US

Apr 22 2019

Online Visa Application System Open for Registration

Japan

At a Glance

  • The Immigration Services Agency has opened the registration period for its new online visa application system. The system will be available for application submission starting July 25, 2019.
  • The system will be available for visa renewals for Business Manager visas, Intracompany Transfer visas, Engineer/Specialist/International Services visas, Highly-Skilled Professional visas and Skilled Labor visas; re-entry permits and part-time work permits (for Dependent visa holders) filed together with the renewal of the above visa types; and most Dependent visa renewal applications.
  • The online system is expected to streamline the visa application process since it will eliminate the need to wait at the Regional Immigration Services Bureau (local branch of the Immigration Services Agency) to submit supporting documents.

The situation

The Immigration Services Agency (previously known as the Japan Immigration Bureau) has opened the registration period for its new online visa application system. The system will be available for application submission starting July 25, 2019.

Until July 25, 2019, visa applicants or their representatives must appear at the Immigration Services Agency or Regional Immigration Services Bureau to file their applications.

A closer look

  • Eligible visa types. The system will be available for the below types of visa applications for registered companies:
    • Visa renewals for Business Manager visas, Intracompany Transfer visas, Engineer/Specialist/International Services visas, Highly-Skilled Professional visas and Skilled Labor visas;
    • Re-entry permit (filed together with renewal applications for designated visa types);
    • Part-time work permit (filed together with renewal applications for designated visa types); and
    • Dependent visa renewals.
  • Eligibility requirements. The system will be open to designated employees of registered companies and designated lawyers certified by the Immigration Services Agency or Regional Immigration Services Bureau. The company, its directors and board members, and the designated representatives must have fulfilled their government notification duties and have no record of immigration and labor offences in the last five years. The company must have sponsored foreign employees over the past three years.
  • Registration process. The employer (via a designated employee or the designated lawyer) must register for an account at the Regional Immigration Services Bureau with the required documents in person. Some of the required documents include a list of foreign employees belonging to the company.
  • Certificate of Eligibility (COE). The new online filing system is not open to COE applications at this time. This may be possible in the future.
  • Other system details.
    • Users can access the system 24 hours per day, but must be in Japan when using it.
    • Users can check their application status online.
    • There is no cost for the use of the online system.
    • The processing times for online submissions remain the same as current processing times for similar applications submitted manually.
    • Visa renewal applications can be filed at the earliest three months before the expiration date and at the latest the day before the expiration date.

 

Impact

The online system is meant to streamline the visa renewal application process and reduce lengthy wait times at the Regional Immigration Services Bureau. Applicants should expect some processing delays, especially during the initial rollout.

Background

  • Other developments. This highly-anticipated system was introduced in conjunction with two new visa types for semi-skilled foreign workers, available since April 1, 2019.
  • Growth of online immigration application systems. Many countries in the last year have implemented online immigration application systems. Below is map showing where such systems are available:

 

Looking ahead

Though registration for the online system is currently limited to certain types of applications and select companies, Fragomen expects the system to be improved and made available to more types of Japanese immigration applications. Fragomen will report on further system expansions.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to APCCInitiations@fragomen.com.