After settling down and getting all the procedures done, you may ask “What’s next?” Once you’re comfortable with school lessons and the workload, you might be looking for a part-time job to supplement your finances. But wait. Before you accept that job offer, be sure you have a work permit if not you’ll run into legal trouble.


How to Apply for a Work Permit
All international students would have a student visa but this does not allow you to work. To get a work permit, you would have to apply at the Immigration Bureau or at the airport for students entering Japan for the first time with the student visa. It is recommended that new students apply at the airport if not you’ll have to make multiple trips to the Immigration Bureau.

To apply for the permit, you would need the following documents:


Applying at the Airport

Fill out the application form beforehand and submit to an immigration officer when you go through immigration at the airport. If you missed this (like the writer), don’t fret, you can head down to the immigration bureau during your free time!


Filling out the Application Form

Thankfully they have English support for the application so you should have no problem with most of the fields. However, you may be confused as to what to do for fields 12-14.

For 12, you would fill in the part-time job you plan to take up, but there is no need to fill up (2)-(4) if you have not gotten a job yet. The same goes for 13. For 14, if you’re applying for yourself then leave it blank.


Getting to the Immigration Bureau
For those who didn’t apply at the airport, in Tokyo, you can either head to the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau at Shinagawa or the Tachikawa Branch Office.

  • Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau
    5-5-30 Konan, Minato-ku, Tokyo Pref.
    Opening Hours: 9:00 to 12:00, and 13:00 to 16:00 (except for Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays)

  • Exit from the Konan Exit
  • Walk across a bridge and head down a flight of stairs to bus stop 8
  • Take bus 99 bound for “Tokyo Immigration Bureau” or “Shinagawa Futo Junkan”
  • After 5-10 minutes, alight at “Tokyo Nyukoku Kanrikyoku mae” (東京入国管理局前)
  • Tachikawa Branch Office
    Tachikawa Legal Affairs Joint Government Bldg., 3-31-2 Kita, Kunitachi City, Tokyo Pref.
    Opening Hours: 9:00 to 12:00, and 13:00 to 16:00 (except for Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays)

  • Exit from the North Exit
  • Head to bus stop 12 and take the 立53(北町) bus
  • Alight at “Tama Shaken Jou” (多摩車検場)

Once you arrive, take a ticket and wait to be called. Submit the necessary documents to the officer and they will process the application. It will take about three weeks and once it’s done, you’ll get a sticker in your passport that permits you to work as well as a stamp on the back of your residence card.


Things to Note

  • The Immigration Bureaus are usually very crowded (Shinagawa more so than Tachikawa) so it is recommended that you go there in the early morning. The waiting time may be from an hour ~ 3 hours depending on the crowd so do go with enough time to spare.
  • The work permit only allows up to 28 hours per week during the school term and up to 8 hours a day during the holidays. (All things in moderation!!)
  • It is prohibited for students to work in places related to the adult entertainment industry including night clubs, host(ess) clubs, pachinko parlors, etc. Even dish-washing, at a bar or nightclub is strictly not allowed.


Where to Find Part-Time Work


  • There are facebook pages such as Japan Work and WORK Japan where you’ll find online postings.
  • Another well-known service is t-news for global which sends an email on the weekdays informing you of what jobs (be it one-off or part-time) are available. This includes paid cultural exchanges with high-school students and conversation classes, as well as monitor tours during the holidays.
  • For those who are venturous and looking for internships, you can try out wantedly or justa.


  • Walk around your local area and keep a look out for recruitment posters! You can often find them in family restaurants and bakeries. (They might provide free meals!)
  • Ask your seniors if they know of any place hiring!
  • Check out your school’s recruitment notice board (usually in the administration building)

Remember though, you’re here to study so do keep a healthy balance between school and work!
**Beware of black baitos (part-time work with horrible conditions) which force you to work overtime and prioritize work over studies. (If you’re ever in any trouble, do consult the foreign students’ support office in your school or any trusted friends.)