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Self Sponsored Visa in Japan: SUCCESSFUL application

visa extension papers.jpg

My first self-sponsored visa application, submitted in Jan 2005, was successful. I am now the proud bearer of my very own shiny self-sponsored visa. Read on to hear how it happened, and be sure to read the comments from other readers as they may shed some light on your particular situation.

This page is now quite old and probably a little out of date. I have noticed a sad consistency with all visa applications in Japan: they are run case by case, case-manager by case-manager and you NEVER get told the same thing. Kinda like Russian Roulette.

Good luck with your applications - I have reopened comments but I am NOT an immigration specialist and I don't have the time to go investigating your questions - but maybe someone else will (though this is not a forum board)

Lets start at the beginning: Dec 6, 2004:

I didn't really know many people who had done the Japan self sponsor visa dealio here, and there is not a lot of info on the net, except for this cool link and some forum threads on gaijinpot, so I figured I would make a special post documenting my experience - updating it with each new episode. Hopefully this will help people out there who are sick to death of being tied to one company for sponsorship.

The option to have a number of part time jobs and private lessons serves 2 purposes: it's quite flexible and is also more lucrative than many of the full time teaching jobs available in Japan (well, in the bigger cities, anyway), and I really didn't want to have to lock myself into another contract just to get visa sponsorship. Although the piecemeal approach to employment can get very tiring after a while. Depends how hard you are working, I guess.

Anyway, I went into the Shinagawa Department of Immigration in Tokyo a month before my submission was due to investigate.

The initial Requirements requested (update: No extra documents were requested):

1. Certificate of "Retirement" [a taishoku-shomeisho 退職証明書] from the last company who sponsored your visa
2. Certificate of Employment from your current companies/agencies (jinbun chishiki kokusai gyomu)
3. Payslips [kyuryo-meisaisho 給料明細書] for the past year
4. Tax forms for the past year (eventually unavailable at that time of the year and not submitted)
5. Invoices [seikyusho 請求書] for any private students you will be paying tax on (ie any agency who will be filling in a Certificate of Employment for you) (eventually unavailable and not submitted)
6. The Dept of Immigration 3 page "Application for Extension of Period of Stay" form.


January 20, 2004 UPDATE #1 on Self-sponsoring a visa in Japan.

I put my visa application forms in on Jan 13th, 2005. They told me there would be a 3 - 4 week wait. The papers I eventually submitted included:

1. My Nova Part Time Contract (Nova were particularly iffy about providing a jinbun chishiki kokusai gyomu as they are completely against any form of possible unknowingly becoming "main sponsors", which is apparantly how these things sometimes work)

2. 2 x Letters of Employment (jinbun chishiki kokusai gyomu) from my other two part time jobs

3. A Certificate/letter of "retirement" [a taishoku-shomeisho 退職証明書] from the last company who sponsored my visa

4. Pay slips [kyuryo-meisaisho 給料明細書] and invoices [seikyusho 請求書]

5. The Dept of Immigration visa extension forms

6. A cover letter explaining that I was looking for a self sponsored visa.

What I DIDN'T hand in:

1. Any tax info (completely unavailable from my companies at that time of the year)

2. Invoices for private students

The lovely English speaking counter staffwoman told me that they'd write to me if they needed any more info, but that she thought everything would be OK.

Most importantly, I did get an email that same day from another friend who had applied for a self sponsored visa in December. He was granted a full visa and he only handed in copies of his contracts (and nothing else)!

Amazing - it sounded like I actually had a good chance, like it might actually be quite a reasonably easy process. Just as long as you can prove that you are earning at least 250 000 yen, although I also heard from one source that someone who earned only 220 000 yen received a self sponsored visa last year. Could be just a rumour though.

Anyway, good luck to any self sponsored visa hopeful's out there. Please feel free to add your own experiences here, too.


January 31 2005 UPDATE 2

15 days after I put my self-sponsored visa application in, I received my notification postcard back. I made the early morning trek down to the Shinagawa Immigration office with some mild trepidation. Ok, maybe not so mild.

I went to the "approval stamp" counter and waited in line for 20 mins. The woman took out my folder, glanced inside, asked for the 4000 yen stamp (purchased from the convenience store downstairs - which also has, conveniently, photocopiers and a passport photo machine - there is also an all purpose ATM in the foyer), gave me ticket number 32 and asked me to sit down and wait for my number to be called.

15 minutes later, 32 came up. The woman handed me my passport, open at the golden, gleaming new approcal stamp, told me to report my changed status at my ward office and then went back to her paperwork.

That was it. Done. Too easy.

Just don't forget to stay on top of your own personal income tax!

I'd like to strongly encourage anyone who has any more information or personal experience in this area to add their own comment below - I'd like to keep this resource as up to date and valuable as possible.

Martine wrote this on December 6, 2004 4:14 PM
bebbers said:

Thank you sooooooooo much for providing info on are an ANGEL...btw, please update your site and tell us about how it went and if you got your visa. Good luck!!!

On January 20, 2005 11:59 PM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:

My pleasure and thanks. Good luck in your own attempt, and I will continue to update as news comes in, I promise!

On January 21, 2005 12:24 AM,
Uncle Don Author Profile Pagesaid:

Well done Martine, I had trepidations as to how you would go.
The strangest things can happen in Japan, I once went up to the Sunshine building in Ikebukuro and put my passport in to the counter to ask for an extension of my working visa and within 30 minutes they stamped it with a new 12 month visa.
I was still shaking my head as I got on the train.
And I only wanted another one month.

On February 4, 2005 6:13 PM,
Kevin said:

Fantastic little resource for people considering self sponsorship you have created here, thank you. I'm about to end a full time contract (in a few weeks) and I have two part time (business English school) jobs. It seems to me (looking through net) that three contracts are needed. Is that right?

On March 8, 2005 2:51 PM,
Mariposa said:

Is it possible to self-sponsor your FIRST work visa in Japan? I have only read experiences of people who already had a work visa and then obtained a self-sposored one...

On March 16, 2005 3:06 PM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:


To be honest I really can't answer your question. I have never heard of anyone self-sponsoring their first visa but that doesn't mean it's impossible. Although I have a feeling that it'd be pretty difficult!


On March 16, 2005 3:21 PM,
Tokyoichiban said:

Great page, thanks for the advice. One more question: how many years was your previous visa and how many year visa did you get when switching to a self sponsored visa?

Do you know, if this would work, if one had his own company or work freelance?

On April 5, 2005 4:55 PM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:

Kevin, I'm sorry that your comment got a little lost in my system - I only found it today. To be honest, I'm not completely sure about the number of contracts required, although I agree that it looks like it might be three. You will need to confirm this with the Dept of Immigration, when you do find out, maybe you could post a comment back here?

Good luck!

On April 5, 2005 6:34 PM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:


Both my former visas were 1 year each, even though I ALWAYS apply for 3 years every time I apply. I applied for 3 years again this time but only got one year. I think it depends on how long you have worked at the company/companies included in your application.

I think it'd be fine if you were working freelance, provided you had a list of clients and letters of intention from a number of them... With your own company, hmmmm - I'm really not sure about that. If you do find out, please post a comment back here so others can benefit from your knowledge? Cheers

On April 5, 2005 6:40 PM,
dana said:

I just came from a successful interview with an eikaiwa, and the manager said they have had several teachers apply for a self-sponsorship visa with only that 1 company's contract. None of the teachers has been turned down for the visa. However, it is a very well-known company, so maybe that is relevant to the success of the applicants...
He also inferred that I would only need to take the contract (guaranteeing 250 000/month) to the immigration office with me (as well as my passport, of course). I hope he's right!

On April 12, 2005 10:03 PM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:

Yeah, me too! That'd make an amazing difference to the system! Good luck, and please let me know how you go.

On April 12, 2005 10:43 PM,
alain said:

its great that i found this page but can you help me clear a question. . .
im about to go to japan at the end of july . . .
im chinese-canadian from toronto and a recent graduate in graphic design . . .which means i only have a diploma
im planning to work with a working holiday visa for the year . .
but im hoping to stay in japan for a much longer period of time . . .what can i do ????
can i apply for a self sponsored visa when the time comes? ? ?
am i hopeness w/out a degree???
please help me shine some light on this situation!!
thanks in advance

On May 12, 2005 6:53 AM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:

Hi Alain,

Well you have a one year holiday visa, so you're OK till then. Options will present themselves for sure, while you're here, and I am hearing of more instances where people who don't have degrees are getting visas though I don't know the details and there may be some truth-shifting in those situations.
I can't offer much light because it's truly a case by case thing, and you have over a year to explore your options!
I think you'll be fine - where there's a will, there's a way. Just ask lots of questions of everyone you meet.

On May 13, 2005 1:47 PM,
locomote said:

Just wanted to say thanks for the info. I haven't worked in Japan yet, so like Mariposa, I am curious if it's possible to get for your first visa. I somehow doubt it...

In any case, at lease I will bookmark this page and come back after a year~ ^^

I'm debating on coming with the Westgate, 3-month contract but 1-year visa program...this could be a great way to continue the work I do with that visa once it expires.

On May 28, 2005 8:09 PM,
Autumn said:

Just like alain, I am going to Japan within the year on a Working Holiday Visa. I don't have a degree, but I do have excellent knowledge of English and a certificate for the Level 2 JLPT so I think I'll be able to get a lot of teaching jobs. I'll work as much as required to do it, but I wonder if I will be able to get a Self-Sponsored Visa if I make the 250,000 Yen within my first year...

On June 19, 2005 6:22 AM,
Samantha Bouton said:

Does anyone know if you can self-sponsor even if you are staying with the same company? I work for a rather shady employer, and we just formed a union so I really don't want my employer to have control over whether I get my visa renewed or not.

On June 22, 2005 5:37 PM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:

Autumn, I think you'll probably be OK.

Sam, thing is you need a statement of retirement from the company who last sponsored your employment - your company may or may not be cool with that... I guess you could ask them and see how they react.... gambatte.

On June 22, 2005 6:24 PM,
Samantha Bouton said:

Hmmm... If I ask for it they may assume I actually intend to retire instead of just support my own visa. Tricky situation.

On June 28, 2005 10:59 AM,
dan ssesanga said:

am a gradaute of sales and marketing ith adiploma in education, would like to get a visa sponsor to work in japan, for any job can provide air ticket and pocket money initially, am loacted in uganda kampla east africa. avialable as soon as possible.
am 28yr, male

On July 25, 2005 3:22 AM,
Todd said:

Thank you for the self-sponsor information. Very, very helpful. :-) I do have one question though. I work for 3-4 different companies teaching business English. My visa expires in November 2006. I plan to renew a few months prior to that. I will make sure I am making 250,000 yen plus in 2006. However, for this year I am going to fall short of 3 million yen. So when I show Immigration my 2005 tax statements, which you indicated they require if already available, they will see that I didn't make 250,000/yen per month, on average, for this year. Will that be a problem? I heard that as long as you can prove you are making 250,000/mo. for six months leading up to your renewal application you'll be OK. But I don't know that for sure. Do you have any idea?

On July 25, 2005 5:02 AM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:

Dan, I'm sorry but I doubt if the people who read this page could offer you a visa - they'd be more likely to be in the same situation as you... - try these links:
Jobs in Japan
Gaijinpot (also use the forums, very helpful people)
Japan Today Jobfinder (Also visit the forums here, very useful people again... The Japan Times (I think the Japan Times has forums too...)
Tokyo Connections Recruitment Listings (Look around all this site)
CareerCross - this one is quite corporate
or you coulld just try coming here on a tourist visa and find a job here - you have a much better chance of finding something if you can interview in person. And there are also lots and lots of street jobs around Roppongi and Shinjuku if you can handle spruiking the crowds..... Good luck!

On July 25, 2005 11:22 AM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:


Not really sure on that one, but I suspect it won't be a problem because I heard that people have tried with less than ¥250 000 PA and succeeded - no-one I know personally though - it's all just friends of friends... If you find out anything for sure, please post back here!


On July 25, 2005 11:28 AM,
Kathy said:

Hi, this site is great thanks very much. I, like some of you others, do not have a degree. I do have a diploma (long distance study program) in TEFL and have been in Japan four years with various visas, working holiday and currently a student visa. If I find work, do you think it's possible to sponsor myself? I am a student and have only done volunteer work, so wouldn't have any previous employer etc.

On September 11, 2005 11:39 PM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:


Anything is possible and it seems that to get a self sponsored visa is getting easier and easier all the time. I suggest you just head into Immigration, ask a few questions and see what the first round of questioning comes back with.

Good luck, and please post your experiences back here so other people can learn from the experience. Cheers,


On September 11, 2005 11:51 PM,
suzy said:

This is a great resource! I just wanted to add that I think it is possible for people to self-sponsor when their working holiday visa is up. At Nova I worked with a Canadian guy, he was working part-time on a WH visa and wanted to stay on once the year finished. He didn't have a degree, so Nova wouldn't/couldn't sponsor him, but he was able to self-sponsor on the basis of his various part time jobs. He is still here, over a year later, so it seems to have all worked out fine.

On September 27, 2005 10:44 PM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:

Kevin asked this question:

"Hello again! A simple question others might find useful too: What is the Japanese for the following..

"A Certificate/letter of "retirement"
"Pay slips" and "invoices"

Do you (or anyone else) know?"

And the lovely Katherine from Pinku answered it for him:

"A Certificate/letter of "retirement" - taishoku-shomeisho 退職証明書
"Pay slips" - kyuryo-meisaisho 給料明細書
"invoices" - seikyusho 請求書

On October 4, 2005 7:41 PM,
Kevin said:

It's my turn tomorrow. Here is a list of documents I will submit;

1. Certificate of "Retirement" [a taishoku-shomeisho 退職証明書] from the last company who sponsored my visa.

2. Three Certificates of Employment from current companies/agencies (jinbun chishiki kokusai gyomu)

3. Payslips [kyuryo-meisaisho 給料明細書] for the past year.

4. Dept of Immigration visa extension forms.

5. Two tax forms.

One problem I had was getting the Certificates of Employment from all the companies I work for (six in total). Some are weeks slow, others are unaware of such a certificate. So give the companies you work for clear instructions of what you want on the certificate i.e. Date started company, salery paid so far etc. And give them a few months to get it to you.

Wish me luck.


On November 2, 2005 12:31 AM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:

gambatte! let us know how it goes.

On November 2, 2005 7:01 PM,
Craig said:

Great idea to create this resource. I have a unique situation. I am engaged to a Japanese National. I am in the US military stationed in South Korea. I plan on coming back to Japan when I finish with the military in Mid-March 2006.(I am getting out) My question is, if I enter Japan on a tourist visa, get married quickly, and then immediately apply for a spouse visa, could I sponsor myself to get a job prior to the receipt of the approved spouse visa? Otherwise, she and I determined that I would 1) be unable to legally work while it is in process, 2) be unable to leave the country, and 3) the process would take 3 whole months! Does it really take that long? That is a long time to sit idle in such an expensive economy. Any ideas about my situation? thanks!! ^_^


On November 9, 2005 4:56 PM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:

Hi Craig,

I really can't offer you much assistance here as I am just some chick with a website who wrote about her own experience, but maybe someone passing by might be able to shed some light on the situation...

One thought - Why don't you apply for some leave (all you'd need would be one or two days, it's only a 3 hour flight I believe) before you finish, come to Japan and marry your fiance then go back to Korea to finish your stint there and finish all the neccessary paperwork from Korea through the Japanese Embassy there. Then by the time you arrive you'll be fully legal. Maybe. Not really sure how spouse visas work....

To be honest, I don't think you can apply for one visa while another one is in the application process already....

Please write back and let me know how you go - this information may be useful for others out there one day.

On November 10, 2005 12:57 AM,
John said:

I'm having trouble finding any programs with contracts less than one year. Do you know of any resources I might pursue that offer this possibility?

On December 1, 2005 10:45 AM,
claris Author Profile Pagesaid:

John, Westgate is more or less the only major company with short-term contracts in Japan. It has a mixed reputation; search the Japan forum at Dave's for details:

Thanks for posting this, Frangipani!

On December 5, 2005 6:21 AM,
Jon said:

Just wanted to mention and invite you to check out the free for Christmas ebook at and the free teacher training at !

It all needs some work, but hey - It's free!

Happy Holidays!

On December 6, 2005 3:23 AM,
Kevin said:

Self- Sponsored Visa Apllication Report;

I went to the Immigration Dept. in my area (Shin Yurigaoka).
All he wanted was;
1. Application forms
2. Three Certificates of Empolyment from my Employers.
3. Certificate of "Retirement" [a taishoku-shomeisho 退職証明書] from the last company who sponsored my visa.

That's it!

The Pay slips and Tax forms I had carefully arranged were given back to me there and then, "We don't need these" he said in Japanese.

Two weeks later I got my postcard back - only one year however, WHY? I'll have to do it all again next year, mendokusai! ("What a pain!")

Good Luck to other applicants.
Ask me any Q's you might have.


On December 7, 2005 1:36 PM,
robert said:

my question is for you and for kevin as i will be going to shin-yurigaoka as well. i am working for 3 companies, one of them is pretty much full time but they cannot sponser me as i don't have a degree, only a diploma. i will continue to work for this company as my main income, do i need a taishoku-shomeisho in order to be eligible for this type of visa. also, will they be curious as to why my current company won't sponser me. thanks for your time and i look forward to your response!! robert..

On December 13, 2005 12:51 PM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:

Firstly, KEVIN, Thanks so much for leaving your information, it'll be really useful to peope out there for sure.

ROBERT, to be honest I really can't help you with any *concrete* answers... I suspect they may indeed require a taishoku-shomeisho as it was something they asked me for (and asked kevin for too) the first time I came in. Why don't you just go in and ask questions a few weeks before its due and see what they say.

Gambatte and please come back and let us know what they say.



On December 14, 2005 12:22 AM,
Shane said:

Hey all. I'm going to be applying for me self sponser here soon too. I will be submitting:

1. Two company Cert. of emplyoment(jinbun chishiki kokusai gyomu)

2. Cert. of Retirement of last full time (companytaishoku-shomeisho 退職証明書)

3.Pay Slips for last year(kyuryo-meisaisho 給料明細書)

4.and Dept of Immigration visa extension forms.

Thanks for all the information given before and for starting this thread. I found it through a search. I don`t have my tax forms yet so I wont be filing those with the Dept. of Imm. So I'll let everyone know of my submition after I file it here soon,


On January 25, 2006 10:43 AM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:

Thanks Shane. Gambatte!

I also had to resubmit this week, I went in on Tuesday morning and this time took only my proof of employment forms and the Immigration application forms, and a copy of my tax details for the past year from the school (but not the private lessons).

This time my counter person spoke no English at all, so it took a bit longer to explain the deal and while I feel reasonably confident (especially since the school I work for is quite a famous, well-respected school) I am aware of the legendary inconsistency of the Tokyo Dept of Immigration and so... well, there'll be no dancing till the fat lady sings....

On January 25, 2006 6:56 PM,
semi said:

Thank you for writing all of this!!

I went to the immigration office yesterday to inquire about the self-sponsorship process (my visa is up in August, but I want to know if this is a possibility ASAP!), but the lady at the desk spoke no English, and my intermediate Japanese didn't seem to fair so well, thusly I ended up walking out with information on how to change employers, not sponsor your own visa!

Do you know if there's any specific term in Japanese for self-sponsored visa? Also, is there any other place besides the office in Shinagawa where I could consult with someone on this process? Maybe someplace closer to Shinjuku?

Right now I'm working full time, but I'd like to either continue with my currect company part-time or find a different part-time job after this contract is up. Unfortunately, I'm not even sure part-time work is avalible with my current company (starts with an イ and ends with an ン!), but have to decide soon because my contact renewal meeting is coming up next month. Sigh.

Can I ask, frangipani, what kind of visa were you on while you were working part-time for NOVA?

On January 31, 2006 8:10 AM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:

Hi Semi,

Funny, I have no idea what the Japanese term is for self spondored visa, but it shouldn't be a problem if you hand in a cover letter explaining your situation and what you want - get someone good to help you translate it to Japanese. I handed mine in in English and it wasn't a problem.

I was on the part time 20 hour a week contract (evenings 5 - 9). Nova HQ made life particularly difficult during this process and I had to really make a big deal at the immigration office that Nova WERE NOT to be considered a "main employer" even though it was my highest earning job.

Seems all visa's require some kind of "main employer" even if you are applying for a self sponsored visa and have 3 different contracts all earning you the same money...

It was one of the questions I was asked last week at the office when I handed in my latest application. "Who's your main employer?". I'm lucky this time, I can say the schools name loud and proud and know they won't care.

On January 31, 2006 9:31 AM,
Shane said:

Just updating everyone on my status. So I took everything I mentioned but when I was downstairs(Shinagawa Office) they gave me the wrong forms. Apparently I was supposed to do two application since I work at a H.S. through one of my companys I had to do a Instructor Application and I also work for a small English company, one office style w/ less then 125 students, this one was an English Teacher Application. So I'm not sure whats the difference between English Instructor and English Teacher but they stamped passport for two applications appilied for. I thought its one visa so I'm not sure why two but thats what she said and she didnt have any questions for me and said she would send me the postcard in 2-4 weeks as well. Pretty easy process, so I'm waiting now for the postcard and I'll go in and get my renewal if all goes well. I submitted my Application on the 25th and asked for 3 years of course. So wish me luck :)


On February 6, 2006 6:10 PM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:

Luck! Gambatte ne.

On February 6, 2006 7:10 PM,
Shane said:

So i got the postcard and went in on Feb. 15th. I got my 4000yen stamp and went back up for a little wait and got my extension. All went very well and easy. I didnt however, get a 3 year. I just got a 1 year so I have to go again next year but Its nice knowing that i dont have to rely on a full-time company. Thanks again for the info frangipani.

On March 18, 2006 6:21 PM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:

I'm pretty sure you'll need a certificate of eligibility which includes mention of your degree... but not certain.

The best bet would be to head out there and ask at the info desk on ground level, they are pretty helpful - if you don't speak any Japanese be sure to take someone bilingual with you, will make a frustrating situation much easier...

anyone else got any suggestions?

On July 14, 2006 10:08 AM,
Ross said:

Thanks so much for all the info. I still have a few questions though.
1. What should I say to those part time employers if I want them to issue the Certificate of Employment (jinbun chishiki kokusai gyomu). And what must be mentioned on the cert exactly as some companies/agencies have never done this before? 2.Also the self sponsored visa is available to any nationality or just to people from English speaking countries. And does it apply only to teaching jobs? Can it be translation or narration jobs? 3. Do you have to work full time for at least one year before you can apply for the self sponsored visa? I have been working part time (student visa) for this company for 4 years and just become full time (working visa) in May 2006 while doing 2 more part time jobs. Is it okay if I apply in August 2006? Thanks for your time!

On July 22, 2006 4:15 PM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:

Hi Ross,

I'm sorry, I'm really no specialist and I honestly can't answer your questions with any certainty.

1. The Cert of Employment just needs to be a letter on company letterhead stating the terms of your employment

2. I think anyone and any job probably

3. Not sure but I think it's probably fine... Ask the info desk at the Immigration office?

Please come back and comment when you find out... thanks!


On July 22, 2006 7:41 PM,
virginia said:

you're blog has given me hope....

i have a few questions...

so i went to immigrations today...but i'm not sure they understood what i was trying to do...what's "self-sponsor" in japanese? i work for ONE company right now, but i make enough to meet the "requirements" of self-sponsorship (i think) over 250,000. my employer has written a recommendation letter for me...and proof of how much i make. i will bring in my "retirement" letter next time (i didn't know i needed it), my contract with my current company, my tax forms...
anything else?

which counter am i supposed to submit all this to? do i just go and apply for an extension and start from there? i talked to the people at the "S" counter and they don't seem to have a clue as to what i'm talking about (but i was sent to talk to them when i asked the information desk)...

my current visa expires in about a me please!

On August 7, 2006 5:55 PM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:

Hi Virginia,

Yep, the concept of "self sponsoring" is a vague one and there is no real Japanese term for it - the thing you must make clear that your company is not responsible for your visa.

I'm a bit confused about the one company thing though, I originally thought that you needed to work for more than one company.

I went to S counter the first time, and they were quite helpful but then the second time around (this year) the person I was dealing with was very vague and didn't seem to know what I was talking about. They also made me change my status which weas all very stressful and confusing and they didn't explain it all to me properly until the very end.

The thing is that it seems to be a case-by-case deal, and every application is treated and responded to differently - there is NO consistency at all. You do need to be aware of that.

I had a lot more problems the second time I applied, and in the end, my main source of income became my "main employer" (but not sponsor) and has been put on my gaijin card, although the school does not "sponsor me"!

It's all so confusing, the key is to remain calm and polite and be confident that a resolution will be found in the end. They're not going to throw you out. I wish I could help you more - maybe one of the other readers can offer some advice.


On August 7, 2006 9:17 PM,
Virginia said:

i got it! i got it!!!

i just turned in EVERYTHING and ANYTHING i possibly could when i applied and then just waited and prayed...

i got that little orange sticker stuck into my passport this afternoon...

so looks like i'll be here for at least another year...:)

On September 2, 2006 4:59 AM,
frangipani Author Profile Pagesaid:

hey many congrats!

On September 2, 2006 7:39 PM,
Daniel said:

Hello. I'm not sure if this page is still being updated or not but I was wondering if anyone could comment on my situation. Having read through everyone's comments, I too have a similar dilemma. I currently am on the spouse visa but I divorced a little while ago. So of course, I want and need to change my visa. Does having a spouse visa somehow make it more difficult to switch to a working visa? I'm a little worried if I somehow get refused due to this. Any info appreciated.

On October 2, 2008 3:32 PM,
Joel said:

hi! i just stumbled onto this page in quest of the mythical "self-sponsored visa." i have no idea if this comment thread is still being checked, but i hope so! i think this is a great resource, so thanks for this posting!

anyway, i have a couple of questions:
1. has anyone figured out in the past couple years since the last comment was posted how to state clearly in japanese the type of visa this is? ^^;
2. am i to understand that there is no actual "application" for this type of visa, just the regular extension of stay permit plus a cover letter explaining what you want? has anyone had any more recent experience with this?

THANK SO MUCH to frangipani for this and anyone else who can shed some light on this for me! i am actually intending to quit my teaching post at a jr. high school to become full-time GM/caretaker of a bar/restaurant when the owners leave japan next spring, and i don't think i can meet the japanese language proficiency requirements of permanent residency at this point, so the self-sponsored visa seems the best route. thanks again!

On October 10, 2008 10:01 AM,
frangipani said:

Hi Daniel and Joel,

I can't really answer your questions but maybe someone else can.

Have you tried posting at the fucked gaijin forum-boards, or any of the other forum boards?

Good luck with your applications!

On October 10, 2008 10:43 AM,
Keiko Sato said:

The self sponsored visa is really difficult to obtain these days. Yes, it was easier to get it years back - however after 9/11 it is much more difficult. I am not a consultant and do not pretend to be in terms of the visa process - however you might want to check into a "training visa" or a "cultural visa". If this does not work, you may want to check into the H1B visa. As I said, I am not a visa consultant. However, I hope this helps you a little bit.

On October 21, 2008 7:46 AM,
jeff said:

I am thinking about pllying for the self sponsorship thing,however, I have some questions first
I am on a SIH 3 year visa and it will expire in June next year. I have been out of work for 7 months and paid no income tax during that time,would this affect me extending my visa?I have found 2 part time jobs one is a big language school and the other is an agency which will find you private students to teach at a cafe. Will this agency be ok for the certificate of employment?
Any info appreciated thankyou

On November 5, 2008 6:29 PM,
Keiko Sato said:


I don't think that it will affect obtaining your visa, however Jeff - teaching private students flags that you are receiving cash under the table. The immigration officials may probe into your bank accounts and question you about how you are making a living in Japan.

Be careful.


On November 6, 2008 3:50 PM,
Daniel said:

I've been inquiring into the self sponsor visa. Is it necessary to work two or more jobs to obtain the visa? It's just that on the application form there is only a single space for stating company/employer.

I work for two companies, actually for almost one year now. 3 days at one, and 2 at the other. My total salary is about 250,000 after tax. Will these points be enough to satisfy immigration? I'm currently preparing the documents for application. But has anyone successfully applied for the visa with similar points as my own?

Any information appreciated

On November 12, 2008 10:31 AM,
Mark H said:

Hi all,

I have just applied for the "self sponsored visa." I put this in inverted commas as there really is no formal name that i can find for it.
Any way the actual process, as frangipani has said is definitely case by case and if you speak to different Immigration workers you will get told different things and different requirements.
I went to Shinagawa once and one man just flat out lied to me and said the visa doesn't exist. he said, "If i don't believe him, ask someone else." So i asked the person behind him and got all the information i needed.
I had to go to the Tachikawa office for a different reason and i enquired again, as at shinagawa it was a while before my visa expired, and i got a better/easier list of requirements from Tachikawa.
But what seems consistent for everyone is you need employment letters, a certain amount of money per month to stay (i had to have 2 jobs or more giving me 20mun or more), and of course the application forms. The rest is up to the person you speak to. And then the person you actually give the applications to could ask for more or less. I was asked for less.
Can you change from a working Holiday visa to a "self sponsored visa"? Yes but it doesn't mean you will get it. You can have everything you are required to have, and more, and not get it.

It really is case by case.

Will update my result when i get it. Should be any day now.

Mark H

On December 5, 2008 12:53 PM,
Mark H said:

Well I got my result. Even though i had everything they want and i was earning a decent amount of cash i got rejected. My friend on the other hand has shit money, but financial backing from parents and she got a visa
Just goes to show how random the immigration system is here.
Good luck to everyone else.
Exit, stage left..

On December 19, 2008 2:43 AM,
frangipani said:

So sorry to hear that, but it does prove my point: it's case by case, case manager by case manager..... ridiculous.

On December 19, 2008 8:37 AM,
Daniel said:

Did you ask why they didn't accept you? You should find out why.

On December 21, 2008 7:37 PM,
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