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Digital Nomad Visa to Japan: Duration, Requirements, and How to Apply

For many digital nomads, Japan ranks at the top of their list of must-visit destinations. With the new digital nomad visa, launched in the spring of 2024, you can live and work remotely in Japan for up to six months.

If you’re planning to extend your stay, understanding all the available visa options is key. This guide will help you navigate those options, so you can fully immerse yourself in Japan’s captivating culture for even longer.

Visas to Japan for Digital Nomads

digital nomad visa for Japan

Japan has now initiated its eagerly awaited digital nomad visa program. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what you need to know about the Japan Digital Nomad Visa.

What is the duration of stay permitted with the digital nomad visa in Japan?

The Japanese digital nomad visa allows you to stay in the country for 6 months, with no option for extension. It is designed for individuals seeking an immersive experience in Japan while working remotely, even though it’s shorter compared to digital nomad visas from some other countries.

Who qualifies for the Japanese Digital Nomad Visa?

  • People who plan to engage in remote work from Japan for up to 6 months, including roles like IT professionals, digital designers, and remote secretaries, or those managing overseas businesses.
  • Citizens of one of the 50 specified countries/regions:
United Arab EmiratesEnglandIsrael
Czech RepublicChileDenmark
GermanyTürkiyeNew Zealand
LuxembourgSouth KoreaHong Kong

What are the requirements to obtain Japan digital nomad visa?

  • Annual Income: You must prove an annual income over 10 million JPY (around $67,000 USD as of April 2024) earned from business outside Japan, with necessary documentation like tax payment certificates or employment contracts.
  • Medical Insurance: You must hold medical insurance providing a minimum coverage of 10 million JPY.

How to apply for Japan Digital Nomad Visa

The application process involves submitting the following documents:

  • A filled visa application form with a photograph
  • Your passport
  • A plan of your intended activities and duration of stay in Japan (The form is here).
  • Proof of your annual income (10 million JPY or more).
  • Proof of adequate medical insurance coverage.

Should family members accompany you, their documentation and insurance proof are also required.

For the latest details and application procedures, refer to the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

For those eyeing the digital nomad lifestyle in Japan, the new visa offers a chance to explore the country beyond the typical tourist timeframe. Yet, the six-month timeframe, with no extension available, may indeed feel somewhat brief for truly settling in and feeling at home.

Traveling to Japan as a Digital Nomad?

Japan is said to be one of the safest countries in the world, but things can still happen. It is important to have insurance that covers you if you get sick or injured during your stay.

Safety Wing Nomad Insurance is a travel medical insurance designed for digital nomads that covers not only Japan, but 180+ countries around the world. So, if you decide to hop over to neighboring South Korea or extend your journey to Thailand or the Philippines, you don’t need to worry about your insurance.

You can choose to pay for the whole travel period in advance, or automatically renew every 4 weeks, so if your nomad journey becomes longer than you thought, you can keep your peace of mind and focus on exploring and experiencing new places without worrying about unexpected medical expenses.

👉 More Details about Safety Wing Nomad Insurance on their official website

Having travel medical insurance that fits the digital nomad lifestyle is crucial. It is ideal to have a policy that covers multiple countries and can be easily extended as you wander around the world. Safety Wing Nomad Insurance provides one of the most affordable and comprehensive options available, making it an excellent choice for digital nomads seeking reliable and flexible coverage.

Types of Long Term Visas Available in Japan

When we talk about the “working visa” in Japan, there are a variety of options to choose from. There is not just one kind of visa for everyone, as they differ in the type of work you can do, the length of stay, among other restrictions you need to follow, based on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. >> Visa for Work or Long-term stay in Japan – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Just like other countries, there are different visas you can get, namely working and non-working visas.

Here are the two main types of visas you can look into, made for work and/or long-term stays:

Working Visa

digital nomad visa

Working visas would only cover occupations that require higher levels of professional knowledge and/or skills. If you are a foreigner engaging in manual or simple labor, there is a low chance of being eligible for this kind of visa, unless you have a visa granted according to your family visa. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan also states you may also be able to obtain a trainee visa or have part-time simple work on a student or dependent visa. (https://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/w_holiday/index.html)

For instance, there are no work visas available for hairdressers, masseurs, waiters, salespeople, construction workers, and the like. Rather, these are the five different industries that are typically granted work visas in private companies.

Engineer, Specialist in Humanities, or International Services

This visa type permits the following authorized activities:

  • Engineers who work in the field of engineering, physical science, or other natural sciences. They require a University degree in their field, or at least ten years of professional experience.
  • Specialists in humanities who work in legal, economic, and/or social fields, or in human sciences. Like engineers, they require a University degree in their field or at least ten years of professional experience.
  • International services who work in translation, interpretation, or language instruction. They may also work in public relations, fashion or interior design, product development, and international trade. They require at least three years of professional experience in their field, though, for interpretation, translation, or language instruction, they only require a university degree.

Intra-Company Transferee

These are ex-pats of foreign companies or subsidiary companies of Japanese firms from overseas. This requires at least one year of working in the overseas office.

Skilled Labor

This type of visa includes the following authorized activities:

  • Architecture
  • Civil engineering
  • Foreign cooking
  • Sports instructors
  • Sommeliers
  • Piloting aircrafts
  • Processing fur, metals, precious stones
  • Training animals

Such workers in this visa type require between three to ten years of professional experience, which already includes their period of training.

Startup Visa in Japan

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

In an effort to promote to increase foreign entrepreneurs in Japan, the Japanese government introduced a Start-up visa program which allows you a status of residence for 6 month/1 year with more relaxed requirements, in certain designated regions like Tokyo, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, etc.

In April 2021, Shibuya ward located in central Tokyo announced to launch a new startup visa for entrepreneurs from around the world. The 1-year start up visa will be issued for the qualified entrepreneurs working in the field of Health/Medical/Welfare, Environment/Energy, Food/Agriculture/Forestry/Fisheries, Information Technologies, Culture/Art, and Fashion. More details for application can be found at Shibuya ward’s website here.

The municipalities offering Startup Visas in Japan are as follows;

Business Manager Visa

These are people who are currently starting or investing in businesses in Japan or are managing businesses on behalf of investors. This requires a physical and dedicated office space in Japan and at least 5 million yen investment for new business applications, as well as 10 million yen in sales and 5 million yen for renewal expenses.

If you want to establish a business in Japan, you can apply for Business Manager visa which allows you to obtain a residence card, register your business and open a bank account. Opening a business as a foreign national requires a physical and dedicated office space in Japan and at least 5 million yen investment or hire at least 2 full time employees.

Highly-Skilled Professional

This visa type was introduced back in May 2012, which is for attracting workers who are most likely to contribute to the Japanese economy. Based on the June Advisor’s Group, there are points given based on the visa applicant’s educational level, professional background, as well as their current income and academic achievements. (https://www.juridique.jp/immigration.php)

When obtaining over 70 points in the evaluation, you will then be granted special visa status, including preferential treatments:

  • The possibility of engaging in multiple activities covering the different visa categories, or to work full-time for your spouse, subject to certain conditions
  • The possibility of bringing your parents to Japan or hiring a domestic helper, subject to certain conditions
  • 5- year stay and quicker access to a Permanent Resident visa
  • Preferential processing of Immigration procedures

Other Types

There are also other types of work visas granted to those who own certain knowledge, skills, or status, such as:

  • Diplomats and Officials
  • Professors
  • Instructors
  • Artists
  • Missionaries for religious activities
  • Journalists
  • Legal and accounting services
  • Medical services
  • Researchers
  • Entertainers
  • Specified skilled workers

Non-Working Visa

You can also work under non-working visas, but only when working below the limited hours weekly and after obtaining permission from the immigration office. These are the following visas you may use:

  • Student visas for students enrolled in Japanese schools
  • Trainee visas for those training to learn and acquire any technologies, skills, or knowledge in private and public organizations in Japan
  • Technical Internships for internships after training under trainee visas
  • Dependent visas for spouses or children of those staying in Japan on work and non-working visa
    Cultural Activities visas without providing income, such as studies and researches
  • Temporary visitor visas for tourism, vacations, family visits, seminars, and the like
  • Designated Activities, such as student internships, housekeepers for diplomats, of long stays for sightseeing and recreational activities. These visas are granted on a case-to-case basis.

How to Apply for Japan Visas

How to Apply for Japan Visas

Now that you know about the different kinds of visas you can obtain for working, what is the procedure to prepare for?

Besides the educational and/or work experience required, the specific documents you need to prepare for visa application varies on the type of visa you need.

In general, these are the following requirements for Japan visa applications:

  • Application form
  • Visa application fee
  • Certificate of Eligibility
  • Passport size photos
  • Old and current passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate (if married)
  • There are also other requirements needed, again, depending on the visa you want to apply for. Some work visas require proof of employment, University diploma, among others. You may also need to undergo an interview before being granted a visa.

There may be a chance of denial, but don’t let that discourage you, as you can apply again after a specific period!

Once you have been granted a working or non-working visa, you are now able to prepare for your trip ahead, knowing how long you’re able to stay there. If you were denied, don’t fret! You can learn from the situation and see what went wrong, so you can prepare better and be granted a visa for you to become a digital nomad in Japan.

Wrapping It Up

Before heading to Japan to pursue your life as a digital nomad, you first have to know about the visa requirements, among other travel documents you may have to submit. This will help avoid any trouble in immigration, removing the risk of being rejected and flown back to your country. With the right visa, you can stay for the long-term without worrying about breaking any laws or restrictions.

Now that you know which visa option suits you best, learn more about its exact requirements, and how to obtain them for a smooth trip to Japan!

If you have any queries or want to share your travel experiences in Japan as a digital nomad, share it in our Digital Nomad Japan Facebook Group! We would love to hear your thoughts. 

digital nomad japan
R. Wallace
R. Wallacehttp://www.thedigitalnomad.asia
A digital nomad travelling in Asia and TheDigitalNomad.Asia Editor. Please read my article and I hope you will get inspired to go travelling as a digital nomad. You are welcome to comment and share the article with fellow travelers.

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