thoughts from places


How to get a Japanese Working Holiday Visa in the UK

To get a Japanese Working Holiday Visa you'll need:

Download the visa application form (PDF) from the embassy website and fill in it in.

You'll need a proposed itinerary document and a reason for applying document. I think with these documents they are checking that you won't just be working in one place for the whole of your time in Japan as the working holiday visa is primarily a holiday with the opportunity to work to fund your stay.

These are the documents I used to get my visa:

I downloaded and printed off a three month bank statement from my online bank.

To apply for a visa you need to visit the embassy in person. There are two Japanese embassies in the UK: Edinburgh and London. I'm based in Northern Ireland and was told by the Edinburgh embassy that I wasn't in their catchment area and should apply in London. To check if you're in the Edinburgh catchment area look under the "Application procedure" heading on the embassy website. It is roughly anyone living in Cumbria or further north.

If you're granted a visa it will be ready for collection seven days later (including weekends). If you provide a prepaid special delivery envelope with your application they will post your passport back to you, saving you a second visit.

There is a post office (Map) near the London embassy located on Albemarle Street where you can get a prepaid special delivery envelope for £6.40.

Prepaid special delivery envelope

Prepaid special delivery envelope.

To visit the London embassy (Map) by Tube get off at Green Park. Exit the Tube station, turn left, and walk adjacent to Green Park. The embassy is a couple minutes walk from the station. When I visited the embassy, the outside had a facade of scaffolding covered in white fabric.

Japanese Embassy in London

Japanese Embassy in London

When you enter you'll need to pass through security and turn right. You'll enter a waiting room and should print a ticket from the ticket machine.

When your number is called hand over all your documents. The person behind the counter will scan through your application and will ask you to make any last minute changes. The whole process at the counter takes about ten minutes.

If you provide a prepaid special delivery envelope you'll need to pay the visa fee there and then. If you're collecting your visa in person you pay when you collect. In both cases the visa fee is £20 (as of April 2014).

If you need anything printed there is a print shop nearby called The Colour Company on Curzon Street (Map). They have computers connected to the internet that you can use to print off anything.

My Japanese Working Holiday Visa

My Japanese Working Holiday Visa.

My visa starts on 14th April 2014 and expires on the 14th April 2015. This means I have up until the 14th April 2015 to enter Japan. As soon as I enter my one year visa starts.

Hope this helps anyone who is going to apply. I would also recommend reading Paul's experience, who applied at the Japanese Consulate in Edinburgh.

If you have any questions send an email to nwjlyons@googlemail.com and I'll see if I can help.

Good luck!


Neil Lyons

Freelance Web Developer based in the UK.