List of things to do when changing from a student visa to a work visa in Japan at 2021

7/28/2021 Updated

One of the things you need to do when hiring an international student is to “change the status of residence. In many cases, “change from a college student visa to a work visa” refers to a “change in status of residence.

This article explains what you need to do when changing your student visa to a work visa, the documents you need to prepare, and why you need to change your visa in the first place. If you are considering hiring a foreigner or are in a situation where you need to change your status of residence, please refer to this article.

Changing from a Student Visa to a Work Visa! To Do List

In order to change your student visa to a work visa, that is, to change your status of residence from “College Student” to “Work”, you need to follow the three steps below.

1. Make a job offer

First, make a job offer to the foreign student you plan to hire. Be sure to make a job offer before changing the visa status from student visa to work visa.

The reason for this is that some of the documents required for the next step, “Preparing Documents,” are difficult to prepare if you have not received a job offer. These are documents such as the “Notice of Working Conditions” and “Employment Contract”.

Let’s take the example of the status of residence “Technical/Humanistic/International Services” (commonly known as “Gijinkoku”), which is obtained by many foreigners working for companies in Japan. When changing your status of residence from “College Student” to “Technical/Humanistic/International Services”, the following documents are required.

Any of the following documents that clarify the nature of the applicant’s activities, etc.
In the case of concluding a labor contract

A document that clearly indicates the working conditions issued to workers in accordance with Article 15, Paragraph 1 of the Labor Standards Act and Article 5 of the Enforcement Regulations of the same Act A document that clearly states the working conditions

Source: Technology, humanities and international services | Immigration and Naturalization Agency http://www.moj.go.jp/isa/applications/procedures/nyuukokukanri07_00093.html

It is written in a difficult language, but it says , “When hiring a new foreigner, you need to submit a “notice of working conditions” or “employment contract” when changing your status of residence.

For this reason, it is necessary to make a job offer and prepare a “notice of working conditions” or “employment contract” ahead of time when changing your status of residence.

If the change of status of residence is not approved

What happens if I apply for a change of status and it is not approved?

If the status of residence is “College Student,” the foreigner cannot be employed. Many people may feel uneasy about making a job offer to a foreigner who may not be employable. In such cases, it is common to include a “stop condition” in the employment contract when hiring a foreigner. A “condition precedent” is a clause that states , “This employment contract will take effect when the change of status of residence is completed and the employee becomes available for employment.

By adding the stopping condition to the notice of working conditions or employment contract, you can avoid the risk of having to hire a foreigner whose change of status of residence was not fulfilled.

2. Prepare the documents

Once you have made an offer of employment to the international student you plan to hire and the “employment contract” and “notice of working conditions” are in place, you should prepare the necessary documents for changing your status of residence. This section is also based on the assumption that you are changing your status of residence from “College Student” to “Technical, Specialist in Humanities and International Services” (commonly known as “Technical Associate”).

There are two types of documents required: those prepared by the prospective international student and those prepared by the company (the employer).

Documents to be prepared by international students

The following documents should be prepared by the international student who will be hired.

  • Application for Permission to Change Status of Residence (1,2,3 for applicants, etc.)
  • Photograph (taken within 3 months prior to the submission date)
  • resident card
  • Materials according to the activities in Japan*.
  • Permission to engage in activities other than those permitted under the status of residence previously granted (if any)
  • Passport and Certificate of Eligibility
  • Documents proving your identity

This section mainly refers to “documents proving what the international student has studied” and “documents proving that the company is engaged in corporate activities that match the status of residence.
In this section, we will explain the former.

The following documents should be prepared by the international student side for the “Documents related to activities in Japan” section.

For a person who has graduated from a vocational school and has been granted the title of professional engineer or advanced engineer, a document certifying that the person has been granted the title of professional engineer or advanced engineer.

Documents certifying the applicant’s educational background, employment history, and other background, etc.

Source: Technology, humanities and international services | Immigration and Naturalization Agency http://www.moj.go.jp/isa/applications/procedures/nyuukokukanri07_00093.html

This is also described in a difficult language, but it refers to the following documents.

  • graduation certificate
  • Certificate of expected graduation
  • transcript of results

You will need documents to show that the international student has really been studying hard at the place of study and has been allowed to graduate. These documents must be prepared by the prospective international student, so be sure to let them know that you need them.

In addition, you can also submit a “Statement of Reasons for Application ” that describes your reasons for choosing the company you are going to work for and the relevance of your studies to your job description. Although submitting a “Statement of Reasons for Application” does not necessarily increase your chances of being approved, it is recommended that you submit it if you have enough time. You can use any format you like.

Documents to be prepared by the company (employer)

The following documents should be prepared by the hiring company.

  • Application for Permission to Change Status of Residence (for preparation by your organization1,2)
  • Documents certifying the classification of the organization*.
  • Contract of employment and notice of working conditions
  • certificate of registered matters
  • Materials that clarify the nature of the business (company brochure, etc.)
  • A copy of the financial statements for the most recent fiscal year (or a business plan for new businesses)
  • A copy of the notification of the establishment of a payroll office, etc.

In addition, a statement of reasons for employment may also be attached.

About company categorization

When changing your status of residence, companies (institutions) are divided into categories (classification), and the required documents differ depending on the category. In some cases, the application documents may be simplified depending on the category, so it is important to check which category your company falls under.

Institutions are categorized as follows.

Category 1 Category 2 Category 3 Category 4
Institutions that fall under any of the following
(1) Companies listed on a Japanese stock exchange
(2) Mutual companies engaged in the insurance business
(3) Japan (2) Mutual companies engaged in the insurance business
(3) Japan or foreign countries and local governments
(4) Independent administrative agencies (5)
Special corporations and licensed corporations
(6) Public corporations licensed by the national or local government of Japan
(7) Public corporations listed in Appendix 1 of the Corporation Tax Act
(8) Innovation-creating companies
(9) Companies that meet certain conditions, etc.
Organizations that fall under any of the following
(1) Organizations and individuals whose withholding tax on the total table of withholding slips for employment income for the previous year is 10 million yen or more
(2)
Organizations that have been approved to use the Online System for Residency Application
Organizations/individuals for whom a total statutory report such as a withholding slip for employment income for the previous year has been submitted (excluding Category 2) Organizations and individuals that do not fall into any of the categories listed on the left.
Reference: Technology, humanities and international services | Immigration and Naturalization Agency http://www.moj.go.jp/isa/applications/procedures/nyuukokukanri07_00093.html

3. Submit the documents

Once you have completed the preparation of the documents, submit them. The documents should be submitted to the regional immigration office that has jurisdiction over the applicant’s (international student’s) place of residence. The relevant regional immigration office can be found on the following page.

Reference: Organizations and Mechanisms | Immigration and Naturalization Agency http://www.moj.go.jp/isa/about/organization/organization.html

The application is accepted between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. and between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on weekdays, and cannot be submitted on holidays. (This may vary depending on the local immigration office.) If you are granted permission, you will need to pay a 4000 yen revenue stamp fee.

Why do I need to change my visa from a student visa to a work visa?

As we have mentioned so far, international students need to change their status of residence from “College Student” to “Working Visa” in order to find a job. Officially, you will need to change your status of residence from “College Student” to a status of residence related to the company you will be joining.

Currently, the following 15 types of work-related status of residence are available. These are commonly referred to as “work visas”.

  1. Professor” (e.g., university professor)
  2. The “arts” (e.g., composers, painters, writers, etc.)
  3. Religion” (e.g., missionaries sent by a foreign religious organization)
  4. Press” (e.g., reporters and cameramen of foreign news organizations)
  5. Management and administration (e.g., executives and managers of companies, etc.)
  6. Legal and accounting services” (e.g., lawyers, certified public accountants, etc.)
  7. Medical care” (e.g., doctors, dentists, nurses, etc.)
  8. Research” (e.g., researchers in government agencies, private companies, etc.)
  9. Education” (e.g., language teachers in junior high schools, high schools, etc.)
  10. Technical, humanities, and international services” (e.g., engineers in mechanical engineering, interpreters, designers, language teachers in private companies, etc.)
  11. Intra-company transfer” (e.g., a transferee from a foreign office)
  12. Care” (e.g., care worker)
  13. Skills” (e.g., cook of foreign cuisine, sports leader, pilot of aircraft, etc., craftsman of precious metals, etc.)
  14. “Specific Skills.
  15. “Technical Training.

When a foreigner resides in Japan, he or she is required to stay in Japan while engaging in activities within the scope of the status of residence obtained. In other words, you are not allowed to engage in activities that are outside the scope of your status of residence in Japan unless you have been granted permission to do so.

The status of residence “College Student” permits you to stay in Japan only as a foreign student. If you get a job at a company, you will no longer be a “foreign student” and will be considered outside the scope of your “College Student” status of residence. Therefore, it is necessary to change your status of residence from “College Student” to something related to your place of employment.

It takes one to two months to change your status of residence.

The review period is estimated to be two weeks to one month.

Reference: Organizations and Mechanisms | Immigration and Naturalization Agency http://www.moj.go.jp/isa/about/organization/organization.html

However, in principle, changes in status of residence are accepted from January of the year of graduation (December at the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau) so that international students can start working in Japan in April without any problems. We recommend that you submit your application well in advance.

Examination Criteria for Change of Status of Residence

The following information is indicated as the criteria for examination when changing the status of residence.

(2) The activity that the applicant intends to engage in in Japan pertaining to the application is not a false one, and falls under any of the activities listed in the lower column of Appended Table 1 of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act or the activities as a person who has the status or position listed in the lower column of Appended Table 2 (excluding the position listed in the lower column of the permanent resident section). (2) The applicant falls under any of the activities listed in the lower column of Appended Table 1 of the Act on the Administration and Recognition of Refugees, or activities as a person with the status or position listed in the lower column of Appended Table 2 (excluding the status listed in the lower column of the section on permanent residents), and there are reasonable grounds for believing that a change of status of residence is appropriate. For those with “Temporary Visitor” status, in addition to the above, the change must be based on unavoidable special circumstances.

Source: Application for permission to change status of residence | Immigration and Residence Management Agency http://www.moj.go.jp/isa/applications/procedures/16-2.html

If you want to change your status of residence from “College Student” to “Work Visa”, the following is a simple description.

  • Have you been studying in a way that is appropriate for your new visa status?
  • Have you been staying in Japan while engaging in activities within the scope of your existing status of residence?
  • Is the company (type of work) where you will be employed a good match for your new status of residence?
  • In the case of “Temporary Visitor” status, in addition to the above, are there any special circumstances that make it unavoidable?

The “Statement of Reasons for Application” and “Statement of Reasons for Employment,” which are not required, are often attached as they can prove these in more detail.

The actions to be taken and the documents required when changing your status of residence will differ depending on the school you studied at, the content of your studies, the place of employment for the international student, and the nature of the work you will be engaged in after employment. You will need to follow the procedures for changing your status of residence according to your individual needs. If you are worried about incomplete documents or do not have the confidence to communicate properly with international students, we recommend that you contact a professional.

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