How-to Guide: Obtain the designated activities visa, for internships in Japan.

Here is the detailed application process to obtain a designated activities visa, that allows you to do paid internships in Japan.

Image for post
Image for post

The designated activities visa is at best use for long (6 months to a year) and paid internships in Japan.

First of all, you have to check if you’re eligible for this visa. As I wrote in my complete guide for internship visas:

  • you must be enrolled in a university outside Japan (or foreign university in japan e.g Temple University)
  • your university curriculum requires you to complete an internship to graduate
  • the maximum stay per internship (and per visa) is 1 year
  • you’re only allowed to use that visa for half of your entire university period

Which means that for a 4-year curriculum, you can only stay in Japan for 2 years, using that visa (so you could be using another visa if you want to go above 2 years).

If you’re not matching all these requirements, go check my guide and try to find a visa that would suit you better.

Now, let’s get down to business. As I was looking for the best visa for my situation, I personnally went to the immigration office and they told me all the requirements for that visa. If you can read japanese, you can find it here.

My advice is that, no matter what, you should go to the Japanese embassy in your country and check again with them.

Here are the documents you need to prepare:

1. A certificate of eligibility (COE), that your company has to help you fill.

  • If you’re outside Japan, there it is. You have to fill it, send it to your company that will complete it and will need to go to the immigration office to submit it. Once the immigration has approved the COE, your company will send it back to you. (You can also use some lawyers to do it for you but it’s expensive).
  • If you’re already in Japan as a tourist, same form as above but you can go by yourself.
  • If you’re already in Japan (not under tourist visa), it’s a different form.
  • Be careful: These forms have to be originals, with the seal of the company (not a scan), so you’ll have to use mail if you’re abroad.

2. A picture 4x3cm, with your name written on the back, taken within the past 6 months.

3. An envelope with a 392 JPY stamp.

For this one, I’m not 100% sure what the use is, and this is why you should check at your embassy. You don’t need it if you’re already in Japan.

4. A certificate that proves you’re enrolled in a foreign university.

5. An ID

Passport (+ residence card if you’re already in Japan)

6. The internship agreement

Usually provided by your university, it has to be filled by the university, the company and you.

7. Document that proves the internship is going to give you university credit and is required for you to graduate.

See last picture below for the format I used.

8. Internship content document

Document from the company that explains the content of your internship, how many hours per week, salary etc…

9. Past internship history

  • If it’s your first time using this visa for the purpose of internship, open a word document and express in English that it’s the first time you do an internship.
Image for post
Image for post
Letter that I made, using a plain text word document.
  • If you’ve ever used that designated activities visa for the purpose of internship, you need to give some documents about it (past internship agreement etc…).

10. Total duration of your university curriculum

Related to the rule I already stated “you’re only allowed to use that visa for half of your entire university period”.

You need a document that shows how long your entire university period is. You can find below the letter that my school wrote (IESEG being my french school).

Image for post
Image for post
Document used for the points 7 and 10.

That’s it!

Once you have those documents, you either go to the embassy or to the immigration office if you’re already in Japan.

It takes from 1 week (if you’re in your country) to about a month (if you’re in Japan) to receive the results. Enjoy the internship!

More about the author — Baptiste Delannoy

If this post helped you in any way, that would be amazing if you could give it a 👏 to help others find it (you can actually give it up to 50 👏 by long-pressing the button).

Written by

Writing how-to guides for foreigners in Japan, based on personal experience. From getting an internship/job to driving or renting an apartment.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store