The Intra-Company Transferee Visa is for Applicants who are currently working for an organization outside Japan and will be transferred to that organization’s Japan office.
SEVEN STEPS TO OBTAIN A JAPAN A JAPAN INTRA-COMPANY TRANSFERREE VISA
In order to obtain an Intra-Company Transferee Visa to work in Japan, an Applicant will need to complete the following seven steps:
Confirm that the Applicant satisfies the preliminary requirements for obtaining a Japan Intra-Company Transferee Visa.
There are two initial points to confirm prior to applying for an Intra-Company Transferee Visa:
The Applicant must have been employed outside Japan by a component part of the recipient organization for at least one year immediately prior to being transferred to Japan.
During this period of non-Japan employment, the Applicant should have been undertaking activities that would be covered by a Japan Engineer Visa or a Japan Specialist in Humanities / International Services Visa. These activities are explained in more detail below under Step 2.
- The transfer to Japan should be for a limited time.
- The Applicant must receive no less remuneration than would a Japanese national for comparable work.
Confirm that the proposed work in Japan is consistent with the activities permitted for the holder of a Japan Intra-Company Transferee 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 holder of an Intra-Company Transferee Visa may engage in the activities that would be permitted for the holder of a Japan Engineer Visa OR the holder of a Japan Specialist in Humanities / International Services Visa.
The permitted activities are therefore as follows:
Per the holder of an Engineer Visa:
The Applicant may undertake activities that require knowledge of at least one of the following:
- Physical science,
- Engineering, or
- Other natural sciences.
Per the holder of a Japan Specialist in Humanities / International Services Visa:
The Applicant may undertake one of the following types of activity:
- Activities that require knowledge of jurisprudence, economics, sociology, or other human sciences, or
- Activities that require specific ways of thought or sensitivity based on experience with foreign culture.
Assemble the documents required to support a Japan Intra-Company Transferee 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 an Intra-Company Transferee Visa, the authorities require the following documents:
- Documents from the organization that will be employing the Applicant in Japan:
- A copy of the company registration,
- A profit and loss statement, and
- Supporting documents that describe the company’s business.
- Documents from the foreign organization that is sending the Applicant to Japan:
- A copy of the company registration, and
- Supporting documents that describe the organization’s business.
- Documents that certify the relationship between the foreign organization and the Japan organization.
- Documents regarding the Applicant:
- A diploma or graduation certificate,
- Documents certifying the Applicants professional career,
- Documents certifying the Applicant’s duties in the foreign organization and the duration of such work,
- Documents that certify the position the Applicant will be taking up in Japan along with details of the activity, its duration, and the associated remuneration.
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 specialists is able to assist in the preparation and translation of all documentation required for an Intra-Company Transferee Visa.
Note Regarding Japan Tax Planning Opportunities for Intra-Company Transferee Visa Applicants.
Typically, there are significant tax planning opportunities for the holder of an Intra-Company Transferee Visa. Items such as employer provided housing, commuting allowance, and employer funded home leave can result in significant individual tax savings. In some circumstances, off-shore payment of compensation can result in tax savings if the holder of the Intra-Company Transferee Visa will spend time outside Japan on business. All these matters should be negotiated with the employer prior to finalizing the documentation needed for the Intra-Company Transferee Visa COE application (see Step 4 below). The following article provides more information about this important issue Japan Taxes: Tax Planning for Foreigners Working in Japan.
Submit an application for a Japan Intra-Company Transferee 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 Intra-Company Transferee Visa application.
An application for an Intra-Company Transferee 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 an Intra-Company Transferee 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 an Intra-Company Transferee Visa COE.
Await Approval of the Intra-Company Transferee Visa COE.
The processing time for an Intra-Company Transferee 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 specialists are handling the Intra-Company Transferee 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 Intra-Company Transferee Status of Residence (SOR).
Once an Applicant has the Intra-Company Transferee Visa COE in hand, the next step is for her to exchange the COE for Intra-Company Transferee “Status of Residence” (usually abbreviated as “SOR”).
Technically speaking, it is the Intra-Company Transferee SOR that will form the basis of the Applicant actually living and working in Japan.
There are two methods for converting the COE to Intra-Company Transferee SOR:
1. Exchange the Intra-Company Transferee COE at a Japanese embassy or Consul outside Japan.
This is the traditional route for obtaining Intra-Company Transferee SOR.
The Applicant first exchanges the Intra-Company Transferee Visa COE for an Intra-Company Transferee 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 Intra-Company Transferee SOR at the port of entry.
2. Undertake a Change of Status to Intra-Company Transferee SOR in Japan.
In some cases, an alternative may be for the holder of an Intra-Company Transferee COE to enter Japan under the Japan Visa Waiver Program or some other form of short-term entry. The Applicant then applies for Intra-Company Transferee 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 specialists can undertake the necessary procedures at the regional immigration office in Japan.
Japan Residence Card
Whether you receive your Intra-Company Transferee 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, Intra-Company Transferee 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 Intra-Company Transferee 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 Intra-Company Transferee SOR should ensure that they have a Re-entry Permit. This can be obtained at regional immigration office in Japan.
Some Important Considerations AFTER Receiving your Intra-Company Transferee Visa
There are three particularly important tax matters to bear in mind as you live and work in Japan:
1. Japanese Tax for holders of Intra-Company Transferee SOR
People living in Japan under Intra-Company Transferee SOR will typically be working for an institution that handles at least part of their Japan tax matters on their behalf. This is done by way of withholding tax deducted each month and a year-end adjustment as part of the December payroll.
However, if some income is being paid outside Japan, you may need to submit a Japanese tax return by 15 March each year. It is very important that you understand your Japan tax obligations since no extensions are available.
Complying with your Japanese tax obligations is essential in order to renew your visa.
2. US Tax for holders of Intra-Company Transferee SOR
If the holder of Intra-Company Transferee SOR is a US citizen or green card holder, they will continue to have US tax obligations even while living in Japan.
The US rules applicable to Americans living overseas are complex and constantly changing. In order to avoid possible penalties, anyone with a US tax filing obligation should seek specialist advice to ensure that they fulfill their US tax obligations.
3. Taxes when the holder of Intra-Company Transferee SOR leaves Japan
Before leaving Japan, the holder of Intra-Company Transferee SOR is required to fully settle her taxes or appoint a tax agent.
It should also be noted that Japanese local tax is assessed based on where you live on 1 January each year. As a result, departing Japan prior to 1 January can result in significant tax savings.