CONDITIONS FOR GETTING YOUR RETURN FLIGHT PAID FOR
The Terms & Conditions state that you are to be given a travel allowance (air fare) for passage back to your home country provided that:
1. You complete your JET contract period.
2. That within one month after completion of the period of contract you do not enter into a subsequent contract with your contracting organization or a third party.
3. That you leave Japan to return home within one month of the end of your contract.
LIABILITY AND YOUR CONTRACTING ORGANIZATION
The Contracting Organization is also responsible for your passage from your contracting organization to the international airport from where you will depart, so they may not be keen for you to stay longer in Japan since they will be liable if anything happens to you.
Also, CLAIR rules state that the return travel from your Contracting Organization to the international airport from which you are to depart and then to your home country has to be as short as possible and with the smallest number of transfers, so you cannot, for example, fly to Tokyo and stay there for a week before departing from Narita. If you wish to do something like that then you will need to pay for a return trip to Tokyo yourself and then come back to Toyama to begin the departure process for Tokyo and back home.
STAYING LONGER IN JAPAN- JET VISA DUE TO EXPIRE
If your current visa is set to expire but you want to stay in Japan for a bit longer, and your contracting organization is okay with that, then you can apply for a TEMPORARY VISITOR VISA, which will usually cover further stay for a 90-day period.
You need to apply for the temporary visa before your current one expires though. If you try to leave the country after your visa has expired then you will be classed as an illegal alien and probably be detained and interrogated at the airport – which will then mean that you will need to pay for your own flight home when you are deported and you may not be allowed to come back to Japan.
Note also that if you stay for more than one month on an extension visa then your contracting organization does not have to pay for your return flight. You can also get an extension visa if you want to stay just a bit longer – these visas cover your for just 15 days though and you have to provide a good reason for needing one when you apply (e.g., need more time to pack, taking an exam, training successor etc). Both of the visas listed above can usually be granted same-day.
STAYING IN JAPAN LONGER- JET VISA NOT DUE TO EXPIRE
If your visa is not set to expire when you finish JET (i.e. you have a 3-year visa but only did 1 or 2 years of JET, or you have a 2-year visa and only did 1 year of JET) then you can stay for up to 90 days for the purpose of sightseeing (i.e., you are not allowed to work) after your contract finishes WITHOUT CHANGING YOUR VISA.
Again as above, however, if you stay for more than one month under these conditions then your Contracting Organization does not have to pay for your return flight.
Also, if you stay beyond the 90 day period then, even though your JET visa stamp says that it will cover you for longer, it doesn’t actually do so because it only applies if you are still working in a job that is covered under that specific visa, so that whole illegal alien thing will happen as outlined before when you get to the airport.
You can expedite this process by changing your visa status online via the Immigration Bureau’s website. Click “For mid-to-long-term residents” and then click “Authentication ID issued” towards the bottom of the next page. Fill in your information exactly as it appears on your residency card. You will receive a confirmation email after confirming and submitting your information. Then you will be able to log into the system and change your status online. You can do this online process (and not go to the immigration office) if you are planning on leaving Japan within 90 days of your contract ending.
CHANGING VISA STATUS
If you’re leaving the JET program but would like to stay in Japan longer for sightseeing or job-hunting after the last day of your contract and your visa will expire, then you SHOULD change your visa status. If you would like to do sightseeing or job hunting and your visa will not have yet expired, and you want to take advantage of things like a JR rail pass, you should change your visa status.
It is preferable to apply after receiving your July salary, as you cannot have classes to teach when you change your education/instructor visa status. The process usually takes a couple of days to complete, and you may need to go to the Immigration office at Toyama Airport twice.
Things you will need:
- Application Form (Application for Change of Status of Residence)
- Document stating why you need to change the status of your current visa. As there is no designated format, you can ask your supervisor to write a brief statement in Japanese.
- Return Ticket or Certificate stating you have booked a return ticket issued by a travel agent.
- Residence Card
- 4,000 yen to buy 収入印紙 (shuunyuu inshi) at the airport.
When you leave Narita or Haneda airport, just give your residence card to the immigration office. If your visa will not expire before you leave, you can stay up to 90 days in Japan. But, you should submit the “Notification of the Accepting Organization” just in case.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Toyama Branch Immigration Office: 076 445 5646
Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau: (03) 5796-7112
Osaka Regional Immigration Bureau: (06) 6774-3409
Yokohama Regional Immigration Bureau: (045) 651-2851
Please remember that you are responsible for fulfilling your end of the contract.