While the process of obtaining a visa to enter Japan is largely simpler than the requirements for entering a variety of other nations, the process can appear complex and thus visitors and those relocating should review the latest visa information on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Web site at http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/index.html#visa1.
Those seeking employment in Japan have a generally simple application process to follow (despite having 14 different working visa classifications, they each follow the same process). You must submit to the embassy or consulate in your home country:
Visa application(s) (available here: http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/pdfs/application_all.pdf – nationals of Russia and NIS countries must submit two application forms)
A recent photograph(s) at the dimensions specified in the application (nationals of Russia and NIS countries must submit two photographs)
A Certificate of Eligibility (if possible) – A Certificate of Eligibility (which is not an employment contract, although one may be needed to secure the certificate) is issued by proxy (in many cases to an HR representative in the Japan office of the company you will be working for), helps to ease the visa application and landing process. The certificate is not a requirement, but without the documentation, the immigration authorities in Japan may request additional information with your application and the processing could take several months. More information on the Certificate of Eligibility can be found here: http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/index.html.
While not part of the application process, per se, your employer will also be required to sponsor your visa.
Those coming to Japan without existing employment can enter the country on a different visa – often a tourist visa – and then switch to a working visa once employed.
To apply for a visa extension (which must be done every three years) visit your Regional Immigration Bureau (for contact details, please visit: http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/inquire.html). Typically obtaining a visa extension for those already possessing work visas requires your passport, visa application form (which can be obtained at the Immigration Bureau), a recent photograph, and a copy of your employment contract. Other requirements may be necessary depending upon your nationality and can be inquired about at the contact details provided at the Web site above. Visa renewals average two to three weeks to complete.