I am an Australian citizen, and have applied for a Japanese working holiday visa, which it sounds as though I will receive in 2 days time.

I am travelling to Japan in one month, but only for a 10 day visit that I had planned before applying for the working holiday visa.

The working holiday visa is sort of a contingency in that I'm still not sure I will ever use, but I turned 31 a week ago so I thought I would apply as it was my last chance, and it is valid for entry for 12 months from issue so it buys me some time to decide.

What I would really like to know is if anyone has any experience with travelling to a country (or better yet Japan!) with a working holiday visa, but entering on the usual visa waiver or tourist visa instead, and preserving their working holiday visa for later use.

Is this possible? What did you need to do to make it happen? Was it as simple as asking the immigration agent?

In which countries is it possible?

I emailed the Japanese consulate before applying for the visa to confirm that I could do this, and got the following response, which seems to indicate it is possible for Japan, but I still don't know exactly how.

Once I have received the visa, if I travel to Japan, do I have to use this visa, or can I enter and exit on a tourist visa once first, and use the working holiday visa later in the year?


  • 1
    Visiting before using a long-stay visa is perfectly legit in the Schengen area but the long-stay visa would typically have specific dates of validity (i.e. it's not 12 months starting at the time you enter, it's 12 months starting at a specific date printed on the visa) so you don't have to do anything specific (if you enter during the validity of the long-stay visa, you use that and nothing is lost, otherwise you enter under the rules for visa-free visits). I don't know about Japan.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Aug 11, 2014 at 8:48
  • 1
    Thanks! Good to know. If no-one has experience with Japan, I will come back and answer this myself after I take the trip in Sep.
    – imoatama
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 0:53

2 Answers 2


(Qualifier: I live in Japan )

This is common. Just ask at immigration for a regular visitor visa, explain that you want to use the WH later. Maybe put a post-it note over the WH visa and write まだ on it (means "not yet").

  • Thanks! I asked at the consulate when I collected my visa and they told me the same! Great!
    – imoatama
    Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 20:55
  • Btw, I successfully entered on a 90-day tourist visa, with the 1 yr working holiday visa in my passport, merely by asking when I got to immigration and letting them know that's what I wanted.
    – imoatama
    Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 16:30

I know a number of people have accomplished this by flying to nearby Seoul between when their tourist visa ends and their work visa begins. Fly there a couple of days before your work visa begins, have a short stay there, and then arrange your dates so that you re-enter Japan when your work visa is valid.

Not sure if this is a reasonable option for you, but it is a guaranteed way of doing this.

(I have lived in Japan working for 8 years)

  • Hey thanks but the WH visa is already valid - I have a holiday planned to Japan in September, and I don't want to accidentally enter on the WH, as the plan is to (maybe!) use it in 2015 (ie non-contiguous with the Sep visit). So this isn't quit what I was looking for. This is a useful tip for going from one visa type to another though.
    – imoatama
    Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 20:57

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