From the 1st of May 2003, the Government of Japan began a Volunteer Visa scheme allowing British nationals to undertake voluntary work for charitable organisations in Japan for a period of up to one year. Volunteers can work for a registered charity and the proposed work should be closely related to the aims of the organisation. The work is on a voluntary basis, although payment of a limited allowance for board, accommodation and pocket money is permitted.
Volunteer 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:
- Be a British Citizen resident in the UK
- Intend to work for one year as a volunteer (The scope of permissible activities does not include administration, food preparation, laundry and other manual work. Furthermore, a person qualified as a doctor or nurse in the UK may not practice or use their medical knowledge in anyway without the necessary Japanese qualification.)
- Only work for an organisation that meets the required criteria (including national or public organisations, NGOs, the Red Cross, social welfare organisations, non-profit organisations and public service providers)
- Receive no payment (It is permitted for volunteers to receive a small amount of pocket money and in some cases board and lodging.)
- Be persons who are not accompanied by children
- Be persons who are not accompanied by spouses unless those spouses are in possession of said visa or otherwise
- Possess a valid passport and a return travel ticket or sufficient funds for their maintenance during the period of stay in Japan
- Intend to leave Japan at the end of their stay
- Be in good health
1. Valid UK Citizen Passport
2. One completed and signed visa application form
3. Confirmation letter from the applicant's charitable organisation listed above in the Applicant Prerequisites.
4. Brochure/prospectus of the organisation (e.g. name, address, outline of attached institution, name of a representative, number of staff etc.)
5. Document stating a summary of activities at the organisation, location, timetable etc.
6. Document stating the treatment at the organisation (details should include payment including living, board, traveling expenses and any amounts of pocket money to be given etc.)
7. Appropriate evidence of either a travel ticket to and from Japan or a confirmed reservation of travel to and from Japan along with appropriate evidence such as a copy of the bank statement, traveller's cheques etc.)
8. Schedule of activities in Japan after the voluntary work has ended.
9. Visa fee is applicable on collection of passport (cash only)
Please see General Information for application procedures.
- It is recommended that appropriate insurance cover be arranged before leaving the United Kingdom, as under the conditions of engagement for the Volunteer Visa the period of the activity is usually not long enough to qualify for coverage provided by the organisations.
- Applicants will not be able to engage themselves in activities, which are considered to go against policies of the Volunteer Visa scheme such as working at businesses, which may affect public morals, operate.
- Volunteer Visas are for single entry. Therefore, if the Volunteer Visa holder has to leave Japan for any reason and wishes to return to Japan, it is essential that the person obtain a re-entry permit from the Immigration Authorities before leaving Japan.
- Within 90 days of arrival in Japan, Volunteer Visa holders must apply for alien registration at the Local Government Office near to where they are staying.
- Arriving in Japan, Volunteer Visa holders should register with the British Embassy in Tokyo or the British Consulate-General at Osaka. This will mean that the Embassy or Consulate is aware of the whereabouts in Japan of the Volunteer Visa holder so they will be able to offer assistance in the case of accident or emergency. For further information, contact the Embassy or the Consulate-General.
British Embassy in Tokyo
Keep your registration with the Embassy or the Consulate General up to date and inform them of any change of details or address. Also let them know when you leave Japan permanently.