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Working Holiday Visa for Japan: What you Need to Apply

Traveling to Japan on a Working Holiday visa can be an excellent way to explore Japan and its culture a bit more than on a tourist visa, as it allows you to travel and work in Japan for up to a year with no restrictions. You also don’t have to necessarily know the language to get a job in Japan. This article is for people who want to get more information on the visa application process, however, keep in mind that the requirements may differ depending on the nationality of the applicant.

The requirements for getting the Working Holiday visa

You have to:

  • have a passport from one of the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Korea, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, UK or Uruguay. The residents of Hong Kong need a valid HKSAR or British National Overseas passport for the application. The residents in Taiwan need a valid passport of Taiwan for the application.
  • If you are from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Iceland, Czech, Lithuania, Uruguay, Finland or Latvia, you have to be currently residing in your country. This is not only because you have to physically visit the embassy in your country, but also because it is for some reason required of you. Someone who is traveling or living abroad is not eligible to apply unless they return to their country to submit their application. Click here for more information.
    This may be different for each country, however, in general, it’s recommended to claim you are residing in your country rather than being in between Working Holidays.
  • intend primarily to spend a holiday in Japan. Your primary goal shouldn’t be to work or study. Your intention may affect the visa outcome. Click here for more information.
    We would suggest not mentioning in your proposed schedule or itinerary that you already have a job position arranged in Japan. It’s hard to tell to what degree this affects the visa outcome, but it’s definitely safer to claim you don’t plan to work that much. FYI, It’s prohibited to work at bars, cabarets, nightclubs, gambling establishments, and other premises affecting public morals in Japan.
  • be between 18 and 30 years of age both inclusive at the time of application for the visa. In the case of Iceland, the applicant should be between 18 and 26 years of age, in the case of Korea it’s 18 to 25 or possibly 30.
  • not to travel with dependents or children.
  • have sufficient funds for the stay in Japan. 
  • have a return travel ticket or sufficient funds with which to purchase such a ticket.
  • be in good health and be of a good character. 
  • never having been issued a Japanese working holiday visa in the past.

Visa Application

Again, the best thing to do is to check the specifics of your country’s conditions. This is only a general guide.

You must include the following with your application:

  • A valid passport.
  • A filled-out visa application form.
  • Passport-sized photograph (3.5 cm x 4.5 cm or 2in. x 2in) taken within the last 6 months.
  • CV or Resume detailing your personal, educational and employment history.
  • Proposed itinerary. The schedule for the time spent in Japan. It doesn’t have to be extremely detailed but should show you’ve done your research about the areas you want to visit. One A4 format page should be enough. As we previously mentioned, the focus should be on traveling but feel free to mention, that, for example, you plan to look for a job in Okinawa from June to September.
  • A letter, explaining the purpose of your visit and why you wish to travel to Japan as a Working Holiday-Maker. The letter should be at least one A4 page in length. In the letter, you can describe why you’re excited to go to Japan, what and why you want to visit, and so on.
  • Proof of funds. You are required to provide your bank statement. Depending on where you’re from, the amount can be, for example, 2500 Australian dollars, 2500 US dollars, or 2500 Pounds. 
  • Flight details to Japan and back or proof of sufficient funds to buy the ticket.
  • (A confirmation of a health examination.)

More information

  • There is no charge for the visa. This is really nice, especially when considering how much are the Australian or New Zealand WH visa.
  • You cannot send the application electronically or by mail. You have to visit the designated embassy in person. 
  • The processing time varies from just a few days to about two weeks. Depends on your country. The whole process may take more time if you’re required to bring additional documents.
  • Once you’re given the visa, you have three months to enter the country.
  • The visa is valid either for a year or for six months with the option to extend for another six months. This depends on what country you’re from.

You can find the official information here including the number of visas issued for the year. The best is to look for the specific information on your country embassy website. Click on one of the links in the link provided, which takes you to the website of your country’s embassy.

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