A Guide to Obtaining a Business Manager VISA
After coming to Japan with a Startup VISA, your next goal should be to obtain a Business Manager VISA. During your one-year period of stay with a Startup VISA, you must fulfill all the requirements for obtaining a Business Manager VISA and apply for it. By obtaining a Business Manager VISA and switching your status of residence, you will be able to officially stay in Japan for an extended period of time as a business manager. This article will explain the Business Manager VISA system, its requirements, and the procedures for obtaining one in detail.
1. What is a Business Manager VISA?
2. The Requirements for Obtaining a Business Manager VISA
3. The Application Procedure
4. Renewal of a Business Manager VISA
1. What is a Business Manager VISA?
A Business Manager VISA is a type of VISA for managers and administrators of a business. If you have a Business Manager VISA, there is no restriction on the type of business you can run, besides illegal businesses.
When do you need a Business Manager VISA?
When you are to work as a representative director or in a similar position in a company in Japan, you will need to obtain a Business Manager VISA.
If any of the following cases is applicable to you, you will need to obtain a Business Manager VISA:
lYou have established a business in Japan, and you are working as a manager or an administrator of that business.lYou are an administrator of an existing company in Japan and working as a manager or an administrator.lYou are a manager of a Japanese company that has been merged with a company you established in your home country, and you are currently managing or administrating that company.
Period of Stay
At the time of initial issuance of a Business Manager VISA, the period of stay granted could be 3 months, 4 months, 1 year, 3 years, or 5 years, after which the VISA must be renewed to extend your period of stay. If you were in Japan with a Startup VISA, the period of stay granted at the time of initial issuance is usually 1 year. In each renewal, you are granted to extend your period of stay for 1, 3, or 5 years based on your business progress.
2. The Requirements for obtaining a Business Manager VISA
To obtain a Business Manager VISA, you need to meet the following requirements (a~f).
a. Establish a company in Japan
Before applying for a Business Manager VISA, you must have completed the establishment of your company.
b. Obtain a business license (if necessary)
If you are starting a business that requires you to obtain a license, you must obtain the license in advance before applying for a Business Manager VISA.Some of the businesses that require a license are:
lRestaurants which require licenses, such as a restaurant business license and a notification to the fire department.lAccommodation Businesses which require hotel business license.lTravel Businesses which require travel business permission.
c. Own an independent business office
In order to obtain a business manager VISA, you must have an office space contracted in the name of your corporations used for the running of your business. Rental offices with independent private rooms and incubation offices are also accepted as business offices. However, virtual offices are not permitted.
lThe contract must be made under the name of a corporation for business use.lThere must be a joint guarantor.lOffice equipment must be set up, such as phones, computers, and photocopy machines.lThere must be enough space for running your type of business.lThere must be a space for administrative and management work. Business Manager VISA only allows you to manage a business; thus, you are required to have an office space to carry out your administrative work. It is worth noting that even if you start a shop business such as a restaurant, you are not permitted to cook or serve customers by yourself.lIt must not be a short-term lease space that has been contracted monthly.
*In Kobe City, you cannot use a coworking space as a business office.
If you are using a part of your residential house as a place of business, the landlord and tenant must approve the use of the property for business purposes. There must be a room specifically for business purposes with facilities for conducting business, arrangements for the payment of utility bills by the corporation must be clearly laid out, and a signboard must be displayed.
d. The Business Scale
One of the following criteria must be met:
1. Have at least two full-time employees living in Japan
There must be at least two full-time employees living in Japan besides the Business Manager VISA holder. In cases where these two employees are of foreign nationals, only those with the following status would be accepted to meet the criteria:
lSpecial Permanent ResidentlPermanent ResidentlSpouse or Child of Japanese NationallSpouse or Child of Permanent ResidentIt should be noted that part-time employees and temporary or contract employees do not meet the criteria.lLong-term Resident
2. Have at least 5 million Japanese yen as capital
The source of this capital has to be proven. In addition, if the applicant borrowed a sufficient amount of capital from relatives in their home country, it is necessary to prove the legitimacy of the process of fundraising. Therefore, you must submit documents to show the financial situation and remittance records of your lender to the Immigration Bureau. Additionally, the applicant’s investment ratio is considered important when the Immigration Bureau examines the application.
*You are allowed to use the capital for business purposes before applying for a Business Manager VISA.
3. Have a scale of business that is equivalent to either a or b.
e. The sustainability of your business
Your business will be assessed based on your business plan by the Immigration Bureau if it is deemed stable and sustainable. A business plan should contain a very detailed business management schedule and strategy. In addition to the company profile, business description, and profit and loss plan, it should include a vision for the future, customers and partnerships, suppliers, competitive analysis, sales strategy, and financial plan. All application documents must be submitted in Japanese.
Key points in creating a business plan will be explained in a future article!
f. Experiences and Salary (For Administrators only)
Suppose you are to work as an administrator of an existing company, i.e., the director or a hired president of a Japanese company. In that case, you are required to have a minimum of three years of experience in business administration and earn the same or higher salary as a Japanese citizen working in an equivalent position.If you meet all of the above requirements (a - f), you can apply for a change in the VISA status to a Business Manager VISA with the necessary documents to the Immigration Bureau.
3. The Application Procedure
Depending on the type of company you manage or administrate, different documents are needed for the application. However, there are some common application documents for all cases;
lPortrait (4 cm × 3 cm)
lAn envelope with stamps worth 380 Japanese yen
If you are in Japan with a Startup VISA, in most cases, the following additional documents are necessary:
lCertificate of Registered Matters (Certificate of Incorporation)
lA copy of the Articles of Incorporation
lA copy of the list of shareholders
lA copy of the notification of incorporation to the tax office, municipality, and prefecture
lA business plan
lIf the company has already started business negotiations with business partners, documents that reinforce the company’s ability to conduct business on a continuous and stable basis.
lA copy of the lease agreement for the business office (in the name of the corporation)
lPhotographs of the business office
lIn the case of a business with a capital of 5 million yen or more
lDocuments that clarify the source of the capital
lIn the case of a business with two or more full-time employees
lA list of employees that show their nationalities, residence card number, salary, etc.
lA copy of the record of the general meeting at which the remuneration of directors was decided
lBusiness licenses (if necessary)
*If the documents are in English, you need to submit a Japanese translated version of all documents also.
1. Secure a business office (contracted in the name of an individual)
Since a business address is required for incorporation, contract a business office in your name in advance. After the completion of the establishment of the company, the name on the contract should be changed to the name of the corporation. This business office should meet the requirements mentioned above.
2. Establish a company
To establish your company, you need to
a. Prepare the Articles of Incorporation (Teikan).
b. Have the Articles of Incorporation certified by a notary public.
c. Register the company at the Legal Affairs Bureau in your region.
*A detailed process of incorporation will be explained in a future article.
3. Notify the commencement of your business
It is necessary to notify the tax office, the municipality, and the prefecture of the establishment of the corporation. When applying for a Business Manager VISA, you are required to submit copies of the notification documents to the Immigration Bureau.
4. Obtain a license
If your business requires a license, you need to apply for it. The place for the application could be public health centers, police stations, tax offices, and prefectural governments, depending on the business.
5. Change the name on the contract of the company’s head office to that of the company
Change the name of the office which was contracted under your name in step 1 to the name of the corporation.
6. Apply for permission to change your status of residence to the Business Manager
With the application documents mentioned in the “Application Documents” section of this article, apply for permission to change your current residential status to the Business Manager. It typically takes about a month to examine the documents submitted, but sometimes it may take longer than that.
7. Receive a certificate of eligibility and change your status of residence
You can start your business officially if your application is accepted! At this time, your first period of stay will be determined.
4. Renewal of a Business Manager VISA
It is necessary to renew your VISA in the Immigration Bureau in your region as appropriate before the expiration of your Business Manager VISA. You can apply for the renewal of a Business Manager VISA three months prior to the VISA expiration date.
In the renewal process, the continuity of your business is an important criterion. Therefore, business conditions such as gross profit and debt amount at the end of the most recent fiscal year or the end of the first half of the most recent fiscal year are examined carefully. Depending on the state of your business, two or three years of stay may be granted at a time.
Application documents necessary for renewal
Application form for Extension of Period of Stay (designated form)
lPhotograph taken within the last 3 months (4 cm x 3 cm )lA complete list of statutory income tax withholding statements for the previous year with the seal of the tax officelCertificate of inhabitant tax payment for the most recent fiscal year (issued by the municipal office)lCertificate of residential tax payment for the most recent fiscal year (issued by the municipal office)lStatement of the annual investment amountlA list of shareholderslA copy of the bank passbook in the name of the companylStatement of reasons for renewal.lThis could be the history of the company from its inception to the present, major clients in the past year, or future business prospects.
Stay tuned for further articles on foreign entrepreneurship in Japan! This series, “How to Start a Business in Japan,” includes:
lIncorporation in JapanlCorporate Banking in JapanlLabor procedureslAnd more!