VISA APPLICATION TO THE IMMIGRATION BUREAU OF JAPAN
If your objective in entering Japan is work or long term stay, you have to apply for
a Certificate of Eligibility to the nearest Regional Immigration Bureau.
What is a Certificate of Eligibility?
A Certificate of Eligibility is issued before a visa application by a regional immigration authority under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice as evidence that the foreign national meets the conditions for landing in Japan, including the requirements that the activity in which the foreign national wishes to engage in Japan at the time of the landing examination is not fraudulent and is an activity that comes under a status of residence (excluding Temporary Visitor Status) stipulated in the Immigration Control Act. Application by a proxy in Japan is allowed.
A foreign national in possession of a Certificate of Eligibility can get a visa issued more easily at a Japan embassy or consulate within the standard processing period (five working days). However, issuance of the visa is not guaranteed. Furthermore, there is the advantage that if the Certificate of Eligibility is shown to the immigration officer at the time of the landing application the foreign national can more easily demonstrate that their status of residence conforms to the conditions for landing in Japan.
If you are already inside Japan and wishes to apply for a change of residence status (example: spouse of Japanese national to long term resident), application of certificate of eligibility is not necessary.