What kind of Visa do you need to Rent in Japan ?

If you are planning to move to Japan in the near future, you may be wondering what kind of visa you need to rent an apartment. Read on to find out the details and some workarounds if your visa isn’t eligible.

To rent a place in Japan as a non-Japanese, you’ll need a valid visa. Any long-term (1 year+) residency visa is eligible, such as:

・A company-sponsored work visa : to view more info about this kind of visa, please check out the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan.

・A family visa to find out more about this kind of visa, read more at the Immigration Service Agency in Japan.

・A student visa:to find out more about this kind of visa, read more at the Immigration Service Agency in Japan.

(all the sites are available in multiple languages)

In addition to the visa, you must prove sufficient income to cover rent. If you are already in country, this is all established simply by submitting copies of your passport, visa, and recent pay stubs or an annual tax withholding slip (gensen choushuu hyou, 源泉徴収票).

But what if you haven’t arrived yet and want to get the ball rolling on finding a place? No problem! Before your visa is issued, you can get a certificate of eligibility (zairyou shikaku ninteishou meisho 在留資格認定証明書) issued by the regional immigration bureau. If you’ve been recruited by a Japanese company or are planning to start school in Japan, your employer or school can usually assist in the application. Keep in mind, issuing the paperwork takes some time, so ideally you’ll want to begin the process well before your planned move-in date. After submitting the application, the evaluation usually takes around 6 to 8 weeks.

If you are coming for work, a signed contract or official offer of employment is also valid documentation that will be accepted in lieu of the visa.


Now, as I mentioned above, residency visas are generally needed to rent, and this excludes people on tourist visas, which top out at 90 days, and working holiday visas. However, if your working holiday visa is valid for one year, there is a little wiggle room. Even though the standard lease in Japan is for 2 years, it is generally possible to cancel after 1 year without any penalty and some landlords are willing to lease to WH visa holders.

Even if your stay is going to be less than a year, you still have options beyond hotels, Airbnbs, and international sharehouses. Focus on sites like ours, that specifically allow for short-term rentals. With a limited number of properties willing to rent under these terms and common up-front fees like key money tied into the prevailing long-term rental model, an expert can save you time and money and make sure you get a quality short-term rental that meets your needs.

Whether your stay in Japan will be short or long, if you have any questions about the rental process or the necessary documents, we are happy to help. Just reach out via our contact page and we’ll help you navigate the twists and turns of leasing in Japan!


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