What is Certificate of Eligibility and Its Importance to Your Visa Application in Japan

In order for foreign nationals to secure a visa for Japan, a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) should be obtained first.

A Certificate of Eligibility or best known as COE, issued by a regional immigration authority under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice of Japan is the first thing that foreigners should secure before they can be able to apply for a visa in Japan.

Apparently, COE serves as evidence that an applicant has already fulfilled various conditions of the Immigration Control Act, which includes those certifying that the activity in which the foreigner wishes to engage in Japan is lawful and comes under a status of residence, which includes a Temporary Visitor Status.

However, the issuance of a visa is not hundred percent guaranteed, under certain circumstances, for an instance, in case of change in status since the issuance of the certificate, or in case it becomes evident that the document submitted by the applicant to secure a COE were incorrect.

For students, it basically serves as the preliminary visa screening process, prior to actually applying for a student visa. The Japanese government will exclusively approve the COE, and the local consulate will then approve the visa.

How to Secure a Certificate of Eligibility as a Student

Usually, Japanese agencies send the student’s required documents to the language schools. The schools will then submit the visa application to the Immigration Bureau in Japan on behalf of the student.

Students will subsequently receive the CEO for Japan through mail upon the approval of the Immigration Bureau. Make sure to provide all the necessary documents for your application for its smooth processing.

How to Use the Certificate of Eligibility to Obtain a Student Visa

If a student applies directly through a Japanese language school using the COE, there should not be any issues that may arise in converting the visa at the embassy. Usually, the conversion process doesn’t take too long but you have to confirm with the Japanese embassy or consulate in your city.

Upon receipt of the COE, students should then take it together with their visa application form obtained from the Japanese embassy, photos and valid passport to the Japanes embassy or consulate in the city. The embassy will subsequently issue the student visa within a couple of days.

Here’s the list of all the basic necessary documents you need:

• Application form for visa (it can be found on the embassy’s website)
• Passport-like Photo (4cmx3cm)
• Certificate of Eligibility (the school will send you an original copy through mail)
• Valid passport

Take note that depending on the nationality of an applicant, other additional documents may still be required.

Aizelle Joe