Studying in Japan needs a lot of preparation, which can make the process overwhelming for some. We’re here to answer some common questions you might have if you are considering living in Japan as a foreign language student — or ryuugakusei.
Most schools are accepting beginner students but it is definitely recommended to have at least Hiragana and Katakana knowledge before you begin your studies in Japan. This is to help you jumpstart your studies in person and to avoid being too overwhelmed once you are here.
The application process takes about 6 months to complete, with the first 3 months being used for processing your documents for your student visa, and the rest of the 3 months would be waiting for your COE to be issued by the Japanese immigration. For example, if you are looking at applying for the fall term (October), the document processing window for this term usually takes place between March-May. From May to September, we will wait for your COE results. COEs are usually issued approximately a month prior to your chosen term.
Most schools prefer students to be of legal age (18 years old) to be able to join a language course. The reason for this is it is very difficult to apply for accommodation, sign up for essential things such as bank accounts, etc. as they may require you to be at least 18 years of age upon application.
Student visa holders are allowed to work part-time for 28 hours per week. Please make sure not to go past these hours as this will cause an issue for Japanese immigration. Always keep in mind that you are in Japan for studies, and not for work!
Language schools offer a maximum of 2 years of language education.
Most schools provide lessons in Japanese, it differs case by case.
The basic documents needed for your visa application will be the following:
- High-resolution ID photo
- Arrival and departure stamps received during your travel(s) to Japan
- Yours or your sponsor’s most recent bank statement to prove financial capabilities
- Yours or your sponsor’s most recent income tax return
- Birth certificate(s) *if parents/close relatives will be sponsoring your studies
- Marriage certificate *if a spouse will be sponsoring your studies
- Business certificate/license (if you or your sponsor owns a business)
- The school’s additional forms (application forms, agreement forms, etc.)
- Payslips/employment certificate to prove your or your sponsor’s current employment
- Doctor’s note to confirm you are fit to live in Japan for a long period of time (if you have an ongoing medical condition, physical or mental)