Teach English in Japan (Visa Requirements)

Teach English Abroad
Teach English in Japan - Visa Requirements
Teach English in Japan

There are four main ways to work in Japan; work visa, working-holiday visa, spousal visa and to work illegally on a tourist visa.

Work Visa

In order to receive a work visa, you will first have to get hired. Your employer will help you fill out all the necessary paperwork and you will have to apply at a Japanese embassy. A bachelors University degree is required in order to receive a work visa. It doesn’t matter what subject you majored in. There are stories of teachers using fake degrees certificates bought online or in countries like Thailand, however I have never met anyone who has admitted to doing this. The visa category is “Specialist in Humanities” which basically means you are only allowed to teach English. It is illegal to accept employment in other occupations, however many teachers work in bars and do other work without any repercussions. When you renew your visa you will have to show that you are teaching English.It is possible to change to other visa options should your occupation change, however these positions are generally work that can not be done be Japanese. Casual work in bars and restaurants are definitely not included.

Working-Holiday Visa
Countries like Canada, Australia, UK and New Zealand have a work-holiday arrangement for people under 30 years old. The working-holiday visa is meant to allow you to work part-time while experiencing Japan, but this restriction is impossible to enforce. The visas are generally for six months to 1 year and are renewable up to a maximum of 18 months. This is a great way to come to Japan, especially if you don’t have a university degree.

Spousal Visa
Being married to a Japanese national, is a free pass for working in Japan. You can work in any occupation and work as much or as little as you want.

Tourist Visa
There is also a common, illegal way to work in Japan and that is to come to the country without a work visa. You are allowed to enter Japan for a maximum of 90 days, but a quick and inexpensive trip to Korea, Vietnam or other countries in the region will allow you to re-enter for another 90 days. It is probably safe to do this once, but this is not a way to stay long-term in Japan. Many foreigners are known to have been caught and deported on their second or third re-entries. Immigration officials will want to see proof that you are not working in Japan if you are going to keep coming back. Large companies will not hire you without a visa, but it is definitely possible to find casual work at smaller English schools and bars. Beware, illegal workers are frequently taken advantage of. This type of work is not for the faint of heart.

It is possible to come to Japan on a tourist visa and then find a employer to sponsor a work visa while already in the country. The only requirement is that you must have your work visa validated at an embassy outside of the country. Seoul is the most popular city for a visa run because it is only about 90 minutes away and flights can be had for relatively cheap. If you are going to go this route, make sure you give yourself at least one week in the foreign country because there can often be visa processing delays.

More links

Find TEFL English Teaching Jobs in  Japan

TEFL English teaching job listings in Japan

Teach English in Japan (General Information)

A general overview of what to expect teaching English in Japan

Teach English in Japan (Cost of Living)

Detailed living costs for teaching English in Japan

Interviews with English Teachers in Japan

Interview with Neil Mullens, teaching English in Japan

More Information
Japan Official Visa Information Page
Japan (Tourism Page)
Japan (Travel Information Page)
Japan News (Japan Today)
Japan News (News on Japan)
Japan News (Japan Times)
Japan News (Asahi)
Japan News (Kyodo)
Japan News (News Review)
Japan Classifieds (Accommodations)
Japan Classifieds (Accommodations)
Japan Classifieds (Accommodations)


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