Visa and life in Japan

In order for international applicants to enter Japan and sit Kyoto University entrance exams, they must obtain a "Temporary Visitor Visa (tanki-taizai visa)" from a Japanese diplomatic mission in their home countries. Such Temporary Visitors are not allowed to engage in any paid activities.

College Student Visa

Those relocating from overseas

Successful candidates residing outside of Japan must obtain a "College Student Visa (ryugaku visa)" through a Japanese diplomatic mission.

Required documents include a certificate or notification of acceptance from Kyoto University, and a valid passport. Applicants may also be asked to present proof of sufficient funds to cover their stay in Japan.

Related link:

Certificate of Eligibility (external link)

Those based in Japan

Successful candidates who are already in Japan but do not have College Student (ryugaku) resident status (such as those with a Temporary Visitor [tanki-taizai] status) must apply to obtain this status.

Related links:

  1. Immigration Bureau of Japan: "Immigration Procedures"
  2. Kyoto University International Service Office: "Extension of stay", "Change of status of residence"

Residence Card (zairyu card)

A Residence Card will be issued to newly arrived foreign nationals intending to stay in Japan for three or more months.

For those arriving at Narita, Haneda, Chubu, Kansai, New Chitose, Hiroshima, and Fukuoka Airports, a card will be issued immediately after immigration clearance. For those entering Japan via any other airport, the card will be delivered to their residence after they submit a Notification of Place of Residence to their local municipal office.

International residents are required by law to carry their Residence Cards with them at all times.

Note: The Residence Card will NOT be issued to Temporary Visitors or those intending to leave Japan within three months.

Resident registration

All foreign nationals intending to stay in Japan for three or more months must register their places of residence with their local municipality within 14 days of moving in.

Required items:

  1. Passport
  2. Residence Card (if already issued)

Related link

National Health Insurance

All foreign nationals staying in Japan for three or more months are required to enroll in a Japanese public medical insurance program.

For students, the most common and highly recommended option is National Health Insurance (NHI). Subscribers need only pay 30% of medical costs upon presentation of their NHI Card at the hospital reception prior to receiving treatment. The insurance premium varies depending on individual circumstances, such as family size. In the case of unmarried international students living in the city of Kyoto, the annual payment will be approximately 18,000 yen. Applications for NHI are to be submitted after resident registration to the municipal health insurance department.

However, those with a Temporary Visitor Visa or three-month College Student Visa are not eligible for NHI, and are therefore advised to purchase a travel insurance policy (or similar) instead. Some Japanese insurance companies offer products available for enrollment before arriving in the country.

Related link:

Work permit

International students are allowed to have a part-time job, provided that they obtain a "work permit" in advance from an immigration office. Applications are available at ports of entry as well as at immigration offices.

Applicants must also agree to the following terms:

  1. The job must not interfere with academic work.
  2. For College Student Visa holders, the maximum hours of work are 28 hours per week (during summer and other long breaks, this is extended to up to 8 hours per day, within the confines of the legal 40-hour work week).
  3. The job must not affect public order and morals (as an example, sex-industry employment is forbidden).

Working without permission will incur a penalty.

Related link:

Japanese-language proficiency

Except for English-taught degree courses, and unless specified otherwise, classes are generally taught in the Japanese language. Those wishing to enroll in a regular undergraduate or master's program are therefore expected to have sufficient Japanese-language proficiency.

Kyoto University encourages international students and researchers to learn the language, and offers a range of supporting courses and resources.

Note: Kyoto University does not have any academic department focused on Japanese-language studies. Those wishing to improve their language skills, such as to prepare for university studies, are advised to find and attend a suitable language school.

Related links