Visa: Working Holiday Visa

The number of UK nationals (visa quota) eligible to use the Working Holiday Programme has been increased from 1,000 to 6,000 annually as of 1st April 2024.

Purpose of the Working Holiday Scheme

The Working Holiday scheme is designed to promote international exchange (intercultural/international exchange) and enhance friendly relationships between Japan and partner countries/regions by providing opportunities for young people to deepen their understanding of partner countries/regions. Under Japan's Working Holiday Scheme, British citizens who wish to stay in Japan, primarily for a holiday, may be granted a visa which allows them to enter Japan and stay for up to one year, with a work permit that is incidental to their holiday, in order to supplement their travel funds.

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

Eligibility Criteria

Working Holiday Visa applications can be accepted from those who satisfy all of the following requirements:

  • Valid British passport holders who are resident in the United Kingdom.
  • Intend primarily to spend a holiday in Japan for a period of up to one year from the date of entry. Please note, British Citizens are eligible to enter and stay in Japan for up to 6 months without a visa.
  • Between 18 and 30 years old, both inclusive at the time of application.
  • Please note that any member of the applicant’s family, including children or spouses, cannot accompany the applicant, unless the spouse is in possession of a Working Holiday Visa or other permit to stay in Japan.
  • Possess an outward and return/onward travel ticket or sufficient funds with which to purchase such a ticket.
  • Possess reasonable funds to maintain and accommodate themselves during the initial period of stay in Japan.
  • Intend to leave Japan at the end of their stay.
  • Have not previously been issued a Working Holiday Visa in the past. (*see Q&A).
  • Are in good health.


Please see the checklist

Application Procedure

Documents preparation
Check if you meet all the requirements and prepare all the documents listed on the checklist.
Submission at the Embassy*
Submit your application in person, and applicants may be interviewed.
*Visit to the consular Section are by appointment only.
Visa processing
It takes at least 5 working days
Collection at the Embassy
Collect your passport from the Consular Section.
A visa fee must be paid in exchange for the visa issued.
Working holiday visas are valid for 12 months from the issue date. The participant must enter Japan before the visa expiry date. Participants will be given permission to stay for 1 year from the date of entry to Japan.

*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.

Important Notes:
  1. We do not return any of the documents submitted (aside from your passport), even once the application has been processed.
  2. In principle, the visa processing time is 5 working days from the day that the Embassy accepted documents as a valid visa application.
  3. Personal information on certificates etc. must match your passport.

Useful 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.
  • Applications will not be accepted after the number of visas issued reaches 6,000 per fiscal year.
  • Within 14 days of moving into an address in Japan, Working Holiday participants must apply for Resident Registration at a local government office near their residency (further details ).
  • Job Centres (Hello Work), and the Employment Service Centres for Foreigners in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya provide assistance to job-seekers in Japan. The above Employment Service Centres for Foreigners and some Job Centres 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 should obtain a Special Re-entry Permit upon temporarily departing Japan. (further details).
  • British participants do not need to obtain further permission to engage in remunerative activities while in Japan. However, it is important to note that participants are not permitted to engage in activities at certain sites stipulated under the Law on Control and Improvement of Amusement and Entertainment Businesses.
    Working Holiday participants are strictly prohibited from working at places that are deemed to affect public morals, such as bars, cabarets, nightclubs etc*.
    *These sites include premises that operate adult entertainment related business.


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.

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 above.

In November 2023, the two governments agreed to increase the number of UK nationals (visa quota) eligible to use the Working Holiday Programme from 1,000 to 6,000 annually from 1 April, 2024. (Note: The number of Japanese nationals (visa quota) eligible to use the UK's YMS has been increased from 1,500 to 6,000 annually, effective January 31, 2024.)


1. I am 30 years old and will be 31 next month. Can I apply?
Yes, but your application must be received before your 31st birthday. The visa will be valid for one year from the date of issue so you may have turned 31 by the time you enter Japan.

2. What is the difference between a work visa and working holiday visa?
A work visa is for the purpose of going to Japan to live and work full-time. See work visa application for more information.
A working holiday visa is for a long-term holiday travelling around Japan. You may work part-time to help fund your holiday.

3. I am a UK citizen, but I am currently residing abroad. Can I apply?
No. The guidelines require that all applicants must reside in the UK at the time of application.

4. I had a Working Holiday visa before. Can I apply again?
No. Except in cases where an applicant was unable to use the Working Holiday visa issued due to unavoidable circumstances, and where an application or appeal for re-issue is made no more than 3 months from the expiry date of the original Working Holiday visa. To appeal for re-issue, please contact the visa officer.


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 send it by e-mail (e-mail address: hand it in to the Embassy of Japan in the UK.