student, dependent, cultual activities visa holders need permission to work part time

Like any other countries, many university students in Japan get part time jobs in cafes, restaurants and various other places. Can student visa holders do the same? The answer is NO. You have to obtain permission in advance. If you work without permission, you could get a large penalty.

1. Who needs permission for to hold a part time job?

1-1. Student visa and Dependent visa holders

For foreign students, a part time job is a very good way of earning some money to support living, meeting people and getting some work experience while in Japan. If you can get a part time job which is related to something you plan to do in a future, it might lead on to a full time job opportunity after graduating from university.

As a rule, Student visa holders and Dependent visa holders are not allowed to work in order to earn money. But you can work part time as long as permission is granted in advance. Referred to as “Permission to engage in activities other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted (shikakugai katsudo kyoka)”. This will allow you to work up to 28 hours a week and 8 hours per day during a long holiday.
If you are an occasional student – only attending certain classes, not full time – you can work up to 14 hours a week. There is no restriction on the type of jobs, it doesn’t have to be related to what you study at the university. But there are some exceptions; you can not work in the sex industry, the entertainment industry such as hostess bars, pachinko & mah-jong parlors and arcades etc. You are not even allowed to work as a cleaner in these places.

1-2. Cultural Activities visa holders

Cultural Activities visa holders are slightly different. Unlike Students and Dependent visa holders, the permission is granted individually, not comprehensively. You find a part time job first then apply for permission. If the job seems to be related to your cultural activities, then permission is granted and information about the work place is stated on your residence card (Zairyu card). If you leave that job,  you have to find another part time job before applying for permission again.

1-3. Designated Activities ( staying on for job hunting after graduating from schools ) visa holders

Even if you start looking for a job while you are still at university, you might not be able to get a job before graduation. If you graduate from university or vocational school with a Diploma and then change your visa to Designated Activities in order to look for a job in Japan, you can also work part time with a recommendation letter from the school that you graduated from.

1-4. Work visa holders

Now, let’s say you hold a work visa and are working at a language school. Do you think you can work as a part timer at a Seven Eleven? The answer is NO. You are not allowed to engage in unskilled  work as a part timer. If you want to work part time at another language school, you can do that without any other permission. This part time work is still covered by your current visa of Specialist in Humanities / International Services. So, unless you have some special reason to work part time outside of your visa category, it is quite difficult for work visa holders to get a part time job.

1-5. Where I can find a part time job?

Here are some useful Japanese websites where you can search the part time jobs in Japan:


2. Penalties for working part time without permission

Do you know what will happen if you violate any of the visa rules?

Penalties for this are very severe. If the immigration office finds you working part time without permission, you have to serve not more than 1 year in prison or you are fined up to 2 million yen, or, could face both penalties. If it is obvious that you spend most of your time doing a part time job, then the penalties are even more severe. You have to serve not more than 3 years in prison or you are fined up to 3 million yen or, could face both penalties.

You might not get such a severe penalty but I can assure you your immigration history will be seriously tainted,and you will regret it in the future.

3. How and where can I apply for permission for part time jobs?

The permission for part time jobs is not so difficult to apply for as there is only one document that needs to be attached to the application form. And the application for this needs to be submitted by the person himself / herself, or a nationally licensed immigration lawyer ( gyoseishoshi ) can do it for you.

  1. The application form for Permission to engage in activities other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted
  2. A document which explains the type of job, working hours, when you start the job, wages etc. If you have a contract, that would be best
  3. A passport and residence card ( Zairyu card ) * you have to show these at the immigration office

*No commission

Once you prepare these, go to the immigration office which deals with the area where you live. Very easy! Very simple!

Our services

With the above information, you should have a basic idea of what to do if you want to apply for this permission on your own as this is really not that difficult.

However if:

  • You don’t have time to go to the immigration office
  • You are still not confident enough to do this on your own
  • You want to do it on your own, but you want the prepared document to be checked
  • You simply don’t like to go into the immigration office ( I never liked it myself when I was living abroad )

In these cases, Visa Navi Japan can offer you the exact support you want.

We can check the documents that you have prepared or we can prepare the documents and take the application form to the immigration office for you as Visa Navi Japan is a nationally licensed immigration lawyer ( gyoseishoshi ).

Contact us

visanavijapan gyoseishoshi
Are you sure you can work as a part timer in Japan? If you have any questions on this matter, please feel free to contact me!

If you want to make an inquiry about a permission for a part time job, please fill out the form on the Contact us page and send it to us. We will get back to you in a few days.




Visa Navi Japan
Naka-ku, Hiroshima-city,
Open Hours : 9:00 – 19:00   Closed : Monday


To find out about our standard fees, please have a look at our Fee page.