How to Get an Investor Visa in Japan? The Complete Guide

One of the most frequently asked questions from people who are thinking about property investment in Japan is: “Can I apply for a residency visa in Japan if I buy a property there?” The answer to that, unfortunately, is “No”. However, it is possible to acquire a residency visa in Japan, named Investor/Business Manager Visa or Investor Visa, by starting or managing a business in Japan that invests in Japanese real estate.

In this article, we will cover the actual steps and practical aspects of applying for the Investor Visa by establishing a company through which you can invest in the Japanese property market.

What is the Investor/Business Manager Visa?

The Japanese Investor/Business Manager Visa is for entrepreneurs who either invest in or undertake a senior role in managing a business in Japan.

For example, an individual sent to Japan to be president of the Japan subsidiary of a foreign company is likely to utilize an Investor Visa.

Investor Visa is the category most likely to be used by those who wish to “self-sponsor” a visa in Japan.

This type of visa has a few different names in English and is often referred to as investor visa, business manager visa or a self-sponsorship visa.

Where should I apply for an Investor Visa?

Applications for an investor visa are submitted and processed at the immigration office in Japan. Therefore, you may apply in person if you reside in the country.

On the other hand, you will need assistance from a certified immigration official to submit your papers on your behalf if you are overseas at the moment of application.

Wondering when we can travel to Japan again? Read Japan to Ease Travel Restrictions: What We Need to Know.

What are the requirements to apply for an Investor Visa?

An investment (a paid-in capital) of at least 5,000,000 yen (US$ 46,800). The bigger the investment, the higher your chances of getting the investor visa, presuming you have met other requirements. The money you have invested will be consumable in your business when the incorporation process is complete.

A business plan. The nature of your business should be transparent, consistent and comply with the current Japanese legislation. Your proposal should demonstrate that your company is operable and will yield results and profits.

Appropriate business license. Some types of businesses, such as hotels, guesthouses and restaurants, require proper certifications to operate.

Professional background and working history. You need to possess at least three years of relevant experience in the business field where you would like to establish your company in Japan.

An office. It should be an actual premise meant for business use. A guarantor in Japan can help you to rent a suitable workplace.

A co-founder / co-director. At least one of the company’s directors should be a resident of Japan. He/She could be a Japanese national, a permanent resident, or a foreign national with a long-term visa.

If you are residing outside of Japan at the moment of application for the establishment of a company, you will need to find a co-founder / co-director who fulfils this requirement.

Your company should also have at least two full-time employees (besides you), who are residents of Japan.

How to apply for the Investor Visa in Japan?

Quite simply, there are TWO solutions for THREE steps :

Use a Japanese immigration official ‘Gyoseishoshi

Apply by yourself (only if you have an advanced level of Japanese language skills)

1. Set up your company before applying for an investor visa. You might want to hire a certified immigration professional and a tax accountant to help you run the errands.

2. Apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) at the immigration office and wait for a confirmation. A certified immigration official can do it for you if you are not in Japan at the time of application.

3. When your COE is ready, collect it from the immigration office. Exchange the COE for an Investor Status of Residence (SOR) at an Embassy or a Consulate of Japan.

How long does the application process take?

Establishment of a business may be a lengthy process. It depends on many factors, such as scouting for an office, appointing a co-director, doing all the administrations etc.

In general, it will take 2-3 months to get a COE and another two weeks to get the SOR.

Hong long is the visa duration?

An investor visa can be granted for 1, 3, or 5 years and is renewable. Its duration mainly depends on the performance and profitability of your business.

It’s worth noting that once you build a company, usually you will only receive an investor visa for one year. Each time you renew your permit, most likely you will only be able to extend for one year at a time.

But the good news is after repeating several times you could apply for a permanent resident visa.

Japanese Investor Visa FAQ

Can co-founders both get an Investor visa?

The quick answer is yes. The key to success is that you must explicitly differentiate your roles in the company, such as CEO, COO or CFO, and detailing each job descriptions.

Do I need to be proficient in Japanese?

It depends solely on the context of your business and target customers. However, being able to communicate in the Japanese language, at least at a basic level will expand your possibilities in many regards. Bear in mind that English language skills are not so prevalent in Japan.

Can I bring my family with me to Japan?

Yes, your spouse and children can join you to move to Japan with dependant visas.

What are the types of property that require business management?

Hotels, ryokans, hostels, inns and other tourism real estate, as well as gymnasiums and offices that are open to the public, can all be considered as business management property, through which are very suitable for investors to apply for an Investor/Business Manager Visa.

The best way to start the ball rolling is filling in your details below and talking with our dedicated team. We can help you apply for an Investor Visa in Japan if you meet the criteria.

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