How to Get a Japanese Business Manager Visa – Guide

Shinjuku Business District

Shinjuku Business District

Guide to obtaining a Japan Business Manager Visa – FAQ

Q: Can I apply for a Business Manager Visa inside Japan? What do I need to do to get a Business Manager Visa

A: Yes you can, but you will need to first obtain a C.O.E., This can be done inside the country, but is a lengthy process. We would recommend that you apply for it outside of Japan in your home country.

If your circumstances are that you are currently located in Japan and you cannot leave Japan, you can still apply for the visa if you are on a temporary visitor status.

It would be a four step process.

  1. Land in Japan as a temporary visitor with permission to stay for 90 days.
  2. Apply for the C.O.E. at the regional immigration bureau – 2 Months
  3. After receiving the C.O.E. apply for a change of status at the regional immigration bureau – 2 Weeks
  4. Return to immigration and receive your Resident Card

Once you have received your residence card you will be able to do things like open a bank account and rent an apartment.  The terms of your stay will be an initial 4 months to incorporate your business.  Once you have incorporated your business and met the requirements of a business manager, you will be able to extend your permitted length of stay.

You can find more official information here regarding the visa process in General.  For application procedures for the C.O.E.  You can also visit the Immigration Bureau FAQ here.

Q: Should I apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (C.O.E.) / Business Manager Visa outside of Japan?

A: If possible, we would definitely recommend that you apply for the C.O.E outside of Japan.  It is a lengthy process that takes two months and it is always better to be safe rather than sorry.  The Japanese government takes overstaying a visa very seriously, and you may be unable to re-enter Japan if you needed to leave due to an Emergency.

You can apply for the C.O.E. by visiting the nearest Japanese Embassy in your home country.  Click here for a list of Japanese Embassies

There are two steps to this process.

  • Step 1 – Apply for and receive a C.O.E. or certificate of eligibility. This usually will take two months.  Typically, most people apply for this prior to coming to Japan through a Japanese embassy or consulate in their home country.  However, it is possible to apply for this upon landing.  We would recommend that you apply for this immediately upon arriving as you will need several months for this to process.
  • Step 2 – If your application is successful and you receive the COE outside the country you will be able to apply for a change of residence status at the embassy and receive a visa upon landing at the airport. You will receive a Residence Card (please note that you need to have a residential address at this stage). You will need a residence card to open a bank account as well as register an office.

Q: What if I am already working in Japan and hold a different visa?

If you have a different visa, such as international specialist in humanities or skilled worker, you may change your visa status to business manager. You will first need to register and incorporate your business.  Click here to read more info about incorporation in our guide. (Coming soon!)
When you have established your business by completing the corporate registration, you will then be able to apply for the change of status.  You can learn more about the different formats here.

There are three options depending on your circumstances:

  1. If you hold a 4 month Business Manager visa, you may apply for an Extension of Stay and change to a 1 year Business Manager visa.
  2. If you hold another visa category, you may apply for a Change of Status of Residence to a Business Manager visa. The period of stay for this new visa will be 1 year.
  3. If you are applied and assessed as a Highly Skilled Foreign Professional No.1, you may apply for a Change of Status of Residence to Highly Skilled Foreign Professional No.1 visa. In this case, the period of stay will be 5 years.  (There are requirements for this scheme which can be viewed here.)  Typically your minimum income under this scheme must be $100,000 yearly if you are applying for the business manager category.

What are the requirements to apply for a Business Manager visa and then for an extension?

  1. Securing an office/store space for the business
    First, you must secure an office /store space to run your business in Japan. A monthly rental office or a temporary structure such as a portable stall are not acceptable. To use a residence as an office or store space is not usually permitted, although there are some exceptions. As a rule, an officer of the Immigration Bureau of Japan will check the actual place to judge its acceptability for the purpose.  There are several virtual office companies that will help you.  This process is very straightforward and easy to navigate.
  2. Business content
    The proposed business must be accompanied with a well formulated business plan. Your personal history will also be considered. If you do not have any experience in the area of your proposed business, it may be hard to successfully apply. It is very important that the articles of association (“teikan”), are well written and organized. It is also important to include the detailed profit and loss statement in the business plan. This is always assessed on a case-by-case basis directly with the immigration officer.
  3. Investment
    You must show an investment of an amount equivalent to 5,000,000 yen (About $50,000). Your company’s financial report must be included in the assessment. If your financial statement is showing a surplus they will not heavily scrutinize, however if your debts exceed your profit, you may be deemed insolvent. They would probably deny you at this point. The investment for land and building(s) can be counted towards the assessment. If that reaches 5,000,000 yen or more, then that is usually considered as enough investment. You can borrow 5,000,000 yen from your family to invest, but if your investment is based on a loan, you have to submit the loan contract as an evidential document. There are exceptions: this visa has been approved for a case where one had invested 5,000,000 yen or more out of total capital 10,000,000 yen for joint ventures with a Japanese counterpart. Also since 2015, it is permissible, if the investment is made by only the Japanese partner
  4. Staff
    Your business must have at least one full time employee who is either a Japanese national, a Permanent Resident, a Spouse or Child of a Japanese National, a Spouse or Child of a Permanent Resident, or a foreign national with a Long-Term visa.
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