The College Student Visa is for Applicants who wish to come to Japan for the purpose of education at a college, miscellaneous school, technical college, or certain other educational institutions.
SEVEN STEPS TO OBTAIN A JAPAN COLLEGE STUDENT VISA
In order to obtain a College Student Visa to study in Japan, an Applicant will need to complete the following seven steps:
Confirm that the Applicant satisfies the preliminary requirements for obtaining a Japan College Student Visa.
The applicable requirements vary depending upon the type of educational institution and the subjects to be studied.
- 1. The Applicant must plan to study at one of the following institutions:
- A university,
- A vocational school,
- An educational institution designated for preparing persons with 12 years of foreign education to enter a Japanese university,
- A college of technology.
- The Applicant must have sufficient assets to support herself while in Japan.
- Where the Applicant will attend courses as a research student or will study exclusively by way of auditing courses, she must be enrolled based on an examination and must audit at least 10 hours of classes per week.
- Where the Applicant intends to enroll in a specialized course of study (other than the exclusive study of Japanese language) at a vocational school she must fulfill the following two requirements:
- The Applicant must demonstrate Japanese language ability,
- The relevant vocational school must have a full-time foreign student adviser.
- Where the Applicant will study Japanese language at a vocational school, the institution concerned must have been designated by the Minister of Justice.
- Where the Applicant plans to study at an educational institution that specializes in preparing persons with 12 years of foreign education to enter a Japanese university, the institution must have been designated by the Minister of Justice.
Confirm that the proposed activities in Japan are consistent with those permitted for the holder of a Japan College Student Visa.
Once the preliminary items in Step 1 have been confirmed, the actual activities the Applicant will undertake in Japan need to be considered.
The permitted activities for the holder of a College Student Visa are as follows:
- Receiving an education at a college or equivalent educational institution.
- Undertaking specialized courses of study at advanced vocational schools.
- Attending educational institutions designated for preparing Applicants who have completed 12 years of foreign education to enter a college, or a college of technology in Japan.
Assemble the documents required to support a Japan College Student Visa application.
Once an Applicant has confirmed that her proposed activities in Japan are consistent with those outlined above in Step 2, supporting documentation needs to be prepared.
In the case of a College Student Visa, the authorities require the following documents:
- An admission certificate from the educational institution.
- Where the Applicant intends to study as a research student or audit courses, documents from the educational institution certifying the substance of the research or the subjects to be audited and the number of classes.
- Documents certifying that the Applicant can meet all expenses associated with her stay in Japan.
Although not technically required, our experience is that providing Japanese translations enhances the quality of an application. This may minimize delays in obtaining final approval.
Japan Visa’s certified immigration professionals are able to assist in the preparation and translation of all documentation required for a College Student Visa.
Submit an application for a Japan College Student Visa Certificate of Eligibility (“COE”).
Once the Applicant’s activities have been confirmed and the appropriate documents assembled per steps 2 and 3 above, the next step in most cases will be to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (abbreviated as “COE”).
A COE is a document issued by the Japanese immigration authorities. It certifies an Applicant’s eligibility to undertake specific employment in Japan – in this case, the job associated with the College Student Visa application.
An application for a College Student Visa COE must be submitted in person at a regional immigration office in Japan. The COE application cannot be submitted by mail or at a Japanese embassy outside Japan.
Where the Applicant is not personally available (for example because she is not in Japan or due to a busy schedule) Japanese law allows a certified immigration specialist to submit a College Student Visa COE application on behalf of the Applicant.
Japan Visa’s certified immigration specialists are able to handle all the procedures associated with preparing and submitting an application for a College Student Visa COE.
Await Approval of the College Student Visa COE.
The processing time for a College Student Visa COE is generally four to six weeks.
Once approved, a notice is sent to an address in Japan advising that the COE is ready for collection at the regional immigration office where the COE application was originally submitted.
Where Japan Visa’s certified immigration professionals are handling the College Student Visa application, the notification from the immigration authorities is sent to our office. Japan Visa then collects the COE from the regional immigration office and either forwards it to the Applicant or prepares a change of status application (see Step 6 below).
Obtain College Student Status of Residence (SOR).
Once an Applicant has the College Student Visa COE in hand, the next step is for her to exchange the COE for College Student “Status of Residence” (usually abbreviated as “SOR”).
Technically speaking, it is the College Student SOR that will form the basis of the Applicant actually living and working in Japan.
There are two methods for converting the COE to College Student SOR:
1. Exchange the College Student COE at a Japanese embassy or Consul outside Japan.
This is the traditional route for obtaining College Student SOR.
The Applicant first exchanges the College Student Visa COE for a College Student Visa at a Japanese embassy or consul outside Japan. The process generally takes two to three business days.
The Applicant then travels to Japan and is granted College Student SOR at the port of entry.
2. Undertake a Change of Status to College Student SOR in Japan.
In some cases, an alternative may be for the holder of a College Student COE to enter Japan under the Japan Visa Waiver Program or some other form of short-term entry. The Applicant then applies for College Student SOR via a change of status at a regional immigration office in Japan.
A change of status takes approximately two weeks. During that time, it is not possible for the Applicant to travel outside Japan.
Where the change of status route is utilized, Japan Visa’s certified immigration professionals can undertake the necessary procedures at the regional immigration office in Japan.
Japan Residence Card
Whether you receive your College Student SOR at the airport upon entering Japan or via a change of status application filed at a regional immigration office in Japan (see Step 6 above), you will receive a Japan Residence Card.
This is an official identification card that includes an IC chip. The Residence Card contains personal information such as your name, address, birth date, residence status (in this case, College Student SOR), period of stay, etc.
You are required to carry your Residence Card at all times.
Consider applying for a Japan Re-entry Permit.
Up until July 2012, if you held College Student SOR and wished to temporarily leave Japan (e.g., for vacation, business, etc.) it was necessary to obtain a Re-entry Permit for Japan in advance of travelling.
However, it is now possible to leave Japan for up to 12 months without a Re-Entry Permit.
If there is any possibility that a trip outside Japan will last for more than 12 months, an individual holding College Student SOR should ensure that they have a Re-entry Permit. This can be obtained at regional immigration office in Japan.