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Procedures for Acquiring a Business Manager Visa

In order to start a business in Japan, you need to acquire a Business Manager Visa (unless you have another type of visa related to your personal status). We fully dedicate ourselves to supporting foreign entrepreneurs in every aspect of their business endeavors, from setting up a company to acquiring a visa to carrying out business activities.

1.Visa status categories that allow you to run a company in Japan

The following visa status categories allow you to run a company and receive remuneration (in other words, payments or earnings) in Japan:

  • Permanent Resident
  • Spouse or Child of Japanese National
  • Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident
  • Long Term Resident
  • Highly-Skilled Professional

A foreigner who has a visa status other than one of the above or who plans to come to Japan in the future needs to acquire a Business Manager Visa to start a business or run a company and receive remuneration in Japan.

2.Scope of authorized activities under a Business Manager Visa

  1. (1) Start operating a business or engaging in the management of the business
  2. (2) Participate in a business already in operation in Japan and engage in the operation or management of the business
  3. (3) Engage in the operation or management of a business on behalf of a person who is already operating that business

A Business Manager Visa is required not only to establish a new company in Japan but also to acquire a company or to participate in an existing company as an officer.

3.Requirements to acquire a Business Manager Visa

You need to satisfy the following requirements to acquire a Business Manager Visa:

  1. (1) You have secured an independent office in Japan for your business.
    (If you plan to start a new business, you have secured a facility for use as an independent office for your business.)
    The office needs to be a physical office dedicated for your business and independent from any other company. A virtual office, an office co-owned with other companies, a co-working space, or a shared office will lead to a higher risk of rejection. You also need to state in the lease agreement that the intended use of the property is for business purposes.
  2. (2) You hire two or more full-time employees who reside in Japan, or the amount of capital or the total amount of capital contributions is \5 million or more.
  3. (3) You can prove the stability and continuity of your business in your business plan.
  4. (4) If you plan to manage a business (as general manager, branch manager, or so-called hired president without capital contribution), you have experience of operation or management of a business totaling three years or more, and you are to receive a salary of no less than what a Japanese national would receive for the work.

4.Time required to acquire a Business Manager Visa

In many cases, the examination period for a Business Manager Visa application takes about three months. You should be well-prepared and organized from the preparation phase of an application.

5.Steps to acquire a Business Manager Visa

1)Drawing up a business plan / Raising funds

When evaluating an application for a Business Manager Visa these days, the Immigration Bureau tends to examine the contents of a business plan extremely strictly. Accordingly, you need to make precise business strategies such as establishing a competitive advantage to succeed in Japan and building risk management systems.
You should also try to apply for public funding, such as startup loan programs, to the extent possible.

2)Setting up a company / Obtaining approvals and licenses

First, you need to enter into a lease agreement or preliminary lease agreement for an office. In order to acquire a Business Manager Visa, it is necessary to secure a physical office dedicated for your business and independent from any other company. The lease agreement needs to be executed under your corporate name.
Then, you will make a payment of capital or capital contributions into a bank account, create articles of incorporation, register the company incorporation, and obtain necessary approvals and licenses.

3)Applying for a visa

After securing an office, setting up a company (i.e., registering the incorporation), and obtaining necessary approvals and licenses, you will proceed to the next step: applying for a Business Manager Visa to the Immigration Bureau. The examination takes about three months in many cases. You need to submit many documents for an application, but you may also be required to submit additional documents after the initial submission, in which case the examination period may be prolonged. In recent years, examinations of applications for Business Manager Visas have become stricter, and the examination periods tend to be longer.

6.Extension of the period of stay under a Business Manager Visa

The initial permitted period of stay is generally one year. At the end of that one year, you will need to apply for an extension of your period of stay.
To receive an extension of the period of stay under a Business Manager Visa, business continuity is considered important. It is also important whether you will be able to continue your business and stay in Japan in a stable manner.
Other critical aspects are whether your corporation and you as an individual manager are meeting tax liabilities and whether you are paid reasonable remuneration as an officer (enough to earn a stable living).
There are various possible scenarios, such as when your business is in the red, has excessive debt, or significantly deviates from the original business plan. You will need to submit documents corresponding to each case, if applicable, when applying for an extension.
A long period of stay, such as three or five years, may be granted from roughly the third year after the launching of your business onward, taking into consideration the actual business situation and continuity and/or other factors.

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