How to apply for a Japanese Student Visa?

Thinking of coming to Japan to study the language and culture? Or simply thinking of experiencing and trying out life in Japan?

One of the best ways to come experience Japan while learning the language and culture is through the student route.

If you are planning to study in Japan for more than 90 days (3 months), a student visa is required. A student visa in Japan can last from 3 months to the longest period of a year and three months. If your course is two years long, fret not, as the school will be able to assist you in renewing your student visa.

Let’s go through the steps in obtaining a student visa in Japan.

Step 1: Deciding a school

The first step in coming over to Japan to study is in deciding and choosing which language school to go with. There are a wide variety of language schools available and courses available last from as little as 12 weeks to a two-year course. Most language schools offer job-hunting services upon graduation and are a great entryway into your new life in Japan.

Once a school has been selected, submit your application to the school. This can be done by filling up and returning the application form to the school. Depending on the school, some additional documents such as a health certificate, proof of employment (if you are employed at the moment), an essay, or proof of financial requirements is required as support to your application.

Step 2: Preparing required documents

The next step would be the start in obtaining a student visa that will allow you to come and study in Japan. There are a few documents required for your student visa application:

1. Visa application form

Try to be as detailed oriented as possible with the accuracy of the data inputted into this form that will be submitted to the immigration body.

2. Copy of passport

Include a copy of your Photo/ID and Signature page of your passport. If you have traveled to Japan before in the past, please also include copies of the entry and exit stamps.

3. Passport size photos (4cm x 3cm)

Prepare around 8 of these with these specifications:

  • Taken within the last three months.
  • Plain white background.
  • You must be starting straight ahead, with a neutral facial expression.
  • Your face must be fully visible.
  • The picture must be good quality (focused, clear, and sharp).

4. Academic documents

Diploma certificates and official transcripts are usually required.

5. Proof of financial support

Last but not least, any form of proof that you are able to support yourself through not just tuition, but also the cost of living during your tenure as a student in Japan is required. This proof may come in the form of:

  • Statement of bank account (latest 3 months statement)
  • Proof of income
  • Financial aid or scholarship letters
  • Letter of sponsorship

The minimum requirement is to have ¥2,000,000 in your bank account in applying for a student visa.

Step 3: Submit and obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

Once you have submitted said documents to your school, your school will then submit these documents to immigration on your behalf. The next step is to obtain a certificate of eligibility (COE).

The COE states that you are eligible to apply for a student visa to enter Japan. You will need a COE before you can apply for a visa to enter Japan. COE is not a visa and is just a prerequisite for applicants to obtain a student visa in Japan.

Step 4: Receiving COE

On average it takes around one to three months on and updates regarding your COE application status. Once your COE has been approved and issued, your school will notify and mail you said COE.

Step 5: Applying for the Japanese Student Visa

Once you have received your COE, make a trip down to the nearest Japanese Immigration Bureau Office to apply for your visa if you are currently in your home country. If you are currently on a tourist visa in Japan, you will need to return to your home country to apply for your student visa.

Required documents when applying for your student visa are as follow:

  • A valid passport
  • Visa application form
  • One photograph taken within the past 3 months
  • Certificate of Eligibility – the original document and one copy
  • Letter of admission into said school
  • Other additional documents the specific consulate may ask for, depending on the country

For more information, check with your local embassy or consulate.

Step 6: Obtaining the Japanese Student Visa

Once your visa application has been processed, you can return to the embassy or consulate to receive your student visa. Do not forget to get your COE back as you will need it when you land in Japan at immigration.

Step 7: Land in Japan within the Student Visa validity

The Japanese student visa is usually valid for 3 months upon approval. Make sure you land in Japan during the visa validity. If not, you will need to re-do this whole process from step 2 again.

Step 8: Enjoy your student life in Japan

Now you can kick back and relax. Go out there and enjoy your student life in Japan. There is so much to see and explore. Make every moment count. You deserve it after stressing and going through the visa application procedure!


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Representative Director of Reboot Japan Co., Ltd., which operates EDOPEN JAPAN. Founded the company in 2018, which provides Japanese language education and assistance for studying in Japan. Started the company after living with international students at a Japanese language school. He enjoys learning about new people and cultures and has lived in Australia and Malaysia. Graduated from the Faculty of Economics, Sophia University.