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Tourist to Working Visa - do I have to leave and re-enter?

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  • Tourist to Working Visa - do I have to leave and re-enter?

    Hi Everybody,
    I'm guessing this question has undoubtedly been answered before but I'm haven't found it in the archives (perhaps I'm daft). Anyway - I'm a US citizen currently in Japan on a tourist visa. Before I left for Japan there had been paperwork done so I could get a Certificate of Eligibility (I'm going to be working for a school in April on a work visa - no, I'm currently not working), but due to the scheduling necessities I was told to come in advance to Japan before my Certificate of Eligibility would be ready. This COE will be probably ready soon, but the question I had was-
    In order to switch from my tourist visa to a work visa, do I have to leave the country and head back to the US to obtain the proper visa/change residency status at a Japanese consulate? Or can I stay in Japan?

    If anybody can answer this (or just link me to the answer), it would be greatly appreciated and solve a lot of head-scratching for me...

    Thank you!

  • #2
    Originally posted by dodonpadodonpa58 View Post
    In order to switch from my tourist visa to a work visa, do I have to leave the country and head back to the US to obtain the proper visa/change residency status at a Japanese consulate? Or can I stay in Japan?

    If anybody can answer this (or just link me to the answer), it would be greatly appreciated and solve a lot of head-scratching for me...

    Thank you!
    If you are in Japan on a tourist visa and your COE is in the US how do you plan to get your visa. Is your employer telling you to come on a tourist visa?

    Wait till you get your COE and come to Japan on that. You cant work in Japan until you have a valid work visa anyway.

    To answer your question you can change from a tourist visa to a work waiver (Americans don't need a "visa" to come here) but it seems silly to apply for a COE in the US first.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for your answer. Oops, I should clarify - Due to a set of interviews and some training the employer has had me come to Japan earlier than anticipated (and the fastest way was through coming in as a tourist). I am not working at the moment.

      My current understanding is that I would receive the COE while I'm in Japan, not in the US. Regardless, do I need to return to the US to or can I stay in Japan?

      Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
      If you are in Japan on a tourist visa and your COE is in the US how do you plan to get your visa. Is your employer telling you to come on a tourist visa?

      Wait till you get your COE and come to Japan on that. You cant work in Japan until you have a valid work visa anyway.

      To answer your question you can change from a tourist visa to a work waiver (Americans don't need a "visa" to come here) but it seems silly to apply for a COE in the US first.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by dodonpadodonpa58 View Post
        My current understanding is that I would receive the COE while I'm in Japan, not in the US. Regardless, do I need to return to the US to or can I stay in Japan?
        Most tourist visas nowadays can be changed to a work visa in Japan though there is a possibility they may ask you to leave in the country, in which case most people go to Korea for a couple of days, which is closest. There is no need to fly all the way back to the US.

        Do not mention to immigration at the airport that you have come here to look for a job, as that is illegal on a tourist visa. Just say you are here for sightseeing.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
          Do not mention to immigration at the airport that you have come here to look for a job, as that is illegal on a tourist visa. Just say you are here for sightseeing.
          He is already here, KB.

          Doubtful that you will be asked to leave the country to finalize processing. Hasn't been any serious requirement in 5 years or more.


          dodonpadodonpa58,
          Since your job starts in April, I will assume you are content with being a tourist and supporting yourself until then. So far, the employer sounds legit, but keep your eyes open. Some employers want people to rush over here, and they lie to them about "mistakes" or "delays" in the visa processing, so that the person works illegally with the false assumption that the visa is really being processed. After he has overstayed his tourist status, the company dumps him without a final paycheck, and he is in trouble.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for your responses! It appears that I will be able to stay in Japan and make the switch from tourist to working visa.

            At the moment I have not applied for a gaikokujin touroku shomeisho, but was wondering if I indeed had to applied and received the Alien Registration Card (or its equivalent temporary certificate) prior to switching from tourist to working visa...or does it not matter?

            Comment


            • #7
              Think I've added on to this before. My local immigration refused to change my status of residence in person in 2008. They asked me to take my CoE and go elsewhere. I went to Korea and returned the same day, the fancy visa in my passport, and then got the stamp on my way back into the country. No problem, but they did ask me to leave, and that was less than five years ago.

              Comment


              • #8
                Kionon,
                I think you were on the tail end of offices that did that sort of thing.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am surprised this question is still being asked.
                  You don't even need a CoE to change your status to working while in Japan.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dodonpadodonpa58 View Post
                    At the moment I have not applied for a gaikokujin touroku shomeisho, but was wondering if I indeed had to applied and received the Alien Registration Card (or its equivalent temporary certificate) prior to switching from tourist to working visa...or does it not matter?
                    They aren't needed for people who stay less than 90 days, so until you actually get your visa to allow you to stay longer, I'd say postpone this until you get the visa, unless you have the time and inclination to go into a ward office and inquire.

                    Comment

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