Japan Digital Nomad Visa Explained: What You Need To Know

Japan Digital Nomad Visa Explained: What You Need To Know

Are you a digital nomad? Do you want to work digitally in Japan in some far-flung Japanese city? Or are you a little confused?

Don’t worry—you’re not the only one. Today, we answer the common questions about the Japan Digital Nomad Visa scene and other alternatives to working digitally in Japan.

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What is a digital nomad visa?

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Let’s define a digital nomad first. While the definition varies from country to country, in general, a digital nomad visa allows people to legally work remotely while away from their home country.

A digital nomad visa differs from a business manager, work, and investment visa.

Many countries, including Estonia, Portugal, Barbados, and Costa Rica, offer digital nomad visas under various names.

Some jobs are better than others for a digital nomad visa, such as freelancer, software developer, content creator, and consultant. But realistically, any job can be remote if you don’t need to be there in person.

Is Japan digital nomad-friendly?

Yes, being a digital nomad is quite easy in Japan. While you can work remotely at your accommodation, plenty of coworking spaces and cafes in major Japanese cities have all your work office needs.

Does Japan have a digital nomad visa?

Yes, Japan’s digital nomad visa is now available for digital nomads whose spouses and children can accompany them.

Japan’s digital nomad visa is limited to 6 months and can not be extended. Those with this visa are also not considered regular residents, so they cannot get a residence card, which means they can not get a bank account in Japan or qualify for national health care. 

Since digital nomad is a broad term, those in IT/software, digital spaces, or who work remotely online for foreign countries are eligible to apply.

Check out the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan's Designated Digital Nomad visa for more information.

Japanese digital nomad visa requirements

Here is everything you need to know on how to obtain the Japan digital nomad visa.

Who can get a digital nomad visa for Japan?

Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says their digital nomad visa is for those wanting to work remotely in Japan for 6 months.

The applicant’s spouse and children can come to Japan with them within the same period. 

Additionally, you must be from these regions or countries to apply for Japan’s digital nomad visa.

How to apply for a the Japan digital nomad visa?

Here is what you need to apply for Japan’s digital nomad visa:

  • Visa application form

  • Valid passport

  • Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

  • Private health insurance

  • Documents to prove the relationship between the applicant and their spouse or children 

  • Copy of the applicant's spouse or children's passport

If you do not have a COE, you will need:

  • Description of the intended activities (word doc): this form will explain your planned activities and period of stay

  • Proof of annual income of 10 million yen or more—a tax payment certificate, income certificate, and employment contract—would suffice

For private health insurance, having a copy of the coverage certificate, policy summary, and compensation documents would help demonstrate the type of coverage you will have in Japan.

Bring these documents to your nearest Embassy or Consulate-General of Japan.

How long is Japan’s digital nomad visa good for?

The digital nomad visa in Japan is valid for 6 months. Currently, no extension will be granted to extend this period.

The applicant must wait 6 months to reapply for the same digital nomad visa.

Alternatives to Japan’s digital nomad visa

Generally, always ensure your work in Japan matches your visa category.

To work outside your work category, you need to apply for “Application for Permission to Engage in Activity Other Than that Permitted under the Status of Residence Previously Granted” (資格外活動許可申請書しかくがいかつどうきょかしんせいしょ).

While there is no special visa for digital nomads in Japan, there are other options to choose to work in Japan. Here are two common working visa options that Japan offers.

1. Working Holiday Visa

If you want a short-term work visa in Japan, then their Working Holiday Visa can work for you. 

There are a couple of limits to this visa, though. In general, your home country and Japan must have a Working Holiday agreement, be between a certain age range (18-30), and have enough funds to support your stay. 

While you can work as many hours as you like , the main focus of this visa is “holiday,” and is designed for those to travel around while working smaller jobs to help pay for their expenses. 

2. Work Visa

To stay in Japan longer, then the Work Visa is the most appropriate follow-through. 

The most popular Work Visa in Japan is the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services " which covers a lot of job categories such as teaching, engineering, journalism, and other specialized fields.

Japan’s Work Visa generally requires you to be sponsored by a Japanese employer, which means that you need to have a job offer from a Japanese company before applying for the visa. This sponsorship makes Japan’s Work Visa process much easier as they can help submit specific documents and confirm your employment details.

Always check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan’s website for general visa information and up-to-date information on this visa.

Compliance with Japanese taxes

Depending on your visa, working in Japan requires knowledge of Japanese tax laws.

We recommend consulting with a tax professional who specializes in international taxation so that you comply with Japanese tax law and your home country's taxes.

Simplify your digital nomad experience in Japan with MailMate

One of the common struggles of being a digital nomad is that without a fixed address, receiving and handling physical mail can be a logistical challenge. 

So if you want to receive your mail and important paper digitally with a Japanese address, then MailMate has got you covered.

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MailMate is a digital mail management service that will streamline your remote working life by providing you with a physical mailing address and making it possible for you to receive all your mail online, anywhere in the world.

You can share important documents with your other team members and MailMate can even help pay your bills, ensuring that you never miss a payment.

MailMate will give you more time to explore, network, and work in Japan. 

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Community and networking opportunities in Japan

Working in Japan allows you to build a community and network with international people in Japan.

Coworking spaces in many Japanese cities offer office space and networking events to build up the coworking space community. There are also many networking events in Japan, and using websites such as Meetup.com, Eventbrite, and DoorKeeper can make finding these events easier.

Frequently asked questions

Does Japan have a Digital Nomad Visa?

Japan recently announced and released its digital nomad visa. It is generally for those living and working remotely in Japan for 6 months. One of the main requirements is to provide proof of at least a 10 million yen income (about $60,000-$66,000) with private health insurance.

Can I work remotely in Japan on a tourist visa?

Working remotely while in Japan for sightseeing and tourism is generally fine. However, working remotely with a Japanese company on a tourist visa violates Japan’s visa regulations.

Can digital nomads get Japanese residency?

Those with a Japanese digital nomad visa can not get Japanese residency as part of its visa regulation. Digital nomads can get Japanese residency with other visa options from Japan.

How do I qualify for a digital nomad visa?

Various countries have different qualifications, but you must generally be compatible with remote work, earn a specific monthly income, agree not to seek local employment, and have health insurance that can cover your stay. 

To conclude

With the Japan Digital Nomad Visa now available, working and living in Japan is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won’t want to pass up.

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