A new Digital Nomad Visa has been established in Japan, and the application process began on March 31st, 2024. It allows for a maximum stay of six months, and accompanying spouses and children are also permitted.
Regarding digital nomads, in addition to Europe, visas have been established in countries such as Thailand and Malaysia, with a growing trend worldwide to attract them to their respective countries. The Japanese government has also made a Cabinet decision to attract digital nomads.
Based on the above, amendments to the Ministry of Justice’s notification on Specific Activities as stipulated in the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act have been made, leading to the commencement of this new system.

At our office, we promptly submitted an application for a Certificate of Eligibility for Resident Status at the Tokyo Immigration Bureau in April 2024, which was accepted as the first application case.

Furthermore, we have already submitted several applications at our office. Articles from media coverage have also been distributed, so we would greatly appreciate it if you could refer to them. If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

What is a Digital Nomad?

Digital Nomads, also known as remote workers, are individuals who use digital technologies to work without being bound to a specific location. They use mobile devices and the internet to perform work remotely from different locations. This lifestyle gives them the freedom to choose their favorite locations for work, which allows them to enjoy a unique lifestyle that combines travel and work.

Examples of Eligible Professions

Freelance writer, journalist, graphic designer, web designer, programmer, digital marketer, consultant, online education instructor, Author, investor, online secretary etc.
These are just some examples, but the diversity of work that digital nomads engage in is very broad, and various occupations are likely to be included.

Permit Requirements

  • A remote worker utilizing IT (belonging to a foreign company or a freelancer)
  • A national of a visa exemption country and a country/region that has concluded a tax treaty
  • An annual income of 10 million yen or more.
  • Enrollment in private medical insurance for the intended duration of stay in Japan.

Targeted Countries for Digital Nomad VISA

Residence Status and Period of Stay

The residency status granted will be “Designated Activities (Notification No. 53), with a residency period of 6 months,” and for accompanying spouses and children, it will be “Designated Activities (Notification No. 54), with a residency period of 6 months.” This visa allows you to stay 6 months maximum.

Other countries’ digital nomad visas typically allow for a stay longer than six months, with the possibility of extension. However, after six months have passed since leaving the country, it has become possible to obtain a Digital Nomad residence status again and stay in Japan. According to the immigration authorities, there is no specific limit on the number of applications, so it is possible to repeatedly obtain digital nomad visa status.

Please note that this residence status, under immigration law, does not qualify as a medium to long-term resident. Therefore, a residence card will not be issued.

Additionally, while staying in Japan with a Digital Nomad residence status, if circumstances arise that you wish to change to another residence status (in principle, excluding short-term stays), it is also possible to apply for a change of residence status. For example, if, while working as a Digital Nomad in Japan, you enter into a subcontracting or employment contract with a Japanese company, you could change your residence status to Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services. Furthermore, it is also possible to temporarily leave Japan and re-enter during your stay.

Necessary Documents

  1. Application for Certificate of Eligibility – 1 copy
  2. ID Photo (4×3 cm) – 1 sheet
  3. Copy of Passport
  4. Envelope for Reply
  5. Documentation explaining the applicant’s planned activities during their stay
  6. Tax certificate or income certificate issued in the country where the applicant worked, serving as proof of annual income
    ※ If the applicant is unable to submit a tax certificate, the applicant should explain the reason why he/she is unable to submit such documents and submit an employment contract of a corporation established in compliance with the laws and regulations of a foreign country, a contract with a business partner (which clearly states the contract amount), and documents of a bank or other savings account in the applicant’s name showing a record of payments related to annual income (copy of savings account statement, etc.).
    ※ A copy of the screen of the Web Passbook (showing the transaction history) is acceptable. However, only printed materials that cannot be edited (Excel files, etc. are not acceptable).
  7. Copy of private medical insurance enrollment certificate and its terms and conditions
    ※The insurance coverage must extend for the entire duration of the stay in Japan, including provisions for death, injury, and illness.
    ※The compensation for treatment costs for injuries and illnesses should be 10 million yen or more.
    ※If the insurance provided by your credit card meets the required coverage, please provide documents validating the coverage.
  8. Marriage Certificate -1 sheet(If a spouse accompanying)
  9. Birth Certificate – 1 sheet(if a child accompanying)

Application Method

After gathering the necessary documents mentioned above, individuals should visit Japan on a short-term basis and then apply for the Certificate of Eligibility to the Immigration Office with jurisdiction over their intended place of residence.
If your application is approved, you will be issued a Certificate of Eligibility (CoE).
If you wish to receive the Certificate of Eligibility during your short-term visit and then continue your stay in Japan by changing to the Digital Nomad Visa without returning to your home country, you must promptly apply for the Certificate of Eligibility after your land.

We would prefer that the review process be handled promptly; however, the Tokyo Immigration Bureau is currently experiencing significant congestion, and for other residence statuses, processing typically takes several months. Therefore, it may take several months initially. If a Certificate of Eligibility is issued during your stay, you can apply for a change of residence status without returning to your home country. Once the review is completed, a visa will be affixed to your passport, allowing you to stay in Japan under the Digital Nomad residence status. Our immigration lawyer can handle the entire process from application to receiving the results.

Once granted, foreign nationals intending to reside in Japan for the medium to long term will be provided with a residence card with a photo. Upon receiving the residence card, they are officially authorized to operate as digital nomads. Our immigration lawyers can handle all of these applications on behalf of clients.

Applicants can also apply for a visa at an embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over their place of residence in the home country. Having the Certificate of Eligibility mentioned above would make the visa application process at the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan easier and quicker. Usually, it takes about 5 business days from the day after the application is accepted.