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Staff Blog

Staggered Re-entry of International Students & Technical Trainees into Japan

Hi, this is Yuka of IMS.

With the end of the year 2021—and hence, the end of our second year into the pandemic—quickly approaching, people are beginning to contemplate their winter holiday plans. For many, this includes plans of traveling in light of the improvement of COVID-19 case rates. However, many international students and technical trainees currently still outside of Japan are not so fortunate. Despite the supposed loosening of entry restrictions, for those with Certificates of Eligibility (COE) issued after April 1, 2021, traveling to Japan will not be happening for the time being—at least not until after next January.

As many may already know, the Japanese government relaxed its stringent entry restrictions on foreign nationals on November 8, 2021. For the first time in months, students and technical trainees are both eligible for entry into Japan. However, there’s a catch: due to the large number of people expected to enter, the government announced that unlike business travelers, students and technical trainees will only be allowed to apply for a visa in accordance with a specific timeline.

Specifically, people will only be allowed to file visa applications in the order that they obtained their COE:

【International Students】

COE Issuance Date Permitted visa application period

January 1, 2020 – March 31, 2020 à From November 2021

January 1, 2020 – September 30, 2020 à From December 2021

January 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021 à From January 2022

So far, students who have received their COE after March 31, 2021, are not yet permitted to apply for a visa.

【Technical Trainees】

COE Issuance Date Permitted visa application period

January 1, 2020 – June 30, 2020 à From November 2021

January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020 à From December 2021

January 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021 à From January 2022

So far, technical trainees who have received their COE after March 31, 2021, are not yet permitted to apply for a visa.

https://www.moj.go.jp/isa/content/001358714.pdf

Thus, the pathway to entry into Japan still remains difficult, and many are still barred from entry. In addition, there are concerns that if there is another spike in COVID-19 cases, the Japanese government may tighten entry restrictions again, thus adding to the uncertainty of the situation.

While the situation is undoubtedly not ideal for many hoping to gain entry as soon as possible, we hope everyone will still be able to make the best of their winter holiday.

If there are any changes, we will make another blog post, so please stay tuned! If you have any questions and require any assistance, feel free to contact iMS.

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