Home / Researchers / Procedures for Entering and Staying in Japan / Pre-Departure


1.Visa and Residential Status

A foreign national wishing to enter Japan must receive a valid passport issued by the government of his/her own country, with a visa issued by the head of the Embassy or Consulate-General of Japan. An application for this visa must be made by the applicant (international researchers) in person at the Japanese Embassy/Consulate-General. The documents required for the visa application will differ depending on whether the purpose of travel is Work or Long-Term Stay or Short-Term Stay.

Simply described, residential status indicates the status granted, and the activities foreign nationals can engage in while in Japan. For a Work or Long-Term Stay visit (in cases where you do research at Kumamoto University under an agreement with KU or another public organization, including under an employment agreement), your status of residence will likely be Professor, Designated Activities, or Cultural Activities. The status of residence of your family members will be Dependent (family stays). In these cases, the accepting university can apply for Certificate of Eligibility in Japan for you before you come to Japan. Submitting this Certificate to the Japanese Embassy/Consulate-General abroad when applying for visa will expedite your visa approval process.

The residential status of foreign nationals who intend to stay in Japan for a short period of time will be Short-Term Stay (for example, when one participates in a symposium or other short-term activity for which they will not receive compensation). Since a Certificate of Eligibility cannot be applied to this status, international researchers should apply by themselves for a visa at a Japanese Embassy/Consulate-General abroad. However, nationals and citizens of countries or regions that have a visa exemption agreement with Japan do not need to obtain visas to enter Japan under a Short-Term Stay status.


Long-term stay foreign researchers are eligible for residence in the International House of Kumamoto University, which offers 232 rooms. For details, please see this page.

3.Social Security Agreement

The purpose of the tax convention is to avoid international double taxation from Japan (the source country) and the residence country. If your residence country has concluded a tax convention with Japan, Kumamoto University will apply for tax convention consideration upon your request. Note, however, there are cases where the tax convention will not be beneficial, as when the tax rate of your residence country is higher than that of Japan. Residents of the UK, USA, France, Australia, the Netherlands and Switzerland need to submit a Certificate of Residence issued by the government of their own country for the application of the tax convention. Since it will take two to three months for the Certificate to be issued, it is advisable to start preparing early. For details, please visit the Japan Pension Service website.

4. Goods with Prohibitions, Controls and Restrictions

Regarding imports of narcotic drugs, firearms, pirated or counterfeit goods, or any other goods prohibited or restricted by the Washington Convention, violation of the applicable laws may result in harsh criminal punishments. For details, please visit the  Japan Customs website.
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