What to do and when to get a working visa. The eight steps for international students on how to hunt a job and start working.


When a foreign student starts working in Japan, they cannot work with the current visa they have, which is student visa. Before joining the company, you need to change your visa status to working visa. Such as visa for Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services. Most question of student visa holder is, “How does the visa application process work? and “Will I be able to obtain a working visa based on the job description of the company where I received a job offer from? etc.

Even if you get a job offer, you may still feel anxious until you get your visa, such as “Can I really get a working visa? Will I be able to get a working visa in time to join the company in April?

There are also those who have difficulty finding a job and pay a lot of money to a broker to obtain a working visa illegally. Even if they are able to obtain a working visa at the time, there are people who are unable to renew their visas and must return to their home countries when they find out that they obtained their visas fraudulently.

You may have graduated from school in Japan, want to work in Japan, want to send the money you have earned to your family, and so on. In order to avoid such a situation, I would like you to find the right information and the right place to consult.

In this article, I would like to share with you the flow and timeframe of the process in job hunting to start working, as well as the examination points for a working visa.  Understanding in advance the information you should know, knowing the flow and the process, and the cooperation and help you need from the company, surely you will be able to start working and get your working visa smoothly.

How to change from a student visa to a working visa

The general flow of job hunting to start working is as follow:

The following is an explanation based on the case of obtaining a visa for ” Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services “, which is one of the major working visas.

  1. Job hunting
  2. Offer of employment
  3. Conclusion of employment contract
  4. Preparation for visa application
  5. Application of changing visa status
  6. Obtain a visa
  7. Graduate (present diploma to the Immigration Bureau) and obtain a working visa
  8. Start working
  1. A visa for Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services, requires that your job description should be related to what you have studied at university or vocational school. Compared to universities, vocational schools are stricter in checking the relevance of your course graduated for your future job. When you are looking for a job, it is better to be aware if it is related to your course graduated or not.
  2. You can only apply for a change of visa status after you have signed an employment contract.
  3. If you have not yet graduated when you apply, submit a certificate of expected graduation. If you receive a postcard of approval from the Immigration Bureau after the examination, present the original diploma at the counter of the Immigration Bureau after the graduation ceremony and receive a new residence card.

When to change a visa from student visa to a working visa

If you are graduating from school in spring, you will be able to apply for a change of visa from mid-December of the year prior to your graduation. December to May is the busy season for the Immigration Bureau, so you should start preparing your visa application well in advance in order to be ready to start to work in April.

What if I want to continue my job hunting after graduation?

Above is just the basic process. In reality, it is not easy to find a job, and there may be cases where you are unable to get a job offer and continue job search after graduation. In that case, you need to change your visa status to a ” Designated Activities Visa” in order for you to continue job search before your college student visa expires. Then, after receiving a job offer and signing an employment contract, you can change your visa status to a working visa and start working.

Please check out this article for more details.

What kind of visa you should have after you graduated from college but not yet employed?

Points to consider in changing a student visa to a working visa

When changing your visa status from a college student visa to a working visa (Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services), one of the key points to be remember is if the job description is related or connected to the course you graduated from. It is important to know that vocational schools require more relevance between the major subject and the work to be engaged than universities.

Also, please note that since “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” refers to a work that requires “specialized technical knowledge,” So a job can be done without academic background or work experience, such as like packing in a box or working on a line at a factory, do not fall under this category.

For more information on the requirements for “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” visa and cases of denial, please check here.

Required documents for working visas (Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services)

The following is an explanation of the documents required in applying for a change of status from a college student visa to a working visa (Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services), check the details below for the requirements that you have to comply before applying a change visa status.

What you need to prepare by yourself

・Passport and resident card
・Application form for change of status of residence
・Photograph (4cm (H) x 3cm (W), taken within the last 3 months)
・Statement of reasons for application (not required)

Documents to be obtained from the company

・Certificate of registered matters of the corporation (issued within 3 months prior to application)
・A copy of the employment contract
・A copy of the financial report of the employing company
・A copy of the withholding slip for salary income for the fiscal year
・A copy of the company brochure or pamphlet that explains the company’s business
・Statement of reasons for employment (not required)

Documents from the university or school

・Certificate of graduation or certificate of expected graduation 
・Transcript of Academic Record

I hope you have understood about the process of obtaining a working visa from a student visa, and the important points to remember. Even just finding a job is hard, and you may experience a hard time also in worrying about your visa. If you are applying in a company that is used to hiring foreigners, the process will go smooth. But if you are applying in a company that is hiring a foreigner for the first time, you may be experience difficulty and things you do not understand. If it is your first time to apply for a visa, it is recommended that you consult with a visa specialist, as the immigration authorities will be stricter in checking the nature of your company’s business and how big is that company.

Please consult with us if you have any concerns so that you can start working with peace of mind and play an active role in the company.

Our philosophy is to support foreign people living in Japan so that they can live in Japan

with peace of mind and have hope for the future and we place importance on the following points.

  • We stay close to our clients and listen to their needs and concerns.
  • We work together to find the best solution for your concern.
  • We will maintain a continuous relationship with our clients so that they can live in Japan with peace of mind.

If you have any problems, please feel free to contact us.

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