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Student Visa & Dependent Visa & Cultural Activities Visa

Student Visa

Applicants:
Foreign students who study at a university including a graduate school and junior college, vocational schoolsenior and junior high school or elementary school.

Period of Stay: 
4 years and 3 months, 4 years, 3 years and 3 months, 3 years, 2 years and 3 months, 2 years, 1 year and 3 months, 1 year, 6 months or 3 months

Example:
Foreign students at a university, college of technology, senior and junior high school, elementary school, vocational school, miscellaneous educational institution or other educational institution equivalent in facilities and curriculum.

Check Points

  • Where the applicant studies the Japanese language exclusively at a vocational school, miscellaneous educational institution or other educational institution equivalent in facilities and curriculum, the Japanese language institution concerned must be one of the educational institutions listed in the public notice by the Minister of Justice.
    (Public Notice/Educational Institutions of Appended Table 1-1 ONLY
     
  • Where the applicant who has completed 12 years of education in a foreign country studies at a Japanese educational institution that provides a preparation course to enter a Japanese university, the educational institution concerned must be one of the educational institutions listed in the public notice by the Minister of Justice.
    (Public Notice/Educational Institutions of Appended Table 2 ONLY
     
  • Where the applicant studies at senior high school (excluding evening high school), he/she must be younger than 20 years old, and must have studied Japanese or received education in Japanese at a Japanese or foreign educational institution for one year or more.  However, this requirement shall not be applied for foreign students who are accepted for study in Japan based on an international exchange program.
     
  • Where the applicant studies at either junior high school or elementary school, he/she must be younger than 17 years old for junior high school or 14 years old for elementary school. It is necessary that an environment in which he/she is able to make his/her dairy life should be arranged in Japan such as a dormitory. The parents of the applicant generally cannot to stay in Japan with him/her; however, a person who is residing in Japan and capable of providing reasonable care for the applicant is required. Therefore, this status of residence is mainly for students who attend a boarding school or commute to school from their family member's house.
     
  • Where the applicant studies at a vocational school or miscellaneous educational institution (excluding the exclusive study of the Japanese language), he/she must satisfy any of the following requirements.
     
    1. He/she has studied Japanese at a Japanese language institution for over 6 months. The language institution must be one of the educational institutions listed in the public notice by the Minister of Justice.
      (Public Notice/Educational Institutions of Appended Table 1, 2 & 3 ONLY)
    2. He/she was certified by any of the following examinations.
    3. He/she has studied at a Japanese elementary school, junior high school, senior high school for one year or more.
       
  • Where the applicant studies at an international school operating in Japan, the above requirements shall not be applied.
  • If the applicant is planning to work in Japan after graduation from a vocational school, he/she should select the vocational school which gives him/her the "Diploma" or the "Advanced Diploma" after successfully completing the specialized course of study at the vocational school. Where the applicant applies for the status of worker such as "Instructor", "Engineer" or "Specialist in Humanities/International Services", he/she must have obtained the "Diploma" or the "Advanced Diploma". 
     
  • Where the applicant studies at an equivalent educational institution of a miscellaneous educational institution in its facilities and curriculum (excluding the exclusive study of the Japanese language), the educational institution concerned must be one of the educational institutions listed in the public notice by the Minister of Justice.
    (Public Notice/Educational Institutions of Appended Table 4 ONLY
     
  • Where the applicant intends to receive education as a research student or auditor, he/she must be enrolled based on some form of examination by the authorities of the educational institution concerned and must attend classes at least 10 hours per week.  If the applicant attends classes as a research student or auditor at several educational institutions, he/she is still required to attend classes at either of the educational institutions at least 10 hours per week. If the applicant enrolls in classes without passing an entrance examination of the educational institution, the status of residence of the "Cultural Activities" may be granted.
     
  • A foreign student (university student/government-sponsored and private-expense foreign student) is able to engage in part-time job in Japan if he/she obtains "permission for engagement in out-of-scope activities". Furthermore, he/she is able to include his/her expected remuneration received from part-time job in the document certifying his/her ability to pay all of his/her expenses during his/her stay in Japan. (See below for details.)
     
  • A spouse and/or unmarried minor of a foreign student is/are able to stay in Japan by obtaining the status of residence of the "Dependent" (See below for details.)
  • However, if a foreign student enrolls in a senior high school, vocational school (higher or general course) or miscellaneous educational institution, the "Dependent" status shall not be granted.

The applicant must prove that there are sufficient assets, scholarship or support to pay all of his/her expenses during his/her stay in Japan in order to obtain the "Student" visa.
*The "Expenses" include tuition, fees for texts/materials and  room/board/transportation expenses.

Japanese Language Ability (Guidelines)

If a foreign student wishes to continue studying in Japan beyond the initial period of stay, he/she must apply for permission to extend the period of stay. The regional immigration services bureau usually asks the applicant to submit his/her transcript for the examination; therefore, an overseas student needs to spend his/her student life carefully in terms of the class attendance rate and school record.

Number of New Entrants into Japan with "Student" visa

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
82,460 99,556 108,146 123,232 124,269

Number of Foreign Students in Japan

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
214,525 246,679 277,331 311,505 337,000

Number of New Entrants into Japan (Top 10 Countries - 2017)

1. China 2. Vietnam 3. Nepal 4. Korea 5. Taiwan
41,656
(34%)

24,893
(20%)

8,474
(7%)
7,326
(6%)
5,470
(4%)
6. Sri Lanka

7. USA

8. Indonesia

9. Myanmar 10. Thailand
3,688
(3%)
3,422
(3%)
2,850
(2%)
2,270
(2%)
2,164
(2%)
(   ): Component Ratio

Dependent Visa

Applicants:
Dependent spouses or unmarried minors of foreigners residing in Japan with a certain status of residence

Period of Stay: 
5 years, 4 years and 3 months, 4 years, 3 years and 3 months, 3 years, 2 years and 3 months, 2 years, 1 year and 3 months, 1 year, 6 months or 3 months

Example:
Foreign dependent spouses and children (parents are ineligible.)

Check Points

  • A spouse or unmarried minor of a foreigner who is holding a status of residence except for the status of residence of "Diplomat", "Official", "Technical Intern Training", "Temporary Visitor", "Trainee" or "Designated Activities" is eligible (Note 1) for the "Dependent" status.

    (Note 1)
    "Professor", "Artist", "Religious Activities", "Journalist", "Highly Skilled Professionals", "Business Manager", "Legal/Accounting Services", "Medical Services", "Researcher", "Instructor", "Engineer", "Specialist in Humanities/International Services", "Intra-company Transferee", "Nursing Care", "Entertainer", "Skilled Labor", "Cultural Activities", "Student"
     
  • A spouse or unmarried minor of a foreigner who holds the "Student" status is also eligible for the "Dependent" status excluding some exceptions.
  • A child who currently holds the "Dependent" status and is going to attend school is not necessary to change his/her status of residence. However, if his/her parents return home beforehand, and he/she continues to attend school in Japan, he/she may require to change his/her status of residence to the "Student" status.
  • A spouse or unmarried minor must be supported by a foreigner who primarily holds a status of residence. Therefore, if a spouse or a child makes an independent living in Japan, he/she is ineligible for the "Dependent" status. For example, if a spouse works full-time, he/she needs to change his/her "Dependent" status to a status of worker
     
  • In principle, a spouse and a foreigner are required to live in the same house
  • A common-law wife/husband is ineligible for the "Dependent" status.
     
  • An adopted child is eligible for the "Dependent" status. 
  • A child who is not a minor is also eligible for the "Dependent" status if he/she is supported by a foreigner. (e.g. a child who is a university student in Japan)  
  • However, if the child finds a job in Japan after graduation, he/she is required to change his/her "Dependent" status to a status of worker
     
  • The holders of the "Dependent" status are able to engage in dairy activities as a spouse or child. If they intend to engage in working activities (part-time job), they must obtain "permission for engagement in out-of-scope activities".
     
  • A dependent spouse or child is permitted to stay in Japan only for a period of stay of the same duration as that of a foreigner. 
     
  • If a spouse has divorced or been separated by death, he/she is no longer eligible for the "Dependent" status; therefore, he/she must change his/her status of residence promptly where he/she intends to continue staying in Japan. However, the change of his/her status of residence from the "Dependent" status to the "Long-Term Resident" status is very challenging unless there is any special circumstance. 
     
  • In cases where a foreigner invites his/her child who is near the age of majority, or a foreigner calls his/her child subsequently to his/her entry into Japan after a considerable period of time, the regional immigration services bureau tends to tighten his/her examination.

The foreigner who is taking care of his/her family must prove that he/she has an ability to support his/her family in Japan. If the foreigner holds the status of residence of the "Student" or "Cultural Activities", the examination by the regional immigration services bureau is processed in a prudent manner.

Invitation of your Family : Certificate of Eligibility (MOJ Website)

Number of Foreign Residents in Japan with "Dependent" visa

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
125,992 133,589 149,303 166,561 182,452

Cultural Activities Visa

Applicants:
Foreigners who engage in :

  1. Non-remunerative academic activities,
  2. Non-remunerative artistic activities,
  3. Activities* for the purpose of pursuing specific Japanese** cultural or artistic studies, or
  4. Activities* for the purpose of learning and acquiring Japanese** culture or arts under the guidance of experts.
    * Non-remunerative activities ONLY
    ** Flower Arrangement, Tea Ceremony, Judo, Architecture, Painting, Dance, Cooking, Music, Zen, Karate, etc.

Period of Stay: 
3 years, 1 year, 6 months or 3 months

Required Documents

  • Documents certifying the contents and period of the activities and the outline of the organization where foreigner intends to engage in the activities,
  • Documents certifying foreigner's educational/career background and his/her background pertaining to the activities, and
  • Documents certifying foreigner's ability to pay all the expenses during his/her stay in Japan.
     
  • In cases where foreigner intends to learn and acquire Japanese culture or arts under the guidance of experts:
    • Materials proving backgrounds and achievements of the experts.

Number of Foreign Residents in Japan with "Cultural Activities" visa

2013 2015 2016 2017 2018
2,379 2,582 2,704 2,859 2,825