Business Manager Visa – Why it is Important for Foreign Businesses in Japan

The Business Manager visa is a work authorization document (visa) for foreigners who want to start a business in Japan or take on managerial responsibilities at an existing Japanese company.

Business Manager Visa – Why it is Important for Foreign Businesses in Japan

If you plan on establishing a business while in Japan, you will require a work long-term stay pass rather than just a tourist visa. For this reason, in 2015, the Japanese Immigration Bureau established a Business Manager Visa for non-Japanese nationals, allowing them to take managerial roles in Japanese companies and engage in commercial activities. These conditions are also quite simple to meet. To qualify for this visa and legally run your business in Japan, you need at least JPY 5 million (about $45,000) in investment capital and at least two full-time Japanese employees.

How to Apply for a Business Visa:

1. [With no Business Manager Visa] Apply for a Business Manager visa valid for 4 months
Upon approval of your application, you will be issued a Residence Card (please note that you need to have a residential address at this stage). The process of renting an office and opening a bank account becomes more manageable after you have obtained your Residence Card.

2. [With Business Manager Visa] If this is the case, you must finish registering your company while your visa is still in effect.

Once you’ve finished registering your company, you’ll need to adjust your immigration status.

Upon completing the corporate registration and establishing your company, you will be qualified to request a change of Status of Residence in your visa.

******The proposed enterprise must be plausible and founded on a well-defined business plan.*****

Your choices are limited to the following three possibilities:

• To extend your current Business Manager visa from 4 months to 1 year, you must submit an Application for an Extension of Stay.
• You can apply for a Modification of Status of Residence to a one-year Business Manager visa if you already hold another form of visa.
• Obtaining a Change of Status of Residence to Highly Skilled Foreign Professional No.1 visa is possible if you meet the requirements for and are recognized as a Highly Skilled Foreign Professional No.1. The duration of this stay will be five years.

4 Consideration before applying for a Business Manager Visa

• Establishing a physical location for company operations

It would be best if you first found an appropriate office or retail premises to launch a successful business in Japan. A portable toilet or other short-term building like a temporary office is not suitable. Although there may be exceptions, it is generally not legal to utilize a private residence as a place of business. Japanese immigration officials typically conduct site inspections to determine whether or not a given location is suitable for the intended purpose.

• Solid Business Plan
The proposed enterprise must be plausible and founded on a well-defined business plan. Your background is also a major factor. Your application may be deemed unfeasible if you lack relevant work experience in the field in which you intend to operate. The company’s articles of association (“teikan”), often known as the “constitution,” must be in order. The business strategy should also include a comprehensive income statement. Businesses with a strong strategy but appear to lack genuine substance, businesses that do not conform with Japanese legislation, and any firm that is considered difficult to become operative will not be allowed.

• Financial Stability
You need to prove that you have invested at least 5,000,000 yen. The financial report from your organization is also an integral part of the evaluation. A company’s financial health is fine if its balance sheet displays a surplus, but trouble arises when the obligations significantly outweigh the assets. If your company fails, granting you a Business Manager visa to oversee operations will not be profitable. The value of the land and any buildings on it can be factored into the calculation. Five million yen is the threshold over which investing becomes unnecessary. Family loans of up to 5,000,000 yen can be used for investments; however, if your investment is based on a loan, you will need to produce the loan contract as evidence.
For joint ventures with a Japanese counterpart, this visa has been granted in cases where the foreign investor has invested 5,000,000 yen or more out of a total capital of 10,000,000 yen. Similarly, as of 2015, it is allowed if the Japanese partner invests alone.

• Workforce
At least one full-time worker must be a Japanese national, Permanent Resident, spouse or child of a Japanese national, spouse or child of a Permanent Resident, or holder of a Long-Term visa from your company to operate in Japan legally. In the past, anyone who spent at least 5,000,000 yen was allowed to operate with a single employee: themselves. As of April 1, 2015, the minimum required capital to open a business in Japan has been lowered from 5,000,000 yen to simply enough to justify hiring a full-time employee.

How SME Japan Can Help You

At SME Japan, we focus on serving local and aspiring SMEs. Although Japan isn’t exactly known as a business-friendly destination, we do all in our power to make the process of “getting business done” as smooth as possible for our clients. Plus, we’ve been in business for over 20 years and can offer guidance on how to structure a project’s roadmap or an organization’s overall strategic plan. We offer assistance with application development, human resources and payroll processing, information technology and other related services, and more.

If you are interested in opening a business in Japan and meet the requirements for this Business Manager visa, please contact us.

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***********For us, helping our clients achieve their business goals is of the utmost importance, which is why we will do everything in our power to make your transition into the Japanese market as easy as possible.*********

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