Japan Visa Self-Sponsorship

An important new feature of the 2014 edition of the Japan Visa Handbook is an expanded section on Japan visa self-sponsorship.

While most foreigners working in Japan are employed by a company, increasingly, people are seeking the independence of entrepreneurship. The good news is that it is possible to start a company in Japan and self-sponsor a Japan work visa.

The book discusses the following key steps that are involved in self-sponsoring a Japan work visa:

Establish a Company in Japan

There are four particularly important issues to consider before you incorporate:

1. What Type of Japanese Company to Establish

Typically the choice is between a Kabushiki Kaisha (“KK”) and a Godo Gaisha (“GK”).

A KK is the traditional choice and some argue that it has a strong commercial image.

A GK may be preferable for Americans since the U.S. check-the-box rules that may apply simplify U.S. (not Japan) tax filings. (Anyone subject to U.S. taxes should seek specialist professional advice before starting any business outside the United States.)

2. Paid in Capital Amount

Paid in capital is the amount that you initially invest in your company. In return for this investment you receive shares.

In the book we discuss the amount of the initial paid in capital that maximizes the likelihood that a visa will be granted.

3. Office

The authorities prefer a real business office. A virtual or a home office is typically not acceptable. The book outlines options for satisfying the business office requirement in a cost-effective manner.

4. Director

A Japanese company will need at minimum one director who is a resident in Japan. If you do not already have a visa to live in Japan, you need a nominee director for incorporation purposes. The book provides advice about finding a nominee director.

Apply for a Visa

The final step is usually to apply for a Japan Investor / Business Manager Visa. The Japan Visa Handbook discusses this in the section about the Japan work visa.