Guide to acceptance of international researchers

Procedures before coming to Japan

1. Flow of procedures

  1. Agreement between a host academic and the international researcher to conduct joint research.
  2. The host academic applies to the head of his/her department for approval to host the visitor (via the General Affairs Section of the department)
  3. Approval to host the visitor is granted by the department's consultative body.
  4. The department head applies to the university president for approval to host the visitor.
  5. Approval is confirmed (on the sole authority of the head of the International Exchange Division). 

    (The points below apply if visa procedures are followed using an "Application for Certificate of Eligibility".) 
  6. Acceptance permission is issued in writing (by the applicable department).
  7. Application is made for a Certificate of Eligibility.
  8. A Certificate of Eligibility is issued and sent to the international researcher.
  9. The international researcher applies for a visa at the Japanese embassy or consulate in their country.
  10. A visa is issued.
  11. The international researcher enters Japan.

2. Certificate of Eligibility application procedures

  1. Application procedures
    All foreign nationals need a visa to remain in Japan for longer than three months. To obtain a visa, foreign researchers need to apply to a Japanese embassy or consulate in their home country. If, when applying for a visa, the applicant has a "Certificate of Eligibility" issued by the Immigration Bureau of the Ministry of Justice of Japan, the visa application can be approved in a shorter period of time. To apply for a Certificate of Eligibility, the hosting academic, on behalf of the international researcher, must collect all the necessary documentation (refer to the "Residence Status Acknowledgement Form" under "International Researchers" on the website for the Center for International Affairs), and take these documents to the Sakaiminato branch of the Hiroshima Immigration Bureau in Sakaiminato City. The Certificate of Eligibility will be issued approximately one to three months after application. It will be sent by postal mail from the Immigration Bureau to the host academic, who can then forward it on to the international researcher.
    * Visa application by agent / proxy
    Once every two months, an academic staff member of the Center for International Affairs and a staff member of the International Affairs Division solicit visa applications on behalf of international researchers. Applications are accepted over a period of three days, normally in the middle of the month, during which time proxy applications are prepared. At the end of that month, the applications are submitted to the Sakaiminato branch of the Hiroshima Immigration Bureau. The dates on which applications are accepted are posted on the website of the Center for International Affairs under "International Researchers."
  2. Types of residence status
    "Professor": To engage in research, research guidance, or educational activities at a university, other tertiary institution, or technical college in Japan. 
    Period of stay: one year or three years
    "Cultural Activities": Unpaid academic or artistic activities, specialized research into Japanese culture or art; or study of Japanese culture or art under the guidance of specialists (excluding activities covered by the status of "College Student" "Pre-college Student" or "Trainee.")
    Period of stay: six months or one year

3. Housing
International researchers should arrange their own housing. If there is a vacancy, they may stay for up to one year at the International House (dormitory for international students and researchers).

 

A visiting researcher who wishes to live at the International House should submit an application to the International Affairs Division approximately three weeks before arriving in Japan. The host academic can apply on behalf of the visiting researcher.

After arriving in Japan

1. Foreign resident registration

Foreign nationals who expect to stay in Japan for more than 90 days must apply for foreign resident registration (gaikokujin toroku) at their local municipal government office within 90 days of arriving in Japan. (Tottori area: Tottori City Hall, South Bldg.; Yonago area: Yonago City Hall) Foreign resident registration is used to record the holder's address and residency status, and for the purpose of immigration control, as well as education, welfare, and healthcare administration.

Initial registration
To make a new application for foreign resident registration, the applicant must visit the appropriate counter at the municipal government office and fill out an application form for foreign resident registration. The form must be submitted along with your passport and two passport photos. When making a new application, you will be informed of the date when your Certificate of Alien Registration (foreign resident's registration card) will be issued. You will then need to pick up the card within a specified period. 
Certificate of Alien Registration Holders
All holders of foreign residents are required to carry their certificate of alien registration with them at all times, and to present them to immigration inspectors, immigration control officers, and policemen whenever requested to do so. 
Returning a Certificate of Alien Registration
When leaving Japan, you must return your Certificate of Alien Registration to an immigration inspector at the port of departure (unless you have a re-entry permit).

2. National Pension Plan

All residents of Japan aged between 20 and 60 are required to join the National Pension Plan. Applications can be made at the National Pension Plan Section of the municipal government offices. (Tottori area: Tottori City Hall, South Bldg.; Yonago area: Yonago City Hall)

However, it is possible to secure a total or partial (50%) exemption from payment of National Pension Plan premiums, under the following conditions.
Total (100%) exemption, if
Annual income in Japan in previous year < (no. of dependent family members + 1) × ¥350,000 + ¥220,000
Partial (50%) exemption, if
Annual income in Japan in previous year < ¥1,180,000 + Deduction for Dependents + Social Insurance Premium Deduction

The fiscal year for the National Pension Plan is from July 1 to June 30 of the following year. If you are approved for a total or partial (50%) exemption in April, you may be asked to resubmit your application for exemption in July for reassessment in the new fiscal year. Note that since the exemption amount is determined according to the previous year's income in Japan, you will be fully exempt from paying National Pension Plan premiums for the first year you spend in Japan.

When foreign residents who have paid National Pension Plan premiums leave Japan, they can receive a lump-sum withdrawal payment, as first insured person, provided they have paid premiums for a period of more than six months. To apply for a lump-sum withdrawal payment, you need to send a written request (by postal mail) with all necessary documentation to the Social Insurance Operation Center within two years after leaving Japan.
Amount of lump sum withdrawal according to period of payment
six months to under 12 months: 40,740 yen
12 months to under 18 months: 81,480 yen
18 months to under 24 months: 122,220 yen
*As of June 2006

3. National Health Insurance

Anyone who resides in Japan for a period of one year (or longer) is required to join the National Health Insurance system. Once you join the National Health Insurance system, you will have to pay insurance premiums, but you will be entitled to receive medical treatment for illness or injury for only 30% of the normal cost at any medical care facility in Japan (by presenting your national health insurance card). This insurance provides peace of mind in the case that you suffer an illness or injury that requires medical treatment costing more than the benefit limit of your overseas travel personal accident insurance.

To apply for the National Health Insurance system, you will need to present your Certificate of Alien Registration and passport at the appropriate office. For more details, inquire at National Health Insurance Division at your local municipal government offices (Tottori area: Tottori City Hall, South Bldg.; Yonago area: Yonago City Hall)

In the event that you transfer to another municipality, if you leave Japan permanently, in the event of a birth or death of a dependent family member in Japan, or if your health insurance card is lost or stolen, you will need to report the matter and follow certain procedures. Note carefully that if you fail to follow the proper procedures your health insurance card may become invalid.

When leaving Japan temporarily (including returning to your native country)

1. Re-entry permit

If a foreign national living in Japan leaves Japan temporarily within the period of their allowed stay, to return to their home country or to visit a third country, with the intention of returning to stay in Japan again, he or she must obtain a re-entry permit before leaving Japan. If such residents leave Japan without obtaining a re-entry permit, they will not be allowed to re-enter Japan unless they obtain a new visa from a Japanese embassy or consulate overseas. Please be careful about this.

Application forms to obtain a re-entry permit are available here.

International Exchange Section, International Affairs Division, Research and International Cooperation Department Created September 28, 2006