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Changing from a language school student visa to a different student visa

What if you’re finally in Japan to study in a language school, and then you suddenly realize that you want to pursue further studies in another school? Aside from the funds, accommodation, and other stuff, you’d definitely worry about your visa. There, there. I’ve been there too! And I did everything I needed to pursue my newfound dream of getting a degree in Japan. In this article, let’s gather everything you need to prepare to change your current language school visa to a different student visa.

Study in Japan: How to Change Your Language School Visa to a Different Student Visa

Photo by Paul Davidson on Flickr

There are various classes of a Japanese student visa. What you apply for depends on how long and where in the country you’re studying. Each student visa also has different restrictions. Studying at a Japanese university probably has the most. Since your initial plan was only to study in a language school, then, of course, you have determined the visa you need for it. But since you have decided to pursue further education in Japan, it’s time to work on your Japanese visa!

Take it easy. I was anxious about gathering documents as a foreigner in Japan as well. Know that your school can help you in any way, and they can even submit your application too! In my case, I wanted to know the process even while my school was aiding me. First, I asked what I should do, and then I was given a list of the documents I had to have. Second, I gave the requests from both my current and new school, and lastly, I waited for my changed visa. Let’s work on your checklist now:

Current School

Wherever you are currently studying, you can ask for assistance for your student visa. Typically, you will need to get your current school attendance record and a transcript of your grades. These documents shall prove that you’re doing good in your studies! Remember that your attendance matters when it comes to your application’s approval.

Aside from these two documents, I also needed to present a certificate of planned graduation. Should your language school need other documents apart from the above-mentioned, rest assured that your current school will inform you. It is their duty to provide anything and everything you might need concerning the changing of your visa. From here, you can go to your new school to complete another set of requirements.

New School

While studying in a language school, I had found a prospect school that inspired me to stay and study longer in Japan. So if you already have yours, go ahead and request for necessary documents! From your new school, you need to get a certification of admission. Please note that it’s different from the notification of admission. It would be best if you had this to assure the Immigration Bureau in Japan that you have settled your education plans.

There was one requirement that caught me off guard. I was told to get pages 4 and 5 of the visa application, and I had no idea exactly what to do with them! Fortunately, the schools already know what to hand you. Lots of international students take the opportunity to pursue their studies in Japan, so the process of changing student visas is no longer new. Have the initiative to ask if there are additional requirements as well!

Other Requirements

You also have to personally prepare some documents such as copies of your residence card (Make sure to include the front and back!). Also, provide a copy of your passport, which contains the main page and your current work permit stamp. Of course, be sure to have the budget for the immigration charges. I prepared more or less 4,000 JPY. Additionally, my school also charged me for the submission of my application. For accurate budgeting, you can always enquire about the charges.

In case you’re set to go to a trade school or professional training college (Senmon Gakko, 専門学校), you will also have to add other documents to your checklist. Prepare a copy of your bank book that shows the current balance. If you have received money via bank transfers, include copies of the transfer receipts. You also need to submit copies of entry and exit stamps in your passport if you had gone home and brought a large amount of cash with you. After having completed these, it’s submission time!


Japan has been moving toward globalization for years now, and they have been welcoming hundreds of thousands of foreign students. Regardless of the length of your stay in the country for your studies, student visas are always available. Language schools can be your first step, and if you decide to take it further, apply for a change of student visa. I found it intimidating at first as well, but pushing through my worries opened more opportunities! Inquire about the requirements, complete them, and get your high-quality education in Japan!

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