Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services Visa

The Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services visa is one of the working visas most commonly held by foreigners in Japan.

Examples of the type of work which can be performed on this visa include:

  • Engineer: computer programming, network engineering, web design.
  • Specialist in Humanities: legal services, accounting.
  • International Services: translation/interpretation, foreign language teaching, advertising, foreign trade.

Partly because there is often crossover between the above categories, this visa brings these three types of work together under one umbrella.

As is introduced below, the Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services visa comes with several different requirements relating not only to the applicant but also to the company seeking to employ them. As many people unfortunately discover, it is often the conditions relating to the employer rather than the applicant which obstruct working visas from being granted.

This does not, however, mean that only major businesses or companies with a spotless financial record can gain working visas for their employees. While smaller or less stable companies may require more proof in order to gain the trust of the Immigration Bureau, it is still perfectly possible to put together a strong application and ultimately acquire the visa you are looking for with the appropriate legal advice.

Before diving in, however, please take a moment to look at the requirements below. If you are unsure of anything, why not consider a free consultation session with one of our visa experts?

Basic Requirements

Applicant Requirements

The applicant must have either:

① A university degree equivalent to at least a 4yr Japanese Bachelor’s degree.


② Relevant work experience of generally 10yrs+ for Engineer / Specialist in Humanities and 3yrs+ for International Services.

Additional qualifications related to your field of work or to your Japanese language ability are not generally mandatory, but may be a bonus.

Job Requirements

① Your employer must pay you the same or more than a Japanese person would earn for the same work.

② There must be enough work for you to consistently fill a full week (approx. 40hrs).

③ Your employer must be financially stable.

④ The job you will do must make use of either skills native to you (e.g. your native language) or specialist skills in which you are qualified (e.g. computer programming).

Fulfillment of the above requirements is easier to prove for some than others. Depending partly on the scale of the company at which you intend to work, you may need to provide detailed proof concerning the kind of work you will be doing, whether there is a demand for you to be doing that work (e.g. does your company really need an English-Japanese translator?) and more.

In relation to ④ above, this means that those doing work which mainly makes use of their English language skills will generally need to be native speakers of the language. There are ways around this, however – for example, if you have been educated in an English language environment for 12 years or more or can prove that you are a specialist in the English language.

As this point in particular often trips people up, please get in touch if you are not sure about your particular case.


Below we answer some of the questions we are often asked about working visas.

Do I need to renew my working visa if I change jobs?

You should not need to renew your visa, but you do need to notify your local Immigration Bureau if you change jobs. Depending on the nature of your new work and your employer, you may also face problems once renewing your visa. We therefore recommend applying for a Certificate of Authorization for Employment.

Can I bring my family with me to Japan?

You may be able to bring a spouse or children with you on a Dependent Visa.

I am currently in Japan as a Technical Intern Trainee. Can I change to a different working visa?

Generally speaking, no. Technical Intern Trainees are expected to take the skills they have learnt in Japan back to their country and use them at a designated company for the same number of years for which they worked in Japan. Therefore, apart for in exceptional circumstances such as in when the company in their own country cannot employ them anymore, Technical Intern Trainees must first go back to their country for a considerable time before applying to come and work in Japan again.

To find out more about any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact us!


*Please be aware that the contents of this site are naturally subject to change, meaning that we cannot guarantee their accuracy at the point of access.*
*For up-to-date information, please contact us directly.*