If you are coming to Japan and plan to stay longer than 90 days you will need some type of a visa obtained through a Japanese consulate in your home country.
The standard way to obtain a working visa for Japan is to first apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) in Japan. Since the COE is application is submitted to the immigration bureau in Japan, either your company or a visa and immigration services provider will make the application on your behalf. The COE is a document which certifies that you have been found to be eligible to receive a long-term visa. Once you have your COE, which usually takes three to four weeks to be issued once the application has been submitted, you will be able to obtain a visa through a Japanese embassy or consulate in your country of residence in a matter of days.
If your COE has not been issued by the time you are due to leave to start your assignment, or if there is not time to obtain your visa through an embassy or consulate before departure, you will have the option of entering the country on a Temporary Visitor visa (the status given to business travelers and tourists), and then changing over to your long-term visa once your COE has been issued. Whether this is an option for you, or whether you will need to delay your departure until your visa is in place, will depend on your company’s policy.
All foreign residents who are in possession of a visa entitling them to reside in Japan for more than 90 days receive a Residence Card, either on entry into the country or from the immigration bureau after arrival, and are required to register as a resident in the district where their house or apartment is located. This procedure can only be completed once you have moved into your permanent residence and are in possession of a valid long-term visa and Residence Card. It is not possible to open a bank account, sign up for a mobile phone, or enter into any other kind of contract until this procedure has been completed.
When registering you will need to provide documentary evidence to prove your familial relationships, so please bring your Marriage Certificate and Birth Certificates of any accompanying children with you when you relocate.
If you leave Japan and do not return within one year, you will not be able to re-enter Japan on the same visa (assuming it is still valid) unless you obtained a Re-Entry Permit before departure. The Re-Entry Permit is obtained from the immigration bureau. Anyone who wishes to return to Japan after an absence of more than one year and is not in possession of a Re-Entry Permit will need to apply for a visa again from scratch.
Regional Immigration Bureaus