How to Get a Japanese Working Holiday Visa

October 17, 2010 · 168 comments

As I’m from the UK, this article is based on my experience for applying for the Japanese working holiday visa as a UK citizen, I have included details on the variations on different countries options though, there are slight variations in requirements depending on which country you are coming from. Japanese working holiday visas (which entitle the owner to stay in Japan and gives them the legal requirement to work) are for residents from the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark, France, Germany, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. With the exception of Ireland (which is 18-25) residents of these countries applying for the Japan WH visa must be between the ages of 18 and 30 (inclusive).

France, Germany, Korea, Denmark, Ireland and the UK are granted 1 year with no extensions possible. Six month visa’s are granted to the other countries. Australian and Canadian citizens may extend their visa twice (They can stay up to 18 months) while NZ applicants can extend it once (to maximum of 12 months). Please be aware this data is subject to change and you should check for current rules and reg’s on visa applications.

Currently only 1000 WH visa’s are allocated to UK residents per annum. This was recently increased from 400. Generally there isn’t as many people coming to Japan on a WH visa as Australia though, so this is not normally an issue. The visa year is September>September, so the best time to get one is around Sept/Oct every year when the 1000 spaces will still mostly be available.

You must also not have dependant children, be in good health, a good character (no criminal record), and not be with a spouse (unless they have the same visa status granted), have never applied for this WH visa before . The ‘spirit’ of the working holiday visa is you find work to supplement your travel fund as you go around, not have a job before you arrive (this is important to remember when applying). You also need ‘adequate’ funds (explained below) for your initial stay and intend to leave Japan at the end of your visa. This visa is also single entry, so you can’t leave and continue on the same visa rights (however this can be gotten around by getting a re-entry permit before leaving Japan – note this can not be done at the airport, it needs to be pre approved in a village before you leave – so bare this in mind if you have to make a trip – emergency or otherwise – out of Japan when staying in due to your WH visa).

Materials and requirements

The materials you need to submit in person (don’t send Mummy to do this – that isn’t allowed) are as followed and need to be done in your home country. You CAN NOT go to a Japanese embassy in any other country and apply for it, you need to be in the country that your passport is from. You usually have to go to your nearest consulate too. Scottish applicants are not to go to London Japan consulate for example – they go to Edinburgh one.

  • A completed Visa application form
  • A 35x45mm photograph taken within 6 months
  • A personal history, resume or curriculum vitae typed on A4 paper
  • A proposed itinerary for your stay in Japan
  • A written personal reason for wanting to go to Japan, typed on A4 paper
  • Either £2500 in cleared funds OR £1500 plus an onwards flight ticket out of Japan
  • £20 cash for the visa application.

The above is for UK residents, some of the differences for different countries that I know are:

  • Australians only need AU$2500 cleared funds there is no application fee.
  • Canadians need a return flight ticket and CN$2500 in cleared funds, no application fee.
  • Kiwis need Flight ticket home + NZ$3000 or NZ$5000 in cleared funds, no application fee.
  • Danish applicants need 11,000DKK and return ticket home 22,000DKK, no application fee.
  • French applicants need a medical certificate, €2700 + flight ticket home or €4000, and to fill out a stay program form, no fee.
  • German applicants need €1200 with a return ticket or €2000 without, they also need to provide proof of insurance for their stay, no fee.
  • Irish citizens have to be 25 or under (some exceptions – I don’t know what though) need €1600 euro + plane ticket, or €3200, travel insurance. No fee.
  • Unsure about Korean applicants as I can not read the embassy website (linked).
  • Taiwanese need to find out details on applying through the Interchange Association (Japan)

Please note that some countries allow you to apply as a married couple too which allows you to bring a different amount (i.e. in a shared bank account) for example this is NZ$8500 for the couple if you are from New Zealand.

General Tips

You DO NOT need a degree to get the working holiday visa (unlike a Japan work visa) but the visa does bar you from certain work opportunities. Mostly this is in the ‘entertainment’ industry. So if you’re a pop star singer, bar man or F1 driver, you can’t use the working holiday visa for these occupations (separate visa’s are issued for them). Many of the visa applications like to see Japanese language ability however it isn’t required.

‘Cleared funds’ means exactly that – credit card/s with large limits don’t count neither do any other sort of IOU. You need this in a bank account and to show them the funds. For UK you need to show previous 3 months bank statements, although I believe some others (Canada) you only have to show 1 previous month. Can you borrow the money from someone and make it look like you have it? Officially no.

In reality? Yes. I actually had a ‘financial dump’ which I borrowed off my parents to make up the £2500 requirement and it was on the statements. Did they ask about it? Yes. Because it is suspicious and it all of a sudden meets their requirements they WILL question it. I had to get my parents to fax in a statement to the consulate to prove that it was a gift and I owned the money to do whatever I wished with it. Of course once I got the visa I returned the money.

Akinhabara - Japan, tokyo

Akinhabara - AKA Electric city

Next the Itinerary. I suggest if you want to last over 6 months in Japan you be careful in what you write and try to pad it out. If you intend to stay 2-6 months and this is mentioned then they are unlikely to grant the visa as you can just have a tourist one (valid for 3 months) and no right to work. Break it down into sections saying what you will do in each period (I suggest 2-4 month periods). Don’t make it up, actually do some research into Japan attractions that you are likely to visit anyway and explain why. Something like ‘I want to go to Tokyo because I love manga’ is not good enough. Here is a sample paragraph from my own itinerary to give you an example:

Mid October – Min January
I plan to arrive in Tokyo and find a job while exploring the urban culture of Japan’s Capital, I will be looking for a job when I arrive to support my time in the city. I will visit local temples, shines and parks, Akihabara, Sega joypolis, and sumo wrestling . I will also look for a language exchange with a local. I want to finish off my period in Tokyo celebrating the new year.

You see I have mentioned the place/area of stay, that I am looking for work, some attractions I’m likely to visit and another activity (language exchange). This doesn’t have to be true but it does have to be believable. I actually found this process quite interesting and helpful for planning my time in Japan anyway.

For the statement, work with your plan and think about why you want to go to Japan. Again ‘because I love manga’ is not good enough – why do you love manga? Here is a part of my statement:

Ever since a child Japan had an influence. Starting off with a Sega Mega Drive and all the colourful creations across my screen raising my interest in Japanese art and technology.

I then went on to mention martial arts, Japanese cars and culture, all of which I have had a genuine interest in over the years. Again – it doesn’t have to be true, but if you are struggling to write a page (200-400 words) on why you want to go, then maybe you need to rethink things.

Got The Visa?

Please note once you arrive in Japan you MUST register for an alien (Gaijin) cards from the local village of where you are staying within 90 days of your arrival if you intend to stay longer than 90 days. This acts as your ID in Japan and overrides your passport in many cases, for example if you want to apply for a bank account. You can’t get a Japanese bank account without this card.

Also you have 1 year to enter Japan from when your visa was issued (up to 8 weeks, but it typically takes 2 after application). The visa starts from the date you arrive in Japan.

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{ 113 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul August 25, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Hey,
great post :)regarding the bank statements, you say 3 months? well It takes a week from the date of the statements till you receive it
for example:
My bank statement runs from 11th to the 11th of every month, but I do not normally them it in the post for around 4-5 working days, I will go up the day I receive my statements but they will be 5 days old, does that make sense, will they want to see it right up to the date I apply, if so thats impossible as you cant get full statements from the bank they have to be ordered.
Thanks so much

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AdventureRob August 27, 2011 at 3:28 AM

I think not having it up to the exact day of application is ok. If you apply on say 15th of March and your bank statement goes to 14th of February then they might ask for a new one, but (baring in mind it takes a week or so to approve the visa anyway) I think them not seeing the latest week is ok.

I actually printed my statements off the internet and dont get them via snail mail so it did have up to the current day when I applied.

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Alex January 19, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Great article Rob, really useful.

I’m planning on coming over to freelance for at least a year and trying to get hold of a working holiday visa.

To keep the cleared funds to £1500, do you know if it’s possible to provide a return flight ticket that is for say, 10 months later?

Thanks

Alex
Alex´s latest blogpost – 6 Basic Social Media ‘No Nos’ that are Stopping Freelancers from Winning Clients

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AdventureRob January 25, 2012 at 12:57 AM

Hi Alex,

You’re welcome, thanks for reading.

I’m pretty sure that is OK. It shouldn’t matter when your return flight is as long as it’s within the usual 12 month period for British nationals. They’d probably rather see a flexible ticket, but you can always contact them to double check anyway, as requirements always change.

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Anthony Kenny January 23, 2012 at 5:08 AM

Hi rob, cheers you’ve give me alot of help. I was wondering if you could help me a little more. I’m currently doing a Whv in Australia on my 2nd year extension which runs out in September. I’ve met a Japanese girl and planned to go on a Whv to japan straight from oz but after looking into it, it seems I gotta come home and apply in person from uk. I assume there is no way around this? Also if I come home and supply them with bank statements for 3 months will they be okay with my reasons that I transferred from australian account? And would it be wise to conceal my japanese girlfriend and plans once i am there? Any advice you can give me will be appreciated.

Thanks
Anthony

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AdventureRob January 25, 2012 at 1:14 AM

Hi Anthony,

Yes I’m afraid you’ll have to come home. I looked into this myself a bit as I was in Oz and wanted to go to Japan straight after (it saves a lot in flights not going via the UK!), but there doesn’t seem to be a way around it unfortunately.

If you show the account of where your money came from to your UK account to make up the minimum £2500 amount then I’m sure that will be OK. Especially as it is your money anyway. It doesn’t matter if you had multiple accounts or where they were based, at long as you can show the actual amount is from a legitimate source then it’s fine.

I wouldn’t mention your girlfriend on the visa in any way, for example living with her as a way of covering your expenses out there. You could say you met nice Japanese people in Australia which influenced your decision to go to Japan (they like people who have already got WH visa’s in other countries), but don’t say you’re staying with them, just visiting them.

Congrats on the girl anyway. I too have a Japanese girlfriend now, so will be heading back to Japan a couple of times this year, maybe see you there!

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Anthony January 25, 2012 at 1:32 AM

Ah rite cheers again mate. Think I best get saving until September then haha! If I’d of known 2 months ago I could of applied as I went home over Xmas just gone for a month..doh! Anyway hood luck with the traveling and of course your girl.

Rgrds
Anthony

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AdventureRob January 25, 2012 at 11:46 PM

No problem.

Just another note: When you get your visa approved you have one year from approval date to enter Japan. So if you was in the UK at Xmas, you could have got the visa then, spent this year until September in Australia, and fly straight to Japan from Australia after. You just need to be in your own country when you apply for the visa and have the money then too.

It’s not a great system but it’s how its done to enter in Japan anyway.

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Andy February 1, 2012 at 9:01 PM

Hi Rob,

A very good read, in the last few weeks I’ve been interested applying for a WHV in Japan, I have a few questions, What kind of work (if any) did you undertake in Japan?, How long did you stay in Japan for? Off the topic of Japan, have you done a WHV in Canada? because that too interests me..
thank you.
Andy.

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AdventureRob February 2, 2012 at 9:17 PM

Hi Andy,

I worked as a receptionist at a British themed hotel. They also had work there as a waiter/bar worker too. Other options include ski resorts and summer beach resorts who all want English speakers (these are seasonal too).

After 7 months of that I did private English teaching, although as I was starting out I didn’t get very busy doing that over the remaining 5 months.

I’ve not been to Canada so can’t advise about their visa system I’m afraid.

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Dele February 23, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Hey,
I have been to Canada on the WHV and an applying for another one. It is well worth the hastle of the application process.
However generally it is an expensive place to be.

http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/united_kingdom-royaume_uni/experience_canada_experience/index.aspx?view=d

The processing period is around 8 weeks (sometimes longer)
and you need to have a police certificate.

The Japan Whv seems pretty stratightforward so I might give it a think over.

Thanks for all the info.

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Nicola March 2, 2012 at 11:25 PM

Just a question regarding jobs out there.

How easy would it be to find jobs to support yourself while you are there?

You said that you did private english teaching, do you have a TEFL qualification to promote yourself, or did you just say that you are fluent?

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AdventureRob March 3, 2012 at 11:35 PM

Finding jobs is easy, there are plenty around. Getting them is a lot more harder though. There is plenty of online places advertising jobs but it is most teaching English opportunity.

Japan is an expensive country to be in, so I wouldn’t want to live there long without a full time job. You can arrange work before you go but that’s another difficulty in itself.

I have a TEFL certificate, but it didn’t count for much, nor did I use it to promote myself. People want good teachers, and a load of qualifications doesn’t necessarily mean you are a good teacher. I seemed to find my forte with children rather than adults even though I’d thought I’d be the opposite at first. If the students are enthusiastic then it makes the job a lot easier.

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Emilio March 14, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Could you speak Japanese before you went to Japan? How did you organize accommodation whilst you were there? Did you rent an apartment or stay in a Gaijin house or just in a hostel?

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AdventureRob March 17, 2012 at 7:37 PM

Couldn’t speak Japanese before going.
I got a job and accommodation was part of my contract as well as food. All I needed to do was turn up for work. Got a wage too!
There are a few places which do this. Hotels can be year round, ski resorts for the winter months, and beach resorts for the summer months (you’ll be a receptionist/waiter/ski or surf instructor as a job in general).

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Steve March 14, 2012 at 10:16 PM

How long does the visa generally take to get approved? Thanks

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AdventureRob March 17, 2012 at 7:37 PM

I think it’s maximum 8 weeks, but don’t quote me on that. 4-6 weeks is more normal though. I think mine was 4 weeks.

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ryan May 8, 2012 at 3:38 AM

Good advise you got there, im interested in going to japan and learning how to be a sushi chef but would like to live there whilst im taught to get a feel for the culture and lifestlye too, any advise on how to pre arrange jobs or training schemes whilst not in that country?

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AdventureRob May 8, 2012 at 9:02 AM

That’s not something I’ve had experience in so can’t give you advice that would be that valuable.

Just check online forums for people living in Japan and you should find something suitable for you. Foreigners are called ‘gaijin’ or ‘gaikokujin’ in Japan. So some places are named with that in the title in order to help foreigners out. Places like GaijinPot have a load of options for jobs, accommodation, etc which maybe a good start.

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Harry Scott June 3, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Hi Rob, as others have said, excellent post. I’m just filling out my visa app and writing the itinerary etc, I was wondering do you need to have the flight already booked before the trip to the embassy in London? As the visa app asks for when I will arrive and I don’t have any flights booked yet. Also does the year begin when you set in foot in Japan or from the date issued? I have read that it is from when it is issued in this country.
Thanks in advance and sorry for the ramble

Harry

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AdventureRob June 3, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Hi Harry, thanks very much.

You don’t need to have the flight booked before the embassy, in fact that would show a bit too much confidence in getting the visa if anything! Many people get rejected on it for random reasons so I wouldn’t even book a flight at this stage, although if you follow this post guidance it shouldn’t be a problem.

You can just write a month for when you will arrive from memory, it doesn’t have to be specific.

The year begins from when you land in Japan and get stamped in through immigration. The visa is valid for 1 year in this country (i.e. as soon as you have it issued, you can go to Japan the next day, or wait up to 364 days) and when you arrive in Japan the year WH visa will start from date of entry. If you don’t enter Japan within a year, then the visa expires and I don’t believe you can get another one.

Hope that clears things up.

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Harry Scott June 5, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Lovely, cheers for the swift reply Rob. I take it also that you don’t have to have name and address of a hotel or person you intend to stay with either and all the other stuff about an inviter or a guarantor?
Going up to the embassy tomorrow to see if I can wrangle myself a visa.
Thanks again.

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AdventureRob June 7, 2012 at 12:12 AM

Not for the official visa, as it is of working-holiday nature, you are half supposed to make it up as you go along, not have it all pre-planned with places to stay and work.

You need to give a address when you arrive though (‘hotel name’ in Tokyo will do).

Good luck!

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Steve June 15, 2012 at 5:47 AM

Hi Rob, do you actually get the visa put into your passport like a full page or do you just get stamped when you arrive?

I’ve just had the horrible realisation my passport is running out of pages but I don’t want to pay for a new one right now if I can help it!

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AdventureRob June 15, 2012 at 8:46 AM

You get both! You give your passport to the Japanese embassy who keep it while they do their checks. And when you go to collect it, it will have 1 page taken up by the visa.

When you arrive in Japan they’ll take over another page (you get a sticker, a stamp and a form stapled in that you need to exit Japan).

If you’ve still got a few years left on the passport then you can get more pages put in (at a cost I believe) instead of a new passport, which works out cheaper.

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Kim June 25, 2012 at 4:38 AM

Hi Rob,

I know it’s been a couple of years since you did the Japanese WH. You said you got a job in a hotel not being able to speak Japanese. Was this in Tokyo? I’m interested in the same experience. (Not that I don’t want to teach English, I just want to save it for another country). I wondered how you got the job? Is just handing out your CV to local hotels? I’m a bit worried I will get there and wont be able to find a job. Also did you find it easy to get used to the Japanese culture?

Thanks

Kim

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AdventureRob June 25, 2012 at 7:17 AM

Hi Kim,

No it was in Fukushima, it was a hotel specialising in giving guests an English speaking experience. The hotel was called British Hills and is always taking people on. I found the job through a job website, but if you Google them, you can send them an email direct. Let them know you found them via my website though :-)

Handling in your CV to hotels probably won’t get you far in Japan unless you have a good grasp of Japanese. I got my job at British Hills before going to Japan, so didn’t have the usual job hunting woes. There are also beach and ski resorts (one for each season) which offer similar.

I’ve travelled a lot, so find it easy to adjust to different cultures, but everyone is different in that respect :-)

good luck.

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Neil Smith June 30, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Hi Rob,
I have been granted a gap year from my employers here in England, therefore I am planning a ’round the world’ trip. Included within this time I am hoping to visit Japan to initially stay in Niseko for the back end of their snowboard season for 2 months, then travel down through Japan over a third month. I am hoping to find work in Niseko for the 2 months just to cover living costs, as it will be very expensive and drain my funds more than I had hoped.
Do you think I would be able to get a Working Holiday Visa for this reason or not?
Cheers,
Neil

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AdventureRob July 1, 2012 at 3:38 AM

Hi Neil,

That should be ok as long as it is written well in your visa application. The only issue I can see is the timing. If you plan to stay 3 months in Japan then they might deny the WH visa as that’s typical of a tourist visa (valid for 3 months). If you write you want to stay 6-8 months then they are more likely you grant you the visa.

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Neil Smith July 24, 2012 at 7:19 PM

Cheers for the advice, I am currently writing my application!
Would you say that the interview process feels like an interrogation or not, i m slightly nervous!

Cheers
Neil

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AdventureRob July 24, 2012 at 10:36 PM

You’re welcome. The interview is nothing like that, just a few questions and answers over a counter.

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mick daniels July 6, 2012 at 10:37 PM

hi. great article.i was just wondering if you knew that it matters if im already 30 and applying for a visa. do i have to be under 30 before i apply, or do i just have to be in the country before i turn 31? many thanks, mick.

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AdventureRob July 9, 2012 at 11:35 AM

I’m not 100% on that one, but I think you need to have the visa granted before you’re 31. You can get the visa aged 30. I think entering the country when 31 is OK if you already have the visa.

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Emilio January 23, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Hi Mick,
I was wondering if you found the definitive answer to this question? I’m in the same situation and wondering what the deal is. Is it OK to be intering Japan as a 31 year old with a WH visa?
Thanks, Emilio.

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Nicola July 8, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Hi Rob,

I’m looking to apply for a WHV in September and am currently putting together my application. Do you know of any reasons why people tend to get rejected?

I meet all the criteria listed on the Japanese embassy website (e.g. enough funds, no spouse, not applied for a WHV before) but I’m worried about anything that would act as an obvious red flag to the embassy.

Thanks,

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AdventureRob July 9, 2012 at 11:37 AM

There are many reasons (that’s the requirements), but if you meet all the requirements then there should be no problem. I believe if they don’t grant it, then they let you know why anyway, so you can adjust your application and try again. A lot of people get caught out by writing too much in regards to their plan in Japan, so they send it back and ask to write it again as an example.

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Russ July 11, 2012 at 10:41 PM

I have a slight problem. I shall apply for this visa between 5th and 13th of August but am going to a wedding abroad on 13th September. Maybe it isnt enough time to get the visa stuff sorted so Im wondering if anyone else has had the same problm? I cant really fae being put back a month because of commitments. I guess the obvious answer is phone the embassy but if anyone has advice it could be useful.

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AdventureRob July 13, 2012 at 10:21 AM

It’s possible on that tight schedule, but if they reject your application for any reason then you’ll need to do it again. Is there any rush in getting the visa before you go abroad? You could wait to after if you’re that busy.

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AdventureRob August 11, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Hi everyone visiting my website, I hope you’re finding this information useful.

Please be sure to check current requirements to get the visa. I wrote this in 2010 and some things have changed.

Alien registration cards are now abolished (This happened on 9th July 2012). But you still need to go register at an official office within 90 days). Now you get a resident card (same as Japanese people), although your card will be a temporary one for the length of your visa, so you officially won’t be called an alien now, which is nice. Process once there is pretty much the same though.

The visa fee has gone up in price to £23, I assume this will only keep going up.

These are the only one’s I’ve spotted though, otherwise it’s similar to how the guide lays it out.

Documentation can be found here: http://www.uk.emb-japan.go.jp/en/visa/application.html

I hope you enjoy your time in Japan, and feel free to ask questions via the contact form. Also please take a look around the website, it helps me rank higher on Google searches and there is quite a few Japanese things here now as I’m in the process of emigrating there at the moment.

AdventureRob´s latest blogpost – Tokyo Skytree

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Neil Smith August 18, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Hi Rob,

Thanks for your previous help, I managed to get a working holiday visa no problem! I have another quick question regarding the Japanese rail network.
The Japanese Rail Pass is designed for foreign tourists who want to be able to travel in Japan for tourism reasons and can only be purchased outside Japan. I thought I would be able to purchase an unlimited JR Pass so that travel would be cheaper in Japan; though I have been told I am not eligible because I am entering the country on a Working Holiday Visa?!
Have you ever used a JR Pass? How did you travel around Japan on your stay?

Thanks in advance,

Neil

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AdventureRob August 19, 2012 at 11:23 PM

Hi Neil,

I’m glad you got the working holiday visa without issue. I’m about to start applying for a new visa there myself now (spouse) and will no doubt have a post about that in the future.

It’s true that you need to buy the pass outside Japan to get the best price (I know, that’s very weird).

I’ve never bought one myself before, I travelled on local trains, shinkansen, subways, buses and long distance coaches so quite a variety.

I don’t know the answer about a rail pass and a WHV but I didn’t think there would be a problem. The rail pass starts from the first time it’s used and is valid for as long as you purchased it for. Because of the ‘holiday’ nature of the visa, I would think it would be OK, but I’m not sure how they are applied for due to my lack of experience as I said before I’m afraid.

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Neil August 24, 2012 at 7:34 AM

Cheers for your help, I am now looking forward to my Japanese adventure!

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AdventureRob August 24, 2012 at 10:14 AM

You’re welcome, enjoy!

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Russ August 19, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Well I got mine in one week. I called them asking if it really took a month and they laughed and asked me who I had been talking to, it takes a week. Dunno if this ahs changed since you went hahahah!

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AdventureRob August 19, 2012 at 11:32 PM

I’m not sure I ever wrote it takes a month to get it. I just said it can take that long if you get it rejected and have to attempt to get it again.

The spouse visa I’m going for now takes 5 days it says on the embassy website, I guess the WHV is about the same.

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Russ August 20, 2012 at 12:21 AM

Yeah to be fair think I got that idea from the comments or something.

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AdventureRob August 23, 2012 at 5:56 PM

No problem.

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Helene August 23, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Thank you so much for all this information.It’s really useful !
I’m looking to apply for a job at British Hills however I have a few questions for you, (if you don’t mind) . How was your experience ? Do I need a lot of qualifications to work as a receptionist ? How was the accommodation ? Did you find it easy to get used to your new job ?
Thanks !

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AdventureRob August 23, 2012 at 6:07 PM

You’re welcome!

My experience at British Hills was overall quite positive. I went there not expecting to get much done that year, and that’s what happened. It’s such an isolated place, you just need to accept early on that you’re not going to see Japan as much as you may hope too (and when you start working there, you’ll probably want to see it more as people will tell you about what they’ve done in Japan).

The work itself is easy enough. You don’t need any qualifications, it’s taught on the job, and is relatively simple. The only daunting bits is your first check in, the first time you have to deal with a credit card (most Japanese people pay with cash), and doing your first tour. They don’t often tell people you have to give tours as a receptionist, but that’s part of the job. It’s also the most enjoyable part as day to day nothing much happens, especially if you work the late shift.

The staff house is OK. Nothing to shout about, but its a bed and a room and a internet connection for free in one of the most expensive countries in the world. Toilet/shower facilities are fine but the kitchen condition depends on housemates, and from my experience, people before me, and after me. There is always someone who won’t clean up after themselves in the kitchen.

The meals provided are quite poor and very repetitive (rice, a stab of meat, and dry salad with sesame seed dressing only). Which is why I cooked a lot myself (and had to deal with the kitchen). A lot of staff pay to eat in the pub or tea room (it’s half price for staff) in which the food is much nicer. That’s probably the biggest complaint of staff at BH. The people who work there are lovely, but very set in their ways. Don’t think you can change things as you’ll only be disappointed.

I still recommend going for it though. My memories are mostly positive from there. 6 Months is probably the best bet. If you go over winter you get very heavy discount on the local ski slopes too, which is reason enough to go for many people. We’re talking £120 for a entire ski season here.

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Russ August 24, 2012 at 12:54 AM

Is it totally necessarry to get a return ticket? Or is a one-way ticket basically ok?

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AdventureRob August 24, 2012 at 10:14 AM

It’s not necessary at all. You just need a little extra in your bank account to show you can afford a ticket back.

Most people go there on one way tickets as they don’t know how long they will stay. That’s how I did it in Japan and Australia for my working holiday visa’s there and both countries didn’t mention it.

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Nicola August 24, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Hi Rob,

One of the prerequisites on the embassy website is ‘Have good health’. When you applied did you have to provide any proof of this? e.g. a note from your doctor?

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AdventureRob August 28, 2012 at 8:28 PM

I don’t remember doing anything like that.

Nice point raised though! It is a requirement, I guess if you are taking regular medication then you need to prepare for spending a long time in a foreign country though which is what they want you to consider.

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Brian September 4, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Hi Rob,
I’ve been wanting to get a working holiday visa and your information has been a great help. I am going to apply for one now!

I’ve had a look at the form though and it mentions,

how long will you stay for?
Where will you stay?
address of employer etc

How would you recommend that you fill this form in even though i have none of the information at hand, as I’m currently looking for a job in Japan, and may not potentially have one up until the point where I enter the country and begin to look?

Thanks!

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AdventureRob September 4, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Hi Brian, glad to be of help;

How long will you stay for: answer as per my guide, a rough estimate is fine, something like 9-12months or 6-9 months, you don’t need to be specific

Where will you stay: Again, no need to go into details, something like 6 months in Tokyo in private accommodation/rented apartment, 3 months in Kyoto (in a hostel), etc. I don’t think you need addresses as such, and if you have one for an employer it is against the spirit of the WH visa as you would have arranged a job beforehand.

Hope that helps. It’s actually a bit of insight into Japanese culture too as they are fond of vague answers!

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James September 9, 2012 at 4:17 PM

Hi Rob

I’m looking at going to London in the next few days to apply for my visa. Only a couple of questions about the process really. The first is how early do I need to get there and do i have to go back to pick up anything up???

Thanks James

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AdventureRob September 10, 2012 at 9:51 AM

You don’t need to get there at any particular time. Lunch time usually has a longer queue though. It’s a ticket system so go in, take a ticket and they call the number up. I’ve been 4 times now and the longest wait was less than 10 minutes.

You’ll need to go back there to pick the visa/passport up after 5 working days. I usually leave it a few extra days and phone in advance to check it’s available though in case there has been some sort of delay.

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Medz September 21, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Hey Rob,

Lol i know this is late, but this was super great!! I was wondering, cause i want to apply for WHV, and also find work.
Do you think finding work before arriving to Japan is okay? And how hard is it to find a job there? Im from NZ btw :)

Thanks

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AdventureRob September 21, 2012 at 7:58 PM

Finding work before going in my opinion is fine (I did it after all!) But you shouldn’t mention it on the visa application, they prefer you get a job there.

Finding a job is average in difficulty. If you have Japanese ability your options are much widened, but if not then it’s limited but there are jobs about.

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JoelT September 25, 2012 at 11:03 PM

Hi Rob;

From the UK here. This information is excellent and informative but before calling up to check directly, I want to know if they’re flexible with regards to evidence of cleared funds?

I’m comfortably meeting the amount of cleared funds as required for approval but haven’t had the money in the account for long since part of my funds are a contribution from my family members. Would I be declined for this?

Thanks in advance!

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AdventureRob September 26, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Hi Joel,

You won’t get instantly declined because the money is there after all. If it’s unusually large then they will want proof of the source. In your case a signed letter from who gave the money to you (even if it’s cash not a bank deposit) and also a statement that the money is now yours not a loan. If you sold a car for example, they’d want to see some sort of receipt to show you got the money from a sale of a car. If your money came from multiple family members and was put in separate, then you might need a few letters explaining who gave what to you and specifically that it is a gift and not a loan.

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JoelT September 26, 2012 at 6:36 PM

Cheers Rob, I’ll look to your suggestions.

As it stands, it seems that I’ll need the following: a bank issued statement that has been stamped along with a signed letter from my parents’ contribution declaring that the money is not a loan. Both of these, I now have.

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Medz September 26, 2012 at 11:50 PM

So does this mean you should not have any loan/ debt before going out of your country???

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AdventureRob September 28, 2012 at 3:56 PM

That is not taken into account when it comes to visa applications. But you can’t use loan money (same with showing a credit card limit) to show you have enough to live on, you should show actual money that is yours.

As a personal opinion though, I’d feel more comfortable going abroad not having any debts :-)

Patrick C October 2, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Hi,

I am in Hongkong right now. I have been teaching English in China for the last 2 years.

I am a German and now I wonder, if I really need to fly back to germany to apply for the working holiday visa??

can i somehow do this from hongkong or from china?

do you have any idea?

I was grateful for any help,

thanks a lot,

Patrick

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AdventureRob October 3, 2012 at 2:09 PM

I’m pretty sure you need to go back to Germany in order to get the working holiday visa. I know it’s not good news as it’s in the opposite direction (I needed to get back from Australia myself which is even further!) but it’s what the requirement is the last time I looked.

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Nic October 9, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Hi Rob,

I’m 19 and I am considering going to Japan on working holiday next year. However, I do not have a degree yet and I am wondering what kind of work would be obtainable by someone such as myself? Would a private language school hire me? Or do they prefer people older?
I understand no work in the entertainment industry is allowed, but does this include small bars too?

Thank you very much.

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AdventureRob October 9, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Hi Nic,

Your age is not really a problem, most language schools will have more of an issue with the visa being a temporary (non-renewable) 1 year one, so you can’t renew unless you get married or a degree over that time (which is required for a work visa), both of which are long shots that companies don’t like to rely on!

The degree is usually asked for in most jobs in Japan (funnily enough the subject is irrelevant), but this is mostly to attract people with work visas, or who can obtain one easily. There are a few jobs about which are a bit more open and aimed at working holiday people, that’s where you’ll want to aim for as they will be prepared and welcoming for someone in your situation.

Not sure about the bar work and visa, it’s a bit of a grey area but you should be OK as long as it’s serving drinks and not dancing for customers. I think the idea is to ward off people who are there for high money and a short time without the cultural exchange, like strippers, artist performers, sports people, etc who would have to get a more specific entertainment visa.

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Tom October 15, 2012 at 9:17 PM

Hey Rob,

Thanks for posting this and answering all the questions! I have my own question about working; the embassy website says;

‘Applicants will not be able to engage themselves in activities, which are considered to go against the policies of the Working Holiday Scheme such as working at businesses, which may affect public morals.’

To be honest I don’t understand what this means. I’m an engineer in the UK, would I be allowed to go to Japan on a working holiday visa and find an engineering job?

Thanks in advance!

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AdventureRob October 19, 2012 at 9:24 AM

Howdy Tom,

An engineer is not against public morals, the idea is to not allow strippers and prostitutes in on a working holiday visa.

You’ll find it difficult to get a engineering job without a good grasp of Japanese though – just a heads up. 500 Kanji and JLPT level N3 would be a minimum I suspect in most cases.

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Sophie October 22, 2012 at 2:45 PM

Hi Rob,

I’ve got myself a Japanese WHV, heading out in Nov. Just wondering if you need to present your proof of funds again when you enter Japan, as I did when I entered Canada for my WHV?

Cheers,

Sophie

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AdventureRob October 23, 2012 at 1:24 AM

Hi Sophie,

I didn’t know that about the Canadian WHV. It’s not needed for Japan, once the visa is granted, that’s the end of the paperwork when it comes to getting in the country mostly.

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Sophie October 23, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Ah good stuff! Cheers for getting back to me. Yeah Canada is super strict about letting you in. I know you said paperwork is mostly done, but how about a return flight? Are they fussed about seeing that when you land, or is that in the past also?

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scott grant November 11, 2012 at 11:13 PM

hi this has helped me alot im currently bing processed by a hotel/ resort called british hills in japan i would like abit of help in what too write on my visa app? many thanks scott

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AdventureRob November 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Hi Scott,

I worked at BH so know quite a bit about the place, I’ve helped a few people get their visa’s too who went on to work there. My advice is the same as this article still. Keep it vague, and don’t mention that you’ve already got work. Just you plan to visit 4-5 areas (Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukushima, and Hiroshima as examples) and want to find work in 2 of them. Pad it out a bit more but don’t go over a page, that’s all they want to hear really.

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Daniel Hayes November 14, 2012 at 7:39 PM

I am looking to apply for a working holiday visa for japan and hopefully work while I am there.

The problem is I know absolutely no Japanese! Presumably this will greatly impact my chances of getting a traditionally foreign job such as working at a ski resort etc..

Did you know any Japanese when you went, and if not what kind of jobs could you be expected to get? I( don’t have a degree)

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AdventureRob November 15, 2012 at 7:51 AM

Hi Daniel,

I knew no Japanese before going, and still don’t know much (might need to make a plan about fixing that soon). Does it impact your job chances? Of course. But the usual working holiday jobs expect this and account for it. So Ski resorts, beach resorts, English teaching, acting, modelling, etc don’t expect some high level Japanese, just a couple of phrases will get you far though.

The jobs I mentioned above are what you can realistically expect to get/aim for. The degree is important for a working visa (it’s essential), but as you have a working holiday visa it’s not as necessary, even jobs advertising that it is (it’s for the working visa) don’t always need it. Do a google search for working holiday jobs for some ideas. British Hills is a good start for a lot of people too as they can offer a job before going over.

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Daniel November 19, 2012 at 12:09 AM

When in Japan, I’m thinking about doing some camping in between hostel stays; to save money as a poor student looking for a job. Do you think this is something I should mention or not?

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AdventureRob November 19, 2012 at 9:27 AM

I’ve not come across that before so don’t know how they’d react. But they do like things vague so for that reason I wouldn’t mention it. I didn’t mention any accommodation names, just spending xx months in Tokyo/Kyoto, etc.

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James Herd November 15, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Hi Rob

This article has been a big help.

I’m currently getting things together to apply for a WHV next week but hit a snag with the ‘guarantor or reference in Japan’ section. I don’t know anyone in Japan.

Is this part of the paperwork a necessity? And if so is it possible to give someone outside Japan as a reference instead?

Thanks!

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AdventureRob November 16, 2012 at 3:44 AM

Hi James,

From memory I don’t think the guarantor in Japan is required for the WHV. The idea of the visa is cultural exchange so you wouldn’t usually know someone anyway. It’s required for other visas like the working visa and spouse visa, so make sure you have the correct forms.

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James Herd November 16, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Hi Rob

Thanks for the reply. Yes I thought the same but these are definitely the correct forms (from the UK embassy website). Someone else has informed me that you can just put an N/A in that section if necessary so I guess it’s not a required field.

Thanks for the help!

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AdventureRob November 18, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Good to hear it! I guessed there was common forms amongst them all.

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Dave November 20, 2012 at 3:59 AM

Hi, great informative post. Thanks.

I’m planning on going out to Japan in April on the working holiday. Am I likely to get the visa, or will the 1000 have gone by then? Anyone know of any cases of people being turned down as a result of all the visas being issued?

Also if anyone’s got time, what are the chances of getting a job (basically in anything anywhere but ideally teaching or something in Tokyo, Osaka.)? I got a degree and 2 years teaching in Korea.

I did a working holiday in Oz couple of years back, couldn’t find a job anywhere, wound up just blowing all the cash I’d spent a year saving and heading home potless after 3 months. Kinda keen to avoid a similar fate!

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AdventureRob November 20, 2012 at 6:54 AM

I’ve not actually heard of people not getting them to be honest. But then I have no idea on the numbers who actually go from each country either, so my guess is as good as yours.

The degree is useful, but it’s more of a requirement for a working visa. You’re actually at quite an advantage if you find a job you like though, as you could continue to do it after the working holiday visa expires providing the company is willing to sponsor you.

Jobs are difficult to get at the moment though. A few hundred applicants per role, and the WHV is not always a preferred visa to have (many companies will advertise the job as requiring a ‘proper’ visa which isn’t the WHV as it can’t be extended for most people. Your 2 years experience in Korea will be very handy though, you’ll certainly get interviews from that alone.

I have a similar tale from Australia unfortunately too although as I had a camper van I stretched it out to 10 months due to no accommodation cost, I could only get part time jobs there so headed home after rather than continue my travels so I know the feeling!

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Dave November 20, 2012 at 7:36 AM

Thanks, good info.

wow several hundred to a job, that’s crazy.

is that just for full times or is that for everything – Saturday work, the odd private on a weeknight, anything. I’ve seen a bunch of adds for part times on craig’s list and other websites,so I figured I’d get a job no bother.

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AdventureRob November 22, 2012 at 8:15 AM

That’s mostly for the usual teaching positions.

There isn’t much private/weeknight work that I’ve noticed.

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Craig December 4, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Hi Rob,

Firstly, really imformative post. Thank you for providing us all with this!

I am looking to apply for a Japanese WHV in December, and have a few queries that I´m hoping you can help me with. I have a feeling this could be long, apologies in advance….

– The time I am applying. Do you know if there have been more applications in the UK since the earthquake or whether there has been a decrease? If the application period rund from September to September. Do you think I will have a good chance of getting one in December?

– Are there any criteria for the visa in terms of how long you have been in your country for before applying? It doesn´t mention anything on the embassy site, but are they likely to question that? Reason being is that I have been travelling and working in Australia for the past 2 years nearly, and plan to apply for the Japanese Visa within a couple of days of arriving to London. Do you forsee any issues with this?

– Funds. I will have a few cheques cleared through my account before I apply from Australian Taxback, super Annuation etc. Which will be more than enough money for the application. However, when you mention they may ask for statements from my bank and proof of the validity of the financial ´dump´in my account. Will I need to bring all this with me on my application? or will I need to supply this information on their request? i want to be prepared!

– Itinerary. I have began writing this out, and know in quite a lot of detail where I want to visit and when. When writing this itinerary, do I need to do a full year itinerary and how detailed does it need to be? In some of the comments above, it is mentioned that they don´t want too much detail as the point of the WHV is to figure that out as you go. So for the itinerary, do I need to mention every single town or city that I go to? Or for each 2-4 month period can i just mention the region or area and mention a few places I want to visit, how (mode of transport for example) and why? Literally, a paragraph for each 2-4 month period or a detailed breakdown of each town, how long in each town, how I will get there, why I want to go there etc.

– Intinery (number 2). I plan to visit South Korea before going to Japan and so will plan to arrive in Fukuoka. Do you think it will generally be ok to mention this and start my itinerary like this? Or will they question this?

– I made a trip to Japan for a month in 2010 (when the earthquake hit) so have visited a lot of places already. In my application, do you think it is ok to mention this? Or do you think it will hinder my chances of getting the visa? As I have already been and want to come again, i dont want them to think that I am trying to stay or something…

– On my last trip to Japan, In Tokyo, I met a woman who had her own teaching school and said I could have a job. i have been in touch with her since and she has said that I can have a job when I come to Tokyo. Also when I was in Australia, I had contacts for Web Design jobs in Japan. Should I mention this in my application or maybe leave this out and just mention that I will find teaching work when in Tokyo? Is it better to not mention finding work in your chosen career as well? As that could give the impression that you are trying to stay in Japan.

As you can tell. I am probably over-worrying here! When i visited Japan last year, i loved it and have been keen to go back since. So I really want to get a Visa. Panicking a bit I think.

Hope you can help me out with the above, and thanks again!

Craig

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AdventureRob December 5, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Hi Craig,

Firstly if it isn’t mentioned on this post, or on the official Japanese government website, don’t worry about it. It’s probably not important.

I don’t know about the statistics on people applying for WHV’s in Japan, I’m not sure they are even published. The figures I mentioned are official but I prefer to look at them as general guidelines.

Don’t see any issue with being in your home country for only a few days in order to get the visa. It’s them causing this pain if they need an explanation!

They might ask you to clarify the financial dumps. If you got a letter confirming your taxback, then that’s what they’d want to see. Basically confirmation the money is yours and not a loan of some sort. They usually check when you arrive, and it will be questioned then, but they could always phone later and ask for clarification/proof. If you have it, there is no harm in bringing it along with you, just don’t hand it over unless asked.

Keep the Itinerary short and sweet. I’m going to Tokyo, I will stay there for 2 months, try to find a job, and visit Akihabara. Then I will go to Kyoto to chill with zen buddhists for a month, then I’ll go to Hiroshima to etc etc. A little more fleshed out than that, but you don’t need much more than a paragraph to explain each part of your journey, they don’t need to know your method of transport there.

There is no need to mention what you’re doing before going to Japan, they don’t care about this.

You need to submit your passport so they will see you’ve been before (assuming you haven’t got a new passport). I can’t see it harming your application. Just word it as ‘I visited Japan in 2010 as a tourist and loved the country so much I want to spend a longer period of time there’.

Don’t mention anything to do with job offers before you go, this will prevent you from getting a WHV, they’d rather you get a working visa if that is the situation. Keep it vague, just ‘finding work in xxx’ rather than ‘this specific job from this specific place in this specific area’. Japanese people love indirect communication anyway!

Hope that helps.

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Craig December 5, 2012 at 7:26 PM

Hey Rob,

You’re a legend, thanks for your help.

I actually ended up calling the Embassy to ask a few questions which pretty much gave me the same answers you have.

When asking about the medical certificate, the Embassy stated that you don’t need to provide a certificate as such. You just need to be in good health and if you know of any illness’ that could affect your time in Japan, they need be made aware. In summary they said that if they were to question your health, your GP should be able to state that your good and healthy.

In terms of the financial dumps, they said exactly what you said as well. They want a letter or something from the company I got my taxback with so they can verify that the money is mine and that it has come from the source that I mentioned. So this I am sorting out now.

Again, with the itinerary, they mentioned that you don’t need to put any budgets, accommodation or anything in there. They want it concise and to the point. They suggested breaking the itinerary into sub periods of 3 months or so and write no more than a paragraph giving detail of where I will be based, what I hope to do for work and what I will do there. They want this information purely to identify people who are genuinely interested in Japan and not just getting a visa for the sake of it. I think I may even need to shorten mine a bit now!

The only conflict between what you have mentioned and the Embassy is regarding work. I mentioned that I made a contact in Tokyo when I was there last time and that I may be able to get work while in Tokyo. They said I can mention that if I want. So I may do that. But I guess they are not going to say ‘don’t put that in or you won’t get the visa’ . So I will keep that very vague I think.

Overall, with your help and the call with the Embassy, I feel a lot more comfortable completing my application. So thanks again Rob, you’ve been a fantastic help.

Wish me luck with my application!

Craig

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AdventureRob December 6, 2012 at 5:12 AM

That’s good to hear Craig, don’t sweat it too much!

Good luck with the application, saying you have a contact which may help get you work is good, saying you already have work (from what I understand and have seen) is not so good. I was strongly advised (by a company that employed me before I went) to not write that.

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Adam December 5, 2012 at 11:36 PM

Hello Rob, have been reading through everyones questions for a while now!! You have done a great job answering them all haha
I plan to apply for a WHV for April next year.

I have a friend in Japan who wants me to work with him. I shall get his companies address etc.. Is it a good idea to take this with me to the embassy or just fill out my application form with this info?

What will they be looking for in my employer?
I will get my friend to write a letter confirming my placement at his work.

One other query. After the visa has ran out as you mentioned, and i have returned home. Can i apply for another WHV and start again or is it a once and only opportunity with a WHV, as i’m sure as hell i will wan’t to go back asap :D

Kind regards
Adam.

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AdventureRob December 6, 2012 at 5:27 AM

Hi Adam,

For a working holiday visa, I’d advise against stating a company you intend to work for, it’s a reason for them to reject your application, if you are going to work then you should be getting a work visa in their eyes.

The working holiday visa is intended for a cultural exchange and for young people to spend a long period of time getting to know the country via travel and work.

If you have a bachelor degree, then it sounds like you’d be better off going for a work visa and getting the company to sponsor you (they sponsor the visa basically – a WHV is sponsoring yourself).

You cannot get another WHV they are a one off for all countries involved. Depending on where you are from you may renew it to extend your stay. This is applicable to Australians and Canadians, who start with a 6 month visa if I recall correctly, and can renew twice for a maximum of 18 months. UK citizens get one visa for 12 months and it is not renewable, so use wisely!

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MR December 6, 2012 at 4:53 AM

I was panicking a bit too before I went but after I had got everything ready it was 5 minutes in the embassy, they gave me a sticker for the week after and I went back and got the visa. It was really easy. Hazarding a guess I’d say the most importnat thing is they can see you have the money for the trip cos it is expensive here.

Im here now, and didnt realise beforehand that a working holiday visa means you have to pay 20% tax, or so I have been told. Is this true? Im gettin my visa changed now anyway.

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AdventureRob December 6, 2012 at 5:31 AM

Yes, people really don’t need more than what I’ve written in this article still as far as I know.

I believe WHV have to pay 20% tax, as it’s classed as a emergency tax of some sort (this is for your work/income – nothing else) but I also believe you can claim it back after, this is something I’ve not looked into and haven’t done myself though so I can’t advise on it. You should get back whatever percentage to bring you down to the normal Japanese rate which I think is 7% now, but going up to 12% over the next 2 years.

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Jack December 6, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Hi there, I thinking to apply the WHV to japan , and my worries is the ages limit. On the embassy website it say between 18 – 30yo. I’m 30yo now until jun 2013, and my question is would that be ok if I apply the visa just a couple month before jun 2013 before I turn 31? Will it affect their decision at all?

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AdventureRob December 8, 2012 at 2:35 AM

Technically it should not affect their decision and it should be fine. If you are worried you can apply a bit earlier as the visa is valid for a year after it is granted so you don’t have to worry about getting rejected and only having a month left to get it.

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Rebecca December 15, 2012 at 7:10 PM

this is all so incredibly helpful! I have a few questions that may be rather obvious but I’m worrying. My partner (unmarried) is applying for teaching jobs in Japan (most of them lasting a year) and I am looking into using the working holiday visa as a way to be able to see him as well as Japan. His position will supply him with an apartment but I was wondering if with the working holiday visa if i’m legally allowed to rent a place or even be on a tenancy agreement?

Also considering it is a “working” holiday visa, is having a work position set up necessary?is it even compulsory to detail on my itinerey some form of planning to work?

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AdventureRob December 17, 2012 at 3:40 AM

With a working holiday, there is no restrictions on renting a place, we’ve all got to stay somewhere, right? :-)
A lot of landlords won’t want to deal with foreigners though, mostly due to a language barrier, but foreigners have a reputation for not keeping the peace expected in Japan (loud music, parties, etc) so don’t take them on in fear of upsetting neighbour clients. If the language barrier isn’t there then you have a few more options.

A working positions are not necessary. The main purpose of working holiday visa is cultural exchange. That’s why it’s offered to young people who are more likely to travel around on the cheap, take short contract work, and see as many places and people as possible over a decent time period. If you intend not to work and have the money to sustain yourself for a year in Japan, then they would expect you to get a common tourist visa rather than the one-off and exclusive working holiday visa. I don’t know if it’s compulsory to say you plan to find work, but it shows you understand the spirit of the working holiday visa and that Japan is not a cheap country.

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Lee January 12, 2013 at 1:47 AM

Hi Rob, thank you so much for all this info, it’s invaluable!

I’m about to start writing the itinerary for my WHV, and hopefully a decent amount of time of my trip will hopefully be spent volunteering on Work Away projects where the organiser provides accommodation and food in exchange for working a few hours a day…I was wondering whether you think I should mention this as a good way of learning about Japanese culture, or whether the government might consider these projects covered by a tourist visa and reject my application?

Many thanks for your advice!

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AdventureRob January 12, 2013 at 2:06 AM

That sounds like a great thing to put on a WHV itinerary to me. Cultural exchange is the main reason for the WHV so I can’t see that having a negative affect on your application. Good luck!

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Adam January 24, 2013 at 10:18 AM

hey there rob!

thanks for the guide, it was very helpful. i am also thinking about applying for the working holiday visa and upon reading the application form i noticed that there is a section on the second page requests for a “Guarantor or refer from Japan” and “inviter inJapan

is this a requirement or can i leave this section blank?

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AdventureRob January 25, 2013 at 3:55 AM

It should be left blank for the working holiday visa I believe.

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Adam January 24, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Ohh and also there is a section for “names and addresses of hotels or persons with whom aplicant intends to stay” and “name of airline.”

i havent bought a flight ticket yet because i intend to go in summer and i have sufficiant funds in my bank account. should i also leave these blank?

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AdventureRob January 25, 2013 at 3:57 AM

You can just make it up. I think I researched a hotel in Tokyo and put their address down. They don’t tend to check anything once you’re in the country.

As for the airline. Again, if you haven’t got a ticket just put the most likely carrier you’re going to go with. I always went with Alitalia as they were significantly cheaper than most other airlines from the UK and have decent enough food on board.

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Craig January 28, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Hey Rob,

I got my Japanese WHV no problem! Can’t wait to go. Exciting times!

I’m just looking into Travel Insurance for my trip…I am doing a month in S.Korea before getting to Japan, and will be travelling around Japan for a month or so too before getting to Tokyo and doing some work.

My question is, what did you do for travel insurance when you were there? Did you get insurance for the whole year of your WHV? Or are there insurance opportunities with companies that you are working for? I will definitely be getting insurance for my travelling stint, but not sure what insurance I will need when I get to Tokyo.

I’m a Web Designer and am hoping to get work in Tokyo for a Digital Agency. Is it likely that I wil be able to get some kind of insurance (be it medical etc) with them?

Thanks in advance!
Craig

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AdventureRob January 30, 2013 at 3:02 AM

I think I took out a basic health insurance policy from the UK. But the company I worked for provided Japanese national health insurance which would have been better if things were sour anyway. This insurance was invalid once I left my job though.

I took a policy out with Virgin Insurance/money which was pretty cheap, around £25 for the year I think. It won’t cover all things like snowboarding though, so be sure to read the small print if you plan to be active there.

You can get national health insurance on a WHV I believe, although don’t quote me on that. The fee varies depending on where you get it. I pay 4200yen a month now for 8 months a year which covers me for 12 months. You need to do this at a city ward office (same place you need to register once you get settled in Japan with an address).

It is possible you will get insurance from the company but I wouldn’t say likely. It depends on the company mostly. If you work more than 30 hours a week they have to provide health insurance by law. Many jobs for foreigners now are listed at 29.5 hours for this reason so they can get around it, especially in the English teaching market.

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Russ January 29, 2013 at 5:30 AM

Just changed my whv to a humanities visa, easy enough, got a new alien card but the woman said I didnt need a new stamp in my passport. Anyone know about this?

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Craig January 29, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Hey Russ,

Congratulations on getting your humanities visa! Can I ask how many years did you get?

Also, how easy was it to obtain the humanities visa? Did you, at the time of application, have a full time employment contract? Or were you freelancing/PT?

Did you have to ask your employer to sponsor you? Or is having an employment contract enough?

I’d love to stay in Japan longer than my original year with WHV and thinking what the best route is. I can try getting work in my field, however, it might be easier to get sponsored through English Teaching Schools.

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Russ January 29, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Yeah to get this visa you need a sponsor (although you arent tied to them per se). It was relatively straightforward, I did have to take my full employment contract with me. Not sure on all the ins and outs of it but teaching is probably the easiest way to do it

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Russ January 30, 2013 at 3:51 AM

I looked it up and apparently one of the ideas of these new cards is that you dont need to get a new stamp but a new card. The stamp is gor when you come into the country apparently. Well Ill go along with this but yeah, could be confusing. They gave me a new card with new expiration date etc on it

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AdventureRob February 1, 2013 at 3:12 PM

From what I know if you have the resident card (not sure how other visa cards work, but it sounds like you have) then that replaces the need to carry around your passport everywhere too (which is a requirement for people on a tourist visa).

AdventureRob January 30, 2013 at 3:05 AM

I’m not 100% sure, but I would have thought you needed a new visa page which states the terms of your visa (most importantly is the expiry date, your new visa should be longer than when your WHV ended). If a policeman wants to inspect your passport (I’ve had that done once to me), and you’ve got an out of date WHV displayed but no humanities visa, then red flags will probably be raised.

I’ve not changed my visa like that before though so I don’t know for sure. I’ve always left the country before changing visa.
AdventureRob´s latest blogpost – Nikko, Japan

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