How to apply for Japan’s digital nomad visa

Joining the club of other countries that offer a digital nomad visa, Japan will target high-income remote workers looking for a longer stay in Nippon.

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After a long wait among the digital nomad community, Japan has announced that in March it will be introducing a new digital nomad visa scheme that will allow remote workers to stay and work in the country for up to six months.

The move means Japan will be joining other Asian countries including Malaysia and Indonesia that are welcoming UK employees looking to break away from the classic 9 to 5.

Although Japan’s Immigration Services Agency (ISA) is yet to announce the precise details of the application process and the specific jobs that will be encouraged, here’s everything we know so far.

What are Japan's digital nomad visa requirements?

To qualify for Japan’s digital nomad visa, applicants must earn at least 10 million Japanese Yen annually, which at the time of writing was equal to £52,700. Those who want to jet off to the country Japan to work remotely will also need to have private health insurance cover.

You’ll also need to work for an organisation based outside of Japan as an employee or contractor.

There’s a maximum six month stay available. Throughout, high-income remote workers will not be eligible for resident records, so you won’t be able to establish Japanese tax residency. This means you won’t be eligible for government benefits.

You’ll need to check that the country of which you’re a passport holder has established a tax treaty with Japan. This is usually a standard requirement for most digital nomad visas to avoid double taxation.

Once your six months are up, the rules stipulate your visa won’t be automatically renewed. Instead, you’ll need to be out of the country for six months before you can reapply.

Eligible countries

You can launch your digital nomad journey in Japan if you’re a passport holder of countries that have a visa exemption and have signed a bilateral tax treaty. In total, there are 49 countries that meet this criteria. Some notable eligible nationalities are:

  • United Kingdom
  • Australia
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Any European Union countries
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore

Japan’s road to the digital nomad visa

Compared to other countries, Japan is late to the digital nomad visa movement. Although remote workers could previously apply to work there for three months, this was little in comparison to other countries that allow up to 180 days of stay.

Some digital nomads have already been working in Japan on tourist or other types of visas. But, groups representing such workers have been lobbying for digital nomad visas over the past year. As a result, the government pledged to pursue the policy as part of a tourism push.

The delay in welcoming digital nomads for longer is owed to Japan’s historically strict immigration policies and the gradual recovery from COVID-19 related policies.

Is Japan your new vacation office?

The eligibility criteria are relatively strict considering the high income brackets applicants have to meet. If you do meet all the requirements, we’d recommend seriously thinking about this opportunity.

From the vibrant nightlife and culinary richness of Tokyo, to ancient temples and storied history, Japan has a lot to offer to adventurous remote workers.

If you’re having second thoughts, but would still like to explore Asia while working remotely, you can consider Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, or the UAE. All of these countries permit the renewal of your digital nomad visa and allow you to stay from a range of 180 days up to one year, depending on the destination you select.

Keep your eyes peeled for more information as the ISA outlines the details of the scheme later in March.

More on this: The dropshipping nomad – the ultimate lifestyle side-hustle?

Written by:
Fernanda is a Mexican-born Startups Writer. Specialising in the Marketing & Finding Customers pillar, she’s always on the lookout for how startups can leverage tools, software, and insights to help solidify their brand, retain clients, and find new areas for growth. Having grown up in Mexico City and Abu Dhabi, Fernanda is passionate about how businesses can adapt to new challenges in different economic environments to grow and find creative ways to engage with new and existing customers. With a background in journalism, politics, and international relations, Fernanda has written for a multitude of online magazines about topics ranging from Latin American politics to how businesses can retain staff during a recession. She is currently strengthening her journalistic muscle by studying for a part-time multimedia journalism degree from the National Council of Training for Journalists (NCTJ).

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