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I am French and I just got a working holiday visa for Japan.

When I filled in the form, I said that I want it to start in October but, on the visa, it says that it can start from March 2017 to March 2018.

I would like it to start in October, but I also plan to visit Japan with friends for 2 weeks in August.

I'm afraid that, if the immigration sees my WH visa on my passport, they automatically start it.

If it is the case, it means that I will be authorized to stay only until August 2018.

As I am currently working in a company, I will either leave or ask for a sabbatical year for my working holliday year in Japan.

So, knowing when my WH visa will really start is important for means

My stay in Japan in August will be purely tourism, and I will be able to show my return ticket to prove that I'll stay only 2 weeks

Is it possible to ask immigration to give me a tourist visa and not start my WH visa when I'll arrive in August ?

I know that this question was already asked here some years ago, but I'd like to be 100% sure of the current Japanese immigration policy.

  • 1
    1. Can you link to that question? 2. From memory your WH Visa starts automatically if you enter during the validity period and will continue for a year (unless you are either Canadian or Australia, which you are neither). I am pretty sure you can get a stay on it if you apply through a Japanese embassy / consulate for a tourist visa valid for the time you wish to be in country on tourism but as visa conditions are in a constant state of flux, your best bet is to make an appointment and ask at a Japanese embassy / consulate. – The Wandering Coder Mar 15 '17 at 0:40
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    AFAIK, the visa expires on March 2018, which means you should enter Japan before March 2018. From the date you land in Japan you will have one year of permission that will be stamped in your passport. – Dhina Mar 15 '17 at 2:45
  • The visa will be provided with respect to your date of application. You wont be able to request change the start date. All you could do is apply on a later date. – Dhina Mar 15 '17 at 2:51
  • @Dhina I have been successfully able to have the starting entrance date amended before, however AFAIK the rules may have changed since then. – The Wandering Coder Mar 15 '17 at 6:47
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    1. Here is a link of a similar question asked by an Australien in 2014 : travel.stackexchange.com/questions/35074/… – Sylvain Mar 16 '17 at 19:53
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+100

You're a French citizen going to work in Japan starting in October. In august, however, you want to visit without a visa for 2 weeks, and are concerned that immigration will invariably activate your working holiday visa.

I just called immigration at Narita Airport (+81-476-326-832 or +81-476-342-211) who said that this is not a problem.

UPDATE: evidently you experienced a language barrier trying to call them yourself (which doesn't surpise me tbh - luckily I speak Japanese myself). Call these numbers again (during Japanese daytime, when more people are around) and say "Konnichiwa, eigo no dekiru yakuin wa imasu ka kudasai?", which means "Hello, is there any English speaking officer here, please?" They should be able to connect you to someone

At immigration, if you see them flipping to the passport page with your visa, just tell them you're only visiting for tourism for two weeks this time, and that you will come back in October for the work. They will then place a visitor's entry stamp (actually a sticker) in the passport.

  • Thank you ! I tried to call Japanese Immigration service, with the number you gave but unfortunately, the persons that answered me did not talk english (or at least not enough to discuss the topic) Do you know if there is a way for me to have an official answer from japanese immigration ? – Sylvain Mar 22 '17 at 8:43
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    @Sylvain Try on both numbers (one is for terminal 1, the other for terminal 2 - doesn't matter really), and see my update – Crazydre Mar 22 '17 at 9:18
  • Sorry for the following pedantry: this French citizen will not be visiting "without a visa", they will be visiting on an (automatic) tourist visa granted by their nationality. – pzkpfw Mar 22 '17 at 9:20
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    @pzkpfw Wrong, they visit without a visa. The entry sticker is not a visa - visas are not issued on arrival in Japan – Crazydre Mar 22 '17 at 9:21
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    @pzkpfw Well, a visa is a prerequisite for you to enter, and some countries issue them at airports (for example) before clearing immigration. An entry stamp, on the other hand, is a receipt that you have entered. If an entry stamp is all you get, then you've entered visa-free. – Crazydre Mar 22 '17 at 9:25
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I thought I might add to this as I’m going through a similar thing. We live in Melbourne Australia and have just been approved for a working holiday visa, however we are going to Japan in two weeks for a short holiday. We intend to activate our WH visas in May 2018. We were worried about accidentally activating the WH visa so we contacted the embassy in Melbourne today who advised that this is not a problem - we simply need to explain at the airport in Japan that we do not want to activate our visas during this stay and wish to travel on a tourist visa. It didn’t seem to be a problem at all, but if you’re not from Melbourne you may need to check with your local consulate. Hope this helps

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