What is an artist visa？
As the name implies, an artist visa is a type of work visa for artists. Since it is a work visa, one of the requirements for its permission is that applicants must be able to earn a living solely from the activities as an artist. For this reason, only artists with considerable achievements are subject to this visa.
For whom an artist visa is permitted is not widely known.
Also, there are many questions about what level of achievements are required to obtain an artist visa.
In this article, therefore, we, professional administrative scriveners, will explain the occupations permitted under artist visas and points of examination.
1. What are the specific occupations that are subject to an artist visa?
The Immigration Act provides that the content of artist activity must be artistic activities that provide income, including music, the fine arts, literature, etc.
To be more specific, occupations that are subject to an artist visa are as follows:
1) Artists such as composers, lyricists, painters, sculptors, craftsmen, writers, and photographers who engage in creative activities; and
2) Instructors of music, art, literature, photography, drama, dance, film, and other artistic activities.
Please note that the above list is just an example, and you may be able to obtain an artist visa if your activity falls under “other artistic activities”.
2. What are the points of immigration examination for artist visas?
The following points are important for you to obtain an artist visa.
The first point is that you can live stably in Japan by income from artistic activities alone. In the immigration examination practice, whether the applicant will have enough income to live a social life in Japan is considered as a factor which decides permission and non-permission.
The second point is that you have achievements which enable you to earn a stable income by conducting artistic activities. It is necessary to show the achievements in artistic activities (e.g. winning prizes in competitions and exhibitions) for the immigration authority to be able to foresee that you will have stable income. If you do not have any achievements, you may not be granted an artist visa because of the low credibility concerning your ability to earn a stable income by artistic activities.
The third point is the relationship with other statuses of residence. It is important to verify whether to get an artist visa or a different visa based on the type of work you do, the place of activity, and whether you have income. For details, please read “4. Q & A concerning artist visas”.
3. Documents required when applying for an artist visa
Documents required to apply for an artist visa are as follows:
*Note: the websites are of the Immigration Services Agency of the Ministry of Justice.
[Application for Certificate of Eligibility]
[Application for Change of Status of Residence]
[Application for Extension of Period of Stay]
4. Q & A concerning artist visas
Below is a list of frequently asked questions concerning artist visas.
Q: I will be hired by university to give instruction in researches related to art. Do I need to get an artist visa in this case?
A: Activities to instruct or educate in artistic researches at university are subject to a professor visa, not an artist visa.
Q. How long is the period of stay under the artist visa.
A: A period of stay is either 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, or 3 months.
Q: I am planning to work as a photographer in Japan, but I have no past accomplishment in artistic activities. Therefore, I intend to work without compensation at first. Will I be able to obtain an artist visa in this case?
A: If you cannot live stably in Japan with the income earned by artistic activities alone, you will not be able to obtain an artist visa. However, if you will engage in artistic activities without compensation, you may be eligible for a cultural activity visa.
Q: I am planning to go to Japan as an opera conductor. Is the visa in this case an artist visa?
A: Even in case of an artistic activity that involves income, if the activity falls under activities of an entertainer visa, the entertainer visa will be needed, not an artistic visa.
Q: I would like to sell my own paintings in Japan. Is it possible to obtain an artist visa in this case?
A: The activity of selling your paintings in Japan does not fall under the creative activities required to obtain an artist visa, so you cannot obtain an artist visa.
Q: I have a question about the application form for an artist visa. There is a document for the institution to which an applicant belongs to prepare, but in my case, I don’t belong to any institution or contract institution. What should I do in this case?
A: In the case of an artist visa, the situation that an applicant does not belong to nor have contract with any institution is within the assumption. In such a case, the applicant may prepare the application by himself/herself.
5. Cases of actual consultation concerning artist visas
We would like to introduce actual consultations which we’ve settled.
1) I want to get an artist visa as a photographer who performs creative activities.
2) I don’t know which work visa to get to go to Japan as a director.
3) I want to get an artist visa as a painter who performs creative activities.
4) I don’t know which visa to get to give instruction in researches on art at an educational institution.
5) I would like to know the procedure to work as a lecturer once a week at university while also doing artistic activities.
6) I want to apply to change my visa from an artist visa to a permanent residence visa.
7) I want to call my family to Japan to continue my artistic activities in Japan.
6. Summary of artist visas
You may get lost since the range of activities permitted by an art visa is pretty wide and understanding of a complex relationship with other visas are required. We also hear that many people give up on applying for an artist visa because they do not know the specific amount of income or achievements in artistic activities that are required.
We verify if there are any other visas applicable to each case when we consider an artist visa is hard to obtain, as we focus on promoting international exchange in the art field, which is also the purpose of artist visas.
Please do not hesitate to contact Daiichi-Sogo Group if you are aiming to obtain an artist visa or are uncertain about your decision concerning an artist visa.