Daily Life & Schools

Daily Life & Schools
Visa Options after you Graduate
April 12, 2024  |  By GaijinPot Blog

Maintaining your student visa status in Japan is relatively straightforward: attend your classes, and your visa will be extended until you complete your course right up to graduation. 

However, for many students, graduation also marks the beginning of a new journey filled with challenges about staying and forging a future in Japan, from visa options to career opportunities.  

Before delving into the intricacies of visa options after graduation, remember that you are granted six months of stay, with the possibility of one renewal, for job hunting. You’ll also need a letter of recommendation from your school. Consult with your school if you plan to pursue job opportunities in Japan beyond your studies.

Keep Your Attendance Up

Regardless of your plans, you must submit your attendance records to immigration. An attendance record of over 80% is generally safe, but lower attendance may pose uncertainties. Changing to a different student visa could affect approval, potentially leading to denial.

Switching to another visa type may be less stringent, but immigration may deny it if they suspect your low attendance reflects motives other than genuine student intent. To prevent unnecessary stress, prioritize maintaining a high attendance record.

Continuing on a Student Visa

If you have a student visa, you can further your education by enrolling in a university, trade school, graduate program or other higher education institution. 

You’ll need acceptance from the new school, which your current language school can assist with, ensuring you meet all requirements. Once accepted, your new school will manage your student visa, extending your current status. Unlike language schools, non-language school education does not have a time limit.

Changing to a Working Visa

Obtaining a working visa necessitates meeting specific criteria, such as a university degree or relevant work experience suitable for the job. Failing to meet these requirements makes it nearly impossible to secure approval, even if a company supports your application. Meeting the visa criteria is crucial, after which a company can sponsor your visa application.

Requirements for Obtaining a Work Visa in Japan:

  • Education or Experience: Possession of a relevant university degree or demonstrated work experience in a specific job or industry.
  • Job Offer: Confirmation of a job offer from a Japanese company willing to sponsor your visa.
  • Income Requirements: Meeting the income and salary requirements set by Japanese immigration.
  • Documentation: Submission of necessary documents, including a valid passport, visa application form and supporting paperwork such as educational certificates and employment records.
  • Health and Background Checks: Compliance with health and background checks as required by Japanese immigration authorities.

Changing to a Spouse Visa

If you marry while studying in Japan, you can transition to a spouse visa by providing proof of your marriage to immigration and having your spouse sponsor it. This visa allows you to continue studying or working in Japan. However, it’s essential to note that marrying solely for visa purposes is not advisable. 

Immigration authorities may scrutinize such marriages, requiring additional proof of your genuine relationship. Failing to demonstrate the authenticity of your marriage could lead to visa denial.

Requirements for a Spouse Visa in Japan:

  1. Marriage Certificate: Proof of marriage to a Japanese national or resident.
  2. Supporting Documents: Submit documents such as spouse’s residence card, birth certificates, and proof of financial stability.
  3. Application Form: Completion of the spouse visa application form.
  4. Health Insurance: Enrollment in Japan’s national health insurance program or proof of private health insurance coverage.
  5. Background Checks: Compliance with any additional background checks or requirements stipulated by Japanese immigration laws for spouse visas.

Permanent Residency

Permanent residency in Japan typically requires living in the country for 10 years, including at least five consecutive years of work. While it’s unlikely for students to meet these requirements directly, transitioning from a previous status to student status without leaving Japan could potentially count towards the residency period.

Here are the key points and requirements for obtaining permanent residency in Japan:

  • Residency Period: Normally 10 years of continuous residence in Japan.
  • Working Years: A minimum of five consecutive years of documented employment.
  • Other PR Routes: Besides the standard residency path, alternative routes include marriage to a Japanese citizen or accumulating enough points through the highly skilled professional route.
  • Visa Status: Maintaining a valid visa status throughout your stay in Japan is crucial, preferably transitioning to another working visa after completing your studies.
  • Planning: Plan your next steps well in advance, as the PR process is lengthy and requires careful preparation. Leaving it until the last minute increases the risk of facing challenges in securing long-term residency.

By understanding these requirements and planning accordingly, individuals can navigate the pathway to permanent residency in Japan effectively and ensure a smoother transition toward their long-term goals.

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