Applying for a Visa – Japan

29 March 2013

Japan is a fantastic country to work in with a TEFL certificate. Teaching positions are usually as a teacher of children and occasionally adults. Jobs often need a Bachelor’s or other four year degree on top of theTEFL certificate and teaching experience is always readily accepted.

UK citizens visiting Japan for a period of up to 90 days can travel without a Visa but those who intend to work in Japan are required to have a Visa. You should apply for an Instructor Work Visa which allows you to come to Japan to teach, whether it is for elementary schools or adults!

For your Visa, you will require

  • A passport
  • A Visa Application Form
  • A photograph
  • A Certificate of Eligibility

Japan - Mount FujiThe passport must of course be valid. It is recommended to visit Japan on a passport that will not expire during your time there as the process for applying for a new one while abroad can be quite time-consuming and tedious. You will also need a few spare pages for the Visa seals.

A Visa Application Form can be downloaded online from the Embassy website. It asks you for details about you and your passport and requires you to declare any convictions you may have.  Your photograph needs to be attached to the Visa Application Form. It should be a standard passport-style photo; the form should have a box with the exact measurements on it. It must also be fairly recent; within 6 months is usually accepted.

Before you apply for your Visa, you are required to get a Certificate of Eligibility. This is a document which confirms that you are able to come to Japan and it can make getting a Visa easier for you. Your employer should get the certificate for you from their local immigration office and it is valid for 3 months. In some occasions, a photocopy is required.

When you have gathered all the necessary documents, you must take them to the Japanese Embassy in Piccadilly, London to be processed. Applicants in Scotland and Northern England (Cleveland, Cumbria, Northumberland and Tyne & Wear) have to take their applications to the Consulate-General of Japan in Edinburgh. There is a Visa fee of about £23 which must be paid for in cash. Cards and cheques are not accepted as a form of payment. However, no appointment is necessary when taking your documents to be processed!

It should take three working days to issue a Visa if you are successful in your application. It is very important to apply for the correct Visa and ensure that you fill out all sections honestly. Temporary Visas or Traveller’s Visas cannot be used for employment, even if an employer insists that they can. If discovered to be working with an invalid Visa, you may be detained and then deported and sometimes banned from entering Japan for a length of time. Nobody wants this to happen, so please ensure everything is correct and valid before setting off for Japan.

To search for a job in Japan, visit the TEFL Job Centre. Or look at course options to get TEFL qualified!

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