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Applying for a Student Visa More than Once?

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  • Applying for a Student Visa More than Once?

    Okay, I've looked everywhere, both on these forums and on the internet in general, and I haven't been able to find this question addressed anywhere, so I'm posing it here. Apologies if it's already been answered.

    It's my general understanding that a student visa will allow you to stay in Japan for a period ranging from 6 months to 2 years and 3 months.

    What I can't figure out is whether or not you can apply for a student visa more than once.

    Most college programs take about 4 years. How does that work? Do students apply for a 2 year student visa, go to Japan, come back home, apply for another 2 year student visa, and then go back?

    Or what if I wanted to attend a language school for 6 months this year, and then again for 6 months a year from now? (because let's say I can't afford to do 12 months consecutively). Is that even possible?

    What if I attend a 2 year language program, but then 5 years from now decide I want to study flower arranging? Can I apply for another visa at that point, or have my alloted 2 years already been used up?

    I've read that you can visit Japan multiple times within the same year for short term visits (as long as your total days in the country don't exceed 180 per 12 month period) but I'm wondering what the procedure is for multiple longer term visits, or if they're even allowed.

  • #2
    Most college students just extend their visas before they expire and if they are still students. That extension process extention is usually much easier than leaving the country and applying for a new visa from scratch.
    The rules are that a WHV can only be granted once, but there are no restrictions for other types. But they probably start ti get suspicious if someone tries to renew a student visa for more than 7 or 8 years without any visible progress ...

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ttokyo View Post
      The rules are that a WHV can only be granted once, but there are no restrictions for other types
      Thank you. Where does one find this information? I've looked around on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (specifically this page: http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/long/index.html) but can't find anything that states whether certain visas are one-time-only, or whether you can get the same one more than once (or anything else regarding time restrictions, like whether there's a waiting period for getting a new visa after you old one has expired, or if you can go ahead and apply the next day).

      I also thought you could only extend a student visa up to the maximum period of 2 years and 3 months. I wasn't aware you could extend it beyond that.

      None of these situations particularly apply to me, I'm just finding it difficult to find very specific information on this subject.
      I just want to be sure that if I spend a cumulative total of 2 years in Japan as a student that I don't end up reaching my limit or something and end up not being able to stay in the country long term ever again.

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      • #4
        You should be fine. I'm changing schools and my visa expires before the second program ends. I could extend it, but I wouldn't have a CoE for the other school and the govt seems to think I'm suspicious. It's fine, tedious, but fine. We have immigration problems back home so I understand, but I'm sure if you just explain in a convincing way your situation, you should be fine. I have found that in general you only run into problems when you have something to hide, not when you're legally trying to do the right thing.

        Just got questioned by a cop about my bike and at first he was very put off by my age and student status. Once he confirmed my story, he started cracking jokes, apologized and complimented my Japanese.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by MJH_47 View Post
          I also thought you could only extend a student visa up to the maximum period of 2 years and 3 months. I wasn't aware you could extend it beyond that.
          None of these situations particularly apply to me, I'm just finding it difficult to find very specific information on this subject.
          I just want to be sure that if I spend a cumulative total of 2 years in Japan as a student that I don't end up reaching my limit or something and end up not being able to stay in the country long term ever again.
          Sorry. Technically you're right. You're not extending it but actually getting a new visa, so 'renew' is the better word. If you are still a student after your first visa is up, it will be very simple to renew it. Don't worry.
          However, it is not your right to be in Japan, just a permission granted, so if you screw up (drug arrest, etc.) you could be easily banned.

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          • #6
            Actually, with the new visa rules (as of July 2012), you can get a student visa for up to 4 years and 3 months.
            http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/newimmiact_1/en/index.html

            what if I wanted to attend a language school for 6 months this year, and then again for 6 months a year from now?
            Since the use of the visa is over, you will probably have to get a new visa. Not sure if that applies to the same school, but I suspect so. Once you're done and leave, you're done, and the visa is canceled.

            Call immigration to confirm.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Glenski View Post
              Since the use of the visa is over, you will probably have to get a new visa.
              Right, and that's fine, I just wanted to confirm that you *could* get a new visa. That it wasn't a one-time-only thing, and once you've had a student visa once, you can't get another one, ever, the same as how ttokyo said once you've had a working holiday visa, you can't ever get another one.

              I couldn't find anything on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website that specified whether student visas were one-time-only, but I also couldn't find anything that said working holiday visas were either, so I was looking for clarification.

              Again, I would appreciate it if anyone could point me in the direction of where this information is available. That link to the new residency management system is also helpful though, so thanks for that.

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              • #8
                There used to be two student statuses. "Pre-College Student" and "College Student" (not including other statuses like Researcher).
                "Pre-College" student included language school students etc, even if you already graduated from college/university. The pre-college student status had a maximum status of residency limit. Again this is where people often mix up the terminology of "Visa" and "status of residency". On July 1, 2010 this changed, and immigration eliminated the pre-college student status and integrated it into one student status (excluding Researcher status etc).

                Anycase, each status of residency (not Visa!!!!) has a period of stay, with the exception of permanent residency (special permanent residency etc). So, one enter Japan with a 2 year status of residency as a student, but if they continue to be a student (eg 4 year university),they can just extend their status as long as they continue to be a legal student, attending school full time etc.

                In your question, you are asking, you get a status of residency, go to school, leave Japan but then apply for another school for another status of residency as a student. In this case, as long as all your paperwork is in order, and the school doesn't have a "history" of delinquent students with immigration, you should generally be "ok" in getting a new status. BTW as I mentioned before not all students are the same, a university student will generally get a college student status, but someone who wants to study "flower arrangement" or "judo" or some other similar item, would not get a student status but instead get something like a "Cultural activities" status, a completely different status from student.

                Immigration would look at your application case by case. If in doubt, as immigration when you apply to become a student again, or heck it might not even fall under the student status, so there wouldn't be any problems at all to begin with.

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