Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Tricks for obtaining Researcher visa while not yet holding PhD certificate

I think this note is important. That's why I shared it here.

For a graduate student (Ph.D.) in Japan who found a researcher position in a research institute (or company), there is a trick to change the visa smoothly. First, here is a list of necessary documents to change the status of residence:

  • Application form 1 copy
  • Photo (4cm×3cm) 1 copy
    • If the applicant wishes to change his/her current status to a status of residence which does not come under that for a mid to long-term resident (a photo is also not required for persons under the age of 16 years).
    • A photo that shows the applicant pictured alone.
    • The applicant should face squarely to the front and should remove any hats, caps, or head coverings.
    • There should be a plain background with no shadows.
    • The photo must be sharp and clear.
    • The photo must have been taken within three months prior to submission.
  • The supporting documents to be submitted on the occasion of application are shown in Table 3 (As the applicant sometimes needs to submit document material(s) other than stipulated in the Immigration Control Act Enforcement Regulations, please refer to your regional immigration office or immigration information center.)
  • Passport and residence card (or alien registration certificate deemed equivalent to a residence card)
  • A document that proves the status (if a legal representative or agent submits the application form on behalf of the applicant)
In principle, documents and materials which have been submitted will NOT be returned to you. If you have submitted any original copies of documents and materials, which would be difficult for you to re-obtain and would like to have them returned to you, please notify them when you file your application.

In my case, I was asked to submit a degree of certificate (Ph.D.). Because I have not graduated from university yet (planned for the end of March in Japan), hence it is difficult to show the certificate. The certificate of completion expectation didn't work. It will cause trouble if I wait to use the original certificate of my Ph.D. study.

I googled on the previous day before I went to the immigration office to look solution. As listed here, there are three conditions to meet the researcher's visa application.

Luckily, I brought the original certificate of my master's degree and showed it to the immigration officer. They accepted it. That is the trick, use a master's degree certificate instead of a Ph.D. certificate. The Ph.D. (expectation) certificate is necessary for the employer but unnecessary for the immigration office. The master's degree certificate is enough.
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