The Possibility of a Digital Nomad Visa in Japan
Japan is one of the most attractive destinations for digital nomads, who are people who work remotely while traveling the world. Japan has a rich culture, a diverse landscape, a high-quality infrastructure, and a vibrant tech scene. Many digital nomads dream of living and working in Japan for an extended period of time, experiencing its beauty and charm.
However, Japan is also known for its strict immigration policies and visa requirements. As of 2022, there is no visa specifically for digital nomads or remote workers that wish to work in Japan, although there are visas for people with various skill sets and intents. So, what are the options for digital nomads who want to stay in Japan for longer than 90 days? And is there any possibility of a digital nomad visa in Japan in the future?
Current Visa Options for Digital Nomads in Japan
There are several visa options that digital nomads can use to stay in Japan for longer than 90 days, depending on their nationality, age, profession, and purpose. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Tourist visa: You don’t need a visa to enter Japan for up to 90 days for citizens of most countries. However, you are not allowed to work or engage in any paid activities while on a tourist visa. You can only work remotely for your clients or employers outside Japan. You can also extend your stay for another 90 days by applying for a temporary visitor permission at the immigration office before your visa expires.
- Working holiday visa: If you are between 18 and 30 years old and a citizen of one of the 23 countries that have a working holiday agreement with Japan, you can apply for a working holiday visa that allows you to stay in Japan for up to one year. You can work part-time or full-time for any employer in Japan, as long as your main purpose is to enjoy your holiday. You can also work remotely for your clients or employers outside Japan.
- Designated activities visa: If you have a specific reason or activity that requires you to stay in Japan for longer than 90 days, you can apply for a designated activities visa that allows you to stay in Japan for up to one year. You need to have a sponsor or an organization that supports your reason or activity and provides you with an invitation letter and other documents. Some examples of reasons or activities that qualify for this visa are cultural activities, academic research, internship, volunteer work, etc. You can also work remotely for your clients or employers outside Japan, as long as it does not interfere with your main reason or activity.
- Working visa: If you have a high level of professional knowledge or skills and an employer in Japan who is willing to sponsor you, you can apply for a working visa that allows you to stay and work in Japan for up to five years. There are various types of working visas depending on your occupation, such as engineer, specialist in humanities, international services, skilled labor, etc. You need to have a contract or an offer letter from your employer and other documents to prove your qualifications. You can also work remotely for your clients or employers outside Japan, as long as it does not conflict with your main occupation.
Potential Future of a Digital Nomad Visa in Japan
While Japan currently offers several visa options for individuals wishing to stay longer than 90 days, these options may not be ideal or convenient for everyone. Some digital nomads may not meet the age, nationality, profession, or purpose requirements. Others may not have a sponsor or an employer in Japan to support their visa application, or they may not want to commit to a long-term contract or specific activity while in Japan.
Many digital nomads are therefore hoping for the introduction of a digital nomad visa in Japan. This would allow them to stay and work remotely in Japan without any restrictions or complications. A digital nomad visa would be similar to a tourist visa, but with a longer duration and permission to work remotely for any client or employer outside Japan.
As of May 2023, the Japanese government is actively considering introducing a special visa for digital nomads who work remotely while traveling around the world. This move is in response to the increasing number of countries in Europe and elsewhere that have launched digital nomad visas. The Japanese government hopes to boost consumption among foreign visitors to Japan by creating a convenient environment in which high-skilled workers can stay in the country.
Digital nomads usually engage in work that can be performed anywhere on digital devices, such as software development and website design. According to data compiled overseas, there are estimated to be about 35 million digital nomads in the world, and annual spending by such workers is estimated to be about $787 billion, or about ¥110 trillion.
The government is currently working on an action plan aimed at increasing the number of foreign visitors to Japan to pre-pandemic levels. The plan, which is expected to be compiled this month, is expected to state that the government will examine challenges involved in opening the door to digital nomads, regarding such matters as visas and residence status.
Japan has a visa exemption arrangement with 69 countries and regions, but the period of stay is limited to up to 90 days. According to an overseas survey, about 66% of digital nomads stay in one location for three to six months, so the government is considering issuing a visa that would enable them to stay in the country for more than 90 days.
Currently, people who wish to work in Japan for more than 90 days have to obtain a working visa. However, people who receive salaries from overseas companies are not eligible: Workers must be receiving an income from a corporation that has a base in Japan in general to receive a working visa.
Some nations in Europe and Central and South America have launched visa programs for digital nomads that enable them to stay in the countries for about six months to two years. The introduction of a digital nomad visa in Japan would be a win-win situation for both Japan and digital nomads, who can contribute to and benefit from each other.
Japan is one of the most desirable destinations for digital nomads, who are looking for a unique and rewarding experience while working remotely. However, Japan is also one of the most challenging destinations for digital nomads, who have to deal with strict and complex visa requirements and regulations. While there are some visa options that digital nomads can use to stay in Japan for longer than 90 days, they are not suitable or convenient for everyone. That is why many digital nomads are hoping for a digital nomad visa in Japan that would make their stay and work easier and more flexible.
There is some possibility that the Japanese government will introduce a digital nomad visa in Japan in the near future, as part of its plan to overhaul its immigration policies and attract international remote workers. This would be a great opportunity for both Japan and digital nomads, who can share their skills, knowledge, culture, and innovation with each other. Japan is not only a country of tradition and culture, but also a country of technology and innovation. A digital nomad visa in Japan would be a dream come true for many digital nomads who want to explore and enjoy this amazing country.