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Religious Worker Visa

If you do not yet have residency permission to live in Japan, part of your process to join as YWAM Sendai staff is to receive a visa from Japanese Immigration. YWAM Japan assists all YWAMers accepted as staff in Japan with applying for the Religious Worker visa. This page details this process. Please follow this process carefully.

Let us know if you have any questions about anything on this page, and please stay in touch with us throughout the process so we know how you are doing. We are looking forward to your arrival and being part of your journey in discovering your call to Japan!

Note: the visa process has been affected due to COVID-19. We will discuss these changes with you as you begin this process.

The Process

  • Inform us that you have reached at least the Minimum Support Level of financial support and would like to begin this process.

  • We will send you a Visa Application form.

  • You send us all required documents via both email and physical mail (detailed below).

  • We then apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (CoE) from Japanese Immigration once we receive your documents (can take 6 to 12 weeks).

  • We will send you the CoE once we receive it.

  • You then go to your local Japanese Embassy or Consulate and submit a visa application form, the CoE, and your passport in order to apply for your visa.

  • Usually within a few days, you can return to the Embassy or Consulate to pick up your passport with your visa! This likely must be done in person, but sometimes they give you the option to receive it via mail. You can check this with them.

  • You can now book your flight to Japan! (Note: please don’t purchase your airline ticket until your visa is issued in case of unexpected delays).

  • You must enter Japan within 3 months of receiving your visa.

Required Documents and Letters

Please find below a list of what we need from you in order to begin the process of applying for your CoE.

  • Copy of your passport PHOTO PAGE (the copy must be clear and all information legible)

  • A 4cm x 3cm portrait photograph (should be clear, with a plain background, and recently taken. Applicant in photo should be facing forward, without sunglasses, hats, etc.)

  • Two original, signed letters on church stationary, NOT COPIES, from your sending church: Letter of Dispatch and Letter of Release

Please send all printed documents to the given mailing address, and email scanned copies to


  • If any of these documents are in another language other than English or Japanese, please provide a translation of everything written on the document into English or Japanese for us.

  • We have provided template documents for the church letters and you can ask your church to copy and paste the text of the correct wording into each letter and fill in the necessary information, such as your name, your church name, and your pastor’s signature, into the relevant blank spaces. We standardised the wording to simplify the process because each of the letters must contain certain information and specific wording.

  • The second church letter states that your sending church or organisation provides financial support of you during your time in Japan. This assurance is very important for Japanese Immigration, who would be concerned that immigrants become stranded or destitute while in Japan. It isn’t that your church must technically promise to support your every need, because your missionary support will most likely come from many supporters. But in the spirit of the law, if one organisation will officially vouch for you, Japanese Immigration will be more comfortable to grant the visa. YWAM Japan must also vouch for you in this way. This letter is not a legally binding document requiring your church to meet your every need. You can give this letter to the church or organisation leader to help explain this. If they are extremely uncomfortable with this, please let us know and we can try an alternate wording.

Updated: 2020-10-26