Visa: Working Holiday Visa

Notice: Applications for the Working Holiday Visa are now closed. For further information, please click HERE.


The governments of both Japan and the United Kingdom are committed to cultivating a closer bilateral relationship between their citizens and promoting mutual understanding between the two countries. In 2001, Japan introduced the "Working Holiday Scheme" for British citizens, while the UK started the "Japan: Youth Exchange Scheme" for Japanese citizens, both of which have provided increased opportunities for young people to experience the culture and general way of life in the other country.

Under Japan's Working Holiday Scheme, a limited number of British citizens who wish to stay in Japan for up to one year, primarily for a holiday, may be granted a visa which allows them to enter Japan for up to one year, and engage in work during that period, incidental to their holiday, in order to supplement their travel funds. British participants need not obtain further permission to engage in remunerative activities while in Japan, although they are not allowed to be engaged in activities at certain sites stipulated under the Law on Control and Improvement of Amusement and Entertainment Businesses*.

*These sites include premises where adult entertainment-related businesses are carried out.

In October 2008, the government of the United Kingdom announced that it would introduce a new scheme for young people, the "Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS)", which would replace the UK's existing schemes for young people, including the "Japan: Youth Exchange Scheme". Following consultations between the two governments, it was arranged that Japan would be one of the first four participating countries in the YMS from its launch on 27 November, 2008. Although this new development does not affect the basic structure (as described in the previous paragraph) of Japan's Working Holiday Scheme, the government of Japan is pleased to announce that, from the same date as the launch of the YMS, a wider range of British citizens have become eligible for the Working Holiday Scheme as indicated below.

The number of visas issued for British citizens to participate in the Working Holiday Scheme is currently limited to 1000 per Japanese Financial Year (April - March).
Acceptance of applications will be closed when the number of visas issued reaches this number.

Please note that the Consular Missions of the Government of Japan in the United Kingdom will only accept applications for Working Holiday Visas from British Citizens.

Applicant Prerequisites

Working Holiday Visas, valid for a period of one year from the date of issue, are issued to persons who satisfy all of the following requirements:

  • Be British Citizens who are resident in the United Kingdom
  • Intend primarily to holiday in Japan for a period of up to one year from the date of entry
  • Be aged between eighteen (18) and thirty (30) years both inclusive at the time of application for a Working Holiday Visa
  • Be persons who are not accompanied by children
  • Be persons who are not accompanied by spouses unless those spouses are in possession of a Working Holiday Visa or otherwise
  • Possess a valid passport, and an outward and return/onward travel ticket or sufficient funds with which to purchase such a ticket
  • Possess reasonable funds for their maintenance during the period of initial stay in Japan
  • Intend to leave Japan at the end of their stay
  • Have not previously been issued a Working Holiday Visa (except where you were unable to use the Working Holiday visa issued due to unavoidable circumstances, and an application for re-issue is made no more than 3 months from the expiry date of the original Working Holiday visa.)
  • Be in good health


Those wishing to apply for a Working Holiday Visa are required to submit, along with a valid UK passport, one copy of each of the following documents to the appropriate consular mission of the Government of Japan in the United Kingdom. Statements made in these documents must be true and accurate.

  1. Valid UK passport (British Citizen)
  2. One completed visa application form (Sample)
  3. One passport-sized photograph approx. 35mm x 45mm (taken within the last 6 months)
  4. CV
  5. Outline of intended activities
  6. A written reason for applying for a Working Holiday Visa typed on A4 paper
  7. Either £2,500 in cleared funds, or £1,500 in cleared funds along with appropriate evidence that the applicant is in possession of travel ticket to and from Japan (i.e. an outbound and return/onward journey ticket or a receipt for such). In either case, bank statements in the applicant's name covering the three months prior to the application date must be shown as proof of funds.
    (Traveller's cheques, credit cards, loans and overdrafts are not acceptable as evidence of sufficient funds)
    (In the case of a married couple applying together for two Working Holiday Visas, the minimum amounts are £4,500 and £2,500 respectively.)
  • *In some cases, additional documents may be required.
  • *You should provide an original of each document.
  • *We do not return any of the documents submitted. Therefore, if you need to keep any of the original documents, please bring the original plus a photocopy.

Application Procedure

Applications must be made in person, and applicants may be interviewed.
Visa applicants living in Scotland and the North of England (Cumbria, County Durham, Darlington, Gateshead, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, Northumberland, Redcar and Cleveland, South Tyneside, Stockton-on-Tees and Sunderland) must apply to the Consulate-General of Japan in Edinburgh

A visa fee must be paid in exchange for the visa issued.

Other Information

  • It is recommended that appropriate insurance coverage be arranged before leaving the United Kingdom, as under the conditions of employment for the Working Holiday Visa the period of employment is usually not long enough to qualify for coverage provided by employers or companies. For details about insurance etc., please check the “Guide to Living in Japan” (URL here).
  • Within 14 days of moving into an address in Japan, Working Holiday participants must apply for Resident Registration at a local government office near to where they are living (further details).
  • Applicants will not be able to engage themselves in activities which are considered to go against the policies of the Working Holiday Scheme such as working at businesses which may affect public morals.
  • Job Centers (Hello Work), and the Employment Service Centers for Foreigners in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya provide assistance to job-seekers in Japan. The above Employment Service Centers for Foreigners and some Job Centers are able to provide assistance in English. For further information, please follow the link below:

  • Working Holiday Visas are for single entry. However, if the Working Holiday participant has to leave Japan for any reason and wishes to return to Japan within their original one-year period of stay, they can depart from Japan with a Special Re-entry Permit (further details).
  • A questionnaire will be given to successful applicants when the visa is issued (form).
    After completing your working holiday in Japan, please complete the questionnaire when you return to the UK and post it back, send it via e-mail (e-mail address: or hand it in to the Embassy of Japan in the UK.


The Working Holiday schemes are designed to promote international interaction and enhance friendly relationships between Japan and partner countries/regions by providing opportunities for young people to deepen their understanding about partner countries/regions.
Working Holiday participants are allowed to work for a certain period of their stay in order to cover the cost of travel funds to travel and stay in partner countries/regions.

This programme is NOT designed for persons who mainly intend to work. The applicant's primary purpose of stay should be to "holiday" in Japan.
Those who intend primarily to work cannot apply for this visa.
Furthermore, the Working Holiday participants are strictly prohibited from working at places that are deemed to affect public morals, such as bars, cabarets, nightclubs and so on.

Please apply for this visa only after having familiarised yourself with the purpose of this scheme.