Entering and Re-entering Japan with a Working Visa
Procedure for entering Japan with a working visa (medium-term residence qualification)
Generally speaking, foreign nationals entering Japan after receiving a residence status qualification which allows work (working visa) will be given a residence card at the airport when their entry is approved.
For example, if you will be working in a position such as foreign-affiliated company manager, foreign financial institution specialist, or foreign manufacturer engineer in Tokyo, when you disembark at Narita Airport with your “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” visa, you will be given a residence card at the airport, and the approved stay period for your residence status qualification will be printed on this card.
The maximum stay period for the “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” is five years, but the length of your visa is determined at the discretion of the Immigration Bureau, so there is no way to know what you will be given in advance.
Temporarily leaving and re-entering Japan with a working visa (medium-term residence qualification)
During your stay in Japan with an Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services visa, you may end up going back and forth between Japan and your home country or another overseas destination for leisure, a business trip, or some other purpose.
In this case, there is a system called the “deemed re-entry permit” within Japan’s immigration services which allows you to skip the departure and re-entry procedures.
This service is available for foreign nationals with a valid passport and residence card, and completing the required process when leaving Japan enables you to return any time within a one-year period without the need to complete the re-entry procedure again.
Specifically, all you need to do is present your residence card to the immigration officer at the airport when you depart Japan and check the box marked “Requesting re-entry via deemed re-entry permit.” on the re-entrant departure ED card.
However, the valid period for the deemed re-entry permit (one year) cannot be extended after you leave Japan.
If an individual with a three-year Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services visa uses the deemed re-entry permit to leave Japan and does not return during the valid period, their visa will be rendered null and void, regardless of whether the three-year period for this residence qualification has ended or not.
In addition, if your residence qualification will expire in less than one year from your departure, you will be required to complete the re-entry procedure during this valid period.
Although the deemed re-entry permit is a convenient system for foreign businessmen, it also includes the regulations above. It’s important to always understand and abide by these rules when using it.