Frequently Asked Questions about Student Visa

Last update: November 2016

For Prospective Students

I plan to enter Japan as a tourist. If I get accepted to TUJ and receive a Certificate of Eligibility (COE), can I change my visa status from tourist (temporary visitor) to student within Japan?

Students may not enter Japan as a tourist and switch to a student visa within Japan. Japanese Immigration does not recommend this method for those who will ultimately be under another visa type. In the event that Immigration denies your application for a student visa, you would have to leave Japan before your tourist status expires. This is one of the reasons why Japanese Immigration recommends people to only enter Japan with the appropriate visa for their stay. TUJ strongly encourages you to take care of COE/visa matters before entering Japan.

Why does TUJ need my financial viability documents?

For TUJ to sponsor a student's visa, we are required by Japanese Immigration to ensure that students have sufficient assets to pay for tuition and living expenses while they are in Japan.

Can I use my tax return or previous pay stubs for the financial viability documents?

No. Financial documents must show money you currently have access to. Please refer to the Visa Application Documents and Process section of the website for a list of acceptable documents.

I have been granted a student visa from the embassy/consulate. When can I enter Japan?

Student visa holders may enter Japan no earlier than 30 days before the first day of new student orientations. Check the Newly Accepted Students website for the arrival date of the semester you are entering.

I am already residing in Japan on a student visa. Do I need to apply for a new visa or can I use my current one?

If you are currently residing in Japan on a student visa, please refer to the Changing from non-TUJ Student Visa section and submit the required documents to the visa coordinator upon your acceptance to TUJ.

What's the "advance payment"?

Since TUJ is sponsoring your visa, the school requires the advance payment as a means of proving your commitment to studying at TUJ. Before TUJ can send your COE, you must pay the first semester of tuition, housing, matriculation, facilities and student activities fees (approximately ¥1,600,000). Please review the advance payment section on this website for more details.

I am a GI Bill student with 100% coverage. Do I need to pay the advance payment to receive the COE for a student visa?

If you are on 100% GI Bill benefit, you are exempt from the advance payment. The university will send you the COE as soon as we receive your COE back from Immigration.

I am in the U.S. military currently stationed in Japan. Am I still required to stay in TUJ housing for the first semester?

No, you are not required to stay in TUJ housing as long as you can prove that you are currently living in Japan. If you are not currently living in Japan and feel that you should be exempt from the TUJ housing requirement, you will need to complete a housing waiver before our housing application deadline.

For Current Students

Do I have to be a full-time student?

Yes! The status of students on a TUJ-sponsored student visa is "Student." This means the main purpose for being in Japan is to study. As a result, with limited exceptions, all visa-sponsored students must be enrolled at TUJ full-time while residing in Japan. For undergraduate students, full-time enrollment is defined as 12-18 credits for fall and spring semesters and 9 credits for summer semester. These requirements can only be met by enrolling in courses offered at TUJ. Online courses from Main Campus do not fulfill this requirement except for those who are registered for the 2 + 2 program.

Please be sure to read the section Full-time Enrollment and Academic Progress.

My visa (landing permission) is expiring, how early can I extend my visa?

You can start applying for your visa extension 90 days prior to its expiration date. If wish you to extend your visa, please refer to the Visa Extension section.

Can I work in Japan on a student visa?

Yes, however the student visa alone does NOT permit you to work. You need to obtain a work permit first. For detailed information, please refer to the Part-time Work Permission section.

I would like to take a leave of absence (LOA), would that affect my visa status?

As long as you file a LOA petition form and remain outside of Japan for the entire semester you are on leave, it will not affect your visa status. For detailed information, please refer to the LOA section.

I don't plan to take classes in the summer semester; can I stay in Japan and work?

NO YOU MAY NOT! If you are taking the summer semester off, you need to submit the Summer Absence Form to the visa coordinator in the Office of Student Services (OSS) and leave Japan for the entire summer. You can return to Japan 30 days before the start of fall semester and not a day earlier.

I am going home for the break, do I need to obtain a re-entry permit?

No, you do not need a re-entry permit. For more information, please see the Travel Outside of Japan page.

Can I petition for a reduced course load?

Only in very limited circumstances are students approved to take a reduced course load. Due to strict immigration policy regarding full-time enrollment, TUJ will not allow students to take a reduced course load for more than a total of 3 semesters while pursuing an undergraduate degree regardless of the reason or circumstances. Please read the section Full-time Enrollment and Academic Progress for more information on reduced course loads.

For Graduating Students

Can I remain in Japan for a while to travel after graduation?

No you can not. You must leave Japan within 30 days of your diploma date or by the expiration date of your landing permission, whichever comes first. Follow the instructions for leaving Japan found on the "Withdrawing from the University" page of our website.

I want to remain in Japan to continue looking for employment. What do I need to do?

You need to apply for a Designated Activity Visa. Please refer to the Graduating Students page for the application procedure.