I'm asking this question largely as a safety net, in case there's something I'm not seeing that's going under the radar.

I got a job recently in Japan, and I received a visa to be able to work there. As an American, I got the visa at a Japanese consulate in the US. They attached it and another, folded document inside the passport (The folded document was the CoE 'Certificate of Eligibility'). They said basically to just take that passport over there within three months to enter Japan.

Is there anything else I need to do before then to prepare for the immigration officers (and anybody else similar to that), to be allowed in? Are there any other documents or items that are needed? Even if not, do I need to plan to have any particular answers ready or anything else to get through immigration? Do I need to be in a suit and tie or anything?

As far as I can tell, I can dress casually, just show them the passport, maybe have a booking confirmation for my hotel with me, smile and be polite, and then I can expect it to go smoothly. Is that so?


Wow, that was easy to deal with! I entered the country a few days ago, and @jpatokal 's answer was exactly the situation I encountered. The immigration officer asked me to double-check or confirm a couple of things, mainly what all of them were doing, but I don't remember being asked anything subjective or really meaningful. It was far from an interview, and I was done with her in maybe five minutes. So thanks for both answers!

  • @GiacomoCatenazzi Alright, I asked the moderators to move it. Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 15:57
  • 1
    For those of us who do not recognize CoE, could you explain what it is?
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 16:12

2 Answers 2


Yes, based on my personal experience doing this twice, that's indeed it. The vetting is complete, issuing your landing permission at the border is just a formality. And no, you don't need to wear a suit and tie or anything, although appearing remotely presentable (shaved etc) at the border never hurts.

The one thing you might want to have at hand is the phone number of a Japanese-speaking contact at your employer, who can confirm and answer any questions in the unlikely event of there being any that you can't answer.

You will need the name of the hotel for the arrival card, but I've never been asked for a booking confirmation. (Still won't hurt to bring it along, of course.)

  • 1
    The visa is issued at the consulate, not at the border. It is the landing permission that is issued at the border (and for OP, probably the residence card as well).
    – fkraiem
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 0:36
  • 1
    @fkraiem Terminology corrected. Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 3:44

One thing it seems they didn't tell you is that both your visa and your CoE must be valid (i.e., not expired) when you enter. So pay attention to the expiration date of your CoE, because it may be less than three months away, and you cannot enter with an expired one, even if your visa has not expired.

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