Changing Visa Types
How to change your visa type
The activities permitted for foreign nationals who reside in Japan are determined based on the type of residence qualification (visa) they have, and generally speaking, activities outside the scope of this visa are not permitted.
Accordingly, if you would like to carry out activities which differ from those permitted by your current visa, you need to change your visa type to one which permits these activities. This process is called submitting an “Application for Change of Status of Residence.”
Period during which applications are accepted:
Applications can be submitted any time after the change in status becomes required up to the end of the validity period of your current visa.
People who can submit applications:
(1) The applicant themselves who is residing in Japan
(2) The legal representative of the applicant
(3) An intermediary
For more information about people who can act as intermediaries on your behalf and the requirements for doing so, check the Immigration Services Agency website:
Please contact “Immigration Services Agency” for more details.
If your application to extend your residence period is approved, you are required to pay a fee of 4,000 yen in revenue stamps. (As of March 2021)
Application form, photo (matching specifications), a passport or registration card (must be presented upon submission), and the applicable submission documents for the residence qualification for which you are applying
Cases where the Application for Change of Status of Residence is required
Some example situations where the Application for Change of Status of Residence is required are as follows.
- “Student” → “Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services”:
For example, when joining a company after college graduation
- “Student” → “Specified Skilled Worker”:
For example, when starting work in a specific skilled profession after graduating from an educational facility
- “Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services” → “Class 1 Highly Skilled Professional”:
For example, when working as a highly-skilled professional based on service record and specialization
Specific examples of changing to a different visa type
(1) Some people change from a Student visa to a Specialist in Humanities / International Services visa after finding employment with a Japanese company.
(2) Some people change from a Specialist in Humanities / International Services visa to a Spouse visa after marrying a Japanese person.
*For cases of foreign nationals marrying other foreign nationals, if you marry someone with a working visa and quit your job, you should change to a Dependent Visa for Family Members. If you marry a Permanent Resident visa holder, you should change to a Spouse/Dependent of a Permanent Resident visa. Also, if you marry a Long-Term Resident visa holder, you should change to a Long-Term Resident visa.
Cases where the Application for Change of Status of Residence is not required
When transferring to a different company, if you will be working in the same field, no visa change is required, so you are not required to submit an Application for Change of Status of Residence. However, you are required to complete the procedure for issuing a Certificate of Authorization for Employment when changing jobs.
Specific examples where changing to a different visa type is not required
(1) A person who worked as an instructor at a language school transfers to a position at a different school.
(2) A person who worked as an instructor at a language school begins working as an interpreter.
*Note: Because both language school instructor and interpreter fall under the same work visa category of “Specialist in Humanities / International Services,” there is no need to change visa type.