The Japanese Immigration Bureau has announced further extensions for the validity of some certificates of eligibility (COEs) issued during the pandemic.

Generally, COEs are valid for three months from the date of issuance. This means that, in general, a person who fails to enter Japan within three months of the issuance date of a COE must reapply for a COE.

This rule was previously relaxed due to the covid pandemic to allow individuals holding valid COEs to enter Japan up until the earlier of 6 months after travel to Japan from their home country is possible and April 30, 2021, but due to the worsening crisis, the Japanese Immigration Bureau further extended the validity of some COEs in guidance issued on January 21, 2021.

Under the guidance,

  • COEs issued between October 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019 (including COEs issued on those dates) will be valid until April 30, 2021;
  • COEs issued between January 1, 2020 and January 30, 2021 (including COEs issued on those dates) will be valid until July 31, 2021; and
  • COEs issued on or after January 31, 2021 will be valid for 6 months from the issuance date

for individuals who (i) have been unable to enter Japan due to travel restrictions and (ii) will be able to engage in the activities their COE was granted for after entering Japan. Individuals seeking to take advantage of an extension will need to submit a letter from their employer or other sponsor confirming (ii) when applying for their visa (sashou) with their local Japanese embassy or consulate prior to coming to Japan.

* This client alert is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Copyright Jackson Sogo. All rights reserved.

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