Quickest Way to Change a Tourist Visa to a Working Visa in Japan


You found a job in Japan, congratulations. Now it is time to change your tourist visa to a working visa. When I first arrived at the immigration bureau to change my visa, the staff asked me why I was applying for a working visa. This will always come up as you are not obeying the rules as you are intending to do something else than that is stated on the purpose of your stay. Just tell them that you are responsible for submitting the application and it should be okay.

tokyo immigration bureau

Certificate of Eligibility

The first thing that you need is a "Certificate of Eligibility", to read more about the "Certificate of Eligibility" or "COE" procedures please click here. Basically, the COE is the application prior to the working visa. The COE is to check if you are allowed to perform the activities in Japan. It takes about two weeks to send the COE to your sponsor's address.

Certificate of Eligibility

Working Visa

When you have the COE, it is time to go to immigration again to apply for the working visa. To read more details about this procedure click here. For this step, it is best to come very early. If you are not early, you have to wait for a long time.

As I was missing some paperwork, I arrived at the immigration bureau around noon. I think it would have been better to come the next day. In total, I waited for about 5-6 hours before it was finally my turn! When it was my turn I submitted the paperwork and got a stamp in my passport. When you receive this stamp, you don`t have to leave the country anymore. So you don`t have to worry about your tourist visa expires. Two weeks after submitting the application they sent me a letter that my working visa was ready. I paid 4000 yen in stamps and was able to get my residence card on the same day.

Revenue Stamp

The total procedure took about a month. I finished the procedure without re-entering the country. If you have any questions or want to get in contact please send an email or leave a comment.

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

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  1. Xsaief says:

    Thank you for such an amazing articles, I red the top ten movies one first than this one and i think they're the most honest ones that i've red up till now. My dream was always to travel to Asia; some country in there, be it Japan, South korea or China, i love the culture and everything related to it from the people to the food to the air to the location. But i was afraid that once i get there using a tourist visa i won't be able to get a job in there, a working permit, or a study one, because i have never took a flight in my entire life, and i don't want to spent my life savings in a wasted attempt, but you showed me that its possible, so thank you again.

  2. Nelson dela cruz says:

    Can you teach me how to change i have a multiple tourist visa status will last for 5 years i am a filipino..

    • shibajapan says:

      Hi Nelson,

      Thank you for your message and reading the blog.

      I am sorry, but as I am not a immigration specialist, I can only share my own personal experience.
      If you want to know more about changing your visa, I think it might be best to contact the embassy or Japanese immigration services.

      Good luck with changing your visa!


  3. Michael K Lia says:

    What documents were needed for the process , how long was your intended stay before getting the visa, and what jobs did you apply for? Is that all you said to immgration when they asked why you're applying?
    I'm American and I have 90 days then I have to extend my landing permit for a total of 180 days.

    • shibajapan says:

      Hi Michael,

      Thank you for reading the blog and your message.

      I stayed for 2 months on a tourist visa and then changed it to a working visa.
      The immigration at the airport did not ask me anything and if they did I would just tell them I am in Japan for sightseeing.
      If I could not find a job within 3 months, I would have left the country and come back again.

      When I went to the immigration office in Tokyo, I already had a company that was willing to sponsor me.
      If you have a sponsor they will not ask anything if you have the correct documents.

      The documents that you need are written in the articles below.


      Good luck with finding a company!


  4. Anna says:

    I have been coming back and forth to Japan since March. First, I did an interview and then comes the COE processing. Just recently, my COE was released on July 26th and then I decided to book a flight to Japan to have my status changed. I have multiple entry visa for 5 years. The lawyer filed for my change of status on Aug 3rd and then today Aug 15th, he contacted us to ask for proof that I indeed booked my flight on July 27th before I arrived to Japan on Aug 1st. I know nobody knows how their minds work but why do you think they asked for that? I have clean passport record, though. They specifically asked for the date I booked my flight.

    • shibajapan says:

      First of all, congratulations on getting a job.
      I know that a lot of foreigners that get a job/COE, never actually come to Japan.
      That could be the reason why they want to check your flight date.
      To be certain, I think it is best to ask your lawyer why it is necessary to have proof.

  5. Cristine says:

    Can I apply for jobs while on a tourist visa in japan?

    • shibajapan says:

      Hi Christine,

      Thank you for reading my blog.

      I applied for jobs while on a tourist visa and had no problems.
      I think that as long as you are not working on a tourist visa, it should be fine.

      If you want to make sure,
      best thing to do is contact a immigration lawyer.


  6. runa says:

    I'll go to japan in 2019 as a tourist and i want to find job to work there
    I want to know wich company can sponsor my visa


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