Entertainment Visas

Foreign nationals who will engage in entertainment or show business in Japan must obtain an entertainment visa. Office COSMOPOLITAN has handled many entertainment visa applications for entertainers and show business persons involved in theater, performing arts, musical performance, sports and other artistic endeavors.

This wealth of experience and knowledge in the area of entertainment visas has helped numerous singers, actors and athletes obtain the documentation they need for entry and the stay in Japan. From your first consultation, you can rely on Office COSMOPOLITAN to assist you in quickly and accurately processing application and receipt of the Certificate of Eligibility, application and issuance of the visa at an overseas Japanese embassy, entry and, when necessary, re-entry.

Time is of the essence in entertainment visa applications

We understand the importance of maintaining schedules in the entertainment business, and we help you smoothly navigate the processes of document preparation, application for the Certificate of Eligibility, its receipt and delivery to the applicant overseas, application and issuance of the visa at an overseas embassy or consulate, and entry into the country in time to meet your entertainment obligations. We know you need everything to stay on track so you can stay on schedule.

To speed up the process in certain complex cases, therefore, we engage in advance negotiations with the Immigration Bureau regarding the application’s qualifications, appropriate categorization and required documentation. For that reason, the earliest possible preparation is imperative for pre-application discussions and a successful end to the visa process, followed by entry into Japan.

Who is covered by the entertainment visa?

“Persons engaging in entertainment in the form of theater, performing arts, singing, dance, musical performance, sports and appearance in product advertisement productions and persons involved in activities required for that entertainment.”

The entertainment visa is divided into four subcategories:

Category 1
The applicant wishes to engage in entertainment in the form of theater, performing arts, singing, dance or musical performance (“show business”). Applies to entertainment held at clubs or bars.
Category 2
The applicant wishes to engage in show business. Applies to entertainment held at a theater or concert hall with a capacity of over 100 spectators, where food or drinks are not served at spectator seating. (This does not include facilities with a separate lobby or other sector where spectators can purchase food or drinks from vending machines or a shop and carry those foods or drinks to their seats.)
Category 3
The applicant wishes to engage in entertainment other than show business. Applies to professional athletes and coaches.
Category 4
The applicant wishes to engage in arts other than entertainment. Applies to product advertisement, television appearance, magazine photo shoot, recording, etc.

Application precautions

Visa classification


When applying for the Certificate of Eligibility for an entertainment visa, correct categorization of the visa is essential. It is also important to consider whether all the conditions of the category are met. In the case of category 1, the applicant’s professional experience, the contract with the Japanese organization, the contracting organization’s staff, facility characteristics and other factors must all be carefully compared to ensure compliance with this category’s rigorous criteria. It is generally thought that these strict requirements are meant to include entertainment at facilities regulated by laws regarding the adult entertainment industry and work standardization, such as clubs and bars. Category 2, like the first category, applies to show business, but includes other factors, such as the sponsoring organization, size and other facility characteristics, the applicant’s compensation and duration of the stay. If the application meets any of these conditions, the applicant is not required to meet the strict criteria of category 1. This means that an applicant who meets the conditions of category 2 on the grounds that the entertainment meets the category’s public nature, scale and openness requirements is excluded from the strict requirements of category 1. Categories 3 and 4 have no other requirements than that the applicant receive compensation equal to or higher than that which a Japanese national would receive for the same activity. Artists’ activities often fall under both categories 2 and 4, and if all the conditions of both categories apply, documentation for both may need to be prepared.  

  Example 1: Entertainment visa for a foreign singer performing in Japan Example 2: Entertainment visa for a professional athlete


  • We can inform you quickly and accurately of the correct category for your visa application and guide you through the documentation.
  • We assist you through the entire process, from application to Immigration for the Certificate of Eligibility to receipt of the visa overseas and your entry and stay in Japan.
  • When necessary, we will make application for re-entry permits. (Foreign applicants are not required to appear at Immigration.)
  • Error-free processing of your entry and stay in Japan.