Basic Legal Information on Japan – Visa Requirement in Japan (Business Manager Visa)

Basic Legal Information on Japan – Visa Requirement in Japan (Business Manager Visa)

This is the fifth in a series of articles from GVA LPC providing basic legal information to foreign companies and individuals that are planning to do business in Japan. This series of articles will highlight Japanese laws and regulations which are central to their need to smoothen their business venture into the Japanese market. In our past article (, regarding the procedure to establish local companies in Japan, there is no restriction for foreign entities to so. However, to be able to manage the company and physically located in Japan, a Business Manager Visa is required to legally 'physically' manage a company in Japan.


A Business Manager Visa (abbreviation for the Status of Residence for Business Management) is a status of residence that a foreign national may obtain, in the cases where he or she establishes a business in Japan and manages the business by himself or herself, or when he or she manages a business which have been established in Japan. To obtain a Business Manager Visa, the applicant must plan to conduct activities that fall into the categories of (a) activities to commence the operation of a business and operate or manage such business in Japan; (b) activities to participate in a business already operated in Japan and operate or manage such business; or (c) activities to operate or manage a business on behalf of persons (including corporates) who operate such business in Japan.


Only those who substantially participate in the management and administration of the business, such as company representatives, directors, corporate auditors, department managers, plant managers, and branch managers, would be able to obtain a Business Manager Visa. It should be noted that a director who is not in charge of executing a business operation (e.g. perfunctory directors or part-time directors) may not apply for a Business Manager Visa.


To obtain a Business Manager Visa, certain requirements need to be fulfilled. As a general rule, there are three (3) major requirements that would be crucial whether a visa will be granted or not. They are as follows:


Requirement Specification
Physical Presents The physical location of the business must be in Japan. If the business has not been commenced before the application of a visa, proof should be given that physical location has been secured in Japan. 
Scale of Business

(i) Must employ 2 or more full-time employees who are residing in Japan (Japanese Nationals, Permanent Residents, Spouses, etc. of Japanese Nationals, Spouses, etc. of Permanent Residents or Long-term Residents.)

(ii) The amount of paid-up capital or the total amount of investment must be JPY 5 million or more; or

(iii) Other cases where the scale of business is deemed to be similar to the above (i) or (ii).
Skill of Applicant An applicant shall have at least 3 years’ experience in the operation and/or management of businesses and shall receive compensation of the level not less than the compensation that a Japanese national would receive for similar work.


The holder of a Business Manager Visa can legally conduct business within the ‘Period of Stay’ granted. A ‘Period of Stay’ is the period for which the holder of a Business Manager Visa is permitted to legally reside in Japan. There are 5 (five) types of the Periods of Stay for Business Manager Visa may be granted, there are; five (5) years, three (3) years, one (1) year, four (4) months, or three (3) months. The duration of the Period of Stay being granted for the Business Manager Visa shall be under the prerogative power of the Immigration Bureau of Japan. Renewal for the Business Manager Visa is permitted and should be made before the expiry date of the initial Period of Stay.


Being granted a Business Manager Visa means that a holder is not restricted to a particular type of business, the holder of Business Manager Visa would be allowed to engage in any type of business.  Unlike other employment visas, after obtaining a Business Manager Visa, the holder will be permitted to start almost all kinds of business in Japan which are legally permitted by Japanese laws. In this sense, the Business Manager Visa is a very convenient status of residence for a foreigner that intends to conduct business in Japan. In addition, the holder of Business Manager Visa is allowed to invite a ‘domestic maid’ to come to Japan from abroad, this is one of the many preferential treatments which is normally not available for holders of other types of employment visas.


For reference purposes, the following are the list of documents that are needed to be presented for applying for the Business Manager Visa.


List of Documents
Certificate of Eligibility
ID photo
Copy of Passport or Residence Card
Curriculum Vitae and supporting materials
Certified copy of the registry of the corporate (in case if the registration has not been completed, the articles of incorporation
Copy of the latest financial statements (profit and loss statement, balance sheet, statement of changes in shareholders' equity, etc. if appliable.)
Copy of the business plan
Business brochures, product and service pamphlets, etc.;
Copy of the lease agreement premises of the business
List of full-time employees
Photos (inside and outside) of the business’s site
List of shareholders and investors
Proof of the amount of investment (at least JPY 5 million, if appliable.);
Statement of reasons for the application;

It should be noted that the list prescribed above are considered to be of the minimum required, it is recommended that a legal consultant be consulted because the required documents vary by the circumstances of the applicant. The information provided in this article is merely for reference purposes, it is advisable to consult a legal professional to understand in detail and to make smooth and successful application.