My experience getting a Japanese work visa

Friday, September 20, 2019


Today, I will give a brief introduction of myself and my trials and tribulations of getting my work visa.

My name is LaToya. I am an American who is currently living in Japan. I have lived in Japan for 3 years now. I did take a short hiatus and lived in the Philippines for about 5 months, but I've been back in Japan for about a year. 
Since living in Japan I've done only English teaching.

My decision to move to Japan 

My decision to move to Japan
I had just graduated in 2015. At the time, I wasn’t sure what I should be doing. Should I take a break and try to relax. Or should I apply to jobs...
I ended up doing both.

I applied to my first official job, it was to work at a hospital. It took about two months for me to be hired. During that time, I started to consider my other options. I started working at the hospital, and I loved it. But I really felt that I should enjoy my time while I can, and it was also around the time Donald Trump was starting to run for presidency.....
So I decided to try my luck at moving to Japan..

Requirements to get a work visa

Requirements to get a work visa

The first step was looking for a job.
Getting an English teaching job in Japan is quite simple for an American. However, you need to have some qualifications.

  1. Bachelor’s Degree
  2. Hold citizenship from English speaking country
  3. Have a clean background

I have found other things, such as in good health and be drug free.
I have great health, and I am drug free..

Some companies also want you to have studied for 12 years in English.

For me, everything was fine. I decided to apply to 3 companies. I applied for Interac, Amity, and AEON. I interviewed for only Interac, and Amity. I decided that Amity was best for me. So I was on my way to Japan!!!!

But of course I couldn’t go just yet..
Being hired is the easy part.
You then have to give your company and the Japanese embassy documents in order to go to Japan.

It’s definitely a process..

What happens AFTER you get the job

What happens AFTER you get the job

I first had to go get my passport. Before moving to Japan, I had NEVER left the United States. I had to gather my birth certificate, social security card, a photocopy of my driver’s license, and about $120.00. You also must pay $15.00 if you want your picture taken. 
Believe it or not, that was the easy part. After receiving my passport in the mail, I could move on to the next steps. I had to get a COE (Certificate of Eligibility) in order to enter Japan. This is where my headache began. To get the COE itself was pretty straight forward, however the picture requirements threw me for a loop. I was told by my company’s recruiters that I could get this picture taken anywhere, particularly Walgreens. 

The Walgreens Fiasco

The Walgreens Fiasco

I was so excited to go have my picture taken, after I finished, I sent it right away to the recruiters to check...
And of course, there was an issue...
So I try again....
Another again I try....and again there’s an issue.
So FINALLY, after the fourth try...the requirements were correct!!!
But not before I was refused service from the Walgreens manager. He promptly stated that they don’t do these photos for this reason, it is too difficult to get the requirements correct. But after some smooth talking....I was almost in tears....he let me take the photo ONE more time. I was so frustrated at that point that I just wanted it to be over. And FINALLY, I could send my passport, along with the photos to  the Japanese embassy.
After sending my passport, I just had to wait....and wait..and wait...
Until OMG, I’m leaving in TWO days, where in the hell is my passport...and finally it came in the mail.
Yes, TWO whole days before my scheduled departure.
Next, I’ll talk about my first few weeks of living in Japan, what I can remember hehe..
I can’t wait to take you on my whirlwind adventure of living in Kanagawa, which is just outside of Tokyo. I have only ever lived in the Suburbs, so living near a big city like Tokyo was its own adventure.