How to Get the Certificate of Eligibility for Japan
After getting a job in Japan there is one more hurdle to overcome: receiving your Certificate of Eligibility and working visa. In Japan the company can take care of most of it for you, but if you are living abroad this can quickly turn into a bureaucratic obstacle course.
To receive a long-term visa, both you and your company need to undergo inspection. Only if both are cleared, you are granted the certificate to get the visa. (The process is the same for students at schools or universities. In this case the school staff will guide prospective students through the paperwork.)
Between getting your job offer (内定, ないてい) and actually starting to work, a lot of paperwork is necessary which can take a considerable amount of time (up to 3 months). To avoid any delays and to minimize the chance of rejection, take care to follow the procedures accurately.
1. Getting in touch with the staff
First, get in touch with the HR staff of your sponsoring company (the one you are going to work for) and find out what kind of documents you will need to prepare.
Which documents one has to hand in can vary by the status of residence, but generally, you will need the following.
- Certificate of Eligibility Application form (2 pages)
- Graduation diploma (highest education level)
- Japanese language proficiency test or other qualification documents (if available)
If you want to gain permanent residence rights in the future or wish to apply for a “highly-skilled professional” visa, you should talk to HR about it at this point. Companies hiring regular full-time employees are interested in keeping them in Japan and will usually support you to the best of their ability.
2. Document preparation and Shipping
Prepare the documents according to the guidelines and the advice you received from the HR staff. If you are even a little uncertain, double check with your contact person at the company.
Normally, HR will check your documents once they arrive, before submission to the Immigration Office. If they notice a mistake at this stage you will be asked to resubmit. Even if you “only” have to resubmit, consider that you have to mail all documents. From abroad this can easily cost you 2-3 weeks.
To avoid mistakes, scan your documents and ask the HR staff to check them before you mail them over. This way, both you and the company can be at ease.
When sending the documents, it’s recommended to use EMS or DHL. Regardless of the service, make sure to always send them as registered mail, so you get a tracking number.
3. Company-side check and Submission
The company also has to submit various documents for your visa. This allows the immigration office to check up on the company, and see whether they pay an appropriate salary, meet all the requirement to employ you, etc. Documents at this stage change based on the size of the company, but are typically not disclosed to the applicant, so just leave it to them.
Once all, your and the company’s documents are in order the company will submit them for review to the Immigration Office.
It can take 1-3 months until the results of your application are announced to the company, who will then share it with you. If there were no mistakes or forgery attempts, nor any issues with the company’s business outline, a certificate of eligibility is issued.
If your certificate of eligibility was denied, firmly ask the company to inquire at the Immigration Bureau about the reasons for refusal and what countermeasures you can take the next time. (It is possible to apply again, but it only makes sense if there was a mistake you can fix.)
5. Visa application in home country
If successful at the previous step, the company will mail you the certificate of eligibility and a letter confirming your job offer. Once it arrived you can go to a consulate to apply for your working visa.
Receiving the certificate of eligibility does not guarantee that your visa will be issued. Again, pay attention to fill in all documents exactly according to the guidelines to avoid mistakes.
6. Getting ready to leave
Once the visa is issued you should let HR know, get your flight tickets and make all other necessary arrangements. It’s time to go!
Unlike study abroad visa, there is no investigation into the financial circumstances of the applicant. After all, you will get paid by your company in Japan. As long as there is no problem with your educational background or work experience, and the company hiring you meets all requirements, there should be no problem in getting both your certificate of eligibility and visa issued.
Good luck and all the best for your work life in Japan!