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Dependent Visa / Permission to Work

Japan With Kids - Forums: Immigration/visas/re-entry permits/naturalization: Dependent Visa / Permission to Work
By Mina on Monday, May 17, 2004 - 12:03 pm:

I am on dependent visa in Japan , if I apply for permission to work parttime, how long does it take? and what all documents I need to submit?Any info apppreciated.


By Mina on Monday, May 17, 2004 - 12:36 pm:

I am in a kind of emergency situation here, would real appreciate if someone can let me know how long it takes to get the permission to work parttime which is called "permission to engage in activity other than that permitted by the status of residence previously granted"

By Tara on Monday, May 17, 2004 - 1:42 pm:

re: Permission to Engage in Activity Other than that Previously Granted

It takes no time at all, insofar as once you have APPLIED for such permission, you cannot be punished for engaging in it. (I think this change came about about 7(?) years ago, when they stopped issuing things on the spot, and made people come back on a later date to pick up their paperwork.) Of course, if you are later rejected, then you have to stop....

As always, it's better to confirm the official stance-- if you get an official response on this, please post to let us know!

Adachi-ku, Tokyo

By Mary Blomberg on Thursday, June 3, 2004 - 11:15 pm:

My husband will be going to work in Japan as an expatriate. What do I need to do to get a Visa to stay as long as needed and even work in Japan?
Mary -- mmwangi_w[at]

By Bethan Hutton on Friday, June 4, 2004 - 9:30 am:

If you're married, it should be no problem - you just apply for a dependant's visa along with your husband's working visa. It will be valid for the same length of time as your husband's visa. The dependant's visa does not technically entitle you to work here, but it is easy to get permission to work up to 20 hours a week (you just file a form after you get here with proof of what work you are going to do). If you find a full-time job once you get here, you are meant to change to a working visa of your own, which shouldn't be a big problem, as long as you are qualified for the work - there is just more paperwork to do.

By Cornelia on Friday, June 4, 2004 - 10:09 am:

Ditto Bethan.
One thing more:
If you need to apply for your own work visa because you will be working full time, you will need to show proof of having gradutated from college. Though there are some visas for people with 7 years of technical experience, these are intended for specialized fields...

By Mina on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 8:28 am:

Has the permission to work on dependent visa been refused to anyone?

By Susan Phatsadavong on Friday, September 3, 2004 - 12:37 am:

Does anyone know how long I can stay in Japan with just a U.S passport? If I need to leave the Japan within certain of time, can I tavel to the nearest country (maybe Thailand)and then enter Japan again? Instead come back to America it would too long of a ride. Help please..

By Trupti Gandhi on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 9:23 am:

this thread does not mention what documents are required in order to go and apply for work permission. i guess it should be the supporting documents of your education, passport and the ARC or anything more??

generally how many days does it take to get the work premit?? here i mean for a full time job and not just 20 hrs a week... assuming one has a dependent's visa??

i also feel this permission is like catch 22... as in order to work you need the permit and in order to get the permit you need to show what kind of work are you selected for... so what shd be done first look for jobs or go get a permit??

i also understand that Hello Work Japan - an organisation for gaikokujins based in Shinjuku kabukicho building demands to see the work permit before even consulting with you...

it is all so confusing... can some one make it more clearer for me??

By Scott Hancock on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 11:28 am:

Yes, the permission is a bit catch-22. If you are starting with no work visa, then you have to find an employer who will not only offer you a job, but also be willing to "sponsor" a work visa.

You will often see employment ads stating "must have working visa", which means that company doesn't want to be the initiator of the working visa process. (I don't really understand such stance, though because any current employer has to be ready to provide proof of employment when alien workers' renewal comes up.)

The process or logic is basically this:
1. Employer needs foreign worker with some skill that is not available from Japanese workforce.
2. Employer identifies such foreign worker and confirms their qualification (some combination of documented skill and language, I think)
3. Employer applies for "permission" to hire the person based on the documented skills. If Immigration agrees, then the visa is issued.

When such permission is granted, one usually has to get the visa installed in the passport outside Japan.

Once one has a working visa, it is much easier to keep extending it than to get it originally. (anyone correct me if they have a different experience)

Another route:
It has also been possible to "self-sponsor". If you can prove free-lance income gurantees of a certain amount (250,000/month?), it is possible to self-sponsor. Maybe others can chime in with more detail about this.

So, to answer your original question, you must have the job first, and then apply for the visa. You cannot get a visa without showing proof of employment.

Also, do not think about presenting your case to Immigration as "I've worked a bit on my tourist visa and now I want to go full time." You must never make it known if you work on a tourist visa. Spouse visa holder can work - I believe - up to 20 hours a month with specific permission.

Hope this is useful and again, I'm sure others will have more to say. There's always another story when it comes to Immigration issues.

By Tina Peterson on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 11:42 am:

Hello Trupti,

Yes, working in Japan can be a very complicated matter. First you need the job, as there are many differerent catagories of work visa avaialbe, as this website explains very well

What you need from the prospective job is a job offer, in writing, outlining your job description, work you will be doing, as well as a contract which specifies how much you will be making, as there are requirements for the minimum you may make to be "worthy" of a visa. It is all very challenging. However, Japanese companies are used to foreigners looking for work and needing sponsors for their visas. Some will hire people and sponsor them, others have a policy not to do so (unfortuantley).

From the being abroad website, I have this informaition: You cannot legally work in Japan without a working visa. It is also illegal for someone to employ you if you have a tourist visa. Australia, Canada, and the UK have reciprocal working holiday visa arrangements with Japan. Foreign women who are married to foreign men and have spouse visas may work up to twenty hours a week. There are no working restrictions on foreign women with spouse visas and married to Japanese men.

To obtain a working visa in Japan, your employer has to 'sponsor' you, i.e., submit several documents to the Japanese immigration authorities, including your contract, your qualifications, and company details. It is a little-publicised fact that you can submit these documents yourself and apply for your own visa, as long as you can prove that your income exceeds 200,000 per month, although obviously you need your employer's co-operation. Another little-publicised fact is that you can obtain a visa by combining several different jobs: you need the documents for each employer and the total amount of income must exceed 200,000 per month.

It can take up to two months for your visa application to be processed and, if it is successful, you must take your Certificate of Eligibility to a Japanese embassy in any country (it doesnt have to be in your home country), where it will be stamped. You then submit the certificate when you enter Japan and receive a working visa stamp in your passport. Most first-time visas are for one year. If you are really unlucky then you will receive a six-month visa. You can renew your visa at the immigration office.
Japanese ability

It is entirely possible to get a good job in Japan without speaking Japanese. Some employers even forbid you from speaking Japanese at work, especially if you are teaching English. If you do speak Japanese however, your job opportunities greatly increase. Obviously some basic Japanese ability will smooth relationships with colleagues.

Here is another website which looks like it may be able to answer a number of your questions.

I did at one point have a phone number for immigration in Tokyo where they spoke English, and were happy to try to help answer some of my questions. You can call TELL (Tokyo English Life Line) to ask them if they have any suggestions: 03-5774-0992.



By Trupti Gandhi on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 1:55 pm:

thank you so much scott and tina for your replies...

from your emails i think you are saying that you need to get a sponsership/job offer from the companies after getting a job from them... is this if you have a tourist visa or for any kind??

here i do not need the sposership... i am on dependent's visa... can i work 20 hours a week without any permission??

what are good places to start looking for a job... currently i am following up with the Japan Times advertisments on Mondays... and have searched through a few language school advt and sites and applied... so far - to no avail as i do not have a formal teaching degree or background....

i need a 9-5 kind of a job where i do not have to carry work home... i have qualifications of MBA with marketing and 3 yrs of intensive diploma course of software and systems analysis... so for a lot of jobs i am over qualified but i want a simple one due to kids responsibilities...

please suggest...
tina, gambarimasu...:)

By Nancy on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 5:51 pm:

Trupti, you can only work part time on a dependent's visa if you have been issued the certificate that permits you to "engage in activity other than that permittted by the status of residence previously granted." You are not issued a new visa and the certificate is valid to the same date as your visa. This is for part time work only.

By Jellund on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 4:52 pm:

Does anyone know how I would go about getting the certificate that Nancy spoke of above? Should I go to the local ward office? I thought that those on dependent's visa were automatically allowed to work up to 20 hours a week and hadn't even heard of the certificate. Also, does anyone know the name of this paper in Japanese?

Thank you very much

By Jellund on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 4:58 pm:

Ok have done some more searching and found this info to share here

# Permit to Engage in an Activity Other Than That Permitted By the Status of Residency Previously Granted (Shikakugai Katsudo Kyoka) For example, a student wanting to take up a part-time job or a dependent wanting to teach English privately at home will need to apply for one of these before engaging in the activity. Cost = 4000yen.

If this is out of date I would be grateful if someone could give the current info

By Bethan Hutton on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 7:09 pm:

You need to go to the immigration office to get the certificate. The right to work part-time is not automatic, but the certificate is easy to get.

From what I remember, the application form includes obvious questions like what kind of work/study you are going to be doing, who the employer will be, what you will be paid, what the hours will be etc. If you're not sure of all the details, you basically just need to give your best estimate (and don't estimate that you're going to work more than the 20-hour limit). Japanese bureaucracy being what it is, it also helps to have an official looking letter from your employer/place of study confirming the details. This can be difficult if you are freelance, but you could always try doing an explanatory letter yourself. When I was doing this a couple of years ago, I got a letter from my main employer just in case.

As far as I know nothing has changed since then, but it is probably worth giving immigration a call to check before you make the long trek out to the back of Shinagawa and find that they require some piece of paper that you don't have.

By Bethan Hutton on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 7:16 pm:

This is the page for immigration consultation - I've never tried calling the phone number, though, so I don't know how helpful they are.

By Jellund on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 7:43 pm:

Bethan thank you so much for this information

By Jellund on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 - 1:33 pm:

Bethan - I called the number on that site, got an English speaker who was very helpful. She said the things to take to immigration are;

Letter from employer stating hours if possible


Alien registration card

And she confirmed that it was free.

By s d on Wednesday, June 1, 2005 - 2:36 pm:


I am gettin married in december.My husband plans to go to japan in january from india on work permit for 1-2 years. Please tell me how much time it will take for me to get a visa after marriage as soon as possible? and can i apply for dependent visa before marriage also? please help

By Bethan Hutton on Wednesday, June 1, 2005 - 5:30 pm:

The best thing is to contact the Japanese embassy or consulate closest to where you are living, and ask them for the details. Processing time for visas probably varies from country to country so it's safest to find out directly.

By Semini on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 2:48 am:


I have a question about changing the status of my visa:
I currently have a "college student" visa that is valid until the end of October 2005. After doing research for my Master's Thesis at the Tokyo Tech I will start a 3-months Japanese language course in the beginning of July. From October 2005 on, I will work for Toshiba for 9 months (not as a trainee).

Does anyone know, what documents are needed for this change of visa status? I have heard that I might have to leave the country to go to a Japanese Embassy for this.

Currently I am visiting relatives in my home country Switzerland and will go back to Japan in around 2 weeks. As written on the new flight ticket that I have just bought, I will return to Switzerland for Christmas.

Do you think that Immigration at the airport will let me pass with a return ticket (Dec 05) dated after the expiration
of my current visa (Oct 05)?

Arigatou gozaimasu! Thanks a lot for your help. The regional Japanese embassy did not really help me answering my questions.

By Scott Hancock on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 10:52 am:

DISCLAIMER- No message you read here should be taken as substitute for direct information from Immigration. Can easily be misunderstandings or variations.

Having said that,
1) Not sure if you can change from one school to another for purposes of a student visa. I suppose there will be others to chime in about that
2) You must indeed change to a visa that allows working BEFORE you start working. Toshiba needs to give you various papers to "sponsor" your work visa.

The process of changing does usually involve going to a Japan consulate or embassy outside Japan AFTER the visa has been approved. I believe this would be true when changing from student to another that allows work.

I think you may well have an issue if they check your ticket and it's later than your visa. This seems like the kind of thing that's very dependent on the individual examiner. In other words - chance.

Most important thing is that you can't just start working on your student visa. Since you already have some work agreement with Toshiba, ask them to start the process now, while you have plenty of time to get the procedure done.

The basic documents are your work agreement with the employer, their company registration and P&L, your CV & original of college degree (something to bring from home now!), your passport of course. There may be some others.

Did you read the site quoted above from Immigration?


By Semini on Saturday, June 18, 2005 - 1:20 am:

Hi Scott,

thanks a lot for your answer! After visiting the above quoted sites and another call to the Japanese embassy, I think that I really have to go to a Japanese consulate or embassy outside Japan.

Yes, I definitely have to start the process now and ask Toshiba to organize the certificate of eligibility.

Hmm, I think it's safer for me to change my flight ticket so that the day of my return is BEFORE my visa expires.

Do I really need the original of my college degree? Just a copy is not enough?

Thanks again, this forum is a great help for me!

By Scott Hancock on Saturday, June 18, 2005 - 1:32 am:

Sounds like you are on the right track.

Every time we have sponsored someone from the beginning, as you are doing,(as well as for ourselves) they have asked to see the original diploma. It is because we have experienced this as a delay, I am mentioning here. Though things always change, I would guess there's more fraud these days, not less.

They don't keep it; they just want to have a look to confirm. Perhaps others will chime in with other stories. There's always exceptions.

Glad if this is helpful.


By Vera Andriani on Saturday, September 24, 2005 - 12:48 pm:

Hi everyone,
I need some help about getting work visa under self sponsor. What documentations will I need to enable me to apply work visa under Self Sponsor? Thank you

By Gaijin2005 on Thursday, November 24, 2005 - 12:40 pm:

With a dependent visa work permit you can work upto 25hrs/week.

By nelum prasadhi perera on Monday, February 27, 2006 - 2:32 pm:

I am sri lankan student who has got a scholarship to japan university. can i go to japan with my husband, if he get tourist visa. can he change it to dependent visa after arriving to japan. orelse can he apply to the dependent visa with my student visa application directly.

By Sunshine on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 3:13 pm:

hi nelum,

sorry for missinformation.I tolled you the way i did.seems like you can do it here aswell all the best

By Nelum Prasadhi Perera on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 4:23 pm:

Dear Sarma,
Thank you for the information is very much helpfull to me.

By Rakhi Gupta on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 3:50 pm:

Dear All

This thread provided valuable information about getting the permit to engage in activities beyond one's present visa status. But, it only covers those who hold dependant visa.

I am in slightly different position. I hold an engineer visa (work-permit)and I am employed with a Japanese company. I intend to create a website and sell some items (on part-time basis). Will this go againt the permissible activities? Do I need to apply for special permission before engaging in this activity?

Any feedback will be appreciated...


By Neeharika on Thursday, August 9, 2007 - 11:14 am:

Iam on dependent visa till 2010 in Japan.I want to work so i want take special permission from immigration office.any certificates/papers have
I submit to immigration office.Iam MBA graduate.
Plz tell me.

By Neeharika on Thursday, August 9, 2007 - 11:36 am:

Iam on dependent visa in Japan.
I want to take special permission from immigration office for working.Iam MBA graduate.any certificates i need to submit.Plz inform me

By Kutti on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 4:18 am:

My husband will be going to Japan in work visa(expatriate). I am 4 months pregnant. Can i apply for dependent visa along with my husbands work visa? Is there any legal problem in delivering my child in japan? How long will take to get a certificate to work in a part time jobs?

By Tesselator on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 8:06 pm:

I dunno about the legalities but there are definite risks associated with flying while pregnant! Risks to your unborn child! See:

And do some research on your own. I did the research 20 years ago and we decided to wait till after delivery. YMMV...

By Bendel on Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 5:55 am:

Kutti, I was in a similar situation when I moved to Japan 3 years ago (when I was pregnant with my first son). You should have no problem getting a dependent visa, and there should be no legal problem delivering the child in Japan (although, unlike in many countries, the child will not automatically become a citizen here).

I think getting your visa amended to allow part time work is a fairly routine and quick process, but since I didn't do this myself I don't know the details. Good luck!

By Natalie_l on Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 7:25 am:

The best thing is to check with the Japanese embassy/consulate in your country for the requirements. I had a similar situation (coming from Australia). I had to get my visa (working) first, then apply for my husband's dependent visa. Whatever you do, you must apply for the dependent visa OUTSIDE Japan. Make sure you have it before you come or they will make you leave to get it. I'm not sure how long it takes to get the certificate for part-time work but I remember my friend was working while it was being processed (I assume legally!).

Points to think about for delivering a baby in Japan - staff don't speak english, fathers not allowed in delivery room, epidurals not administered and c-sections only done in emergency, pregnancy not covered by national insurance (300,000 yen bonus is paid out after baby is born). UNLESS you can afford the doctors that speak english - in Tokyo it would cost about US$15-20,000 with prenatal checkups and no complications. Check your husband's package to see if the insurance covers you.

Also, second trimester is the best time to fly when pregnant - my very expensive Tokyo OB told me :-)

By Rebecca_s on Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 11:13 am:


Will your child be born in Japan? If so, you don't need to apply for the visa before the baby is born. And you don't have to get a dependent visa outside of Japan. Once your baby is born (if your baby is born in Japan), then you do all that paper work. It is not difficult. Okay, from personal experience, trips to the immigration office are always a pain in the butt... but not difficult ;)

My personal research into flying during pregnancy has led me to believe that there is no conclusive information and no studies to prove that there is danger to your unborn child. Do your own research and decide for yourself. Personally I have flown in various states of pregnancy from a couple of weeks (which is the most delicate time of pregnancy regardless of what you are doing), up to 30 weeks. Most airlines will not let you fly past 32 weeks. I had a letter from my OB saying I was 30 weeks just to be sure they let me fly - the airline I flew at that time specified that I should have a letter.

I moved to Japan 30 weeks pregnant with my first child. I found a clinic and doctor very experienced in performing epidurals, who also spoke reasonable English. My husband was allowed in the delivery room. Neither my husband or I spoke any Japanese at that time. So although it is harder to find a place that is experienced at performing epidurals (and it is definitely not something you want to go to an inexperienced doctor for), it is an unfair generalization to say that it is something you absolutely cannot find.
Though I have no experience with Tokyo, if that is where you will be.

I have had 2 children in Japan and will be having another one in spring. I feel very fortunate that all of my kids have been born here. I have nightmares about giving birth in my home country of the USA...


By Farene on Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 11:49 am:

I agree with Rebecca.

One way to avoid headaches at immigration is to have a Japanese friend phone ahead to find out exactly what forms/ translated documents are needed before heading over. I used to look at websites, but the info there is not updated regularly (even the Japanese websites), and your immigration officer will just say "That's outside my jurisdiction."@If you make a note of the officer's name during the call, you can at least weasel an apology out of him/her if you reach the office only to find out that you have been misinformed, haha.

Also, I'm pretty sure there are more delivery options nowadays, particularly in Tokyo. My OBGYN in Sapporo (and I chose randomly by area closest to my home) just happened to be able to speak some English --- not fluently, but enough to get the message across, and with a good grasp of English OBGYN terminology. Plus there are several hospitals that allow husbands in the delivery room ("tachi-ai bunben") and at least one near me that performs epidurals ("mutsuu bunben") upon request. The nurse even asked me if I'd like to have a water-borne delivery!(Err... not too familiar with that, so...)

Cost-wise, the clinic I like charges about $3.5-$5K , but you get a private room, fancy dinner for two, and a family member can room-in with you during the duration of your stay (probably a week, or slightly less if you got an epidural). I'd say it's not too bad, unless you absolutely must have a fluent English-speaking delivery team.

I imagine that if this is available in Sapporo, then choices in Tokyo would be far more plentiful. I could be wrong, of course... Someone enlighten me?


By Admin on Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 9:09 pm:

Please look at:
Baby born in Japan - Now what?
This topic assumes that that the mother is in Japan on a non-tourist visa, so a dependency visa would be needed at the very least.

There are also extensive discussions about having a baby in Japan and the safety and the costs involved, etc. in the Health section. The price in Japan for a normal delivery ranges from USD 2800 - 7000 at current exchange rates. The risks (or lack of them) of flying during pregnancy vary from woman to woman and should be decided upon on a case by case basis. There are no blanket rules.

By Rupom661 on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 - 3:33 pm:

dependent visa holders now holding on permision for part time job from immigration office. is it possible to change dependet visa to work visa? if company will provide all necessary papers.

By Admin on Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 7:29 pm:

Yes, dependent visa can be changed. You get elibility permit, then you have to leave the country and go to a Japanese Embassy somewhere, to get the eligibility permit put into your passport... a lot of people go to Korea for this. MAYBE they might wave that requirement if you are currently dependent on someone who already has a working visa. Best to call them and ask. Your call can be anonymous if you wish. I think they only ask your nationality and it is for survey purposes only.

By Kenjie on Sunday, June 3, 2012 - 1:48 am:

Please help me...

I already went to immigration and i have finished the application counter, is that the end of the process? where will i go next? what will i do next?
I suggest there would be an applicaition procedures posted at the immigration for guidance.

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