Status of residence and Visas

As a general rule, to enter Japan, foreigners must hold a valid passport issued by the government of their home country and a visa issued by the Japanese government. Once you have been accepted by the university, you will need to take procedures to obtain a visa issued by the Japanese Embassy or Consulate in his/her home country (under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs). A visa is a form of recommendation that attests there are no obstacles to the entry and stay of the foreign holder who intends to enter Japan and is merely one requirement for requesting to disembark. At the time of your entry in Japan, the Immigration Bureau (under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice) will conduct a disembarkation inspection at the airport, and once officials determine that there is no problem in your disembarkation, you will be granted a “status of residence,” and your entry in Japan will be permitted.
If you are a citizen of a country that has a visa waiver program with Japan and you intend to enter Japan for a short stay, you will not require a visa. You will need a visa, however, if you intend to engage in any activity involving remuneration, irrespective of the period of your stay.
There are currently about 27 types of status of residence, and the status of residence is determined by the kind of activities a person undertakes in Japan. The main status of residence international researchers who engage in activities at the University of Tsukuba obtain is either “Professor” or “Cultural Activities.”

* Refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website below. 
Procedures Chart for Work or Long-Term Stay
Working visa:Professor
General visa: Cultural activities
General visa: Dependent (family stays)
Visa Application Form to Enter Japan

Certificate of Eligibility (CoE)

At the time to obtain a visa, the Minister of Justice conducts a preliminary screening to determine whether the applicant meets conditions of entry. A Certificate of Eligibility (CoE) will be issued when the applicant is deemed to meet conditions. An applicant with a CoE who applies for a visa at a local Japanese embassy or consulate can have a visa issued in a short period. Showing your CoE at the time of entry in Japan will facilitate procedures of the Immigration Bureau. The period of validity of a CoE is three months. Therefore, please ensure that you arrive in Japan within that period. If you are a researcher coming to Japan under “Professor” or “Cultural Activities” resident status, please obtain your CoE through the University of Tsukuba. It generally takes about one to two months for a CoE to be issued after an application is lodged with the Immigration Bureau. Therefore, please allow sufficient time in your preparations.

*The CoE will be digitalized from March 2023, and they can apply for a visa and a landing application by presenting an e-mail on their smartphone, etc. For details, please check here.

Global Commons, Bureau of Global Initiatives lodges proxy applications for the Certificate of Eligibility (CoE). For details, please check here.

Note that this does not apply to you if your resident status is “Temporary Visitor.” You do not require a CoE.

Types of status of residence that require a Certificate of Eligibility

Professor This applies to persons who receive remuneration from the University of Tsukuba or any other
Japanese education and research institution and engage in research, research guidance, or education,
regardless of the length of the period of engagement. This includes persons who sign employment
agreements with the University of Tsukuba, and persons who come to Japan at the invitation of the
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).
* Although international researchers invited by the JSPS have no employment agreement, the amount
of their scholarships is substantial and is recognized as a form of remuneration. Therefore, such
researchers are required to apply for “Professor” status of residence.
Cultural activities This applies to persons who engage in academic or artistic activities without receiving any form
of remuneration from the University of Tsukuba or any other Japanese education and research
institution, and their period of stay is over 90 days. This applies mainly to persons who are recipients of scholarships from an institution they attend in their home country or the government, etc., and who
engage in research or other academic activity at the University of Tsukuba.
Dependent This applies to spouses and dependent children who will stay in Japan over 90 days of persons whose
status of residence is “Professor” or “Cultural Activities.”

Visas that do not require a Certificate of Eligibility

Temporary Visitor This applies to the status of “Temporary Visitor” of persons who visit Japan for up to 90 days for
sightseeing, business, or visits to family and friends without engaging in any activities involving
remuneration.* This includes international researchers who visit the University of Tsukuba to attend a symposium or research conference, or who make an inspection tour or courtesy call.

* Meaning of “remuneration”
Although living expenses are not considered remuneration, any balance in excess of a certain amount remaining after
deduction of an amount deemed to be equivalent to actual living expenses (travel expenses, living expenses, accommodation expenses, and research expenses) from the living expenses awarded during the period of stay will be treated as “remuneration.”