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First of all, thank you for your time.
My son has been teaching English in Kyoto for 2 yrs. but is thinking of moving to Tokyo for another teaching position.He still has 2yrs. on his visa, but was wondering if he can re-new it himself when the time comes,since his new employer does not sponsor visas. In our research, we're getting conflicting answers, even from the Embassy/Consulate website.
Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Sincerely, Veronica

Hi Veronica,

Thanks for your question, and I'm sorry it took me so long to respond!

I think your son will be able to stay in Japan somehow.  He's got a few options:

1. A self-sponsored visa.  It is possible to self-sponsor (for a renewal only, not a new entry), if you can prove that you make enough money to live an average lifestyle.  I had a friend who actually did this for a few years, working two part time jobs.  Since both jobs were part time, neither would sponsor her visa, but since the combined income was as much as she had formerly made full time, she was able to renew with no company sponsor.  There's no guarantee that his application will be accepted, of course, but it's a possiblity.

2. If he is a good employee and proves his worth to the company, there's a chance that they WILL agree to sponsor him after two years.  Right now he is an unknown quantity to them.  two years from now, he may be a valuable employee they won't want to lose.

3. A new job in two years.  There are lots and LOTS of English schools, and while not all of them are exactly ideal working conditions, if the primary goal is to get a visa and stay in the country, he'll have options.  A lot of companies are glad to find someone who has lived in Japan already... that means he's familiar with the local manners and laws (and less likely to cause problems either through intent or ignorance), probably speaks at least a little Japanese (ditto), and will have a place to live (therefore eliminating the need for the company to help him look and/or put him up in corporate housing).  It may not be ideal, but if he wants to stay in Japan there ARE companies that will sponsor visas.

Of course, in two years' time he may be ready to leave.  Or he may be looking to get married and stay on a spouse visa.  Or... something else.  A lot can happen in that time.  If he's happy with the current job offer, I'd suggest that he takes it, and worry about his visa options (which he DOES have) when the time comes.

I hope that helps!



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I can answer questions about daily life in Japan, modern Japanese culture, Japanese language including conversational Japanese, reading and writing, basic immigration law, family register issues, and general information about living, working, and raising a family in Japan. I can't answer questions about Japanese history except as it relates to modern lifestyles, criminal law in Japan, or specific questions about anime, manga, and other aspects of pop culture except as they relate to an overall understanding of Japanese culture. I cannot help you find your long-lost or estranged family members. Please contact a professional private investigator for people searches. Thank you.


I have a BA in Japanese and International Relations, and have lived in Japan continuously for the past seven years. I rarely use English in my daily life anymore and have managed to do a decent job of integrating into my Japanese community. I own a home and have two children in Japan, have personally held student, working, and spouse visas and am currently in the process of applying for Japanese citizenship. I feel that I am able to answer a wide variety of questions based on my education and personal experience.

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