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Working Visa - Urgent! 2007/7/24 03:21
I have been offered a position as an English teacher (contingent upon a final interview and trial/training period when I arrive in Japan) with a private conversation school, and I am a U.S. citizen with no work visa.

My employer wants me to arrive at work on August 20th, and I am hoping to arrive on the 16th to do a bit of sightseeing before I head to her school. However, she is saying that she will begin the application process for a work visa only after I have completed my trial period of one week, and that I should come over as a tourist.

She claims that I shouldn't worry, that this is perfectly legal, and that I will be able to switch my visa status without leaving Japan once my working visa is approved. Is this true? I can't seem to find any info online that would lead me to believe her - and she told me that I should say I am coming to visit her when I get to immigration at the airport. Is she telling me the truth? I think the language barrier is a bit of a problem here...

Also, if I were to go ahead with this, would immigration question me bringing my diploma with me? Technically, my employment wouldn't be finalized when I first arrived, as she would have the right not to hire me after the first week (which I believe is why she wants to wait on the working visa), so are you allowed to enter as a tourist and declare your intent to interview to work in Japan? If I didn't yet have an official employer but wanted to try and find one, would it be advisable to declare these intentions to immigration? What do people do when they come to Japan before even looking for jobs? Do they just say they are sightseeing? And when they get hired, do they have to leave the country to change visa status?

Thanks for the help!
by Shannon  

... 2007/7/26 06:36
It is perfectly legal to enter Japan on the tourist visa and then change your status of residence to "working" after arrival in Japan, but you are not allowed to do any paid activities until you get your work visa. When entering Japan, it is okay to be honest and say that you will be getting a working visa shortly.

However, here is the point: It takes at least one month to process a working visa (first get a certificate of eligibility; then change your status of residence). In complicated cases, it can take more than two months. During that time, you cannot legally get paid!

If your employer knows and respects the law, expect not to get any salary for the first 1-2 months of staying in Japan. Having said that, there are quite a few employers who do not know and respect the law.
by Uji rate this post as useful

visa 2007/7/26 08:12
Have a look at the Japan Forum on the Dave's ESL cafe website- www.eslcafe.com

There has been a lot of discussion about this and stories from people who have done it, both positive and negative. Legally what Uji says is correct.

Practically, quite a few employers seem to do what you are being asked to do and people have no problems with it.
by Sira rate this post as useful

Bending the Rules 2007/7/26 10:54
I came into Japan the same way.
What Uji said is correct but in most cases there are ways around these kind of rule.
There is nothing wrong with doing a little volunteer work until your waiting to get your visa, hint hint.
The only thing is you will have to leave the country (S Korea) and go to the Japanese embassy to get your passport stamped and then return back to Japan to complete the Visa process, this cost will come out of your first pay and depending on the time of year it could cost an additional 100,000 yen or more, keep that in mind.
When I came to Japan the first time I did it this way also, I had no problems it all depends on the company you are working for.
Good Luck.
by SD rate this post as useful

. 2007/7/26 11:02
The only thing is you will have to leave the country (S Korea) and go to the Japanese embassy to get your passport stamped and then return back to Japan to complete the Visa process, this cost will come out of your first pay and depending on the time of year it could cost an additional 100,000 yen or more, keep that in mind.

In the old days this may have been the case, but it is completely possible to do all the processing within Japan. The only time I see that you would have to leave japan is if the processing of the COE to change the work visa takes longer then your available time limit with your tourist/temporary visitor status.

As mentioned, you can't get paid while working during your trial period under a temporary visitor's status. Also, it can take a long while before you can change from a temporary visitor status to a work visa status, up to three full months in some cases, so be prepared with lots of money because you'll either be doing a whole lot of nothing, or pretty much working for a company and not getting paid until that visa is approved.
by John rate this post as useful

2006 I did it 2007/7/26 14:32
Back in 2006 I arrived in Narita and received a 90 day Temporary Visitors Visa.
I found a job shortly after and started work while my employer got all the paperwork together but as SD mentioned I also had to leave for S Korea for 4 days, went to the Japanese Embassy and got my passport stamped and returned to Japan and got my working visa, was all very easy, I had no problems at all.

Is it legal, NO but as SD mentioned the rules can be bent, there are loopholes in every system.

If you decide to come make sure you have enough money to last you for at lest 2 months, once your working no problems.

When you land Do Not tell the immigration officer that you are going to work, you are just a visitor sightseeing. When traveling never give out to much information.
by Andy rate this post as useful

to Andy 2007/7/26 23:04
Umm. I be like to ask, Andy, or somebody similar like him.. how you find your job?
are before you come in japan, you had some contacts or after you find there?
and what kind of job you worked there?

I planing to visit Japan, on the end of august, and for now i planing to stay there 1 month, but I really like stay more..
I tryied find some ways, before i come there, but very difficult.
and i cant be english teacher, because english isnt my native language..

soo if somebody know some way for this, please tell me , or help me with some advice.. thanks
by boy rate this post as useful

Degree 2007/7/27 10:41
I can only speak for English speaking North Americans, You Need a Degree of some sort and Speak Native English or Japanese at lest to find a job in Japan, there are other jobs out there I suppose.
by Andy rate this post as useful

. 2007/7/27 11:19
Saying North Americans wouldn't exactly be correct, as Canadians can get Working Holdiay Visa's without a degree, and not every part of the United States is in North America.

But for a full working visa all nationalities would require a basic minimum of a bachelors degree, there are exeptions and thats' been covered in detail already I think in the past.

As to finding jobs, most people browse the internet before hand, or if there is one of the major companies such as Nova, Aeon etc, they recruit people and do the interviews in your home country (wherever applicable). Last would be actually going to Japan and finding a job, as that is the most expensive way to do things, and you're never guranteed anything.
by John rate this post as useful

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