VISA / Residing in Japan

The Working Holiday Programmes in Japan

April 1, 2019

1. Outline

 The working holiday programmes are, based on bilateral arrangements, intended to make it possible for the youth of Japan and its partner countries/regions to enter each country/region primarily for the purpose of spending holidays while allowing them to engage in employment as an incidental activity of their holidays for the purpose of supplementing their travel funds.

 The programmes are designed to provide the youth with wider opportunities for them to appreciate the culture and general way of life in the partner countries/regions for the purpose of promoting mutual understanding between Japan and its partner countries/regions.

 Japan started the working holiday programmes first with Australia in 1980. As of 1st April 2019, Japan has introduced the programmes with the following 23 countries/regions.

 Of late, the annual number of the youth who obtain Japanese working holiday visas totals nearly 15,000.

  Australia New Zealand Canada Republic of Korea France Germany The United Kingdom Ireland Denmark Taiwan Hong Kong Norway Portugal Poland Slovakia Austria Hungary Spain Argentina Chile Iceland Czech Lithuania
Year of initiation 1980 1985 1986 1999 2000
2000 2001 2007 2007 2009 2010 2013 2015 2015 2016 2016 2017 2017 2017 2018 2018 2018 2019
Maximum number that could be issued per year no limit no limit 6,500 10,000 1,500 no limit 1,000 400 no limit 10,000 1,500 no limit no limit 500 400 200 200 500 200 200 30 400 100

[Note] Provisionally initiated in December 1999.

2. Eligibility to participate in the working holiday programmes

 To participate in the working holiday programmes, an applicant must satisfy the following requirements.[Note]

 [Note]The requirements may differ depending on the nationality of the applicant. Further information on visa application procedures can be obtained from Embassies or Consulates-General of Japan in your country/region or Interchange Association (Taipei Office or Kaohsiung Office).

  • For a national of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Iceland, Czech or Lithuania an applicant must be currently residing in his or her country of nationality; for a resident in Hong Kong, an applicant must possess a valid HKSAR or British National Overseas passport; for a resident in Taiwan, an applicant must possess a valid passport of Taiwan.
  • Intending primarily to spend holiday in Japan for a specific length of time.
  • Being between 18 and 30 years of age both inclusive at the time of application for the visa; As for Australia, Canada and Republic of Korea, an applicant should be between 18 and 25 years of age except in those cases where the competent authorities of Japan agree to extend the limitation of age to 30 years. In the case of Iceland, the applicant should be between 18 and 26 years of age.
  • Not being accompanied by dependents or children.
  • Possessing a valid passport of his or her country/region and a return travel ticket or sufficient funds with which to purchase such a ticket.
  • Possessing reasonable funds for the maintenance of his/her stay during the initial period of stay in Japan.
  • Being in good health.
  • Never having been issued a Japanese working holiday visa in the past.

3. Procedure of the working holiday visa application

 The application for the visa must be made to Embassies or Consulates-General of Japan in your country/region or Interchange Association (Taipei Office or Kaohsiung Office).

4. Work Conditions

 Participants in the working holiday programmes are allowed to engage in employment as an incidental activity of their holidays for the purpose of supplementing their travel funds.

 The working holiday participants are strictly prohibited from working at bars, cabarets, nightclubs, gambling establishments and other premises affecting public morals in Japan. If a participant works at such a place, he or she is deemed to violate Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act and will face deportation except where he or she is deemed to be victims of human trafficking.

 It is also to be noted that those who are engaged in having the working holiday participants work at these establishments could face criminal charges for promoting illegal work or the buying or selling of persons.

5. Procedure at a municipal office

 The working holiday participants must visit the municipal office where they live and notify the Ministry of Justice where they live within 14 days of finding a place to settle down. Please see the Immigration Bureau of Japan's website about the detail. ( a New Window)

6. Other information

 Please beware of fraudulent entities that may offer help in obtaining working holiday visas as there is no organization, including incorporated associations, in Japan with which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cooperates in operating the working holiday programmes.

 Foreign job-seekers in Japan may seek assistance in English or other languages at the Employment Service Center for Foreigners (in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya) as well as at some of the regional national public employment security offices (‘Hello Work’). Please see the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare's website for the detail.(Information for foreigners who are seeking jobs in JapanOpen a New Window).

 Sometimes we request consenting working holiday participants to answer a questionnaire afterwards. We would appreciate it if you could kindly cooperate with us.