This visa is for those who are transferred to a subsidiary, related company or headquarters of their current employer in Japan.

  • The transferee must have been employed by the company for at least one year prior to the timing of COE application. If this criterion is not fulfilled, it is usually possible to apply for another visa category
  • The Home Company and the Host Company must have a capital relationship
  • The transferee is only permitted to work for his/her sponsoring company in Japan
  • Period of stay is 3months, 1year, 3years or 5years

This visa applies to those who engage in the field of engineering, economics, sociology, humanities, international work, translation, design or other similar work during their period of stay in Japan.

  • The transferee must have completed a course at a college or university majoring in a subject which is related to the work he/she will engage in, or have at least 10 year’s work experience in the same field of employment.
  • The transferee can be seconded to other companies, and can also switch employers under this visa category, although it is necessary to notify the immigration bureau in the latter case.
  • Period of stay is 3months, 1year, 3years or 5years.

In 2011 Japan introduced a point based immigration system designed to provide preferential treatment to foreign professionals whose skills would potentially contribute to economic growth and creation of new demand and employment in Japan.

Under the points-based system, foreign professionals who earn 70 points or more will be recognized as “Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals” and will be given preferential treatment in a variety of matters relating to immigration.

Benefits to Those Whom Qualify Under this System
  • Permission to engage in multiple activities outside one’s visa status category
  • Automatically granted a five year period of stay
  • Relaxed requirements for acquiring permanent residency
  • Preferential treatment with immigration processing (at the airport, paperwork, etc.)
  • Permission for spouse to engage in work without restrictions
  • Permission for applicant’s parents to reside in Japan
  • Permission to sponsor the visa of a domestic servant from overseas
How to Qualify

To qualify as a “Highly Skilled Foreign Professional”, the applicant must be engaged in or intending to engage in an activity that falls within the following three categories:

  • Academic research activities
  • Specialized/technical activities
  • Business management activities

Evaluation will be made by awarding points based on things such as educational history, professional experience, annual salary and achievements in their field of research. The exact items applicants will be evaluated on and the points allocated to each item will depend on the activities they plan to engage in.

This visa is for those who conduct administration or management of a company, such as a president, a director, a manager, a branch representative etc., as well as those who are establishing or plan to establish a company in Japan.

Company capital must be 5million yen or more.

  • The transferee must have worked as a director, a head of department or in a higher position for more than 3years.
  • If the transfer has a diploma of Master of Business Administration, it is considered as equivalent to the above experience
  • Period of stay is 3months, 1year, 3years or 5years

Utilizing comprehensive visa and migration procedures, we alleviate stress for our clients, allowing them to focus on their business and personal responsibilities.

Relo Japan’s team of experienced professionals combines bilingual assistance and superior Japanese immigration knowledge to guide clients through the complex application process, liaising with the Immigration Bureau and other public offices.

Our services include:

  • Preliminary consultations regarding visa options and advice on the process and the required documents.
  • Reviewing of all necessary documents from the transferee and the company.
  • Preparation of COE application form and other necessary letters to be submitted to the Immigration Bureau.
  • Submission of COE application to the Immigration Bureau on behalf of host entity.
  • Sending the COE to the transferee and explaining how to apply for a visa at the nearest Japan embassy or consulate.


While it is possible to apply for a Japan visa through an embassy or consulate, the fastest way to obtain a visa is by first applying for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) through the Immigration Bureau in Japan. The COE is a document which shows that its holder has been found to meet the criteria for receiving a visa and enables him/her to obtain one through a Japanese embassy or consulate in a matter of days.

Since the assignee is not yet in Japan, the COE application is prepared and submitted by an immigration attorney with the host company as sponsor. COE applications also need to be made for any accompanying family members. Once an application has been submitted, it generally takes between two and four weeks for the COE to be issued. The application processing time is determined largely by whether the host company meets a minimum requirement in terms of size (measured by the total amount of income tax withheld from employees’ salaries during the previous financial year) and has sponsored visa applications previously. There is no way to expedite the process or check the status once the application has been submitted.


Once the COE has been issued, it is sent to the assignee, who then visits the nearest Japan embassy or consulate to apply for a visa. While there are restrictions for some nationalities in some locations, it is generally possible to apply for a visa at any embassy or consulate worldwide, not just in the country of residence. The standard processing time for a visa application that is accompanied by a COE is three to five business days.

In the event that an assignee arrives in Japan on Temporary Visitor status before his/her long-term visa is in place, there is a procedure called the Change of Status of Residence which allows him/her, once the COE has been issued, to change to long-term working status without leaving the country. Please note, however, that this procedure is only available to those who live within the jurisdiction of the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau in cases where the COE has been issued before the assignee arrives in Japan.


As long as they have obtained their visas in advance of travel, the assignee and any accompanying family members will each receive a Residence Card at their port of entry (assumes arrival at one of the four main international airports). A Landing Permission seal will also be affixed to their passport showing the authorized period of stay (one, three or five years).


All newly-arrived foreign residents who are in possession of a long-term visa must register in the district where they reside within 14 days of arrival (or 14 days of moving into a long-term residence if he/she arrives without already having one). The newly-arrived resident is added to the register of residents and his/her address is recorded on the back of the Residence Card. A Residence Certificate can also be issued if required. Completion of this procedure is required in order to be able to open a bank account or enter into any other kind of contract.

Major Company Sponsored Visa Categories

There are over thirty visa categories, but the ones used in the case of international assignments are limited to a just three: Intra-Company Transferee, Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services and Business/Manager.

Points System for Highly Skilled Professionals

In 2011 Japan introduced a point based immigration system designed to provide preferential treatment to foreign professionals whose skills would potentially contribute to economic growth and creation of new demand and employment in Japan.

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