1.Documents needed:

Passport copy (bio page) Passport copy (bio page)
Passport (pages with Japan entry and exit stamps) Passport (pages with Japan entry and exit stamps)
6 pcs. 4x3cm Photo 6 pcs. 4x3cm Photo
Highest Educational Certificate Highest Educational Certificate
Essay of why you want to study in Japan Essay of why you want to study in Japan
JLPT/NAT/GNK Certificate JLPT/NAT/GNK Certificate

Sponsor’s documents:

Bank balance certificate ($20,000 and above)

Employment certificate

Tax Certificate/ Pay slips

Sponsor’s documents:

Bank balance certificate ($20,000 and above)

Bank statement (1 to 3 years, for some countries)

Employment certificate

Tax Certificate

Proof of Relationship of student and sponsor (birth certificate, family tree ID) Proof of Relationship of student and sponsor (birth certificate, family tree ID)



Procedure Starting dates & Deadlines
April * July October * January
You send us the necessary documents by email. Aug. ~ Oct. Jan. ~ Feb. Mar. ~ Apr July.~Aug.
We review all documents, translate and correct where necessary. (Once cleared you might need to send the originals and application fee to the school, though it varies school to school). Oct. ~ Nov. Feb. ~ Mar. Apr. ~ May Aug. ~Sep.
Your application is sent to the Regional Immigration Bureau in Japan. End of Nov. End of Mar. End of May End of Sep.
The Immigration Bureau checks your documents Dec. ~ Feb. Apr. ~ May June ~ Aug. Sep. ~ Nov.
The Immigration Bureau issues a Certificate of Eligibility (Permission from the Japanese Government to be granted a Student visa). End of Feb. End of May End of Aug. End of Nov.
The school issues the invoice. End of Feb. End of May End of Aug. End of Nov.
You remit the invoiced fees to the school. Beg.of Mar. Beg.of June Beg.of Sep. Beg.of Dec.
After confirmation of payment, we send you the  original Certificate of Eligibility and Admission Certificate. Mid. of Mar. Beg. of June Mid. of Sep. Mid. of Dec.
You submit COE with all other supporting documents at the Japanese Embassy to apply for your visa. Mid.of Mar. Mid.of June Mid.of Sep. Mid.of Dec.
Departure for Japan. Beg.of Apr. Beg.of July Beg.of Oct. Beg.of Jan

3. Approved or Denied COE

Once the result has been released by the Immigration, the school will contact us with the copy of the COE and invoice of the student. Motivist Japan will relay the information to the student. Student need to settle the payment before the deadline, then the original copy of the COE, admission certificate and other relevant documents will be mailed to student by the school or Motivist Japan according to student’s preferred address.

For some instances that the COE has been denied, the school will let us know and we will relay the information to the student. If in case a student submitted original documents to school, it will be returned by mail. 

In case of denial and if student wishes to reapply, please consult your Motivist agent for the process. Please take note that re-application is harder than the first application, as immigration officer screen documents more strictly, student need to provide new updated files and fees may apply.

4. Getting your Student Visa

Once you received your COE (Certificate of Eligibility), the final step to get your student visa to Japan. To get student visa one need to make an application at the nearest Japanese embassy or consulate. To apply for student visa you need to submit following documents:

– Your COE (Certificate of Eligibility) – original
– Admission certificate (Acceptance certificate, Enrollment certificate)
– Valid passport
– Photo, passport-size photograph taken within last 6 months ( please check embassy website for specification)
– Student visa application form (filled in digital or by hand using block letters)

– Other documents (Embassy might ask for additional documents, it depends on applicant’s nationality and embassy for various reasons to make a decision on applicant’s application)

Please note that in some countries application must be coursed through agencies accredited by the Embassy of Japan.

Please note that you need to complete and get your visa before you arrive in Japan. For more information please visit the Embassy of Japan website in your country.

5. Got your Visa

Once a COE is granted, most likely you will be issued a student visa. However, there can be instances that it can get rejected for several reasons such as incomplete and wrong information.

The student visa process could take 3-7 days depends on where you are applying but we recommend you to apply at least two weeks before your travel plan. Please check the validity of your COE and the school calendar so you can identify the timeline. 




MOVING IN JAPAN (Fly to Japan)

Now you have your student visa, you are now ready to fly to Japan. It is always recommended that you don’t buy ticket in advance unless you have the student visa on hand.

We understand that the closer the travel date, the more expensive the plane ticket can get. If you feel that there is a need to buy ticket in advance, please make sure that the ticket can be cancelled, re-booked or refund during unforeseen circumstances. 

1.What to do upon arrival?

Upon arrival at the airport, please show your passport with student visa to the officer in charge in Immigration. You might be asked to go a special lane designated for residents. Immigration officer will ask you on the duration of your study as this will also be the validity date indicated in your residence permit.

The residence permit card will be printed at the immigration so please make sure to get it. If you plan to do part-time work, please inform the officer and they will stamp on the back of your residence card about permitting to engage in work for 28 hours a week. You can download the Work Permit Application here.

If you were not able to get your work stamp in the airport, please check with your school if they can apply on your behalf. Applying through school, might take 2- 4weeks. It’s a must that you carry the residence card at all times when you are in Japan.

2. Register in your local city hall

Within 14 days upon arrival, you need to register in your local city hall. Do not forget to bring your residence card, passport and even school ID. Some city hall may have English speaking staff and some may not. Please ask your school if they provide assistance if needed. After registration, you will be given a health insurance card. Just like the residence card, please make sure to always carry it. Present the health card before obtaining any medical treatment. After a month from registration, you will receive your insurance bill from your local ward. The bills are either separated each month or semiannually. It’s up to you if you want to pay the bill for each month or all at once. You can pay in any convenience store.

3. Getting a mobile sim in Japan

Big carriers like Softbank and Docomo requires student to have a Japan bank account and sufficient Japanese Language ability. If this is not a possible, you can just get a sim card online like Sakura Mobile. They have affordable rates for students and website is available in English. You can also buy a prepaid sim card upon arrival at the airport and just later decide which cellphone carrier you want to avail. Prices of prepaid sim depends on the length of validity you prefer. Make sure your phone is not locked to your home country's network. 

4. Opening a bank account in Japan

Japan Post Bank (ゆうちょ銀行) is the best option for students as they do not require any deposit amount. Make sure you have a Hanko/Inkan (personal seal) prior to opening your bank account as this is required. All you have to do is go to any postal office, and inform the clerk that you will be opening an account. They may have English guide available. In case there are none, you may seek assistance from school or  Motivist Counselor.  

5. What to bring on your first day in school?

On your first day, please bring your residence card, passport and if you have already registered to the city hall, bring your health card too. 

School will need a copy of these documents. School may conduct a short exam for you to determine your level. After that you are ready to start. 



Congratulations if you make it this far. You are one step closer in achieving your Japanese fluency. However there are rules to follow if you are a student in Japan. As a student, you are expected to follow these rules and any violation may result to residence card termination and return to your home country.



i. Always attend your class. Your attendance is being reported to the Japanese Immigration monthly. If your attendance rate falls below 80% (total), this is a red flag for Immigration. They might check your working hours with your part time job and this can lead to bigger problem if they found out you are over working. 

ii. Limit your work hours to 28 hours per week.

(As mentioned above, if you are in Japan on a student visa you need permission from the Immigration Bureau to “engage in activities other than those permitted” under a student visa. This means that student-visa holders can work a maximum of 28- hours a week at a part-time job.

The government will inform employers of students who have received special permission to work and if they fail to attend at least 50 percent of their classes in a one-month period, the government will report the employer to the Regional Immigration Bureau. –

Source : Nikkei https://www.nikkei.com/article/DGKKZO45724040V00C19A6EA2000/)

iii.  Always pay your health insurance on time.

iv.  Set your goal clearly on what you want to achieve by the end of your study. This will give you a clear picture of whether you are in track or not with your studies.

v.  Speak Japanese at all times even if you think you’re grammar is wrong.



i. Do not work more than the approved limit. As a student you are allowed to work 28 hours per week and 40 hours on long holidays. Government do not track the work hours of each student however if in the long run you plan to change your visa from student to work visa, Immigration will have to check your income and what you have been doing in Japan. Your employer reports the income they paid you to the government and they will see why you received such high income.

ii. Do not engage in illegal activities or work prohibited to students. If you are caught doing something illegal, this can get your residence revoked.

iii. Do not limit your study in the classroom. Japan is a country where library is everywhere. Utilize these resources.

iv. Do not rely on your earnings on your part time job to pay for your living expense and tuition fee. Some agencies try to convince students that the money you will earn in part time work is enough to cover your expenses in Japan, it is not true. 




Leaving Japan for Long School Holidays

If you are planning to travel or going back to your home country on long school holidays, please make sure you inform your school and apply for a special re-entry permit.



Make sure to re-enter Japan before the expiration date on the residence card otherwise you will be refused entry and you will have to apply for a new visa.

Entering Higher University or Senmon Gakko

Once you have graduated from Language school, you can now either to go to full time employment (for those who are qualified) or enter higher education such as University or Senmon Gakko.

a. Entering University

A student needs to have at least 12 years of education if they want to enter a University in Japan. Language study is not included in the 12 years of education. Some universities will require you to have an N2 or higher level of Japanese. There will be series of interviews and entrance examination before a student can get accepted.

b. Enrolling in Senmon Gakko

Most of the students chose to enter Senmon Gakko instead of University once they are done with their language study. Senmon gakko is a professional training college. It is a specialized training based on the skillset you chose. Entering Senmon Gakko is less troublesome compared to universities that’s why a lot of students chose to study in Senmon Gakko. Examples of courses available are the following:


Fashion and arts

IT and computer


Enrolling in Senmon Gakko is as expensive as entering a language school. Take note that Senmon Gakko is a 2 year study for you to get a diploma and 3 years for Advanced Diploma.

 c. Student rights

Always know your rights. If you feel like your rights have been violated as a student, don’t hesitate to consult the Ministry of Justice. They support several languages either by phone or email.


Disclaimer: The information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. We try to maintain it as updated as possible but in the event that there are incorrect information, we cannot be held liable as changes in the process can occur anytime. Please always check Japanese Embassy website or your school for updated information.