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Immigration Lawyers for Japan Visas: Top English-Speaking Offices

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Dreaming of immersing yourself in the vibrant culture, picturesque landscapes, and rich heritage of Japan? Living in Japan long-term can be a rewarding and transformative experience. However, navigating visas for Japan can seem daunting… because it is.

The most reliable place to receive Japan long-stay visa guidance is from your local embassy or from a licensed Administrative Scrivener (行政書士, Gyōsei shoshi) in Japan.

What is an Administrative Scrivener (行政書士, Gyōsei shoshi)?

A Gyōsei shoshi is a national licensed legal specialist in Japan. They can assist with matters regarding residency / visas for Japan, residency status, Japanese citizenship, naturalization, study abroad, working in Japan, opening a business in Japan, and advice around international marriages. They offer legal advice related to these processes.

Administrative Scriveners may also be referred to as Immigration Lawyers, Gyosei-shoshi Lawyers, or Certified Administrative Procedures Legal Specialists.

Licensed Gyōsei shoshi in all prefectures are listed on the Japan Federation of Certified Administrative Procedures Legal Specialists Associations website [in Japanese].

Not All Immigration Lawyers Are Equal

I speak from experience. I’ve now met with three immigration lawyers in person, and also continued to ask about the experience from other foreigners here in Japan. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Service level is generally of high reliability.

Japanese culture highly values level of service provided. You can easily plan to count on your paperwork being completed with high attention to detail, on schedule, with friendly interactions.

Foreigner-directed or English services are unreliable, even when advertised as for foreigners.

Japanese lawyers often truly want to be available to help foreigners, but not all lawyers can provide the same level of English service. Most will have no English accommodations. Some will offer English support, but they heavily rely on google translate tools and have little to no cross-cultural background.

We appreciate that they do their best, but the truth is that this kind of lawyer will provide a less smooth experience for an international client.

Then there are some immigration lawyers who have spent time overseas, speak English fluently, are accustomed to foreign clients, and have all of their documents already prepared and available in English. These are the lawyers you are looking for.

Even for foreign residents who speak Japanese, paperwork and technical terms can be difficult. And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not risk my residency rights.

Where can I find Japan immigration lawyer services in English?

Top Recommendations for Immigration Specialist Services for Japan

I continue to update this document as I find good resources, but here are my current top recommendations for foreigner-friendly, English immigration assistance.

Japan Immigration Consulting Office

Shimizu-san at Japan Immigration Consulting Office (japanimmigrationexperts.com) is a great resource for people overseas and around Japan. Shimizu-san speaks English fluently and offers a complimentary first 1-hour zoom call. He worked as a consultant for some other friends here in Ehime as they successfully received and renewed a business manager visa. He is also the trusted recommendation from Japan real estate expert, Nippon Tradings. The majority of his clients are international people, so he is comfortable and experienced working with foreign people. I spoke with Shimizu-san directly and feel confident recommending his services. Finding an immigration lawyer who is tech-savvy and experienced with foreigners is extremely rare. Shimizu-san is a solid option.

Japan Remotely

For the financially independent or digital nomads, japanremotely.com may be a good resource. Their team partners with Small Seasons immigration office, but Japan Remotely offers a robust service offering that includes visa advice, work and lifestyle planning, relocation insight, and a personalized “Action Plan” detailing the steps needed to make it all happen. Japan Remotely is the expert when it comes to digital nomads looking to live in Japan, and they also have great advice regarding family relocation and considerations for kids and schools. Their Instagram account also has some pretty provocative side-by-side cost of living comparisons.

Small Seasons

Saki Nakahara at Small Seasons immigration office is quite a unique immigration lawyer. She is licensed in Japan, but was born in the UK and lived in multiple countries. She is completely capable of native English conversation, but she also has a unique approach to her practice. She approaches her services with great empathy, understanding that law services are generally ridden with stress and uncertainty on the clients side. Her emphasis on positive experience and hospitality is uniquely innovative. In this podcast interview, she says “I want to be the biggest supporter for my clients…” and goes on to talk about how she keeps in mind grant and marketing opportunities for her clients. Her specialties are visas, business set-up, and grants for creatives.

A comprehensive list of Licensed Administrative Scriveners that handle Foreigner-related matters, catering to English-speakers

The following offices advertise English support services (sometimes requiring an additional fee).

Hokkaido

Sapporo
Akira Higuchi Office
Masaki Saito Office
WAIZUMI Immigration Consulting Office
Sasaki Legal Office

Kushiro
Ogawa Tomoko Office

Tohoku

Fukushima
Ogata Gyoseisyosi
Go Administrative Scrivener Office

Saitama
Inoue Immigration Support Office
Immigration Lawyer SUGITA International Office
TMS International Law Office
Beyond Administrative Scrivener Office
KABAYAN-VISA Immigration Lawyer Office
Kanako Takakura
OBI Administrative Scrivener Office
Visa and Beyond by Takatsuka Office
Matsunoo Office
Okajima Consulting Office
Arisaka Gyoseishoshi Lawyer Office
Adachi-Office

Kanto

Tokyo
Kaneko Legal Office
Shinichi Narita Visa & Naturalization Legal Office
Ishibashi Legal Office
Tohmon-Masaoka Sougoushien Office
Tanishima Legal Firm
Yanagi Kaji Group Office
Bloom Consulting
Cuarteto Office
Tokyo Global Administrative Scrivener Office
Fukada International Legal Office
Sunny Administrative Procedures Specialist Office
Tohmon-Masaoka Sougoushien Office
SK International Administrative Scrivener Office
Kaisha Express International
Sincerity Legal
Carlisle Law Office
Keika Office
Tanikawa Yuki Administrative-Solicitor Office
Kurata Administrative Scrivener Office
Ligareus
RITSUKO INOUE Administrative Scrivener Office
Office Takayama
Visa4You
NAKAMURA Gyoseishoshi Lawyer Office
Magus Consulting and International Legal Office
mpH the Immigration Lawyer’s Office
Nihonbashi Prime Legal Office
Anshin Immigration & Social Security
Yamada Administrative Scrivener Office
Hiroo Park Gyosei-Shoshi Firm
Shichino International Legal Office
Hosokawa Office
Daisuke Tominaga
Yamaga International Legal Office
Ryu Matsumoto General Legal Office
Administrative Scrivener Kitaoka Office
Administrative Gyosei Lawyer Office of Yoshihito Sasaki
YW International Administrative Scrivener Office
Team Monet

Kanagawa
Camphrier Office
NAGAI Certified Administrative Scrivener OFFICE

Chuugoku

Hiroshima
Office Komoto
Visa Navi Japan

Okayama
Matsuda Immigration Law Office

Yamaguchi
Wisdom CAPLS Office

Shikoku

Ehime
Office DOGO
*** I personally have experience receiving services from Office Dogo. It is a husband and wife team and the wife has studied English on the side. While they don’t have the same overseas familiarity as the featured recommendations above, they provided high quality services, preparing my spouse visa application very carefully. Mr. Nakamura accompanied me to the application office. I had some insecurities about how the application would be received, but I was approved for a 3-year spouse visa even though it was my first time applying for a spouse visa. I attribute the long-length stay approval to the long and highly detailed narrative Mr. Nakamura helped facilitate. In contrast, I’ve heard stories from others who only get approved for spouse visas in one year increments, needing to renew more often. Please note that at this point in time, Office Dogo does not offer video consultations.

Kyushu

Fukuoka
Emi Gyoseishoshi Office
Kumagai Legal Office
Mineko Onzuka
Ichinose Partners

Oita
Good Luck Immigration Office

Nagasaki
Aoyama Office

Kumamoto
Administrative Scrivener Shinichiro Inoue Office

*This list was last updated May 2024. If you only speak English, please note that the service level might be different than what is marketed. Please check personally to assess your level of comfort before committing to service agreements.

For the full, updated directory, visit the Japan Federation of Certified Administrative Procedures Legal Specialists Associations website, Member Search Page.

Where can I find a Japanese Embassy near me?

Australia

Embassy of Japan
Consulate-General in Brisbane
Consular Office in Cairns
Consulate-General in Melbourne
Consulate-General in Perth
Consulate-General in Sydney

Canada

Embassy of Japan
Consulate-General in Calgary
Consulate-General in Montreal
Consulate-General in Toronto
Consulate-General in Vancouver

Philippines

Embassy of Japan
Consulate-General of Japan in Davao
Consulate-General of Japan in Cebu

India

Embassy of Japan
Consulate-General in Bengaluru
Consulate-General in Chennai
Consulate-General in Kolkata
Consulate-General in Mumbai

United States of America

Embassy of Japan
Consular Office in Anchorage
Consulate-General in Atlanta
Consulate-General in Boston
Consulate-General in Chicago
Consulate-General in Denver
Consulate-General in Detroit
Consulate-General in Hagatna
Consular Office in Saipan
Consulate-General in Honolulu
Consulate-General in Houston
Consulate-General in Los Angeles
Consulate-General in Nashville
Consulate-General in Miami
Consulate-General in New York
Consular Office in Portland
Consulate-General in San Francisco
Consulate-General in Seattle

See the full list on Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website

Where can I ask questions about visas for Japan?

Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Visa Information

Tel: 0570-011000 (Press 5 according to the instructions)
URL: https://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/toko/visa/index.html
The ministry offers general consultations about the application forms for the visa authorization necessary for entering Japan.

For more specialized information, check the Foreign Residents Support Center (FRESC) website or call TEL 0570-011000, IP/from overseas 03-5363-3013.

What regional offices in Japan can I contact about immigration and residency?

Sapporo Regional Immigration Services Bureau TEL 011-261-7502
Sendai Regional Immigration Services Bureau TEL 022-256-6076
Tokyo Regional Immigration Services Bureau TEL 0570-034259
Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau TEL 052-559-2150
Osaka Regional Immigration Services Bureau TEL 06-4703-2100
Hiroshima Regional Immigration Services Bureau TEL 082-221-4411
Takamatsu Regional Office of Immigration and Residence Control TEL 087-822-5852
Fukuoka Regional Immigration Services Bureau TEL 092-717-5420

(retreived from https://www.moj.go.jp/isa/content/001392665.pdf 6/28/2023)

Read also → Everything you need to start living in Japan as a foreigner

Please note that this article is provided for personal educational, informational and convenience purposes only, is general in nature and is not intended as a substitute for professional or legal advice.

Originally published June 7, 2023. Updated May 24, 2024.

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