Entry Procedures ＜Visa / Certificate of Eligibility＞
In principle, foreigners intending to enter Japan must have, in addition to a valid passport, a valid visa issued by a Japanese consular officer, etc.
A visa confirms that the passport held by the concerned foreigner is valid and has been issued legally by a competent authority. It also signifies that the concerned foreigner’s entry or stay in Japan is recommended as being appropriate in accordance with the conditions appearing on the visa.
Issuance of visas in Japan falls under the scope of authority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
2. Certificate of Eligibility
The Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act stipulates that for cases in which a foreigner intends to enter Japan with a status of residence other than “Temporary Visitor,” the Minister of Justice shall examine beforehand the whether said foreigner meets the conditions of landing relating to the status of residence based on said foreigner’s application; in the case that the relevant requirements are met, said Minister can issue a certificate stating such (application for issuance of Certificate of Eligibility). The document issued is known as a Certificate of Eligibility. This goal of this Certificate of Eligibility system is to simplify/expedite immigration inspection procedures and make them more efficient.
A Certificate of Eligibility is issued after the Minister of Justice examines whether or not the activities that a foreigner wishing to enter Japan intends to carry out within the country meet the conditions of landing (the requirements of: relevance of status of residence / compatibility with landing criteria) and acknowledges that said activities met said conditions. Note that even if it has been acknowledged that the intended activities of a foreigner are relevant to the status of residence and meet landing criteria, if it has been deemed that grounds for denial of landing are applicable to said foreigner or that he/she otherwise does not meet the conditions for landing, a Certificate of Eligibility will not be issued.
If a foreigner presents a Certificate of Eligibility at a Japanese consulate, etc. when applying for a visa, the case can be handled on the basis that the prior examination by the Minister of Justice regarding the conditions for landing concerning the status of residence has already been completed. Thus, inspections pertaining to visa issuance can be performed quickly.
Additionally, a foreigner who presents this Certificate at the port of entry or departure will be treated by the immigration inspector as having met the landing conditions relating to the status of residence, so landing inspection will also be simple and can be performed quickly.