Hello, this is Iwaya of IMS Legal Professional Corporation. Next week, under the State of Emergency, the Olympics that was postponed for a year will finally be held. While the debate about the games continues, if it is going to start, I hope it will end in peace.

Last week was another busy week for client inquiries. 108 requests for Japanese visas, 38 for U.S. visas, 16 for Vietnamese visas, 2 for naturalization, and 23 others of various types.

In this blog, I would like to talk about an inquiry we received via e-mail from Australia.

The customer who consulted us had already retired in his home country and wanted to immigrate to Japan. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we used to often receive similar inquiries like “I want to go to Japan,” “I want to live in Japan,” etc.

Though I understand their feelings very much, unfortunately, there are no visas for foreign nationals to immigrate to Japan. Japan is not an immigrant nation so the Japanese government does not accept people who just want to immigrate.

Ways to Enter Japan

To come to Japan, you must have a purpose such as for business, study, or sightseeing. You cannot immigrate, but in that way, you can enter Japan.

If you enter Japan for business or study and have continuously stayed for a few years, if you fulfil certain requirements, you will be applicable for a Permanent Residence visa. Once you have received a Permanent Residence visa, normally, you can live in Japan permanently. It is not immigrating, but with a Permanent Residence visa, you can virtually reside in Japan.

Also, it is not immigrating, but if you are a national or citizen of a visa waiver country or region, and meet certain requirements, such as owning savings equivalent to more than 30 million Japanese yen, there is a visa for sightseeing and recreation with a maximum stay of 1 year (“Designated Activities” visa).

This visa is only for the purpose of sightseeing and recreation, so you cannot continue to live in Japan.

※Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, currently all visa issuance to foreign nationals without a “special exceptional circumstance” are suspended.


As I have mentioned above, you cannot acquire a Japan Visa just because you want to live or move to Japan. Those who want to work in Japan must get a Working visa, those who want to study in a school in Japan must get a Student visa, and those who want to start and manage a business in Japan must get a Business Manager visa. You must obtain a visa corresponding to your purpose of stay and the activity you will engage in. If you want to continue working in Japan, you can apply to extend your period of stay. In that way, you can stay in Japan without a time limit. However, if you came to Japan as a student, you must change your visa after your period of study ends (for example; find a job in Japan and change your visa to a Working visa) in order to stay in Japan.

At IMS, we support many customers apply for Working visas, Student visas, Business Manager visas, etc. We also support many foreign nationals in Japan extend and/or change their Status of Residence. If you are having trouble inviting a foreign national to Japan, etc., please consult IMS.

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