The 4 Month Business Manager Visa Japan, Explained

The 4 Month Business Manager Visa Japan, Explained

Immigration specialists often recommend the Four-Month Business Manager visa, which is part of a visa reform act passed in 2015. This made it easier for foreign nationals in their home country to establish a company and obtain a Business Manager visa in Japan.

This visa type can’t be considered an alternative to the Startup visa or the Business Manager visa. Still, it allows you 120 days in Japan to get your business affairs in order. 

As you may recall, to be eligible for the visa, you must have papers documenting your company’s registration in Japan as a prerequisite. 

However, to complete company registration paperwork, you must open a Japanese bank account, which requires proof of Japanese residency (residence card)—only given to foreigners with a visa that exceeds the 90-day tourist visa. 

What are the Business Manager visa requirements?

The following are the requirements for the Business Manager visa. 

  • Capital of 5,000,000 yen

  • Business plan

  • Bank account

  • Proof of Japanese residency

  • Company registration

  • Company office

The Four-Month Business Manager visa allows entrepreneurs to arrive in Japan, get a residence card, open a bank account, initiate paperwork to register a company and apply for a 1-year Business Manager visa once the paperwork is in order. 

In other words, you can start your company registration process right after arrival and the immigration procedures for the visa extension.

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Who is eligible to apply for the Four-Month Business Manager visa?

You will still need to meet all the Business Manager visa requirements mentioned above but not as a prerequisite to applying for a Four-Month Business Manager visa. 

That is, instead of providing company registration in Japan, you will need to prove that you are in the process of incorporating a business. 

The advantage of being able to apply before establishing a company is that even if you do not have an address in Japan, you can come to Japan to obtain a 4-month management visa, set up your address, and continue the business registration process.

The following video describes the purpose and the problems that the 4-Month Business Visa solves, by Hitoshi Oishi, solicitor & immigration lawyer

Start-up for the 4 months business manager visa | Oishi Solicitor & Immigration Lawyer Office

Are there any specific language requirements for a Four-Month Business Manager role in Japan?

No language requirement exists for Japan's Four-Month Business Manager visa. However, having a basic understanding of Japanese can be beneficial for effective communication, especially in business settings.

While English is often used in international business contexts, knowing some Japanese phrases or having access to interpretation services can help you navigate day-to-day communications.

Consider the nature of your business activities and the context in which you’ll operate. The language requirement might be more relaxed if your business interactions primarily involve English-speaking counterparts.

However, if you’ll be dealing with Japanese business partners or officials, having a basic Japanese language proficiency can contribute to smoother communication and cultural understanding.

Remember that requirements and policies can change, so I recommend checking with the Japanese embassy or consulate in your country or consulting the official Japanese government sources for the most up-to-date information regarding language requirements for the Four-Month Business Manager Visa or any other visa category.

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How to apply for the Four-Month Business Manager visa

  1. Prepare a strong CV and documents proving education and relevant work experience. 

  2. Prepare yourbusiness plan, including business purpose, capital investment, (projected) head office location, investor list, list of officers, brochures, website, and/or other material outlining your future business, etc. The real estate contract for your business location is unnecessary, but some immigration specialists advise that you include the real estate locations you are considering (virtual offices and shared offices are not allowed). All documents submitted should include a Japanese translation. 

  3. Fill out the Certificate of Eligibility application. You can also hire a bilingual lawyer or English-speaking immigration specialist to help you with this.  

  4. Send in the Certificate of Eligibility for your Four-Month Business Manager visa to an immigration office, which will evaluate your application and confirm whether you have fulfilled the requirements. (Processing time: 1 to 3 months)

  5. Submit your Certificate of Eligibility along with a visa application to the immigration bureau, essentially exchanging it for your Four-Month Business Manager status of residence (visa status). This step can be by proxy and does not require you to apply in person. (Processing time: 1 to 2 weeks)

What are common reasons for refusal of a Four Month Business Manager visa?

  1. Business plan. If you own a business, for example, you have an existing company overseas and your aim is to bring your business to Japan, such business plans are often accepted. But if this is your first time starting a business in Japan, a viability assessment with a specific description and explanation to show the future business prospects and predictable profit is needed. Then, it will be up to the Japanese immigration bureau to judge whether the business plan is promising.

  2. No co-owner or co-director. Professional experts recommend having a co-owner or co-director in Japan. Even with this four-month business manager visa, you must open a bank account, transfer the capital, get a seal impression certificate required in Japanese society, and find and sign a lease agreement for your office.

  3. For the lease agreement, both for your office and residential, owners generally require a business manager visa holder, a guarantor or a cosigner in Japan. If the visa is for four-month, owners might turn down rent for a year lease space.

  4. Since all the application documents and requirements are the same between the four-month business manager visa and the business manager visa, professional experts recommend applying for a one-year business manager visa from the initial application.

Frequently asked questions

What qualifications are needed for a 4 Month Business Manager visa in Japan?

The Four-Month Business Manager Visa is a temporary visa that allows many foreign nationals to engage in company establishment activities and obtain a visa in Japan for up to four months.

However, there are still issues, such as possible difficulty with opening a bank account with a 4-month business manager visa.

A common recommendation for those looking to start a business in Japan is to appoint a co-owner of your company (a Japanese national or someone with a valid visa for the type of business you wish to operate) and have the co-owner arrange to transfer capital, rent an office, and obtain a business license, if necessary.

How is the Four-Month Business Manager visa different from the Business Manager visa?

The purpose of the newly revised Four-Month Business Manager visa is to make it easier for foreign nationals living abroad to complete a company establishment procedure in Japan.

A residence card requires three months of stay. Without a certificate of residence and seal impression certificate, it’s difficult to open a bank account.

Once you receive the Four-Month Business Manager visa and arrive in Japan, you can start the corporate registration process, which includes obtaining a residence card so you can open a bank account. You will then renew your visa period and change to a normal Business Manager visa.

Can I bring my family on the Four-Month Business Manager Visa?

The Four Month Business Manager Visa is generally for individual applicants and does not typically allow dependents to accompany you. If your family members wish to travel with you, they may need to apply for separate visas based on their purpose of visit.

Can I obtain a Business Manager visa status if I buy real estate?

If you purchase more than five million yen in property and open a business office to run a real estate investment business, and you may be eligible for a Business Manager visa.

However, the purchase is not always enough; you must also explain how you plan to develop your business and create profit in the Japanese market.

For this purpose, business plans with additional documents, such as a financial report or balance sheet, must be created.

In closing

The advantage of a four-month visa is that you can apply for everything at the preparation stage.

When applying for a regular business manager visa, establishing a company and securing an office is very costly.

On the other hand, applying for a four-month visa, which is applied only by submitting the articles of incorporation and your business plan, can reduce the initial cost and is also a test of how the Immigration Bureau will judge whether the current business plan is appropriate.

So if you are a foreign national and do not have a Japanese partner who can take care of business administration, you may consider applying for a Four-Month Business Manager visa. 

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