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Engineer Visa --> Other activities

Japan With Kids - Forums: Immigration/visas/re-entry permits/naturalization: Engineer Visa --> Other activities
By Rakhi Gupta on Monday, May 14, 2007 - 2:00 pm:

I am presently in Japan as Engineer. My visa (Engineer) is valid for another year. I plan to participate in a local festival. I intend to setup a stall and sell some stuff during the festival.

I think I need special permit (Permission to engage in an activity other than that permitted by the status of residence previously granted) to engage in this activity.

Could anyone let me know whether it is possible for me to get such a permission? What documents are required to be submitted along with the application? If someone has prior experience with such application, please guide me.


By Sandy Cox on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 - 9:55 am:

Seems to me that if you are going to do this other activity one time, then you are worrying overmuch. If you plan on doing it every weekend during your stay in Japan, then maybe you've got to hammer out the legal details. But generally you aren't going to be doing a side business of any significance (because you are an engineer and are already making enough money), and as long as you have a valid visa, (even a tourist visa!), you probably don't have to worry much for a one time thing. Probably you are participating with a group or helping out someone who has an organization? Also, any inter-cultural exchange booth type of thing is usually somewhere on the volunteer/charity spectrum, and doesn't get much attention from immigration

There have been some immigration sweeps through the annual Thai food festival in Harajuku (Tokyo)and some other major ethnic festivals. In those cases they were looking for people with no valid visa at all (overstayers). They were not looking for people working at the wrong job with their valid visa.

If you are really concerned about the safety of your activity (from the standpoint of your right to be here), why not just call immigration and ask their advice? You can call them anonymously and they are generally very helpful, though you may need a translator. If you call, please let us know what was said. Caveat: It is the general experience, that if you call more than once and talk to different people, you will get slightly different answers.

By Caroline on Thursday, May 24, 2007 - 11:26 am:

I would definitely advise that you check both with Immigration AND your employer if you are thinking of running a side business. Better safe than sorry! Keep in mind that when and if you get Permanent Residency then you can do what you want...

By Kurz on Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 11:20 am:

I recently got a permission to engage in activities other than those allowed by my visa. The form needed for this application is:

Application for permission to engage in activity other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted

I included the information about the jobs that do not fall directly under my working visa status. I brought originals and photocopies of the work contracts, and immigration accepted the photocopies. The processing time was 2 weeks after which I received a postcard asking me to return to pick up the permission within 2 weeks. I know from experience that it is not absolutely necessary to get there within the two weeks. I once could not make it, so I called and told them when I would be able to go, and they kept the file for me in the "current" section until I was able to make it over there.

The "permission" is actually a document smaller than B5 size and on sturdier paper than copier paper.

I was hired as part-time University instructor, and teaching at the University level actually has a different visa status than the one I have, which is why I needed to get the extra permission. In any case it was "related" so I saw it as a formality. I don't know if it would have been as simple and straightforward to get permission for something "unrelated" like running a stall at festivals on a regular basis. Maybe if the description of the stall was worded to emphasize the cultural exchange, it would be acceptable. As far as I can tell "cultural exchange" is a primary reason that Japan accepts foreigners who are not coming in as spouses of Japanese.

By Kurz on Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 1:38 pm:

P.S. The Permission is only good until the end of the contract for the "other activity", in this case March 31, 2009, so I will have to renew it again and again... (2 trips down to immigration every time) until I get Permanent Residence...

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