Have you heard of “permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence”? International students who want to work part-time in Japan must apply and obtain this permission. This article introduces the exact concept of “permission to engage in activities outside the status of residence permit”, how to apply for it, as well as the hours and precautions for part-time work that international students who have obtained the permission must be aware of. It is important, so please read.
Table of Contents
- What is “permission to engage in other activities” for international students? Why do you need it?
- How to apply for “permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted”?
- Pay Attention to Working Hours and Types of Part Time Jobs
In order to work a part-time job whilst studying abroad in Japan, you must first obtain a「資格外活動許可」shikakugai katsudou kyoka, or “permission to engage in activities outside status of qualification”.
Here, “qualification (資格 shikaku)” means “status of residence”. For international students, the type of status of residence is “student (留学 ryuugaku)” which is simply called “student visa”. In the case of “Status of Residence: Student” or 「在留資格：留学」or simply “student visa”, you are permitted to reside in Japan for the sole purpose of study. Therefore, in principle, you cannot engage in activities that generate income, in other works you cannot work. In order to engage in these activities outside status of residence (eg. work), it is necessary to obtain in advance “permission in advance to engage in activities outside the status of qualification”.
The “permission to engage in other activities” refers to a document stating exactly that, that you have permission to engage in activities other than that permitted under your status of residence. However, in the case of an international students, instead of a specific document, a certifying seal (証印シール) that works the same way as the permission document will be affixed to your passport. In addition, on the back of your residence card, inside the “permission to engage in other activities” box, specific conditions of the “permission to engage in other activities” will be printed. (Sample Guidance Page)
For your reference, the application document submitted to obtain “permission for other activities” is called “Application for Permission to Engage in Activity Other Than That Permitted Under the Status of Residence Previously Granted” (資格外活動許可申請書).
【Note】If an international student has a contract with the school where he/she is enrolled and receives remuneration, then he/she does not need to obtain permission for activities other than that permitted under his/her status of residence. <資格外活動の許可（入管法第19条）> However, it is best to contact the school about the details.
In addition to international students (status of residence: student), holders of work visa or family stay visa can also apply for “permission to engage in activities outside the status of residence“.
Read about the difference between Visa and Status of Residence here.
How to apply for “permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted”?
This section introduces the application method for international students to obtain the “permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted”.
Applicant’s legal representative (or guardian if applicant is a minor)
Applicant’s school staff
Lawyer or administrative scrivener requested by applicant
There is no charge.
There are 2 types of “permission to engage in activity other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted”.
The “comprehensive permission” (包括許可) allows international students to work a part-time job for up to 28 hours per week (less than 8 hours per day up to 40 hours per week is possible during long term closure of educational institutions, or in simpler words during long-term school/university/etc. holidays).
The application form is divided into 1) if you are currently in Japan, and 2) if you are a new international student just entering Japan:
1) if you are currently in Japan: 資格外活動許可申請書（PDF：93KB）
2) If you are a new international student just entering Japan: 資格外活動許可申請書（留学生が新規入国する場合）（Excel：20KB）
Here are the additional documents to prepare:
Residence Card (to show)
Passport and Certificate of Eligibility (COE). If you cannot present them, provide a reason.
If someone other than you applies, documents proving your identity.
【Note】“Case-by-case Permission” (個別許可)
As we mentioned above, there are 2 types of “permission to engage in other activities”, the “comprehensive permission” that allows working up to 28 hours per week, and the “case-by-case permission”.
The “case-by-case permission” is permission to engage in activities outside the status of residence for jobs that are hard to ascertain actual working hours, activities that do not fall under “comprehensive permission”, etc.
For the “case-by-case permission”, the name of the institution, business, and other necessary information needs to be screened before permission is granted. In the case of international students attending university or graduate school, if you are close to achieving your units (credits) required for graduating in your graduating year, a “case-by-case permission” will be granted allowing you to join an internship for more than 28 hours a week. However, in addition to the application form (same form for 1) if you are currently in Japan above), you will also need to prepare the following:
Proof of your planned activities (document prepared by organization), or contract/agreement of the planned activities
Certificate of Student Status (在学証明書)
Documents confirming the number of units required for you to graduate, and your credit progress (can be shown by academic transcript (成績証明書)).
Aside from internship, there are other situations where you can apply for this permit. For example, for certain part-time jobs that are popular with international students, such as language teacher, interpreter, tutor, etc. In addition to the application form, prepare documents explaining your activities, hours you will spend on the activities, and expected remuneration.
For other situations, check eligibility on the Immigration Services Agency of Japan’s page below before applying.
※ Immigration Services Agency of Japan, “資格外活動許可申請”
“Permission to engage in other activities” can be applied for at the Immigration Service Agency (出入国在留管理庁). For convenience sake, is is also called Immigration Office or Immigration Bureau (入国管理局 nyuukokukanrikyoku).
When entering Japan from major airports (Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Chubu Airport, Kansai Airport, New Chitose Airport, Hiroshima Airport, Fukuoka Airport), a residence card can be issued immediately at the airport upon arrival. At the same time, you can apply and receive permission on the spot, and you will receive the “permission to engage in other activities” as a certifying seal in your passport and a stamp on the bottom back of your residence card.
When entering from any other airports, application can only be made after you receive your residence card via mail to your registered address in Japan. In this case, you will need to make a trip to the Immigration Bureau having jurisdiction over your place of residence to apply for the permission. Before visiting, it is best to check the website for their opening hours and availability.
Long after you’ve received your residence card and in the middle of enjoying your student abroad life, when you get to thinking of getting a part-time job, you can just visit the Immigration Bureau to get permission to engage in other activities.
Depending on the conditions, you can apply for “permission to engage in other activities” online (more below).
※ ISA, “地方出入国在留管理官署”
With Japan’s Online Residence Application System, residence related applications can be submitted online. This includes visa renewal, changing status of residence, and permission to engage in activity other than that permitted under status of residence. In this case, you must have a “My Number Card”. For more information, please check Visa Renewal in Japan Just Got Easier: Renew Online with a My Number Card.
According to the guidelines by the Immigration Office, it takes between 2 weeks to 2 months to review applications for permissions to engage in other activities. We recommend applying for part-time jobs after you obtain the permission.
“Permission to engage in activities other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted” is given as long as it does not interfere with “studying/study abroad (留学),” the activity under your status of residence. Therefore, it is important to understand the conditions of the permission and to comply with them.
Must be engaged in activities corresponding to the current status of residence
Therefore, you cannot work part-time while on a leave of absence even if you have permission to engage in other activities.
【Note】 After graduation, international students will no longer be engaged in activities corresponding to their status of residence. As a result, the permission to engage in other activities also expires, and so they cannot work part-time even if they have a remaining period of stay.
Activities outside the status of residence must not fall under any of the following activities
Activities in violation of laws and regulations, and adult entertainment establishments.
→ Specifically, it refers to entertainment establishments such as host and hostess clubs, snack bars, mahjong shops, pachinko parlours, and game centres. Even if you are not involved in the main services such as working in the kitchen, cleaning and distributing flyers, be careful as it counts as a violation of the law.
Must comply with working hours of not more than 28 hours per week
If you are working 2 part-time jobs, the total sum is calculated. During long-term closure of educational institutions such as schools or universities, it is possible to work part-time up to 8 hours a day to a maximum of 40 hours a week. It’s not up to you to decide when the long-term holiday starts and ends, it should be based on the educational institutions schedule for summer holidays, autumn holidays, etc.
【Note】If you work part-time without permission to engage in other activities, or if you work over the limit of working hours, you will be working illegally. If discovered to be working illegally, international students may be deported, or employment after graduation may be affected - be especially careful of the consequences. Furthermore, foreign nationals that have been deported from Japan cannot enter Japan for at least 5 years.
Because of the strict measures against violations, there are some schools with a rule requiring students to report part-time jobs. Please check with your school in advance.
International students are, in principle, not allowed to engage in income-generating activities such as part-time jobs because they have received status of residence in Japan for the purpose of studying. However, if you apply for “permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted” in advance, you can work part-time under the premise that work hours and type of work is not violated. If you want to get a part-time job in Japan, check the relevant information and proceed accordingly.
If you have received “permission to engage in other activities” and are able to work a part-time job now, then check out the Top Part Time Jobs for International Students in Japan. You should also start preparing for a part-time job interview by studying up on what questions are usually asked and how to answer them.