Renew Visa: Visa Extension in Japan During the COVID-19 Pandemic | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Renew Visa: Visa Extension in Japan During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Tony Tao Nov 20, 2020

Are you concerned about your Japanese visa? Here are some details about visa applications from Japan during the outbreak of COVID-19 disease. 

Visa Extension in Japan During Covid-19 Pandemic

Please keep in mind that the situation of COVID-19 and visa extensions in Japan are constantly changing. Thus, the best option is to always directly verify with the nearest Immigration Office about your personal visa situation.


Residents in Japan: Visa issues

The immigration office has updated its policies for mid-to-long-term immigrants who are now trying to return to their home country: a six-month Designated Activities Visa will now be offered instead of a Temporary Tourist Visa (application required). This does not necessarily allow working, so please carefully confirm with the Immigration Office before taking any job.

Note: Foreign people in Japan are legally required to notify their local Immigration Office of any adjustments to their employment status, including job loss, within 14 days counted from the transition day. This can be done online. For more information, see the website of the Immigration Services Agency.

Justifiable Reasons

Under normal circumstances, the immigration officials will possibly revoke your visa if you have been employed in Japan and then suddenly stop, and are just floating around.

However you have resided with a visa in Japan in one of the categories mentioned in Appendix Table 1 of the Immigration Control Act, such as Engineer/Humanities Specialist/International Services, Skilled Labor or Student, but you have not been able to engage in your visa activities for three months or longer, if there is a justifiable reason for this, you may not be subject to revocation of the residence status.

For example, the organization you work for has experienced a revenue decline, and they asked you to temporarily stop working or your university is closed, or you have been hospitalized for a long time. 

Check out the details at Justifiable reasons.

Residents on a Technical Training Visa or Designated Activities Aisa

Visa extensions are also available for persons working in Japan on a Technical Training Visa or a Designated Activities Visa (covering interns, summer jobs, foreign construction workers, or foreign manufacturing workers) who wish to remain in their current location.

Note: For those who have lost their jobs due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 disease outbreak on the Technical Training Visa, it seems that it might be possible to apply for a new position and to stay in Japan. It is recommended that you directly contact immigration officials for more information. 

Students in Japan

Students planning to extend their visas must remain enrolled in school. If he/she is no longer able to study in Japan, for instance, can no longer afford school fees, but are also unable to return to their home country, a student visa can be converted to a 90-day temporary visitor visa. On the other hand, a six-month Designated Activities (Part-Time Permitted to Work under 28 Hours a Week Maximum) visa may be available to students who have graduated after 1 January 2020 and wish to work.

Tourists in Japan

At the beginning of April, the immigration authorities declared that tourists in Japan who could not return to their home countries due to the effects of COVID-19, such as flight cancellations and border closures, would be able to automatically extend their Temporary Visitor visa for 90 days. It’s mid-November now and it’s presumed that stranded tourists have since returned to their home countries via repatriation flights. Anyone still rattling around Japan on an expired tourist visa is advised to contact the immigration authorities urgently.

You can read more about tourist visa extensions here.

Residents Currently Outside Japan: Re-entering the Country

On 28 August, the Japanese government announced that foreign citizens with a valid re-entry permit who had left Japan before 31 August 2020 would be able to re-enter Japan from 1 September onwards. To avoid the spread of COVID-19, re-entry is subject to meeting requirements. 

Questions about Visa Extensions and Re-entry

It is best not to physically go to the Immigration Office to avoid crowding and the potential spread of COVID-19, unless there is no alternative. It is recommended that you contact the Immigration Office for advice (call or email) first of all, to find out what you need to do about your current visa situation.

Note that if you go in person, you may have to wait outside the office for a while, as there is a limit to the number of people allowed to go in at one time. 

Visa Extensions in Japan During COVID-19 Pandemic – Renewing your Visa

This article outlined some details about visa extensions in Japan during the outbreak of the COVID-19 disease.  However, please keep in mind that the situation is constantly changing. So, the best option is to always directly verify with the nearest Immigration Office about your personal visa situation. 

The Guidable team hopes that you found this article helpful! After all, all of our activities are aiming for a better life for foreigners in Japan! So, stay tuned and follow us on all our platforms!