The purpose of the Japan training visa is to allow an applicant from any country to come to Japan under Technical Intern Training Program and train in an implementing organization in order to acquire technology, skills, and knowledge. Upon return from Japan, participants are expected to utilize their newly learned technology, skills, and knowledge in their home countries. Trainees are able to choose from 137 jobs in 77 categories. For example, agriculture, construction and machinery work, food processing, etc.
The primary goal for creation of this program was to allow for exchange and training of overseas-based workers by Japanese companies. Thus, it is nearly impossible to obtain such training visa as an individual applicant. Instead, one must be a part of an organization outside Japan that sends trainees to Japanese companies and organizations. If this is not possible perhaps a work visa is a better option.
Getting a training visa in Japan
Not only the applicant but also the implementing organization should comply with the set of requirements. For this reason, there are two separate lists of prerequisites that must be met in order to receive a training visa: one for the applicants themselves, the other one for the implementing company. Below we will provide the generalized outline of important items. A very detailed description of all the requirements and qualifications can be obtained from the immigration service of Japan.
- An applicant must be at least 18 years old.
- The technology, skills, or knowledge that the applicant wants to obtain should be impossible or extremely hard to obtain in the region of their residence.
- After the return from Japan, the applicants should apply the technology, skills, or knowledge that they acquired in Japan in their country.
- The technology, skills, or knowledge that an applicant wants to acquire should not be those that are learned through repetition of a simple work.
- All the activities that applicant intends to perform during the training should be allowed for the holder of the Japan training visa. Those include learning and acquisition of the technology, skills, and knowledge from a public or a private organization in Japan.
- The implementing organization should provide a trainer, who is a full-time employee of this company and has minimum 5 (five) years of experience in the technology, skills, and knowledge that a trainee wished to learn.
- The number of trainees in an organization should comply with the set full-time / trainee quotas.
- Over 301 employees: 1/20 of the full-time employees
- 201-100 employees: 15 trainees
- 101-200 employees: 10 trainees
- 51-100 employees: 6 trainees
- Less than 50 employees: 3 trainees
Duration of Japan training visa.
The duration of your visa depends on the duration of your training. Usually, it is from six months to three years.
What kinds of organizations take trainees?
There are two kinds of such organizations – individual enterprises (also known as implementing organizations or (a) type organizations) and supervising organizations (or (b) type organizations). The first one takes trainees directly into the company from overseas companies, joint venture companies, and business partners. The second one redirects trainees to their partner companies that are implementing organizations usually represented by such non-profit organizations as chambers of commerce and industry or small business associations.
What is my status in Japan under training visa?
During your first year of training, you are considered to be under a Technical Intern Training (i). It means that you are now in a process of acquiring the technology, skills, or knowledge. After this, you may be able to upgrade your status to Technical Intern Training (ii).
To do that you will have to complete your Technical Intern Training (i) period and pass the National Trade Skills Test Basic Grade 2, etc. in an area of your expertise. After that, you may continue your training under the same implementing organization where you acquired the technology, skills, or knowledge under Technical Intern Training (i) status. During the Technical Intern Training (ii) stage you are deepening and becoming more proficient in the technology, skills, or knowledge you were studying during the first year.
Thus, you may be granted one of four kinds of statuses:
- Technical Intern Training (i) (a) for your first year in an implementing organization.
- Technical Intern Training (i) (b) for your first year in a supervising organization.
- Technical Intern Training (ii) (a) for your second and third year in an implementing organization.
- Technical Intern Training (ii) (b) for your second and third year in a supervising organization.
You will always have to start with Technical Intern Training (i) status, either (a) or (b). There is no skipping the level.
- Make sure that both you as an applicant and the implementing company meet all the requirements set by the program.
- Make sure that the chosen activity is permitted for a training visa holder and is in line with the training plan.
- Collect all the necessary documents.
- Submit the documents for the Training Visa Certificate of Eligibility (hereinafter COE) to the immigration service office in Japan. If you do not currently reside in Japan, a certified immigration specialist will help you with the procedure (more information follows below).
- Wait for approval of the COE.
- Pick up your COE from the same immigration office where the application was made.
- Obtain the training status of resident (hereinafter SOR) by exchanging your COE for SOR. Your SOR will be indicated on your residence card.
- Obtain your residence card at the airport if you come from outside Japan or at the immigration office if you reside in Japan. Carry the residence card with you all the time at all places.
Where to apply?
An application for a Japan training visa COE can only be submitted in person and only at the regional immigration service office in Japan. The applications cannot be sent via postal services or submitted at the embassies outside Japan. For those applicants who apply from outside Japan and/or unable to apply in person within Japan for some other reason a certified immigration specialist can submit your application on your behalf.
What documents do I need?
Below is the list of necessary documents. Although there is no official regulation demanding these documents to be submitted in Japanese, it is advisable to consider Japanese translations done as they may positively influence the quality of your application and somewhat shorten the processing time. The certified immigration professional may assist you in preparation and translation of a document package.
- A training plain explaining the substance of training, its necessity, location and duration, as well as the conditions of one’s stay as a trainee in Japan
- A document proving that after returning to one’s home country a trainee will utilize the technology, skills, or knowledge obtained in Japan.
- Documents certifying applicant’s professional career.
- Documents certifying trainer’s professional career and ability to provide planned training.
- Materials describing the organization that sends a trainee to Japan.
- Copies of the implementing company’s registration, a statement of profit and loss, a list of full-time employees, as well as the list of trainees.
How long does it take to obtain visa and SOR?
It will take approximately 1 to 3 month to receive a COE, and another two or three days to exchange the COE to the Japan training visa. For applicants who reside outside Japan at the moment of application, the actual SOR will be granted upon arrival to Japan at the port of entry.
For applicants residing in Japan at the moment of application, it is possible to switch their status at the immigration service office. This procedure may take around two weeks. The applicant will not be able to leave Japan during this period.
Technical intern visa is meant to bring foreign workforce in Japan for training and professional education at the workplace. This visa is granted for a maximum of three years and presumes that after the training the trainee will bring the newly acquired skills and knowledge to their home country.
Intern visa is granted to the employees of organizations that have agreements about the training programs with the partners in Japan. Thus, it is impossible to apply for this kind of visa as an individual without the support of the company with established business connections in Japan.
Japanese Technical Training Visa FAQ
Who is overseeing the training process and can provide advice?
Japan International Training Cooperation Organization (JITCO) officially administers the program.
How long does it take to renew or prolong my training visa?
It is recommended to apply for prolongation or renewal at least one month in advance.
Application process seems to be difficult. Who can help me to acquire a training visa?
A certified immigration specialist can help you to prepare your documents, assist in translating them into Japanese (if you choose to do so), and submit them to the immigration service.
Do I need to be proficient in Japanese to secure a workplace?
This requirement will be determined by the implementing organization. Being able to communicate in Japanese at least at the basic level will widen your pool of possibilities in many regards: it is easier to establish interpersonal connections, communicate with coworkers, clients, and locals. In general, English language skills are not so widespread in Japan. If you speak neither Japanese nor English, finding your way in Japan may be extremely hard. Try to find out if you’re implementing organization may be willing and able to provide you a language training or assist in finding an appropriate language course.
What should I keep in mind when going to Japan?
Remember that cultural differences do exist. The everyday surrounding, work ethics, perception of time, personal space, and behavior may differ significantly from your own country. For example, being late for work or wearing shoes inside the house is not acceptable in Japan. Dedicate some time to research the areas you are about to enter and prepare to adjust yourself to those.
It is normal to experience a cultural shock at some point, even if you have studied the language and country for a significant period of time. Living in Japan is not the same as reading about it. Stay open to your surroundings and observe it carefully. Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance if you are not sure what to do.