Oga Immigration Law Firm
Oga Immigration Law Firm


The Business Manager visa is an employment eligibility status (work visa) for foreigners who are seeking either to launch a business in Japan or to engage in the management and operation of an already-existing business. Permitted activities on this visa also include establishing Japanese subsidiary companies.

The Business Manager visa is obtained for conducting the following activities in Japan.

  1. Start and manage a business in Japan, or engage in management of the business (entrepreneurship)
  2. Activities to engage in or manage a business already in operation in Japan
  3. Activities to manage the business on behalf of persons (including corporations) who operate the business in Japan, or to engage in management of said business

The important thing here is whether the foreign employee is substantially participating in the business as a manager. The Immigration Bureau judges “substantial participation” based on various factors, such as whether the company has investments (investment amount), whether the company is engaged in selling or transferring company shares, and how the foreign manager became a managerial employee.

In practice, many people try to establish a corporation, etc., merely on the premise that they want to stay longer in Japan, instead of obtaining a Business Manager visa to run a corporation. However, since the screening of Business Manager visas is stricter than other work visas, applicants need to be careful in applying for a Business Manager visa simply to stay longer.

For example, in many cases, applying for the visa requires having registered a company with at least 5 million yen in capital before the initial application. Therefore, applicants should make sure they are eligible for the Business Manager visa requirements before applying. Our highly experienced professionals at IMS Legal Professional Corporation can work with you on a personal basis and determine your chances of success.

However, if an applicant successfully incorporates a company in Japan, they can use their own company to sponsor themselves for the Business Manager visa. The applicant’s close dependents (spouse, children, parents) can also then apply for a general dependent visa, depending on their relationship to the applicant and other factors.

In addition, many holders of the Business Manager visa eventually change to a Highly Skilled Foreign Professional visa, Permanent Resident visa, or even naturalize and gain Japanese citizenship. Although a Business Manager visa does not guarantee success, successful renewals show a strong contribution to Japanese society and the economy. Our company has a strong and proven track record assisting clients every step of the way with their Highly Skilled Foreign Professional visa, Permanent Resident visa, and naturalization applications. Be sure to send us an email or give us a call!

 “scale” of the business 

Any of the following requirements must be met in order to obtain the Business Manager visa.

  1. Hire two or more full-time employees who reside in Japan.
  2. The amount of capital or the total amount of investment is 5 million yen or more.
  3. Other activities which are recognized as being equivalent in scale to items 1 or 2.

As mentioned above, it is required that the business has a certain scale. Therefore, not only is it necessary to prepare business plans and clarify what the business does, but also to consider whether it is a business that will contribute positively to the Japanese economy. The company is required to have two or more full-time staff members who reside in Japan, or to have an initial capital/investment that is worth 5 million yen or more. The applicant must also have a salary that allows them to live independently in Japan. However, #3 above allows for companies whose activities are recognized to be equivalent in scale as #1 or #2. This latter point is determined solely at the discretion of the Immigration Bureau.

In other words, if the Immigration Bureau recognizes that the company has positive contributions to the Japanese economy, then permission can be granted based on requirement #3. Since this is highly subjective, we recommend that you submit documents such as business plans, resumes of key personnel (including work history prior to becoming a manager), and any future business prospects when applying, including possible investments or networking.