The student visa


The Japan Student Visa allows you to study Japanese at a language school in Japan for a minimum of one year and up to two years. I am writing this article to inform you of all the registration procedures until obtaining the student visa.

Although there are many Japanese language schools in Japan, to apply for a student visa, the procedures to be undertaken and the documents to be gathered must be the same in each school because the final step is to validate your file with of Japanese immigration which checks if the file contains the information requested by the school.

This article aims to answer several questions in chronological order to make it easy for you to understand what it takes to enroll in a Japanese language school in Japan.

Choosing your Japanese school in Japan

Before any exchange with the school, there are many Japanese language schools in Japan to choose from. I give you below some criteria that you should pay attention to:

The price of tuition fees: there are more or less expensive schools. It’s only you who know if you can afford one more expensive school than another, but keep in mind that the most expensive school isn’t necessarily the best.

The success rate at the JLPT: if you intend to take the JLPT, this criterion should be taken into account.

The location of the school: ideally, it is best if the school is located close to your accommodation. You should be able to get there on foot, by metro or by bus.

The study period: there are several entry periods for language schools in Japan. I advise you to choose the standard entry, namely the one in April.

From there, you compare Japanese language schools in Japan. To help you make your choice easier, I have prepared this list of schools in Tokyo for you.

Japanese schools in Tokyo

Tokyo International Japanese School: progress quickly! Well served by public transport and very good learning atmosphere.


Japan Tokyo International School: Japan Tokyo International School is the Japanese language teaching school that accepts people from all over the world.


Toshin Language School: small classes of 15 to 20 students (most of the students are Asian), thematic classes, outings between students, and more).


Akamonkai: founded in 1985, Akamonkai is a Japanese language school located in the traditional eastern part of Tokyo with 30 years of experience teaching the language.


Subscription request

Once you’ve taken care to shop around for the few Japanese schools that accept English speakers, it’s time to send them your first message in English through their contact form.

Don’t worry about the language. If the school does accept English speakers, your contact person, someone from the school administration, will be able to express themselves in impeccable English. So, all your email communications will be in English.

Now, in order to understand the rest of the explanations, I will list the procedures to follow to prepare your registration file until receipt of the student visa.

These procedures are to be followed in order. Without the first step, you will not be able to access the second because your contact will take the time to validate each of your documents, step by step.

The prerequisites for applying for a student visa in Japan

The student visa application is open to all and is done by file requiring two prerequisites.

It may not be much, but you must have them. Indeed, the two prerequisites that you will need beforehand are:

Minimum diploma: the first prerequisite to be validated to enroll in a Japanese school in Japan is a minimum level of study equivalent to the baccalaureate.

Bank certificate: the second prerequisite to be validated is a bank certificate proving the minimum sum of €16,000 in your bank account or that of a guarantor (father or mother).

With a little hindsight we can understand their point of view. As for the bank certificate, I imagine they want to make sure you have the budget to live in Tokyo. Because apart from school fees, you also have to pay for your accommodation and meals, among other things. Therefore, if you want to study in Japan, you are going to have to put enough money aside.

Preparation of the registration file

After sending your last diploma and your bank certificate by email, you will have to complete, among other things, the registration form that only the person from the school will be able to send you. This form includes several pages including:

1. A registration form

The registration form was written in Japanese and translated into English, which will make it easier for you to complete it. However, your contact will help you with this task. Follow his instructions carefully until everything is perfect.

If you are wondering if there are some small differences depending on the language school in Japan, it is possible. Personally, I’m not sure.

II would add a more or less important point: in the registration form you will be asked for your passport number. Of course, make sure it is still valid or quite simply that you have one. So, if you don’t have a passport yet, I invite you to read the full article on passport preparation.

2. A Curriculum Vitae (CV)

As for the CV, it retraces your entire school career, and more precisely:

Diplomas and qualifications: the schools in which you studied from elementary to present. To do this, you must indicate:

the name of the school,

the school’s postal address,

the number of years spent in school,

the date of entry and the date of exit.

Professional experiences: the companies in which you have worked. To do this, you must indicate:

the name of the companies,

the postal address of companies,

the date of entry and the date of exit.

You should also list any Japanese language schools you have ever attended as well as any trips made to Japan. If you have already passed different levels of the JLPT, you must also indicate them all with the level and the score.

In addition, you will also need to provide information on the members of your family, namely their age (or date of birth), their address of residence and their professional activity.

3. A cover letter

Turning now to the cover letter, so this is about your motivations for studying in Japan. And note that, Japanese immigration wants to ensure that the student visa remains primarily a “study” visa and not a work visa. That is, you should avoid talking about life or work plans in Japan. Make sure you only talk about study projects that match the visa you are applying for. And this also concerns all the documents in your file.

4. A form for the guarantor

Finally, for the guarantor form, someone from your family (father or mother) must complete this form.

Although at the beginning you provided your own bank certificate, the school wants to make sure (just in case) that a member of your family will be able to help you if something goes wrong.

In these few documents, you can also put your photo and sign where you are asked but I think that for this first draft it is not very important because these first four documents will first of all be sent by email to be verified. And as you know, until now it is not yet possible to send an authentic signature by email. The photo and signatures will therefore have to be added when you scan your four documents to send them by post.

5. A list of new documents to provide

The four documents listed above will be translated by the school, which will send them to Japanese immigration. Now we are going to talk about some new documents that you will need to email first to the school so that they can check them. Here is the list:

Birth certificate (original),

Last diploma (photocopy),

Work certificate of the guarantor (original),

Bank certificate from the guarantor’s account, proving financial autonomy of at least €16,000 (original dated and signed by the institution in question),

Photocopy of passport.

After validation of your documents by the school, you will be able to send them by post.

Sending the registration form to the school in Japan

If the first three steps are by email, it is to make sure that you have the requested documents or that they are correctly completed. Then if everything is correct, you will be able to send everything by post. Let’s make a summary of the documents to put in your envelope:

Registration form (dated and signed),

CV (dated and signed),

Cover letter (signed),

Birth certificate (original),

Last diploma (photocopy),

Work certificate of the guarantor (original),

Bank certificate proving the minimum sum of €16,000 on your account as well as on the account of the guarantor (original stamped and signed by the banking institution concerned),

Five identity photos (original),

Photocopy of passport.

The school will therefore provide you with its address to send your file by post and registered letter. However, if you are still a student in a Japanese language school in your motherland or you work in a company, additional documents will also have to be sent following validation by email from the school:

Work certificate for employees,

Certificate from your Japanese school in your motherland,

Certificate of your « Nihongo Noryoku Shiken » diploma.

When you have received your file, the school undertakes to translate and present it in the best possible way to Japanese immigration.

Verification of the registration file

Sending a deposit included in the tuition fees

Following the sending of your file, however, the school will ask you for a deposit of 30,000 yen before any translation of the file and presentation of it to the Japanese immigration services. This amount will of course be deducted from the final price in the event of obtaining the visa or returned to the student in the event of refusal of immigration.

However, in the event of cancellation of the procedures by the student himself (and whatever the reason), the administration will reserve the right to retain this deposit. It will therefore be necessary to think carefully before definitively launching the process of applying for a student visa. The deposit was easily sent via which automatically converts the sum of yen into euros. Then do not hesitate to make sure that your deposit has been received by the school.

Deadlines for sending and receiving your file

During all the discussions you will have with the school to prepare your file, you will have dates to respect. The school will be able to communicate them to you in order to send such and such documents on time. Taking the previous steps as an example and based on a session scheduled for early April 2022, the registration form should be sent by email at the beginning of August 2021 and the complete file should be sent before November 15, 2021.

Usually the final response, the one that will confirm or refuse your file, will come within three months of the deadline for submitting files. It will be long but that’s how it is. So be patient.

Payment of tuition fees

Once you get a positive response, you will need to send the tuition fees by bank transfer to receive the « Certificate of Eligibility », an essential document to collect your student visa from the Japanese embassy or consulate. Be careful, you will have a month to do it and a month, it goes very quickly!

To save time, without even having obtained confirmation from Japanese immigration, I suggest you ask for the bank details of the school bank to create a new beneficiary online with your bank. Usually, the creation of a new beneficiary can take a little time. If your bank allows it, you must make an « international transfer » by selecting your beneficiary. The international transfer is mandatory otherwise you will not be able to send the tuition fees to your school. In Japan, they do not have an IBAN number, which does not allow a simple bank transfer.

Once the bank transfer is established, make sure the amount has been received as it is not a small amount of money and that is always reassuring.

The Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

If all went well, you will receive confirmation that the school has received the bank transfer. In general, the international transfer can take between three and ten days depending on the bank. Following this, the school will therefore be authorized to send the COE « Certificate of Eligibility » to your home.

But it’s not over yet. The school will also send you a list of documents (and yes, more and more documents) to provide to the Japanese embassy (or consulate) to apply for a student visa.

Student visa application

The student visa application must contain the following elements:

The original of the « Certificate of Eligibility » (COE) accompanied by a photocopy of both sides.

Valid passport (non-biometric accepted).

Residence permit (except members of the European Union) accompanied by a photocopy of both sides.

A visa application form (the signatures on the passport and the form must be identical). If in doubt about how to complete this form, please leave the relevant fields free and contact the visa officer directly when submitting your application.

An identity photograph (of good quality, less than 6 months old) to be pasted on the form. Format: 35mm X 45mm (do not take into account the dimensions mentioned on the form). ID photographs scanned / printed via a printer are not accepted. They must show the entire head.

The visa application form should only be written in English and can be handwritten or typed. The form is completed quickly. Meet at the Japanese Embassy where you will provide all the documents needed. The person at the counter will then give you a receipt that you must bring the day you collect your student visa. The request for the production of the student visa is chargeable and will cost you 20-22$ so also remember to have this sum in cash the day you come to collect your student visa. Thus, you will be in possession of the student visa and you will be able to study in Japan.

Renewing your student visa in Japan

After studying for a year in Japan, the school will ask you what you want to do next: if you want to continue for a second year on a student visa or if you want to stop and return to your motherland.

In case you decide to return to your country, after spending a year in school in Japan, the school will give you a certificate.

In the event that you wish to continue for an additional year, the school will not give you a certificate yet. The certificate is therefore obtained at the end of your school course. As you continue, the school will provide you with new information regarding your student visa renewal.

First of all, be aware that the student visa in Japan can be renewed. You can therefore do two years (in a row) on a student visa.

It is quite possible to change schools for your second year on a student visa in Japan. If you decide to change schools for your second year on a student visa, you will have to collect all the documents that were requested from you during the first year again to complete your registration file. However, if you stay in the same school, you will only be asked for the tuition fees for the new year.

As you know, your residence card will then reach its expiration date. This is why the school will take care of giving your residence card to the Japanese immigration, who will take care of its renewal with a new expiration date. The school in turn, will give you a document that temporarily replace your residence card.

Using this comprehensive article, you can now enroll in a school in Japan, and if you feel like it, continue at the same school with a renewal of the student visa.

Covid-19: Written Pledge

Due to the health situation regarding the Covid-19 disease, the Japanese authorities require the presentation of a « Written Pledge » signed by a sponsor in Japan. This document is therefore a new mandatory document to complete your file for a student visa application.

The « Written Pledge » (誓約書) is a written oath that indicates that your sponsor takes full responsibility for ensuring that you comply with the sanitary measures in place in Japan. This document has been put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The sponsor can be a host structure, an employer (company) or even a school.

The « Written Pledge » can only be issued by your sponsor.

I give you below some important links:


When your sponsor has signed the « Written Pledge », they can send it to you. Then, once in possession of the « Written Pledge », you must contact the Japanese Embassy in Paris by email « » telling them that your file for a student visa application is ready. Then they will give you a date for an appointment, and you will go to the Japanese Embassy or consulates to supply all your file for a student visa in Japan.

By submitting your application to the Japanese Embassy in Paris, the staff will confirm the student visa application with you. You will then be asked to come back to collect your visa.