Visa Staus Change Help

Christopher Piatkowski
29 June 2018

Hey everyone,

I know this isn't the immigration office, but I figure this might be a good start get some information.

So I'm changing jobs and I'm looking to do design work while doing some English teaching to balance things out. I heard that you can do a "self-sponsored" visa and I'm wondering if anyone here had any experience with doing it. I know the basics of what to do, but anyone had some information or resources that could help, it would be much apperciated.

Specificaly if anyone has had an experience changing their status after recently getting a visa renewal, that would helpful as well.

Thanks again,

Trent McBride
Web / Mobile Designer
29 June 2018

Hi Christopher,

I went through exactly the same thing years ago, when transitioning from English teaching to design. I assume you're on the "Specialty in Humanities & International Services" visa, like I was? As far as I know, it's totally no problem to work as a designer while on this's just a matter of managing to renew it.

I've "self-sponsored" a number of times, so it's certainly possible. I never really worked out what the specific "rules" are (even the immigration lawyer I dealt with told me they're a little grey), but it's basically as simple as proving you're earning a certain amount of income each month (I believe it's around ¥200k/month, but may have changed), and that you're paying your taxes. To prove your past income I think you can just show invoices up until the point of visa renewal application, and to prove upcoming income, you generally need to provide current or upcoming contracts with clients, or even just letters from clients saying "We need Christopher in Japan to help out with our company etc. etc.". Again, I'm not entirely sure of the exact rules, but I never had any issues.

The immigration lawyer I used multiple times was called Yoko Majima, from June Advisors Group ( -- I'd recommend taking a look at this page in particular, which gives some more information on self-sponsorship:

I'd also really recommend asking her for help if you're unsure how to go about it--for me, the cost was well worthwhile, as I managed to get a 3-year visa renewal right at the end of my first year in Japan, then another 3-year, then a 5-year. I'm now mid-application of my permanent residency.

Hope this helps! And nice illustration work, by the way!


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