Is it legal to have a part-time job when holding a working visa?

Is it legal to have a part-time job when holding a working visa?



As of records published in 2020, the number of foreign workers in Japan has reached to a total of 1.66 million, and such data trends show that the number of foreigners who come to Japan to find work (whether it be full-time or part-time) are only increasing. In the middle of these growing numbers, there may be foreigners who have either

1) Lost or have quitted their full-time job and are wondering if it's okay to apply to a part-time job while looking for their next full-time one, or

2) Are interested in working a part-time job while working their full-time job. If that's you, you've come to the right article.

So, firstly, let's start by seeing what exactly is a working visa, and what kind of working visas there are in Japan.



1. Visa Categories & Points to Consider

To begin with, a work visa is a generic term for proof that foreigners are staying in Japan with the purpose of working in Japan. When Japanese people work in Japan, they are permitted to work in any occupation, whereas foreigners can work only in occupations determined by Japanese government. However, it is also important to note that these types of occupations differs depending on the status and skill of that foreigner. In addition, foreigners should keep in mind that their visa needs renewal after a set period of time (this period of time would also differ depending on the visa they hold). If your visa is not renewed, you may be deported from Japan, so please be careful.

So, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan, there are 7 categories of visas, and within those categories are sub-categories that further define your status in Japan, and what kind of work you, as a foreigner, would be able to pursue.

These 7 categories are:

  1. Highly skilled professional visa
  2. Working visa
  3. General visa
  4. Specified visa
  5. Start-up visa
  6. Diplomatic visa
  7. Official visa

And in this article, we will be mainly focusing on #2, the working visa, and if you are able to apply for and work a part-time job while holding it.



Hence, the people who have working visas would have one of the types of working visas as listed above.

So, the simple answer to the question of "Is it legal to have a part time job when holding a working visa?" is... yes, it is legal.

However! There are several more points you should keep in mind when trying to pursue a part-time job, as a foreigner in Japan holding a working visa. 


2. Having a Part-Time Job While Holding a Working Visa

For example: exactly what kind of part time job are you trying to pursue? Regardless, it would fall into either of the two categories listed below.

  • Applying to/working a part-time job within your work visa's job range:
    If you have acquired a working visa necessary to work as a full-time employee for, say an IT firm, and you would like to also work as a freelance UI/UX designer on the weekends, then it is alright to simply apply for that job (after the company you work for gives you permission to do secondary work) without having to fill in and submit extra paperwork to the Japanese Immigration Bureau.


  • Applying to/working a part-time job NOT within your work visa's job range:
    HOWEVER, if, for example, you are a full-time accountant and would like to work as an English teacher on the weekends, you would need to apply for extra permission from the Immigration Bureau, as the work you would be doing would not fall under your original working visa, but another one outside of your permitted boundaries. 


It is important that you apply for this and gain permission before working an extra part-time job, as if it is found out that you have not applied for it, renewal of your normal working visa may become impossible. The reason for this is because it is necessary to submit a taxation certificate when you are looking to renew your working visa, and from not only that information, but also via the investigation of the people around you, the Immigration Bureau will be able to hold you accountable for acts of fraud. In addition, please keep in mind that if your visa is NOT a working visa, you are generally obliged to apply for permission before working part-time jobs. This includes international students who are currently on "Study Abroad" status in Japan.


3.  The process involved with applying for the permission to "Engage in Activities other than Status Qualification"


As mentioned earlier, the "Permission to Engage in an Activity Other Than That Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted" allows you to pursue part-time jobs outside of the permitted occupations you were originally allowed to pursue. The process of application goes as follows (according to the official Ministry of Justice, Immigration Services Agency of Japan website):

1: Filling in of the application form by APPLICANT or LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF APPLICANT

Other documents to submit include:

① Passport and Residence Card

② A document that proves the intended activity as indicated on the application form

③ Document proving status of the representative of applicant (optional).

2: Submission of all the above documents.

3: Recieval of results (it is usually takes about 2 weeks to 2 months from the application until permission is obtained.)

Please also keep in mind that the validity period for permission for other activties is not unlimited, and the expiration date would be the same as the one written on your residence card. In the case that you would like to renew the permit, you will need to fill in the documents required for both the renewal of the permit AND your residence card. As you are able to apply from three months before expiration date, it is always better to apply sooner rather than later.

In addition, there are two types of permission that you may gain for activities other than those originally granted: "Inclusive Permission" and "Exclusive Permission".

Inclusive Permission
Inclusive permission can be obtained mainly by those who have the status of residence of Student and Family Stay. The inclusive permission is when you can get permission even if the part-time job and work details are not decided in detail upon your application. Even if your part-time job changes, there is no need to reauthorize the permission. You can apply for whatever part-time job you're interested in as long as you follow the 28-hour work activity restrictions and regulations.

Exclusive Permission
Individuals with status of residence other than Student and Family Stay usually fall into the category of those with "exclusive permission". In this case, you must apply separately for each part-time job or activity that you take on, except for the activities which have been originally permitted underneath your working visa.


As final points of consideration, please keep in mind that:

  • There is also no cost for applying.
  • You cannot work at any amusement business, game arcades, or pachinko parlors under the permission granted for you to pursue a part-time job.
  • If you have lost your full-time job, you have around 3 months to search for another full-time job. PART TIME JOBS DO NOT COUNT.
    Therefore, by the end of the period that you are given to search for your new job, your visa will be revoked if you have not found a suitable full-time job.

For what it's worth, good luck in your job-seeking endeavour! We hope that this article helped!

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan:
Immigration Services Agency of Japan:
Visa and Immigration Services in Japan (i-socia advisors):