services for illegal use. When the police finally start investigating, everything will lead back to the person who lent the ID! Under no circumstances should you give anything with your name on it to someone else!

This includes:

  • Residence card
  • Bank book
  • ATM card
  • Passport
  • Driver’s license

There are plenty of ways to make honest money in Japan, so only work with reputable companies. At GaijinPot, we are here to support your life as a student and make sure you find  good jobs to help finance your life in Japan!