Changing from SOFA Status

If you are currently in Japan on a SOFA status and will be separating from the military, please follow the procedures outlined below to obtain a Student Visa.

Separating from the Military in Japan

If you are able to separate from the military in Japan, you can apply for your student visa in Japan. First you will need to apply for an "Acquisition of Residency Status" which will be a "Student Visa" under TUJ's sponsorship. You must make this application on your own at the Japan Immigration Bureau. Prior to visiting Immigration, you will need an explanation letter from the visa coordinator at TUJ. Please prepare the required documents and make an appointment with the visa coordinator (visa@tuj.temple.edu) no later than 30 days after your official separation date. See the map to the Immigration Bureau here.

You are able to remain in Japan up to 60 days after your official separation date from the military as long as your application for the student visa is made within 30 days of your official discharge date. In order to qualify for student status, you must be admitted to a full-time program of study at TUJ and obtain an acceptance letter from the Admissions Office. Upon your admission, make an appointment with the visa coordinator (visa@tuj.temple.edu) and prepare the following documents.

1. Application for Acquisition of Residency Status

Available on Japan's Ministry of Justice website: Application for Permission to Acquire Status of Residence (PDF: 95KB)

2. Official Discharge Letter

DD-214 or an official document indicating your separation from the military and that you will not be renewing your SOFA status. If you are under SOFA status as a dependent of a family member in the armed forces, then TUJ needs to see an official letter from the armed forces stating your name and the effective date of your separation from your family's SOFA status.

3. Acceptance Letter from TUJ

4. Proof of Financial Viability

Documents should show that you have sufficient funds to cover tuition, living expenses and fees which TUJ estimates to be ¥3,000,000. You can use your GI BILL COE for this requirement.

5. Valid Passport

6. One Passport-sized Photo (4 cm high x 3 cm wide)

Photo must show a clear, full front view of the student's face from the bottom of the chin to the top of the hair against a white or off-white background. Photo must be official passport photo, taken at such places as a pharmacy or a professional photography studio. It also must be in color, printed on photo paper and taken within the last 3 months. 2 inch x 2 inch photo can be submitted if it is a professionally taken passport photo.

7. Explanation letter from the Visa Coordinator at TUJ

The visa coordinator will issue a letter explaining your situation to make your visa application smooth. Please prepare the above required documents and make an appointment with the visa coordinator (visa@tuj.temple.edu) no later than 30 days after your official separation date.

8. Statement of Correctness and Understanding

Separating from the Military outside of Japan

If you separate from the military outside of Japan, you will need to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for a student visa. Please see the Applying for a Student Visa section of our website for instructions on how to apply. TUJ will submit your visa documents to the Japanese Immigration Bureau on your behalf, and contact you once we have received a response from Immigration.