Japan's Highly Skilled Professional Visa

Understanding Japan’s Highly Skilled Professional Visa: A Comprehensive Guide


The world is witnessing a rapid acceleration in the global migration of skilled professionals. In response to this, Japan, known for its technological innovation and strong economic presence, has developed a unique visa system. What exactly is this system? Let’s delve into understanding Japan’s Highly Skilled Professional Visa and its significance.

Japan’s Highly Skilled Professional Visa

The Highly Skilled Professional (HSP) visa system was introduced in Japan in 2012. This system was designed to attract and retain top international talent, by providing them with a range of benefits and incentives.

Essentially, this visa system allows professionals with exceptional skills or expertise in their field to live and work in Japan. It targets three main categories: advanced academic research activities, advanced specialized/technical activities, and advanced business management activities.


Benefits of Japan’s Highly Skilled Professional Visa

What sets the HSP visa apart from other visa types? There are several unique benefits that make this visa highly sought-after:

  1. Permanent Residency: Eligible professionals can apply for Permanent Residency within a shorter period compared to other visa holders.
  2. Spouse’s Employment: The spouse of the visa holder is permitted to work in Japan without additional legal requirements.
  3. Dependent’s Stay: The visa holder can invite parents and hire domestic workers, subject to certain conditions.

How to Qualify for the Highly Skilled Professional Visa

Obtaining the HSP visa involves a points-based system, where candidates must score a minimum of 70 points based on various criteria such as academic background, professional experience, salary, age, and language proficiency.

Applicants must also have a job offer from a Japanese company or institution. There are different points allocated to different sectors, reflecting their importance to Japan’s economy and society.

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Application Process for Japan’s Highly Skilled Professional Visa

The process involves several steps, which must be carefully followed for a successful application:

  1. Job Offer: Obtain a job offer from a Japanese employer.
  2. Points Calculation: Calculate your points based on the criteria in the point calculation table.
  3. Document Preparation: Prepare all necessary documents including a Certificate of Eligibility (CoE).
  4. Visa Application: Submit your application to the Japanese embassy or consulate in your home country.
  5. Visa Approval: Wait for the application review and visa approval.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does it take to process the Highly Skilled Professional visa?

It typically takes about 1-3 months from the submission of the application until the issuance of the visa.

2. Can my family accompany me on the Highly Skilled Professional Visa?


Yes, the visa allows your spouse and children to accompany you. Additionally, you can invite your parents and hire a domestic worker under specific conditions.

3. How long is the Highly Skilled Professional Visa valid for?

The visa is initially valid for five years. However, it can be renewed, or you can apply for Permanent Residency.

4. Do I need to know Japanese to qualify for this visa?

While Japanese language proficiency is not a mandatory requirement, it can significantly boost your points in the application process.

5. Can I switch jobs while on a Highly Skilled Professional Visa?

Yes, but you must ensure that the new job falls under one of the categories covered by the HSP visa and inform the Immigration Bureau about the change.

6. What happens if I don’t score 70 points in the HSP evaluation?

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If you don’t score 70 points, you may still be eligible for other types of work visas in Japan. Consult with an immigration expert to explore your options.


The Highly Skilled Professional Visa opens a world of opportunities for professionals considering Japan as their career destination. Although the application process might seem complex, the benefits and prospects of advancing your career in one of the world’s most developed economies certainly make it worthwhile.

Remember, understanding and navigating the visa process is a crucial step in your journey. With thorough preparation and correct information, you can turn your Japanese career dream into a reality.

So, are you ready to embark on this exciting journey?

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