Questions & Answers


1.1. I have been accepted to the JET Programme. Can I change my point of departure?
If accepted, you will be asked to indicate your preferred point of departure on the Reply Form. It is not possible to change the point of departure after submitting the Reply Form.
1.2. Can I change my date of departure?
All new JET Programme participants depart for Japan on the day designated by their Embassy or Consulate (General) of Japan. Participants are not able to change their date of departure.
1.3. Is it possible for a person to be disqualified after being offered a position?
Yes, you may be disqualified without warning if:
・You commit an inappropriate act, or there is substantial reason to believe you are likely to commit an inappropriate act
・Your application documents contain false statements
・After submitting your application materials, there is a change in the contents of your application materials, but you fail to report the change promptly to the Embassy or Consulate (General) of Japan
・It is determined that your criminal history (such as drunk driving, narcotic use, sex-related crimes and crimes against a minor) renders you unsuitable for the JET Programme
・You do not submit the Reply Form, Certificate of Health, or other required forms by the set deadlines
・You do not renounce your Japanese citizenship before the Reply Form submission deadline
・It becomes clear at a later date that you do not meet the eligibility criteria for some reason attributable to you or your actions.
1.4. Can JET Programme participants change placements before departing for Japan?
No, JET participants cannot change their placements before departing for Japan under any circumstances.
1.5. Why is placement/working condition information not given when JET Programme participants receive their initial notification of acceptance?
Placements are not decided until after successful candidates have been chosen and agree to accept a position with the JET Programme.
1.6. How can I obtain information about where I will be going?
Once you have received your placement, your contracting organisation will send you information about your new job and living area. After receiving contact, you should direct any specific questions regarding your new placement to your contracting organisation as soon as possible. Also, you can try to find the AJET (Association of JETs) community in your soon-to-be new home.
>> Click here for the AJET page.
1.7. I have been accepted but I am not sure if I can go. What should I do?
A decision whether to participate in the JET Programme or withdraw must be made with the submission of the Reply Form. Please carefully consider both your capability and intent to participate before submitting the form. If you find you are not able to go to Japan, you should immediately notify the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan that you applied through (Interview Office). If you withdraw from the JET Programme before you receive your placement, you will still be eligible to apply again the following year. However, if you wait until after you receive your placement to withdraw, you will be unable to re-apply to the JET Programme the following year.
2. Status of Residence and Visas
2.1. How do I apply for a visa to enter and work in Japan?
If you are a JET Programme participant, the JET Office or JET Coordinator at the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan where you were interviewed will provide you with the necessary information to apply for a visa. All participants will have to provide the JET Programme Office with a signed and completed visa application form, passport (with at least one blank page for the visa sticker), and one 3cm x 4cm (passport-sized) photo. Please note that some embassies may require 2–3 weeks or more to complete this process, during which time the applicant will be without a passport. Passports with the visa are generally returned to participants in the month before departure.
2.2. What kind of visa do JET Programme participants receive?
Participants are issued a three-year working visa with a Status of Residence as an ‘Instructor’ (ALT), an ‘Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services’ (CIR), or ‘Skilled Labor’ (SEA). Please note that participants who are married to or are children of a Japanese national may participate in the Programme through a ‘Spouse or Child of Japanese National’ visa.
2.3. Can I obtain my visa in another country where I will be travelling before coming to Japan?
In principle, you must obtain your visa for the JET Programme from the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan where you were interviewed or from which you will depart.
2.4. When is the visa issued?
The visa is usually issued in the month before departure by the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan where a participant had their interview.
2.5. What kind of visa is available for the spouse or family members of a JET participant?
In general, the spouses, children, and other family members with a legal relationship to the JET Programme participant can apply for a Dependent visa.
2.6. What kind of visa can my fiancé(e), partner, common-law spouse obtain?
Under Japanese law, a fiancé(e), girlfriend/boyfriend, or common-law wife/husband is not considered the same as a spouse and cannot obtain a Dependent visa. For more information regarding possible visas for entry into Japan, please contact your local Japanese Embassy or Consulate General of Japan.
2.7. Can my same-sex partner/spouse obtain a Dependent visa?
As Japanese law does not currently recognise same-sex partnerships or marriages, same-sex partners and spouses are not able to obtain a Dependent visa. For more information regarding possible visas for entry into Japan, please contact your local Japanese Embassy or Consulate General of Japan.
2.8. What happens to my visa after my term of appointment ends?
Please check your Status of Residence and be sure not to engage in any illegal employment. You may not stay in Japan even one day past the expiration of your Period of Stay. Should you plan to stay in Japan past your Period of Stay, you must apply to change your Status of Residence to ‘Temporary Visitor’ or another appropriate Status of Residence before it expires. Please consult with your Regional Immigration Bureau of Japan at least one month before the expiration date.
3. Family Members
― Application & Placement ―
3.1. How are couples (married, engaged, companion) treated in the selection process?
Couples are treated the same as every other JET Programme applicant: that is, each applicant is considered based on the strength of their individual application and performance at the interview process.
3.2. My spouse and I have been accepted to the JET Programme. Will we be placed together?
If both you and your spouse apply and are selected, efforts will be made to place both of you in the same or nearby contracting organisations. However, such placement cannot be guaranteed, so please be aware that you may possibly not be placed near each other.
― Coming to Japan ―
3.3. Is it possible for family members to travel with me to Japan?
It is possible for JET Programme participants who inform their Embassy or Consulate General of Japan well in advance to have family members travel with them. However, because all JET Programme participants must attend an orientation in Tokyo soon after arrival, as well as an orientation at the prefectural level, it is recommended that family members depart for Japan only after you have arrived at your placement and housing arrangements have been settled.
3.4. Can accommodation arrangements be made for accompanying family members during Tokyo Orientation? How much is lodging?
With advance notice, accommodation can be arranged for accompanying family members through designated travel agents. However, please be aware that the hotels used for the Post-Arrival Orientation in Tokyo are expensive, starting from 13,000 yen per person per night. If no advance notice is given, new participants will be assigned a roommate(s) for the duration of the Post-Arrival Orientation.
3.5. Who pays airfare for family members accompanying a JET participant?
Family members will be responsible for their own airfare to and from Japan.
― Visa & Working in Japan ―
3.6. Are non-JET spouses able to legally work in Japan?
If a spouse of a JET Programme participant wishes to find work prior to arriving in Japan, they are required to obtain a work visa ahead of time. In this case, their prospective employer must first issue a ‘Certificate of Eligibility’. If a spouse of a JET Programme participant wishes to find work after arriving in Japan, they are able to apply at their local immigration office for permission to work up to a limit of 28 hours per week. The responsibility for acquiring a work visa for spouses falls entirely on the participant and their spouse, and there is no support offered by the JET Programme.
Application procedures are handled at Regional Immigration Bureau of Japan offices and may have separate limitations, so please enquire at your closest Regional Immigration Bureau of Japan.
3.7. Is it possible for spouses to find work?
In some areas, it may be difficult for spouses to find work. In order to work full time, a spouse must have a valid working visa. Spouses coming to Japan on a Dependent visa cannot work without prior permission from the nearest Regional Immigration Bureau. If permission is granted, spouses may work up to 28 hours per week (categorised as ‘part-time’ work). However, as this permission is not guaranteed, applicants should not count on their spouses being able to work.
― Insurance & Other ―
3.8. Will insurance be provided for family members?
Dependents can be enroled under the JET participant’s Japan Health Insurance Association-administered Social (Health) Insurance (costs to be borne by the JET participant), but they cannot enrol in the JET Accident Insurance. You can read more about insurance here.
>> Insurance
3.9. Is there any allowance provided for JET Programme participants who bring family members to Japan?
No, there are no special allowances for JET Programme participants with family members. Note that residents of Japan may be able to apply for monthly child welfare payments. For details, please consult your local government office.
3.10. Is it possible for my children to attend public schools?
Yes, but it is strongly recommended that participants do their own research into education opportunities in the region where their contracting organisation is located before coming to Japan.
3.11. Is the remuneration enough to support a family?
The needs and considerations of each family differ, and the cost of living varies across Japan. Some JET Programme participants are able to support their families with this remuneration.
Please carefully consider your circumstances before applying to the Programme.
4. Coming to Japan
4.1. Can I make my own travel arrangements to Japan?
No, it is not permitted to come to Japan on any flight other than the one arranged for you. In exceptional, unavoidable cases, it may be permitted under the condition that all relevant expenses are paid for by the JET Programme participant.
4.2. Can I change my date of departure?
All new JET Programme participants depart for Japan on the date designated by the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan from which they depart. You are not able to change your date of departure.
4.3. Can I choose my point of departure?
JET Programme participants are asked to designate a point of departure on the Reply Form. Except in unavoidable cases, changes cannot be made after the submission of this form.
4.4. Who pays for travel expenses to Japan?
Your contracting organisation, which will be your direct employer, will provide travel expenses (airfare) to Japan.
4.5. Who pays for travel expenses from Japan when I finish my term on the JET Programme?
If you complete your appointment, your contracting organisation will provide airfare back to your home country, provided that you depart Japan within one month of completing the term of appointment and are not entering into a new contract in Japan.
4.6. After arriving in Japan, can I change my placement?
No, it will not be possible to change your placement after coming to Japan. There are only a few exceptions made to this rule, such as when it is deemed necessary for a participant to relocate due to marriage, to provide care for a family member, or to receive treatment for an illness. However, even in these rare situations, a transfer is not guaranteed.
4.7. Can I bring my pet to Japan?
You cannot bring pets with you to Japan when coming as a New JET Programme participant. Many apartment buildings in Japan prohibit keeping animals. In addition, Japanese quarantine procedures at airports and ports are very strict. Quarantine may be extremely long, during which time the burden and cost of looking after the animal can be very high.
5. Terms & Conditions/Insurance
5.1. Are JET Programme participants employees of the JET Programme/CLAIR/the three ministries?
No. JET Programme participants are employed by various individual institutions, such as local government organisations or private schools in Japan. The JET Programme refers to these entities as contracting organisations.
5.2. Are there any differences in conditions of employment among contracting organisations?
Yes, there may be slight differences. The terms and conditions that a JET Programme participant receives will be based on model terms and conditions provided by CLAIR. Within the model terms and conditions, CLAIR sets certain standards that cannot be changed. These include such items as term of appointment (one year), number of hours worked (35 per week) and remuneration. Contracting organisations create their own terms and conditions based on the model terms and conditions but may make amendments to incorporate specific local employment requirements and regulations. Please be sure to read your terms and conditions carefully. If you are uncertain about specific areas within it, please consult with your contracting organisation.
5.3. Are JET Programme participants provided with insurance while in Japan?
Yes, all JET Programme participants are covered under four types of insurance: Health Insurance, Employee’s Pension Insurance, Employment Insurance and JET Accident Insurance. For more information on these forms of insurance, please see the explanation of insurances here.
>> Insurance
5.4. Where can I find more information on JET Accident Insurance policy coverage?
Please see the JET Accident Insurance section on this website.
>> JET Programme Accident Insurance
6. Remuneration
― Remuneration ―
6.1. How much is the remuneration (salary) for JET Programme participants?
JET Programme participants receive approximately 3.36 million yen in their first year of appointment, approximately 3.6 million yen in their second year of appointment, approximately 3.9 million yen for their third appointment, and for those appointed for a fourth and fifth year, approximately 3.96 million yen for each year. JET Programme participants have to pay Japanese income and resident taxes from this remuneration.
6.2. Is the remuneration enough to live on?
Yes. The remuneration is considered enough to live comfortably in Japan, but please bear in mind that, as in many other countries, the cost of living is generally higher in highly populated urban areas. Many JET participants are able to accumulate some savings and travel within and around Japan while on the JET Programme.
6.3. I have a student loan. Will the JET remuneration allow me to pay it off?
Although the remuneration is sufficient to live in Japan, it is not recommended to participate in the JET Programme for the purpose of paying off loans. Money transfer fees, fluctuating exchange rates, and financial commitments in Japan (such as rent) will affect how much money you are able to send overseas to pay off loans, and you must first give priority to any expenses you may accrue in Japan (housing fees, automobile fees, etc.).
6.4 CIRs are required to have Japanese language ability. Are they paid more?
No. The amount of remuneration before taxes is not based on job-type, so it is the same for ALTs, CIRs, and SEAs.
― Taxes ―
6.5. Do JET Programme participants have to pay taxes in Japan?
Tax requirements in Japan are determined by a number of factors, including your nationality, status of residence (the type of work you are permitted to do in Japan), length of period of stay, your previous year’s income in Japan (if any) and whether a tax treaty exists between Japan and your home country or not. For more information on tax requirements in Japan for JET Programme participants, please speak with your contracting organisation and/or refer to the General Information Handbook.
>> Click here for the GIH page.
6.6. Do JET Programme participants have to pay taxes in their home countries?
Tax requirements for your Japanese income are largely determined by whether or not a tax treaty exists between Japan and your home country and the contents of said treaty. For more information, refer to the General Information Handbook.
However, please note that CLAIR cannot take responsibility for information on home country tax obligations, so participants are strongly encouraged to contact the tax authorities in their home country for the most accurate information.
>> Click here for the GIH page.
7. Life in Japan
― Working in Japan ―
7.1. Do JET Programme participants receive any training?
The day after arriving in Japan, JET Programme participants attend a two-day training conference in Tokyo. At this conference, participants learn about the kind of manners and mindset expected of them as they live and work in Japan from the three government ministries, former Programme participants, and professionals, as well as acquire knowledge and skills which can be used in their work duties. After arriving at their placements, participants receive a more specialised orientation at the prefectural level. Most participants also take part in periodic skills development training conferences.
7.2. What types of language support do JET Programme participants receive?
CLAIR provides participants with various forms of support, including: free online Japanese language learning courses, translation and interpretation skills acquisition training, grants for TEFL certification and the JLPT, numerous publications and a monthly online newsletter with useful information, a mental health counseling service, career fairs, and more.
― Housing ―
7.3. Is housing provided for JET Programme participants?
In principle, JET Programme participants will be responsible for their own accommodation arrangements. All JET Programme participants should expect to pay rent while in Japan (see “Housing” section of the General Information Handbook).
>> Click here for the GIH page.
7.4. How is housing decided?
In principle, the participant is responsible for all accommodation arrangements. In some cases, the contracting organisation may have suggested housing arrangements or offer different choices, so it is essential to consult with your contracting organisation well in advance of arriving in Japan.
7.5. How much money is required to initially secure housing?
If you are required to pay for the initial startup costs in your place of residence, these costs can amount to 4-7 months’ worth of rent. While the amount may depend on the region of Japan, deposits (shikikin), usually anywhere from 1-3 month’s rent, are generally refunded upon leaving, minus deductions for any unpaid rent and/or expenses for cleaning or repairs. If the deposit is one month’s rent, it is usually used for cleaning or repairs. Key money (reikin), usually 1-2 month’s rent, is a non-refundable gift given to the landlord to express one’s appreciation. There may be cases where the real estate agent requires the equivalent of an additional one month’s rent as their commission. Furthermore, one month’s rent may need to be paid in advance. Please note that new JET Programme participants should be prepared to cover all initial costs by themselves before receiving their first paycheck and plan accordingly. Please contact your contracting organisation for more information before coming to Japan.
― Health ―
7.6. I have a medical condition that requires periodic check-ups. Will I be able to receive the medical care I need?
Medical care in Japan is thorough, but please be aware that medical care providers in many locations in Japan do not offer English language assistance.
7.7. I require prescription medication. Will I be able to continue using that medication in Japan?
Bringing prescription medications into Japan can be a difficult process. Generally speaking, you will be allowed to carry a one-month prescription with you. Bring more than a one month supply requires a certificate called a ‘Yakkan Shoumei’. For participants who require medicine during their participation on the JET Programme, please make sure to bring a Yakkan Shoumei Certificate with you on your arrival and submit it to customs. Please refer to the ‘General Information Handbook’ about how to apply for a Yakkan Shoumei Certificate. In case you forget to bring a Yakkan Shoumei Certificate, you may not able to bring your medication into Japan. >> Click here for the GIH page.
7.8. Will I be able to buy non-prescription medicines in Japan?
There are many medications that can be purchased without a prescription in Japan; however, medication readily available over the counter in your home country may be illegal in Japan. You will not be able to bring such medications with you or purchase them while you are here (see ‘Medication, Medical Products, Cosmetics and Medical Equipment’ section of the General Information Handbook).
>> Click here for the GIH page.
7.9. I have certain dietary restrictions. Will it be possible for me to find foods that meet these restrictions?
Yes, in general, it will be possible. However, please understand that many Japanese have a lack of awareness about what dietary restrictions are, and that if you do not speak Japanese it may sometimes be difficult to explain your restrictions.
― Driving ―
7.10. Will I need to drive?
In some situations, JET Programme participants are asked to drive to and from their place(s) of work. Some JET Programme participants may have to purchase or lease an automobile, while some may be granted limited use of one provided by the contracting organisation.
7.11. What kind of driver’s licence do I need to drive in Japan?
If you have a licence in your home country and your country is part of the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, then you can drive in Japan for one year on an International Driving Permit, which should be obtained from the national automobile association in your home country prior to departure. You can only use an International Driving Permit in Japan for a maximum period of one year from the initial date of entry (arrival in Japan), or until the expiration date on the permit, whichever comes first (see General Information Handbook).
>> Click here for the GIH page.
― Other ―
7.12. I hear many JET Programme participants are in isolated areas. Will it be possible to make friends?
As one of the aims of the JET Programme is internationalisation through cultural exchange at the grassroots level, participants are strongly encouraged to actively interact with members of the local community. Attending school or workplace events, taking part in local festivals, joining a local club, and volunteering are just a few of the ways in which JET participants make friends and form strong bonds with their host communities.

Of course many JET Programme participants also form communities, physically and on social media platforms, with other participants on the programme and/or foreign nationals, even in isolated areas. National AJET (Association of Japan Exchange and Teaching – a volunteer organisaton run by current participants) and local AJET chapters also plan events for participants to come together and get involved in the local community.

7.13. How much time does it take to get a mobile phone and Internet access?
Getting a mobile phone may take up to a few weeks. It often takes around a month to set up internet at home, so please plan accordingly. Additionally, many convenience stores, shops, and restaurants in Japan offer free wi-fi.
7.14. Will I be allowed to take religious holidays off?
Although it may be possible to arrange to take off your personal religious holidays, JET Programme participants will normally be expected to use yearly paid leave (nenkyu) to observe these holidays.
7.15. Can I move to a different location in my second or third year to see more of Japan?
No, it will not be possible to move to a different location in subsequent years during your time on the JET Programme. You will be expected to stay with the same contracting organisation in the same city/town/village during your entire period of appointment on the programme. Transfers between contracting organisations, while extremely rare, may be considered for JET Programme participants with very special circumstances, such as marriage, medical treatment or nursing care.
Copyright 2015 by the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR)