What are the reasons for foreigners to apply for Japanese ‘Digital Nomad’ visa started on April 1 2024?

Japanese ‘Digital Nomad’ visa rule was enforced from April 1 2024. It can be applied by foreigners who live in about 50 visa wavier countries’ or regions and earn annual income of 10 million JPY or more. The Japanese government anticipates that the visa is another opportunity to receive high-income and highly-skilled foreigners. 

Japan Expert Immigration Law Firm, specializing in immigration law-related procedures, already took care of an application of ‘Digital Nomad’ visa for 20s U.S. citizen male and has been ready for 20s U.K. citizen male as of the third week of April. Both of the applicants are freelance writers. 

In addition, the firm has had several inquires from citizens of Norway, Australia or U.S., who have a variety of professions, such as an investor or a game creator. 

Naoki Kanazawa, Immigration Lawyer at the Firm, said, “The foreigners who are interested in the nomad visa, including the U.S. citizen male applying the visa, visited me for consultation when they traveled in Japan for vacation.” It is possible for them to apply for the visa individually at a Japanese embassy or consulate in their countries, however Kanazawa said that it is not recommended because it may take a longer time and also technical knowledge is required. 

When Kanazawa applied for the visa instead of the U.S. citizen male for the first time, he felt that the immigration office did not seem to be ready for reception. “One of the challenges is how smoothly the authority can deal with the nomad visa application,” Kanazawa added. 

Why do they choose Japan as a digital nomad destination?

All of the foreigners who are interested in the digital nomad visa have been to Japan before. Many of them explained that Japan is a safe and well-organized country and is an attractive tourist nation as reasons for choosing Japan as a digital nomad destination, according to Kanazawa, 

They, however, said that the eligible stay duration of up to six months is short. If you want to stay longer in Japan as a digital nomad, you have to apply for it again before the visa is expired and acquire a new visa after leaving Japan once. 

The six-months rule highlights a difficulty for a digital nomad to find places to live. The period is too short for a long-term rental, and the cost is too high for a hotel stay. The U.S. male applying for the visa wants to live in Tokyo, but he said, “It would be difficult to sign a contract for a regular rental property. So, I think I'll have to use Airbnb or a home-sharing service.’' 

Mr. Kanazawa expects digital nomad visa will be another chance for foreigners who are interested in Japan.

What is a key to expand the visa?

Tokyo Immigration Office is usually very busy everyday with a lot of various applications, and applicants often have to wait for several months or longer to get a visa.“The Japanese government accepted the digital nomad visa as a national policy. I don’t think that a long time to issue is good for digital nomad visa.” Kanazawa said, “You can stay for up to six months, and some nomads want to stay for shorter months. If the screening process takes several months, it will be a negative factor for digital nomads. For digital nomads who travel around the world, I think that easy and flexible travel is attractive."

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