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Visas for Remote US Company Telecommute?

baerjo85

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I currently hold an IT job in the USA and was wondering if anyone knows of options to get a visa to live in Japan but work for my US employer telecommute?

I know usually for a work visa you have to go to work for a Japanese company for a visa sponsorship. Anyone have any information on this?

Thanks!
 

Glenski

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I assume your employer doesn't have a branch office here. If correct, you can't get a work visa. If there is such an office, you can get a short term one called intracompany transfer visa. That assumes you have also worked for him for at least a year.

Enroll in a school and get a student visa if all you want to do is live here a while.
 

baerjo85

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I assume your employer doesn't have a branch office here. If correct, you can't get a work visa. If there is such an office, you can get a short term one called intracompany transfer visa. That assumes you have also worked for him for at least a year.

Enroll in a school and get a student visa if all you want to do is live here a while.
Yeah no such thing as a branch office there. The student thing isn't a bad idea. I wonder how many credit hours you have to be enrolled for in order for that visa to apply. I could do one class a day :D
 

WonkoTheSane

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Preface:
This only really works if it's a long term commitment to the business you're creating. This is NOT a loophole or easy way to just kind of hang out in Japan. I can't stress enough what a ridiculous waste of time, energy and money it would be to do this without a real commitment to both the business you're creating and the life you're building in Japan. Live in Japan for AT LEAST a year or so before you even think of doing this.

On to the point...
If you can work as an independent contractor you can check into having the company for which you currently work contract to a company you create in Japan, and then applying for a business investor visa.

You'll need to get paid pretty well to make this work since you'll need to maintain a physical office to get the visa. Additionally, unless you're pretty savvy with regards to the legalities involved (with high level Japanese, of course), you'll want to hire a firm to establish the corporation for you and to apply for the visa. Beyond that you'll want an accountant whom you'll pay monthly to handle bookkeeping, payroll and taxes. The last thing you want to do is run afoul of the tax laws in any country, so unless you're happy filing your own U.S. taxes you'll want to pay for that too. On the plus side, you'll qualify for FEIE so your tax burden in the U.S. should be either none or very little. It might be smart to establish residence somewhere with either no income tax or easy non-resident status before leaving the U.S.

You'll need around 6-7 million yen to get up and running, including the minimum investment of about 5 million yen in the business to apply for the business investor visa. That 5 million will not necessarily be used, and you can take it back if you decide to close up shop, though there may be tax repercussions.

I don't know specifically about IT, you would have to look into it for your own industry.

Personally, unless you expect the business to gross somewhere in the range of 75 million yen or more per year at minimum, I wouldn't recommend even looking into it. You'll have monthly costs of your office and accountant, which will probably be in the range of 70K yen. Add on your incidentals, and expect to see about 100K per month in actual expenses. Of course these are all tax write offs, and a variety of your other expenses will also be write offs (phone, Internet, etc.).

Good luck!
 

WonkoTheSane

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Sorry, can't edit, that 75 million yen at the end should be 7.5 million.
 

Glenski

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That's just too much effort for what he wants. You need 2 full-time employees besides yourself, too, in order to get the visa. Might as well just convince your employer to set up a mock branch office with you as the sole employee there and work out of a rental place, but here's my question:

How long do you really expect to be here? If this is just an effort to get in some serious sightseeing, then forget visas and just take an extended vacation.
 

WonkoTheSane

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You dont need two full time employees as long as you show a significant investment into the corporation of at least 5 million yen.

I figure OP is a 30 year old adult, and can probably determine whether the information is useful to him. Either way, that is an answer to his question which would allow him to do what he stated he wished to do. I can't judge his seriousness, only offer the information.
 
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Glenski

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Wonko, I think you are right. Here is the exact quote from a translation (emphasis is mine):
The business concerned must have the capacity to employ at least 2 full-time employees in Japan (excluding foreign nationals residing in Japan under a status of residence listed in the left-hand column of Appended Table I of the Immigration Control Act) in addition to those who operate and/or manage the business.
 

WonkoTheSane

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Yep, I just went through the process. It's a bit convoluted but essentially one needs to show a significant investment. The firm I worked with recommended that it be 5 million yen.

I highly recommend using a firm for this if one wants to do it. They will explain exactly what to do and ensure that the letter of the law is followed.
 
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