Keiei-Kanri: What You Need to Know About Japan’s Business Manager Visa

Engaging with and participating in business activities in Japan isn’t limited to the Japanese after all. Foreigners who intend to pursue business in one of the strongest economies in Asia are now given a chance to do so. Thanks to the business manager visa, such aspirations can now be materialized.

What is a Business Manager Visa?

Business Manager Visa or Keiei-Kanri (経営・管理) is a type of work visa available to individuals from the business world such as a business’s manager, owner, director, administrator, or supervisor. In other words, a person of position who wishes to take part in the operation or setting-up of an establishment in Japan. Having an entrepreneur background shows credibility when acquiring this specific visa.

Activities Permitted under the Business Manager Visa

Here are examples of business activities allowed under the Business Manager Visa:

  1. Managerial position for a newly formed establishment in Japan

  2. Management of an existing business in Japan

  3. Starting a business

  4. Acting as a proxy to the owner of a corporation in engaging in the operations of the business

Difference with a Startup Visa

Startup Visas were introduced by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to support foreign entrepreneurs in starting-up their business in Japan. There are major differences between the Business Manager Visa and the Startup Visa: 


Business Manager Visa

Startup Visa

Visa Duration

3 months to 5 years

6 to 12 months


Throughout Japan

Offered by 10 municipalities so far 


Minimum 5 million yen

Not required

Office Space


Not required


Long Term


Startup Visas are a temporary means to start your business. All holders who wish to continue running their business operation must convert to a Business Manager Visa after their Startup Visa expires. 

Must-Know Eligibility Requirements for the Business Manager Visa

Business Office

Here some guidelines for business offices:

  • It must be an independent physical space; no virtual offices are permitted. 

  • Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) provided short-term offices are acceptable.

  • Personal living spaces are allowed provided permission has been provided by the landlord and there is proper separation of space for both business and living purposes. 

  • The business office needs to be sufficiently equipped with the necessary tools and equipment for business functions, e.g. phone, computer. 

  • Check whether operating a business is allowed at the location.

※ June Advisors Group, "How to Establish a Company in Japan"
※ Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO), "Section 1. Incorporating Your Business 1.3 Procedures for registering establishment"
※ IMS Legal Professional Corporation, "Business Manager Visa"

Securing Your Business Capital

Applicants should invest an amount of at least 5 million yen in the business venture. When deciding the amount of your capital, take into consideration the following:

  • Employees wages

  • Your own wages

  • Tax payments

  • Rental

  • Business permit requirements

  • And perhaps more

If you are lacking in funds, there is a chance you will be permitted to receive financial help from your family members and close relatives residing in their native country. However, the Immigration Bureau may request for documentary evidence proving your relationship with the borrower, including documents proving their net income and owned assets.

※ IMS Legal Professional Corporation, "Business Manager Visa"
※ Continental International Administrative Scrivener Office, "【2020 edition】How to get a Business Manager VISA"

Business Sustainability

To prove this, business owners must be able to present a good track record of how the business is doing; the number of transactions performed, profits gained and such are a good start. Presentation of a sound business plan showing future planned projects, estimated earnings, and intention to increase manpower would also shine a positive light on your business. All these will be taken into consideration by the Immigration Bureau when evaluating your application.

To simplify the above, the business applicant should be someone that is able to bring a productive and positive impact on the country’s economy. 

※ IMS Legal Professional Corporation, "Business Manager Visa"
※ i-socia Advisors, "Business Manager (BM)"

Business Partner Residing in Japan

If you want to start a business venture into Japan, but are not yet ready to make the big move, consider partnering up. To start a company you will need a bank account in Japan for fund transactions, this is where your Japanese partner will come into place. Here are some ideas that may help you on the way.

1) Make a plan. Think about what type of partner you are looking for. Decide on what his/her role will be in the company. Will it be purely for company setting-up purposes? Do you require his/her help in financing the capital? Will he/she be taking up a position in the company?

2) Search for potential candidates that fit your requirements. Ask around for recommendations or introductions; you never know who has the right connections.

3) Do a thorough check to ensure your chosen candidate is who he/she says they are and has the proper qualifications and credentials. He/She might do just the same.

4) Personally talk (whether it is through video call, phone or face-to-face) with your potential future business partner at least once to ascertain whether you’ll work well together. Showing that you are trustworthy and professional as a partner is substantial in building rapport with the other.

5) Proceed with the venture plan with your chosen business partner. Perhaps seek the help of a lawyer to put things in writing, such as a Non-Disclosure Agreement, Joint Venture Agreement, or a Business Partner Contract. 

※ Continental International Administrative Scrivener Office, "【2020 edition】How to get a Business Manager VISA"
※ Switzerland Global Enterprise, "How to enter the Japanese Market - business partner models and other options"

Application Process

How to Apply for the Business Manager Visa

Depending on your status of residence, there are 2 ways to go about getting the visa. If you are overseas, you will need to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility first; if you are already a resident in Japan with a residence card, you can apply for change of visa status.

Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

You will require a visa sponsor, such as the business who wishes to assign you to manage their business, who will apply to the Immigration Bureau on your behalf. 

Change of Visa Status

Apply to change your visa status at the Immigration Bureau. Note that it may be difficult to receive a business manager visa using this method. In any case, take note that your financial history and capacity will be investigated.

※ i-socia Advisors, "Business Manager (BM)"
​​​​​​​※ IMS Legal Professional Corporation, "Business Manager Visa"

Required Documents

There are quite a few documents you will need to prepare to support your visa application, such as:

  • Valid passport

  • Photograph

  • Certificate of Eligibility (if residing overseas)

  • Proof of previous education and/or work experience in Japan (resume, diploma, certificates, employment contracts, salary slips, any other document)

  • Company information (certificate of company registration, company brochure, website, articles of incorporation, business license, employee payroll, business plan, any other document)  

  • Finance and taxation documents (financial statements, withholding tax slips, financial plan, any other documents)

  • Business office information (rental contract, rental payment slips, photos, any other documents)

※ i-socia Advisors, "Business Manager (BM)"

Visa Processing Duration

The entire process to acquire a business manager visa, from application to approval, generally takes about three months. It may be delayed for longer if the Immigration Bureau is especially busy or requires further information, so allocate some leeway in your schedule.

※ Continental International Administrative Scrivener Office, "【2020 edition】How to get a Business Manager VISA"

Visa Duration

The duration of a business manager visa can be for 3 months, 4 months, 1 year, 3 years, or 5 years. This is entirely at the discretion of the Immigration Bureau and usually decided based on the results of your evaluation. 

※ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, "Working visa"
​​​​​​​※ IMS Legal Professional Corporation, "Business Manager Visa"


A Business Manager Visa is a great pathway for someone interested in moving up career ranks, or perhaps to live that dream of being your own boss. This could be your chance to live that dream. We hope we helped and wish you all the best in your endeavours! 

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