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Many of you read my article on how to come to Japan without a degree, but even if you are not eligible, you can try for a working holiday visa, which is a gateway to a longer-term stay.

Before you go on, please remember that I am not a professional, but just a guy who got lucky with his visa and trying to help others, so the information below might lack something you are looking for.

First of all, if you prefer someone to talk to directly, the best way is to visit your local Japanese embassy for advice.

Requirements for Japan Working Holiday Visa

Without further ado, here are the criteria you need to make sure you meet to apply

Your Nationality

Countries that Japan accepts working holiday application from are as below (you need to currently reside in these countries too). These are countries that have signed an agreement with Japan. Unfortunately, Singapore, where I am from, is not on this list.

  • Australia
  • Argentina
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Hong Kong (must possess a valid HKSAR or British National Overseas passport)
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Poland
  • the United Kingdom
  • Slovakia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Taiwan (must possess a valid passport of Taiwan)

Your Age

  • 18-30 years old
  • For¬†Australia, Canada and the Republic of Korea, 18-25 years old. (There are some cases where you will be allowed if a Japanese authority agrees to extend the limit to 30 years old.

Others

  • While you can be married or have kids, your wife or kids cannot come with you or they should not be dependent on you during this period.
  • Possessing a valid passport of his or her country.
  • Have return travel ticket or sufficient funds with which to purchase one.
  • Possessing reasonable funds for the maintenance of his/her stay during the initial period of stay in Japan.
  • Being in good health.
  • Intend primarily to stay in Japan for a specific length of time.
  • Never having been issued a Japanese working holiday visa in the past.

Once you know you are eligible, there are different procedures for different countries so be sure to check with your local embassy on what you need to submit.

How to Apply for a Japan Working Holiday Visa

  1. Fill in the Working Holiday Visa application form
    There are different forms based on the country you are from. For example, here's the one for Australians. You want to go to the official page and find your country from the list and then locate the form.
  2. Provide the requested documents
    You need a valid passport (and copy), resume, outline of planned activities in Japan, written reason for application, evidence of possession of a return ticket and proof of sufficient funds to support your stay.
  3. Submit your application
    Send it to the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Japan in your country of residence. In some cases, you will have an interview with a visa officer.

What to do once you get a Japan Working Holiday Visa?

Congrats. But you are not here yet, so make sure you take note of the following for a smooth journey.

  • Enter Japan within 12 months after visa was issued or it'll become invalid.
  • Apply for alien registration at the nearest government office within 90 days of arrival.
  • While the visa allows a single entry, you need to obtain a re-entry permit to come in again. Refer to the official page for information.
  • Stay away from dodgy jobs or risk losing your Japan Working Holiday Visa, like bars, night clubs, hostessing and obviously, anything illegal.

For more information, you can check the official requirements on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website here. I hope to see you here soon!

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