Japan Digital Nomad Visa: Your 2024 Guide

US expat living in Japan walks down a busy city street

As a remote worker eager to travel the world, you may have been dreaming of visiting Japan’s beautiful temples. Or attending one of their famous cherry blossom festivals. Or indulging in truly authentic sushi, katsu, and yakitori.

If this sounds familiar, you’re in luck — with the Japan digital nomad visa, you can make those dreams come true.

Japan’s Immigration Services Agency (ISA) has publicly discussed plans to create a digital nomad visa for some time. They’ve now shared additional details on the visa, including requirements, duration, and launch date.

Below, we’ll walk you through all of the information the authorities have shared so far and discuss some alternative visas that can potentially help you stay in the country on a longer-term basis.

Snapshot of Expat Life in Japan

Population: 125.7 million

Capital city: Tokyo

Currency: Japanese yen (JPY)

Official language(s): JapaneseApproximate number of American expats: ~62,500

Background on the Japan Digital Nomad Visa

As the pandemic lessened in severity and travel restrictions eased up, many knowledge workers began to take advantage of their newfound flexibility to travel and work abroad. Governments looking to boost their economies took heed, launching visas specifically designed to attract these teleworkers.

Today, some 50 countries offer dedicated digital nomad visas — a number that continues to grow as other nations see the benefits of bringing in highly skilled, economically solvent workers who can stimulate the economy without adding competition to the local job market.

Even countries historically employing strict immigration policies, like Japan, have gotten on board today. The Japanese government first announced they were developing a digital nomad visa in 2023 and shared some of the concrete details on February 2nd, 2024. Outstanding information on the required documents and application process should be released once the visa goes live in late March 2024.

Japan Digital Nomad Visa Requirements & Stipulations

Eligibility & Qualifications

Japan’s digital nomad visa is geared toward remote workers from one of 49 different countries that have signed tax treaties or visa-free short-term travel agreements with Japan, including the US, UK, all EU countries, Australia, South Korea, Singapore, and more. Specifically, these workers must:

  • Work for an organization based outside of Japan as an employee or contractor
  • Earn a minimum annual income of ¥10 million (~$67,474)
  • Hold a private health insurance policy

Duration & Renewal Options

The Japanese digital nomad visa lasts for six months. While they can’t renew it, holders may apply for it again six months after the initial visa has expired.

Permitted Activities & Restrictions

The digital nomad visa holders will be allowed to bring their spouse and children under the visa, provided they purchase individual health insurance policies for them. Because the digital nomad visa is only temporary, they will not be permitted to enter long-term rental contracts in Japan.

Extending Your Stay in Japan

While the digital nomad visa is only intended for short-term stays, savvy digital nomads who meet certain requirements may be able to apply for a long-stay visa.

Below, we’ll discuss three options: the Student Visa, the Highly Skilled Professional (HSP) Visa, and the Business Manager Visa.

Student Visa

By studying in a Japanese educational institution — such as a Japanese language school, university, vocational center, etc. — you can get a visa lasting anywhere from three months to four years and three months, depending on the length of your program.

To successfully apply, you will need to register as a student in a qualifying educational institution and submit the following documents to your designated Japanese consulate in your home country :

  • Passport
  • Passport-sized photograph
  • Completed visa application form
  • Certificate of eligibility

To maintain yourself during your studies, you can apply for a work permit allowing you to work up to 28 hours a week. You can receive a work permit by either:

With the work permit, you can seek employment with a Japanese employer or work as a freelancer.

Japan Highly Skilled Professional (HSP) Visa

This visa category makes it easier for highly skilled foreign professionals to work and live in Japan. The visa is not limited to a specific profession but covers a range of fields including academics, researchers, engineers, specialized technicians, and more.

The Highly Skilled Professional visa in Japan encompasses three categories, each with its own criteria and benefits:

  • Advanced Academic Researcher: For researchers, scientists, and academics with advanced expertise and achievements in their field
  • Advanced Specialized/Technical Professionals: For individuals with advanced skills and extensive experience in fields such as engineering, technology, natural sciences, healthcare, etc.
  • Advanced Business Management: For individuals in managerial positions with a high degree of responsibility and expertise in business

To qualify for this visa, you must receive a job offer in one of the fields above and reach at least 70 points, according to the Japanese Immigration Bureau’s points matrix

If you qualify for and obtain this visa, you’ll be eligible to receive:

  • An automatic five-year residence visa
  • Permanent residency after one or three years of residence in Japan (depending on your specific circumstances)
  • An employment visa for your spouse
  • Permission to bring your children, parents, and a nanny, provided they meet specific criteria

Business Manager Visa

This visa category is for individuals who are planning to establish, manage, or operate a business in Japan. It falls under the broader category of work visas and permits individuals to work in managerial positions or engage in business-related activities.

To be eligible for a Business Manager visa in Japan, you typically need to meet certain criteria, including:

  • Proof of a legitimate business plan: You need to demonstrate that you have a viable and well-detailed plan for the business you intend to establish or manage
  • Investment or capital requirements: Depending on the type of business, you might need to show a certain amount of capital investment
  • Relevant experience and qualifications: You may need to demonstrate qualifications and experience that make you suitable for the business management role
  • Legal requirements: Your business should adhere to all legal requirements and regulations in Japan
  • Potential contribution to the Japanese economy: Your business should have a positive impact on the Japanese economy, such as creating jobs or contributing to local communities

Income Taxes in Japan

Japan uses a progressive tax structure, meaning that as your income increases, so do your taxes. The marginal tax rates in Japan for tax year 2023 (aka the taxes you’ll pay in 2024) are as follows:

Income (JPY)Income (USD)Tax rate 
¥0 – ¥1,950,000$0 – $13,1635%
¥1,950,000 – ¥3,300,000$13,163  – $22,27610%
¥3,300,000 – ¥6,950,000$22,276 – $46,91420%
¥6,950,000 – ¥9,000,000$46,914 – $60,74823%
¥9,000,000 – ¥18,000,000$60,748 – $121,49633%
¥18,000,000 – ¥40,000,000$121,496 – $269,99040%

US taxes for Americans Living in Japan

All US citizens and permanent residents must file US tax returns as long as they meet the minimum income reporting threshold. Some tax requirements and breaks that expats should know include the: 

  • Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE): Allows you to exclude up to $120,000 (for tax year 2023) of foreign-earned income from taxation and write off qualified housing expenses via the Foreign Housing Exclusion
  • Foreign Tax Credit (FTC): Allows you to essentially subtract what you’ve paid in foreign income taxes from what you owe the US government in income taxes
  • Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR): Requires anyone with over $10,000 across foreign accounts to file FinCEN Form 114
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC): Allows you to claim up to $2,000 in partially refundable credits for each of your qualifying dependents
  • Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA): Requires anyone with over $200,000 in foreign assets on the last day of the tax year — or over $300,000 at any point in the year — to file Form 8938 (these thresholds vary for those residing in the US)
US expat living in Japan works as a freelance photographer.

US expat taxes made easy – even in Japan

If you’re an American who currently lives in — or is thinking about moving to — Japan, don’t hesitate to reach out to Bright!Tax for assistance with your US taxes. Our team of expat tax specialists has helped thousands of clients in hundreds of countries around the world — and we’d love to help you, too.

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  1. Japan is enticing for digital nomads, but visa hurdles remain
  2. Japan’s digital nomad visas to require ¥10 million in income
  3. Always wanted to live in Japan? A new digital nomad visa is launching next month
  4. General visa: Student
  5. The Basics of Working as a Student in Japan
  6. Highly Skilled Professional (HSP) Visa FAQ
  7. Overview of individual tax system
  8. Japan – Individual – Residence

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Japan Digital Nomad Visa - FAQ

  • What are the taxes for digital nomads in Japan? 

    Japan has not specifically announced whether holders of the digital nomad visa will be liable for Japanese taxes. However, the visa only lasts six months, and to be considered a Japanese tax resident, you must live in the country for one year or more. So if digital nomad visa holders do need to pay taxes, it’s likely they will only need to pay taxes on Japanese-sourced income.