Visa Applications at the Immigration Office in Japan
To be able to enter and stay in Japan, it is necessary to obtain a visa (status of residence) in advance.
The category of visa that you will need to apply for depends on the type of activities that you intend to engage in Japan.
If you are coming to Japan only for a short period of time, and will not engage in remunerated or paid activities, such as sight-seeing, visiting family and friends, attending a wedding, attending business meetings etc., you can apply for the "temporary visitor visa" (generally called "tourist visa") directly at the Japanese Embassy / Consulate nearby.
Citizens of the countries having visa exemption arrangements with Japan can arrive in Japan only with their passport without going through any procedure in advance, unless you intend to stay for a long period of time, or to work.
If you intend to stay longer or wish to work, it is necessary to obtain a long term visa.
To be able to do so, it is first necessary to determine which type of visa you qualify for.
This also means that you need to have found a job in Japan if you are applying for a working visa, or a school if you are applying for a student visa.
Once you have chosen the type of visa that best suits your case, you will need to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (if you don't live in Japan under a long term visa yet).
Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
To obtain a long term visa while living outside of Japan, it is first necessary to apply for the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) at the Immigration Office in Japan, rather than applying at the Japanese Embassy / Consulate directly.
The application can be submitted by a family member staying in Japan (for the family related visa), by a personnel of the hosting organizations (for other types of visa), by the applicant himself visiting Japan with a temporary visa, or by certified Japanese Immigration Lawyers like us.
The fact that you have applied for the COE doesn't give you the right to stay in Japan after the expiration of the temporary visitor visa, so if it will expire before the COE is issued, it is necessary to leave Japan.
It takes about 1-2 months to receive the result of the application. Once the COE is issued, you can then go to the Japanese Embassy or Consulate nearby, in order to have the visa issued/stamped on your passport, which will only take a couple of days.
We are certified as Immigration Lawyers by the Japan Immigration Office, we can help you with obtaining an appropriate visa and with other Immigration procedures and services.