Visa Change・Renewal FAQ – The Self-Sponsored Visa?

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As far as immigration is concerned there is no such thing as a self-sponsored visa in Japan. “Self sponsorship” is not an official term, a “DIY visa” is probably closer to the truth.

Instead of relying on a single business or school to fill out forms and sponsor your visa, “self sponsorship” means that you have a part-time job supplemented by one or more part-time positions or private contracts that enable you to make a living.

  • For example, you initially arrived in Japan working for a well-known English school but no longer work there, instead you teach a regular part-time evening class and teach private lessons at various coffee shops during the daytime.

“Self sponsorship” is just like applying for a regular working visa except that you will have to provide all the documentation by yourself using your regular part time employer as your main employer during the application process.

Before you run down to the immigration office there are few things to note:

  • You can onlydo this when you go to extend your permission to reside in Japan.
    • you have to have a valid working visa to start with.
  • You can only do this for a few “working visa” categories – these include artist, journalist, researcher, engineer, specialist in humanities/international services, and skilled labour.
  • You can also start your own business and obtain an “investor/business manager” visa, but this requires capital, a detailed business plan, and other documentation.
  • You can only do this if you have a business, school, or organization as your MAIN employer. A private individual will not be accepted as your main employer.

What you need to apply

  • Application form– available from  
  • Photo (4cm×3cm) 1copy
  • Passport and residence card (or alien registration certificate deemed equivalent to a residence card)
    Supporting Documents
  • Documents certifying your activities, their duration, and the positions you hold.
    If you have several contracts, its probably best to submit a list (with a Japanese translation) showing the type of work, duration, and role for each income source.
  • Documents certifying an annual income and tax payment.
  • Contracts – You’ll need to prove that you can make at least 3 million Yen a year by showing work contracts you have with companies or individuals. If you plan to work with individuals, such as by teaching private lessons, you can arrange contracts with your clients. Contracts should have a Japanese translation, show duration, working hours, and pay rate.
  • Certificate of Employment (zaishoku-shomeisho 在職証明書) from your current (part-time) employer(s).
  • Previous year’s income tax withholding statement (kyuyo-shotoku-gensen-choshu-hyo 給与所得源泉徴収票) or equivalent
  • Certificate / letter of retirement (taishoku-shomeisho 退職証明書) from the last company that sponsored your visa

*If you are applying for a change of status, you will need to provide documents that show your meet the criteria of the new status (for example a college or university degree).

Other Documents
You may also be asked to submit document material(s) other than stipulated in the Immigration Control Act Enforcement Regulations, please refer to your regional immigration office or immigration information center for further information. Remember, each individual application is different and the success of the application is at the discretion of the immigration office.

Get Your Taxes in Order
It is also recommended that you register yourself as a sole proprietorship (kojin-jigyo個人事業) with your local tax office before you apply at immigration. For further help consult our Civic Advisory Service (see page 2).

★When to Apply
You can apply up until your resident status expires, however the immigration office will accept your application up to three months before your stay period expires.

Getting Assistance

Immigration Information Center Hotline
Offers consultations on matters related to visas. Inquiries may be made either in person or over the phone.

Tel: 0570-013904. Languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean

Nagoya Immigration Office and Information Center

The Information Center located in the Nagoya Regional Immigration Bureau offers consultations on matters related to visas. Inquiries may be made either in person or over the phone.

  • Open: Monday to Friday, 09:30-12:00 and 13:00-16:00
  • Closed: Saturdays, Sundays, all national holidays, December 29-January 3
  • Languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Korean, Tagalog, Italian
  • Access: 1 minute walk from Nagoya Keibajo-mae Station (AN07) 名古屋競馬場前; 13 minutes and 260 Yen from Nagoya Station on the Aonami Line あおなみ線.

To learn more about the Nagoya International Center,
please watch our video.

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