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What is best VISA status to start IT start-up in Japan

When I met with IT engineers from other nations, some people say they would like to start IT start-up in Japan. Some people want to do business which send IT engineers from India to Japan since they found there is shortage of human resources in Tokyo. People find there is the demands for IT engineers since Japan has difficulty to grow up such talents.

But since you are not citizen of Japan, you need to care about your VISA status in Japan when you try to start business in Japan. Under the Immigration Law, foreign citizens have to get VISA status which allow them to conduct business activity in Japan. If you have Engineer VISA(技術・人文知識・国際業務) in Japan, you could only work as employed engineers not business owners. There are 3 VISA status which allow you to work as business owners.

Business Manager VISA(経営・管理)

Highly skilled professional(高度専門職)

Permanent Resident(永住者)

In this article, I’ll explain the features of these VISA status and how these status affect your business activity in Japan.

1. Business Manager VISA(経営・管理)

When you consider starting business in Japan, you will consider change your VISA status into Business Manager VISA which is issued for business owners and corporate executives. But there is some features you need to know about Business Manager VISA(経営・管理). need to invest at least 5 million yen

2. it’s difficult to get 3 or 5 years VISA for start-up

Since Immigration Officers determined term of period of stay and whether the applicants could get extension or not by reviewing company’s financial conditions. It’s difficult to get 3 or 5 years VISA when you run start-up.

2.Highly skilled professional(高度専門職)

When you get Highly Skilled Professional VISA(HSP) for advanced technical activity, you could also run business which is relevant with main activity of your employer. But you need to know that your business have to be relevant business with your main activity in your employer.

3. Permanent Resident(永住者)

Some people may consider getting PR in Japan then start their business here. After getting PR in Japan, the only procedures regarding your VISA status is renewing your residence card(在留カード). But this procedure is not something Immigration officers inspect whether you meet the requirements of PR or not. It’s just the procedure to issue new residence card.

So, you don’t have risk for loosing VISA status because of your business condition while Business Manager VISA holders are required to submit financial report to extend their VISA status.

In terms of activity, you don’t have limitation on the activity that you can do legally. You could stat any business and could engage in multiple-activity. So, you could make flexible life plan in Japan. The flexibility allow you to start business in Japan smoothly.

But generally, getting PR requires 10 years living experience in Japan. So, you need to wait for quite long time to apply for PR in Japan. Some people worry about waiting for 10 years and give up getting PR in Japan.

But If you use point-based system to get PR, you might be able to get Permanent Residency within a few years.

What is Point-based system

The point-based system is the system to evaluate your academic background, work experience, academic achievements and other elements. The government of Japan want to increase highly skilled professionals in Japan. So, They make HSP VISA and then issue PR earlier for Working VISA holders if the applicants have more than 70 or 80 points. Here is the condition regarding living experience you need to meet when you try to get PR through point-based system.

Applicant who has more than 70 points

If you have more than 70 points 3 years before from the date the application of Permanent Residency is submitted, you need to live in Japan continuously for more than 3 years.

Applicant who has more than 80 points

If you have more than 80 points 1 years before from the date the application of Permanent Residency is submitted, you need to live in Japan continuously for more than 1year.

How to calculate your points

You could download point-calculation sheet from the following website.

If you could get Permanent Residency through point, I think getting PR through point-based system is the best choice for you.

Daichi Ito

Immigration Law Practitioner (Gyoseishoshi)


After graduating the Faculty of Law of Hosei University in Tokyo, Daichi Ito stated Kamakura International Legal Service(行政書士鎌倉国際法務事務所) and specialize in Immigration procedures and naturalization. Now He mainly handle PR application for various clients from highly skilled professionals to spouse VISA holders.

Office Address: 124 Zyuniso, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken

Office Hour; 9:00~17:00 Monday-Friday





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