Doing Freelance Translation Work on an Instructor's Visa

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Andrew Huntington

Apr 11, 2018, 12:47:54 AM4/11/18
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Hi all,

Long story short, I'm an American in Japan on an Instructor's visa working as an ALT. My company is cool with me having a part-time job, so I was considering doing freelance translation. (The companies are Japanese/based in Tokyo, and some of the possible candidates I've done work for as a freelancer while living in the U.S.)

I contacted my company, but because I would be a freelancer, they didn't know how to go about filing for the proper paperwork for such a job (or if it would even be possible.)

I know that most of you are not lawyers, accountants, etc., so I'm not holding anyone legally accountable. I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice, or has been in my situation. I'm having a hard time finding anything on the web.

Andrew Huntington

Carl Freire

Apr 11, 2018, 1:06:32 AM4/11/18
Hi Andrew,
Having been in a similar situation before, the easiest and safest thing
to do is to file a request for permission to engage in activities other
than formally approved (I forget the exact English translation they use
and you'll pardon me if I'm too lazy to click a few extra URLs, lol).


The details are there, but my recollection (which could be mistaken) is
you basically need a generic note from your company saying "yes, Andrew
is permitted to engage in outside work," the application form, and the
usual other things (your passport, your residence card, and the revenue
stamp for when the approval comes through). Anyway, just read the page
from Immigration for the (accurate ;-) ) details.

I had to do it twice IIRC, and it was just about as nearly painless a
procedure as Immigration has to offer.



Andrew Huntington

Apr 11, 2018, 1:19:21 AM4/11/18
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Thanks, Carl. My problem is that form asks for an employer, salary, hours etc., which is not possible to fill in when working as a freelancer. I wouldn't be working for any one specific company.


Carl Freire

Apr 11, 2018, 2:56:06 AM4/11/18
Japanese Immigration is far more flexible about these kinds of things
than people imagine. For example, it's no longer an issue for me,
but--as I did for many years--to get a *在留資格* you can

--Pick whichever company is willing to sign on to a form like this (=be
your "sponsor," quotes very much intended)
--Come up with them an average "salary" estimate like, say, 100,000 yen
per month
--Then, you also write a separate letter summing up all of your other
income sources to show that WHEN ALL OF YOUR INCOME IS COMBINED you
already have at least the magic 250,000 yen that I believe is *still*
regarded as the minimum required monthly income level
--(Crucial) include a copy of tax returns at the the previous year (I've
done two to be safe, but one is probably good enough to get you a
one-year permit) to show you REALLY are getting the level of income you
claim from all these sources combined

Mind you, I'm not a lawyer, but I did variations of the above with no
problem--even getting three-year work permits--for probably about 8
years? 9 years? The key thing that I learned way back in 1992 is that
the recommended *250,000 yen in monthly income* does not mean *250,000
yen per month from one employer*. (Not at all coincidentally, when I
learned that I said sayonara forever to eikaiwa. :-) )

And all of that is for an actual 在留資格--you're just looking for a

Oh, and above all, don't be afraid to call Immigration to explain your
circumstances and what you want. Sometimes they're a bit
brusque--usually, it feels like whoever you speak with seems to have a
backlog of 50 or more calls from their manner and tone of voice--but
nonetheless they in fact will be patient with your "sorry, I didn't get
that"s and give you full details.



Carl Freire

Apr 11, 2018, 3:14:57 AM4/11/18
Sigh, just to be pedantic about my response for archival purposes . . .

On 4/11/18 3:55 PM, Carl Freire wrote:
> Japanese Immigration is far more flexible about these kinds of things
> than people imagine.

Yes, at least when it comes to white-collar professionals like ourselves.

> --Come up with them an average "salary" estimate like, say, 100,000 yen
> per month

I should think it's obvious, but the number you submit ought to be
roughly (if not exactly) your real average monthly income from that

Self-persnicketdly ("self-persnicketdly"?),


Jul 8, 2021, 10:07:56 AMJul 8
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Hi there,

I know this is an old thread, but I am in the exact same boat as OP at the moment at immigration is making it difficult. 

I work in the foreign language department at a senior high school that is park of a larger university. This by itself is sufficient for my visa requirements, but unfortunately, I have the 教育 visa status. 

Earlier this year, I started doing some freelance translation, and have picked up a small number of clients. Most notably I am doing quite a bit for a large corporation who's translation offices are in (Europe). 

I know that translation falls outside of my visa category, so I prepared for this by applying for a 個人事業 with the tax office, and was approved and given the paperwork. Additionally, I prepared a copy of my 履歴書, a copy of the 個人事業 paperwork, as well as a 13 page long NDA/terms agreement. 

I went to immigration today to renew my visa and apply for the   資格外活動許可 with all of the above documents. The officer was not happy with what I gave her and said that I would need to have a 契約 that have my company (kojinjigyou)'s information and signed by both parties. 

I'm still quite new to this, but it would seem that these type of formal "contracts" are not usually used for freelancers and that NDA's are the norm.

Has anybody gone through this? Specifically getting permission to engage on the instructor/professor visa status? If so, what did you ended needing to please them?


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