How to get a Certificate of Eligibility in Japan


The procedure to get a certificate of eligibility in Japan can be difficult if you don`t speak Japanese. I got mine on a tourist visa and was lucky enough that the COE arrived before my tourist visa expired. This is how I got my COE on a tourist visa in Japan.

What to prepare

The items that I prepared before going to the immigration bureau are as follows:

○The form “Certificate of Eligibility”
○At least two photos (size 40mm x 30mm 4:3)
○Enough cash, at least 2000 yen (preferably 1000-yen notes and coins)

Before going to the Immigration Bureau

1. Fill in the form “Certificate of Eligibility” with the company that is willing to hire you.

2. Attach a photo of yourself that is 40mm x 30mm (4:3).

My photo was not approved at the immigration staff, because the picture was not bright enough. In this case, you can take a new picture on the ground floor at the immigration. The price is 800 yen and you can only use a 1000-yen bill or coins.

At the immigration

If you want to finish the application quickly, arrive at the immigration bureau before 8:30 AM, because the doors of the immigration bureau will open at that time. If you want to know how to get to the immigration bureau in Shinagawa click here

3. Once the doors open go to the E counter, which is located on the ground floor in the back. When you arrive at the counter, you will see a square machine with a green button. Press the button and it will print a ticket with your number.

4. After you receive your number the immigration staff will start checking applications from 9 AM. While waiting go to the family mart convenience store on the ground floor and buy an envelope set(stamps + envelope). This will cost around 450 yen.

5. Return to E counter and write the address of the company on the envelope. When your number is called, go to the counter and the staff will check your documents with you. After checking the documents, they will tell you to go back to your seat and wait for them to call your name. If the documents are complete and accepted, put them in the envelope.

6. The staff will take the envelope and you are done applying for the “Certificate of Eligibility”.

According to immigration, it will take about 1-3 months for them to send your COE, but usually, it is much shorter. When I applied for the COE it took about 1.5 weeks for immigration to send the COE to my company. When it arrives it looks like this.

Certificate of Eligibility

In case you are looking for a job,
the article below includes the best sites that will help you find a job in Japan.

If you have any questions or would like to add something to the article feel free to leave a comment or contact me through email.

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  1. JiinaBaby says:

    Hi! Thank for your very informative blog. It really helps me a lot. I’d like to ask what do you mean by .. with your company? Is there a separate sheet for them to fill in or is just mine? Were there documents the company has given to you? Pls reply as soon as you can

    • shibajapan says:

      Hi Jiina,

      If you have any difficulties with the COE,
      I would recommend to contact a lawyer or ask the company that is willing to sponsor to help you.

      Good luck!


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