Foreigners wishing to enter Japan must have a valid passport and, in principle, a visa which suits the purpose of their visit issued in advance by a Japanese diplomatic mission.
Upon landing in Japan, foreign nationals must be examined by their port of entry, obtain any entry permit and have their status of residence and period of stay determined.
Types and Categories of Visa and Working Status
The main types of status of residence relating to inward investment in Japan and the activities allowed by each type are as follows:
- > Business Manager
Activities to commence the operation of international trade or other business or to operate (business manager acting as the company’s CEO or representative) or manage (directors and head of departments, etc. under a CEO or representative) international trade or other businesses on behalf of foreign nationals (including foreign corporations) who have begun such an operation. The business in question must meet certain condition of scale. Applicants who wish to engage in business management must fulfilll certain conditions concerning work status and personal history.
- > Intra-company Transferee
Activities on the part of personnel who are transferred to business offices in Japan for a limited period of time from business offices that are established in foreign countries by public or private organizations with head offices, branch offices, or other business offices in Japan and who engage at these business offices in the activities described in “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” section of this table. Applicants must fulfill certain conditions concerning personal history and work status.
- > Legal/Accounting Services
Activities to engage in legal or accounting business. Applicants must be attorneys or public accountants certified to perform their duties in Japan, or those with other legal qualifications recognized by Japan.
- > Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services
Activities to engage in service that requires technological skill and/or knowledge pertinent to physical science, engineering, or other natural science fields, on the basis of a contract with a public or private organization in Japan. Applicants must fulfill certain conditions concerning personal history and work status.
Activities to engage in service that requires knowledge pertinent to jurisprudence, economics, sociology, or other human science fields.
Activities to engage in service that requires specific ways of thought or sensitivity based on experience with foreign culture, such as interpreting, translation, copy writing, fashion design, interior design, sales, overseas business, information processing, international finance, design, or public relations and advertising based on a contract with a public or private organization in Japan.
Applicants must fulfill certain conditions concerning personal history and work status.
- > Skilled Labour
Activities to engage in service that require industrial techniques or skills belonging to special fields on the basis of a contract with a public or private organization in Japan. Applicants must fulfill certain conditions concerning personal history and work status.
Relation between Types of Operation in Japan and Working Status
A foreign company establishing a presence in Japan may do so generally in one of three ways: by establishing a representative office, a branch office or a corporation.
The relationship between each type of operation and the working status of the representative will depend on the requirements and criteria for each status. Generally, however, the relationship is as follows:
Representative of representative office or branch office – Intra-company transferee Representative of corporation – business manager
The working status of a foreign national employed by a representative office, branch office or corporation will either be a ‘intra-company transferee’ or a status suited to their academic and occupational background and their job duties in Japan.