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  • Turning a tourist visa into a work visa

    This is one of those questions asked a million times, I'm sure, but despite googling and searching forums for a while, nothing matching my exact situation has popped up.

    I am in the US right now. I have been talking with a Japanese company about an internship, which is pretty much a done deal at this point, and they are working on getting a work visa for me. However, as it is a time-consuming process, and the time I have before the next hiring season is dwindling, time is of the essence. So they suggested that I come on a tourist visa, and while undergoing training for the internship, the work visa would be prepared. They offer housing where I can stay, too (they've told me many times that it's only big enough for sleeping, though). With the internship finished by around March next year, I am planning to enter into an actual job in Japan (which I have yet to find, one reason for my haste) in April.
    (More notes:
    I know the company is legitimate. I found it through a friend-of-a-friend sort of connection.
    Living expenses will be backed up by my parents in the low-income internship period.)

    So, on to my questions:

    1) Do I have to buy a round-trip ticket to Japan? I worry because I went with a one-way ticket for a year studying abroad there, and nearly got stopped then (even though I had the student visa). I contacted an airline about it, and they said I either needed to get a round-trip or a follow-up destination. I wouldn't mind going to South Korea for a bit in March, I suppose...

    2) On the entry form into Japan, would I put the company's housing as the place that I will stay? I was thinking I could just say I'll be staying at a friend's house (I know people there) or different hotels. I'm just worried about the gray area here where I'll be doing stuff (mostly training) at the company while on a tourist visa.

    3) Have I overlooked something obvious?

    Thank you for your time.

  • #2
    I guess it is not legal to work without a working visa so it is doubtful why your company suggested you come as a tourist visa.

    Comment


    • #3
      If you are not being paid during training I don't see that there would be a problem.

      If you are being paid before you get your visa changed you will be in trouble.

      Although on paper it is technically illegal to even be looking for a job while in Japan on a tourist visa, the mere fact that you can change from tourist to working status suggests that the government is looking the other way insofar that you are not recieving renumeration while on tourist status.

      I would be weary about them being so keen on this course of action however. Why would they not just sponsor you to come over? Sounds a bit fishy to me.

      Be careful. Just because a friend of a friend or whatever introduces you, does not guarantee that you will not run into problems especially with regard to working conditions. The average Japanese has much different standards with regard to working conditions and you may find yourself in a disadvantageous position.

      Comment


      • #4
        Get a trainee/internship visa, and you are allowed to accept money that covers your expenses. Then you will also have no problems with a round-trip or one-way ticket. Otherwise, the airline will see you have no round-trip ticket and not let you board because you have nothing other than tourist status in hand (passport), and it is illegal for them to let you go (they can be fined $5000).

        Visa info
        http://www.japaneselawtranslation.go...04&re=01&new=1
        http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/te.../Table3-1.html
        http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/te...hyorui/01.html

        Application form
        http://www.moj.go.jp/content/000052353.pdf

        Changing your status later is straightforward.
        Last edited by Glenski; 2012-06-19, 07:05 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by tomtucker View Post
          If you are not being paid during training I don't see that there would be a problem.

          If you are being paid before you get your visa changed you will be in trouble.

          Although on paper it is technically illegal to even be looking for a job while in Japan on a tourist visa, the mere fact that you can change from tourist to working status suggests that the government is looking the other way insofar that you are not recieving renumeration while on tourist status.

          I would be weary about them being so keen on this course of action however. Why would they not just sponsor you to come over? Sounds a bit fishy to me.

          Be careful. Just because a friend of a friend or whatever introduces you, does not guarantee that you will not run into problems especially with regard to working conditions. The average Japanese has much different standards with regard to working conditions and you may find yourself in a disadvantageous position.
          Yeah, I forgot to mention that I wouldn't be paid during that time. That part of it isn't an issue right now.
          I didn't know the bit about searching for a job while on a tourist visa. Is attending a career fair acceptable?
          As for the tourist visa route, that came up as a result of the time constraints (mostly a result of my hastiness). They are working on getting a work visa for me, but it appears that there are a few hurdles, what with it being an internship after college graduation.
          Thanks for the advice.

          Glenski - thanks for the links and info. These will come in handy.

          I think I'll be going with a round trip ticket, and then just extend the return date to a time I'd want to return anyway.
          Thanks for the help!

          Comment


          • #6
            It's no problem to gain work permission once you're here as a tourist, it's essentially the same forms and such required that your company uses to apply for the CoE. However CoE is used for getting work visas from outside Japan. Within Japan it's a "Change of Status of Residence." Different application so talk to your internship company about it. Your new company in March can assist with changing status of residence yet again, if required.

            To avoid problems at immigration, buy a one-way plane ticket on to Korea or somewhere nearby, and make sure it's one you can easily cancel once your permission goes through. Will probably cost you a few thousand yen in cancellation fees but better than actually having to make a "visa run."

            Personally I did my internship on a tourist visa as well.
            Last edited by zmcnulty; 2012-06-19, 01:47 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              quote:

              "So they suggested that I come on a tourist visa, and while undergoing training for the internship, the work visa would be prepared. They offer housing where I can stay, too (they've told me many times that it's only big enough for sleeping, though). With the internship finished by around March next year, I am planning to enter into an actual job in Japan (which I have yet to find, one reason for my haste) in April. "


              did i read that wrong or do you get a "work visa" without working for the company in the end? if so that is very kind of them...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by gorden View Post
                quote:

                "So they suggested that I come on a tourist visa, and while undergoing training for the internship, the work visa would be prepared. They offer housing where I can stay, too (they've told me many times that it's only big enough for sleeping, though). With the internship finished by around March next year, I am planning to enter into an actual job in Japan (which I have yet to find, one reason for my haste) in April. "


                did i read that wrong or do you get a "work visa" without working for the company in the end? if so that is very kind of them...
                Hehe, yes, I believe you misinterpreted it. Both the actual work and the work visa will begin in September or thereabouts.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by zmcnulty View Post
                  It's no problem to gain work permission once you're here as a tourist, it's essentially the same forms and such required that your company uses to apply for the CoE. However CoE is used for getting work visas from outside Japan. Within Japan it's a "Change of Status of Residence." Different application so talk to your internship company about it. Your new company in March can assist with changing status of residence yet again, if required.

                  To avoid problems at immigration, buy a one-way plane ticket on to Korea or somewhere nearby, and make sure it's one you can easily cancel once your permission goes through. Will probably cost you a few thousand yen in cancellation fees but better than actually having to make a "visa run."

                  Personally I did my internship on a tourist visa as well.
                  Good to hear that I'm not the only one to have ever tread upon this gray area.
                  Regarding the plane ticket you mentioned, however, wouldn't I run into the same issue I would have in Japan, but with Korea? That is, I won't have a ticket back home set up, so they'd have reason to hold me back.
                  Thanks for the post. I know I shouldn't be expecting lollipops and rainbows along this path to working in Japan, but I was getting bogged down with more and more concerns with each post up until this one.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by usmeOMy View Post
                    However, as it is a time-consuming process, and the time I have before the next hiring season is dwindling, time is of the essence. So they suggested that I come on a tourist visa, and while undergoing training for the internship, the work visa would be prepared. They offer housing where I can stay, too (they've told me many times that it's only big enough for sleeping, though). With the internship finished by around March next year, I am planning to enter into an actual job in Japan (which I have yet to find, one reason for my haste) in April.
                    (More notes:
                    I know the company is legitimate. I found it through a friend-of-a-friend sort of connection.
                    Living expenses will be backed up by my parents in the low-income internship period.)
                    Your situation is indeed unique. As I understand it, you will enter a 'three-phase process'

                    1. Coming on a tourist visa and working for free from July-September
                    This is fine, keep in mind that you cannot receive cash for your work, but can be reimbursed, such as an apartment, commuter pass or your flight ticket. As you will enter as a tourist, all regulations will apply, such as a maximum 90-day stay, proof of funds, return ticket, etc. The address is not important, I'd rather give the friend's address.

                    2. Working on a 'Internship' Visa from October to February
                    So the company will apparently provide you with this. Does this mean they pay at least some salary or is their attitude 'we don't pay interns'.

                    3. Becoming a 'full-term freshman' employee in March 2013.

                    Generally, this sounds reasonable, but it looks that the company is extremely bureaucratic and skimpy. It shows, that the company is not really inclined to 'pay for talent' or makes and exception. When in Japan, I'd be looking around for jobs at foreign companies who should treat you much better.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by usmeOMy View Post
                      T
                      1) Do I have to buy a round-trip ticket to Japan? I worry because I went with a one-way ticket for a year studying abroad there, and nearly got stopped then (even though I had the student visa). I contacted an airline about it, and they said I either needed to get a round-trip or a follow-up destination. I wouldn't mind going to South Korea for a bit in March, I suppose...
                      .
                      A student visa is a resident visa and you have a particular purpose in Japan as well as a sponsor or guarantor who will make sure you leave. A tourist visa does not such thing, you are there for sightseeing.

                      The airline will not let you board the plane with a one way ticket if you are on a one way ticket.

                      I expect to enter Korea you will need a ticket out of the country if you have a tourist visa.



                      did i read that wrong or do you get a "work visa" without working for the company in the end? if so that is very kind of them...
                      If you are an intern you are working for free and not an employee, but a trainee.

                      To get a work visa you need to get your current employer or a future employer (who pays your wages) to sponsor your visa. No sponsor, no work visa.
                      Last edited by KansaiBen; 2012-06-20, 10:45 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by usmeOMy View Post
                        Good to hear that I'm not the only one to have ever tread upon this gray area.
                        Regarding the plane ticket you mentioned, however, wouldn't I run into the same issue I would have in Japan, but with Korea? That is, I won't have a ticket back home set up, so they'd have reason to hold me back.
                        Thanks for the post. I know I shouldn't be expecting lollipops and rainbows along this path to working in Japan, but I was getting bogged down with more and more concerns with each post up until this one.
                        No, the point is that you probably won't even be flying to Korea. The purpose of buying the plane ticket is only to show you have outbound travel from Japan, since airlines and immigration may care.

                        So you would:
                        1) Buy one-way ticket to Japan
                        2) Buy one-way ticket to Korea
                        3) When boarding plane #1 you may be asked about your return ticket, instead show ticket #2.
                        4) When entering Japan you may be asked at immigration about your return ticket, instead show ticket #2.
                        5) Gain your work/stay permission in Japan, do Change of Status of Residence
                        6) Cancel ticket #2

                        This plan however will depend on the timing. If gaining your work permission takes longer than 90 days from your initial arrival (since that's the maximum duration a tourist can stay) you may find yourself having to actually use ticket #2, then buying & using ticket #3 to return to Japan.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If you are an intern you are working for free and not an employee, but a trainee.

                          To get a work visa you need to get your current employer or a future employer (who pays your wages) to sponsor your visa. No sponsor, no work visa.[/QUOTE]




                          yes, thats why i wondered. it just sounded like :

                          1. tourist visa
                          2. working permission given by current sponsor
                          3. say goobye to the company after 6 or 7 month

                          was just me i guess...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by gorden View Post
                            1. tourist visa
                            2. working permission given by current sponsor
                            3. say goobye to the company after 6 or 7 month

                            was just me i guess...
                            working permission is not given by the employer it's given by immigration. You can not do ANY paid employment on a tourist visa. You can work as a trainee, intern, essentially a student of the companies business. You can not really do any work for them though.

                            As employer is not sponsoring a tourist visa you can leave and quit whenever you want, or once you find a sponsor for your visa.

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