An Overview and Explanation of the ‘Intra-Company Transfer’ Residency Status and Acquisition Procedures Required for Expatriates in Japan
September 19, 2023
Overview of the Entire Procedure:
To work in Japan as an expatriate, you need a specific status of residence called “Intra-Company Transferee.”
The procedure begins with applying for a Certificate of Eligibility at the Immigration Bureau in Japan. This application can be submitted by the Japanese company employing the expatriate or a qualified specialist such as a lawyer and an administrative scrivener.
After the Certificate of Eligibility is granted, the visa application is made at the Japanese Embassy or Consulate-General relevant to the expatriate’s place of residence.
Upon visa issuance, the applicant must undergo a landing examination at a Japanese airport and then enter Japan.
If you arrive in Japan via certain airports (Narita, Haneda, Chubu, Kansai, New Chitose, Hiroshima, Fukuoka), you’ll receive a residence card, which serves as proof of your resident status in Japan. It’s mandatory for foreign residents to carry this card while in Japan.
Within 14 days of establishing your place of residence in Japan, you are required to register your address at the local municipal office. The registered address will be listed on the back of your residence card.
If you enter Japan through other airports, you must report your place of residence to the municipal office, and a residence card will be sent to the address you provided.
Outline and Example of the “Intra-Company Transferee” Status of Residence:
- “Intra-Company Transferee” status of residence is typically granted to employees of a company with a presence in Japan (head office, branch, etc.) who are assigned to work in Japan at a certain level for a predetermined period.
- The dispatched employee must have been employed at the overseas office (e.g., head office or branch) for at least one year, performing work at a certain level.
- The remuneration received should be equal to or greater than what Japanese nationals in equivalent roles typically earn.
An example scenario is when a company has an overseas head office and a branch in Japan, and an employee is temporarily seconded to the Japanese branch from the overseas head office. This temporary transfer falls under “Intra-Company Transferee.” On the other hand, if the transfer is permanent and the employee moves to the Japanese branch, they are categorized under “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International services.” There are detailed requirements for the expatriate, as well as for the capital ties between Japan and other countries, which will be described in detail in a later column. The period of stay granted for intra-company transferee can be 3 months, 1 year, 3 years, or 5 years. In addition, although intra-company transferees are granted for a “set period of time,” it is possible to apply for permission to extend the period of stay even after the predetermined period has elapsed.
Digitization of Certificate of Eligibility:
As of March 2023, the Certificate of Eligibility, which was previously issued in paper form, is being issued electronically. This means the Certificate of Eligibility is sent as an email from the Immigration Bureau.
In the past, the paper Certificate of Eligibility had to be sent to the expatriate abroad, leading to issues related to delivery times and costs. Occasionally, these certificates were not received.
With the new electronic system, the process is more streamlined. The recipient only needs to forward the email to the expatriate overseas.
Notably, only authorized entities such as administrative scriveners and registered companies can utilize this electronic system.