Update! I’ve received my Certificate of Eligibility! I’m officially a student at my language school and a legal resident of Japan for 1 year and 3 months. I am on a student visa.
How did I get a visa to study in Japan? What type of visa can United States citizens get? Well, I can’t answer all of your questions, but I can explain in a nutshell what my experience was like.
If you’re a U.S. citizen, you can enter Japan for less than 90 days with NO visa, go to school and get a student visa, be on a spousal visa if you are married, or if you’re hired to a company they may sponsor your visa. It all depends on your circumstances. In my case, I applied to a language school for an academic year and my school presented my documents on my behalf to the Japanese government and petitioned for a student visa for me. Different people need different documents, and whoever you’re getting a visa through will provide you with the appropriate list.
You will mail the documents they request from you, and it takes about 3-4 months for the government to review and process your request. It is IMPERATIVE that you get your documentation to the appropriate parties as soon as you can. After that, all you can do is wait. As soon as I was approved my school sent my letter of admittance, my C.O.E., a map, and my school schedule for my first semester to me via speed mail.
After you receive this documentation, you will need to look up the Japanese consulate for your area here. They should have information on your respective consulate page about which documents they need. Depending on your location and distance from the consulate, you can either travel to the consulate, or mail your documents there! After that, they’ll take about 3 business days to review your visa application and get back to you. I am still in this stage.
As I said before, everyone’s experience in getting a visa will be different depending on the type of visa and personal circumstances. My experience and opinions are by no means the set way of things. Do some research, study, and follow your dreams!
Here are some helpful links to help you get started:
- My Language School (KCP International)
- Japanese Consulate Map for USA
- General Information about Visas and Immigration
Let’s all work and study hard! I know you can do it!