All foreign persons working in Japan need a visa.
You are advised to start the visa application process at least two months before you intend to come to Japan. For work visas, you should first contact your Japanese employer, who will arrange for a Certificate of Eligibility that you can submit to your nearest embassy/consulate with your visa application. If you submit a Certificate of Eligibility when you apply for a work visa, the application period will be much shorter than if you do not have one.
If you are from a country that does not have a reciprocal visa exemption program with Japan, and you have to apply for a short-term visa to attend a conference, symposium, or meeting, etc., you will need to submit the following documents from your host to your nearest Japanese embassy/consulate:
- Letter of Reason for Invitation
- Letter of Guarantee
When you apply for a visa, you will apply under the appropriate status of residence, which will be printed on your visa upon your arrival in Japan.
If you are planning on staying in Japan for longer than 90 days, you will be required to apply for a certificate of alien registration after you arrive in Japan.
Once in Japan, you will need to apply for a re-entry permit if you wish to leave Japan and return (even if only for a one-day trip to Korea!). If you leave Japan without a re-entry permit, your visa and status of residence will become invalid.
You need to keep track of the expiration dates for all of these and make sure you renew them before they expire.