Working Holiday Visa

NOTICE: Applications for Working Holiday Visa are now closed. For further information, please click here.

Both the governments of Japan and the United Kingdom are committed to cultivating a closer bilateral relationship between their citizens, promoting mutual understanding between the two countries. From 2001, Japan began the "Working Holiday Scheme" for British people, and the UK began the "Japan: Youth Exchange Scheme" for the Japanese, both of which provide greater opportunity for young people to experience the culture and way of life in the other country.
Under the "Working Holiday Scheme", a limited number of British citizens who wish to stay in Japan for up to one year primarily for a holiday may be granted a visa. This will allow them to enter Japan for up to one year and take up work for a certain period, incidental to their holiday, in order to supplement their travel funds. British participants need not obtain further permission to engage in remunerative activities while in Japan, although they are not allowed to be engaged in activities at certain sites stipulated under the Law on Control and Improvement of Amusement and Entertainment Businesses.*

In October 2008, the government of the United Kingdom announced that it would introduce a new scheme for young people, the "Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS)", which would replace the UK's existing schemes for young people, including the "Japan: Youth Exchange Scheme". Following consultations between the two governments, it was arranged that Japan would be one of the first four participating countries in the YMS from its launch on 27 November, 2008. Although this new development does not change the basic structure (as described in the previous paragraph) of the "Working Holiday Scheme", the government of Japan is pleased to announce that, from the same date as the launch of the YMS, a wider range of British citizens will become eligible for the "Working Holiday Scheme" as indicated below.

* These sites include where adult entertainment related businesses are carried out.

This program is NOT designed for those who mainly intend to work. The primary purpose of the visit should be holiday. If the main purpose of your visit is to work, a work visa is required. If your working time is longer than your holiday time, we cannot accept your application.

Applicant Prerequisites
Working Holiday visas, valid for a period of one year from the date of issue, will be issued to persons who satisfy all of the following requirements. The applicant must:

      • be a British citizen resident in the United Kingdom
      •intend primarily to holiday in Japan for a period of up to one year from the date of entry
      • be aged between eighteen (18) and thirty (30) years both inclusive at the time of application for the said visa, except in those cases where the relevant authorities of the Government of Japan agree to extend the limitation of age up to thirty (30) years
      • be unaccompanied by children
      • be unaccompanied by spouses unless those spouses are in possession of the said visa or otherwise
      • possess a valid passport and a return travel ticket or sufficient funds with which to purchase such a ticket
      • possess reasonable funds for their maintenance during the period of initial stay in Japan
      • intend to leave Japan at the end of their stay
      • have not previously been issued the said visa
      • be in good health

Materials to be submitted

        1. Valid British passport

        2. One completed visa application form

        3. One photograph approx. 35mm x 45mm in size (taken within 6 months)

        4. A personal history, resume or curriculum vitae typed on A4 paper

        5. A proposed itinerary for the whole stay in Japan (up to 12 months), including details of prearranged employment, if any

        6. A written reason for applying for a Working Holiday Visa typed on A4 paper

        7. Either £2,500 in cleared funds (last 3 months bank statements must be shown), or £1,500 and a return or onward journey ticket or a receipt for such.
         * Traveller's cheques, credit cards and overdrafts are not acceptable as evidence of sufficient funds.
         * In the case of a married couple applying for two visas, the minimum amounts are  £4,500 and  £2,500 respectively.

        In some cases, additional documents may be required.

Important note: Working Holiday visas may be issued for up to 1000 people in a Japanese financial year, that is, April through March. Therefore, at the time such a number of visas have been issued, acceptance for applications will close. A visa fee is applicable on collection of passport (cash only).

Please see General Information for application procedures.

Other Information

  • It is recommended that insurance coverage be arranged before leaving the United Kingdom, as under the conditions of employment for the Working Holiday Visa the period of employment is usually not long enough to qualify for coverage provided by employers or companies.
  • Applicants will not be able to engage in activities which are considered to go against policies of the Working Holiday scheme, such as working at places where businesses which may affect public morals operate.
  • Within 14 days of arrival in Japan, Working Holiday Visa holders must register with the Local Government Office closest to where they are staying.
  • On arriving in Japan, Working Holiday Visa holders should register with the British Embassy in Tokyo or the British Consulate-General in Osaka. This means that the Embassy or Consulate will know the whereabouts of the Working Holiday Visa holder in Japan so that they can try to help in the case of an accident or emergency. For further information, please contact the Embassy or the Consulate-General. The details are:

British Embassy Consular Section
 Address: No. 1 Ichibancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8381
 Tel: 03-5211-1100
 Fax: 03-5275-0346
 British Government official website in Japan


British Consulate General
 3-5-1 Bakuro-machi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 541-0059
 Tel: 06-6120-5600
 Fax: 06-6281-1731