May 10, 2018

Changing from a dependent to a work visa in Japan

My husband is currently studying in Japan, and our children and I are classed as his dependents when it comes to our in-country status. Up until recently I had no need to change from this, but when a part-time work offer came up that was something that really appealed to me, I had to sort out the legalities of being able to work in Japan - and quickly!

If you're in Japan on a dependent visa status and you're wondering how you get your work permission, it's fairly simple. The good news: you only have a one page form to fill out. The bad news: it's still going to require a trip to the immigration office!

Changing from a dependent to a work visa in Japan photo

Step 1.

You're going to need this form - titled "Application for permission to engage in activity other than permitted under the status of residence previously granted". Quite the mouthful, no? It's a basic form, which asks you to fill in your personal information, and some details from your residence card and passport. You're also going to be asked on the form about what form of work you're going to be engaging in, as well as the duration of your employment, and your employer's details.

Step 2. 

Once you've got the form filled in, you'll need to attend your local immigration office to lodge it. I was lucky at the Niigata regional office - it was empty when I arrived, and they looked over the form to ensure everything was correct, stamped my residence card with work permission, and I was on my way. If you're doing this at an immigration office in Tokyo for instance, you might be in for a significantly longer wait - bring a book! 

Changing from a dependent to a work visa in Japan photo

Empty immigration office?! This was at around 11am, and judging by the numbers on the display at the counter, they'd seen a total of 4 customers that day! 

I was fortunate that my employer already deals with this immigration office on a regular basis, so they knew I was coming. Other immigration offices may not have a direct relationship with your employer, so they may have to verify things before they can issue your work permission. Keep this in mind - you may have to make a return trip for them to stamp your work permission at a later date.

One more important thing to note - work permission when you're on a dependent visa only allows for a total of 28 hours of work per week, so be sure that any contracts you agree to will comply with those restrictions. Otherwise, you're on your merry way to earning yen in Japan!



After spending the last several years in the beating heart of Tokyo, I will be spending the next three in the countryside of Japan. I adore this country and all it has to offer - and I'm always learning more and more about life here as I go along!


  • Candiajia1

    on May 11

    @genkidesu Yokatta! Thanks for sharing that procedure. I hope I will file this information for future use. Good luck with heading back into the working world.

  • fbrtd

    on Aug 20

    Hey, @genkidesu thank you for sharing that procedure! I just noticed however that the link you put for the Application form for Special Permission to Engage in Out-of-Status Activities does not work anymore... I could find the pdf here instead: https://selectra.jp/sites/selectra.jp/files/2019-08/Application.pdf If anyone else needs it :)