I wouldn’t trade my life here in Japan for anything, except maybe a peanut butter Kit Kat (why, oh why, do they not sell the peanut butter type here in Japan?!), which is why I am currently renewing my visa – but that’s old news. Many teachers go through the visa process every year, so I thought I would share a little advice.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The first thing I want to do is direct you away from here to the wealth of internet resources that will give you more information than I possibly can.
Your first site to check should be the official government site, MOFA. It’s got everything, including a handy FAQ.
Applications from ‘Immi‘
Then you can get the forms for your visa, including everything from the certificate of eligibility to an application for a period of extension of stay, from this government resource.
Your next step should be your local immigration office. You’ll need the application form, your work contract, and other documents as necessary depending on your situation (see the Immi link above).
Then you wait…
A fee of 4000yen, and a waiting period of between 2-10 weeks should get you your visa, providing you’ve filled out the forms correctly, and the infamously inconsistent immigration office hasn’t turned down your application because you didn’t include the name of your pet turtle.
Some people have special circumstances, and may even want to sponsor their own visa. In which case I suggest you read this incredibly detailed and helpful blog.
If you’re still not satisfied with all this information, you can read this comprehensive overview of Japanese visas.
Teaching English in Japan is a lot of fun. It’s well worth the hassle of filling out a few visa forms every year, I think.