I’m Takashi Akeyama, a representative of the Niseko VISA & Immigration Support Centre. As the only administrative office in Hokkaido specializing in VISA & Immigration and tourism, we help foreigners living in Hokkaido, mainly in Niseko, Otaru and Sapporo areas, to apply new or extend VISA, to change the status, such as working visas and spouse visas etc…. In this article, I will explain. That the person who has family stay (Dependent) visa can work or not.

Family stay visa (Dependent visa)  在留資格「家族滞在」

The ” family stay” visa is mainly used for foreign nationals with working visas such as ” Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services ” or “Skills” visas or college student visas who wish to bring their “dependent spouse or children” to Japan.

First, there are two things to note. “Family” is limited to spouses and children. Parents, siblings, and other relatives are not included. And in terms of children, it usually means children who are minors (under 18 years of age) in Japan, unless there are special circumstances. University students and those who have reached the age of 18 or older cannot be brought to Japan on a family visa, even if they are your own children.

Can “Family Visa” holders work?

In principle, “family stay” visa holders cannot work. In the first place, the “Family Visa” is not granted for the purpose of working in Japan. It is granted mainly for the purpose of living with and supporting a person who holds a student or work visa. However, as an exception, it is possible to work if you apply for and receive permission for “permission to engage in activities other than those permitted under the status of residence.

What must be followed when a “family stay” visa holder works?

①Obtain a “permission to engage in activities other than those permitted under the status of residence=資格外活動許可

A person with a Family stay Visa cannot be employed by a company or other organization to work without obtaining this permission. If they work without obtaining this permission, they will be considered to be working illegally and will be subject to deportation. Furthermore, there is a high risk that other family members living with you will be treated unfavorably and denied when applying for visa renewal or change of status to another visa, such as permanent residence.

Whether or not you have permitted, column of your “Residence Card” as “Permitted: within 28 hours per week in principle, excluding engaging in the adult entertainment industry(風俗営業), etc.”. If this is not stated, you are not allowed to work at all.

Be careful of working hours! You can work no more than 28 hours per week.

As a general rule, you can work up to 28 hours per week with a ” Permission to Engage in Activity other than that Permitted under the Status of Residence”. This is as stated on your residence card. This 28 hours is the total working hours of all the places you work. 28 hours per week at a convenience store, 28 hours per week at a Izakaya, the total working hours would be 56 hours per week. Working more than 28 hours per week, or “overwork,” is also illegal work.

Since the ” family stay” visa is not intended for work, it is assumed that the main visa holder can support and live on the income and assets of the main visa holder without having to work full time to earn a good living. Therefore, the income of the “family stay” visa holder should be considered as an additional income. 

③Note the industry and job description! You cannot engage in sex industry-related work.

As stated in the “Permission to Engage in Activity other than that Permitted under the Status of Residence” section of the residence card, you cannot engage in the adult entertainment industry. Work related to the so-called “adult entertainment business,” such as cabaret clubs, nightclubs, etc., where customers are entertained and served food and drink, or stores that provide sexual services, is not allowed. Even if the hours are less than 28 hours per week, is not allowed. In addition, game arcades and pachinko parlors are also prohibited from working in the adult entertainment business. So, be careful when choosing a place to work.


I have explained about whether a person with “Family Visa” status can work in Japan. The key is to obtain permission to engage in activities other than those permitted under the status of residence, and to pay careful attention to the maximum number of hours per week and the types of work that you can engage in. Working beyond the scope of activities outside the status of residence is considered illegal work, which is subject to deportation and may have a negative impact on the renewal or change of status of residence for other members of the family.

Parents and guardians must strictly supervise their underage children to ensure that they follow the rules regarding part-time work.

The Niseko VISA & Immigration Support Centre help and support foreign nationals who are trying to overcome language, cultural and custom barriers and live as a member of Japanese society. If you have any questions or enquiries about this article, or getting working visa, please feel free to contact us by phone or via the ‘Free Consultation Form’ on our website.

The Japanese version of this article is here.