*Details will be explained at the orientation.

*For new exchange students starting in Autumn Semester 2023, please also refer to this moodle course.
*For new exchange students starting in Spring Semester 2024, please also refer to this moodle course.


1. VISA Status / Resident Card (在留カード Zairyu Card)

Residence Card

Most exchange students studying at Sophia University hold “college student” residence status. You have been granted this status from the Japanese government on condition that you come and study at Sophia for one semester or one year. In order to maintain your status and to study in Japan, you must comply not only with the law applicable to Japanese, but also with “the immigration control act” for foreign residents.
Students with a status of residence “college student” must have received a resident card at a port of entry upon arrival. You must carry your Resident Card with you at all times. If you haven’t received or lost this card, please let us know immediately.

*Not applicable for students holding Japanese citizenship.


If you plan to temporarily leave Japan and return within 1 year or before the expiration of your period of stay, be sure to present your resident card at departure.

2. Notification of Place of Residence (住民登録 Jumin Touroku)

To all students, including those who have a Japanese Passport:
You are required to visit the nearest municipal office with your resident card (Japanese Passport) and passport. Please notify the office of your address within 14 days of finding a place to settle down.

To Resident Card Holders:
Once the above procedure is completed properly, your address in Japan will be written on the back of your resident card.

To Japanese Passport Holders:
Please purchase a “Certificate of Residence” (住民票(じゅうみんひょう) Jumin Hyo) and submit the original paper to Sophia University. Ensure that all the information displayed is correct. The certificate costs approximately 300 JPY, though the price may vary depending on the municipal office where you reside.

3. Other To Do at the Municipal Office

National Health Insurance (国民健康保険 Kokumin Kenko Hoken)

National Health Insurance

Please enroll in “Japanese National Health Insurance” at the municipal office.

Usually, the National Health Insurance Card (国民健康保険証 Kokumin Kenko Hoken Sho) will be mailed to your residence at a later date. Please submit the copy of the card to Sophia University.

All students staying in Japan for more than 3 months (including those who have a Japanese Passport) MUST join, regardless of whether they have personal accident / abroad insurance.
The insurance fee differs according to resident area but is usually around 1,000 JPY to 3,000 JPY for student without income.
Please also refer to MEDICAL SERVICES AND INSURANCE section.

Japanese National Pension System (国民年金 Kokumin Nen-kin)

All people who are registered to reside in Japan and aged between 20 and 59, irrespective of their nationality, must be covered by the National Pension system and must pay contributions by law. However, students can basically apply for “Application for National Pension Contribution Exemption”. Please refer to this information or ask at the Municipal Office.

Change of Address

If you move and change your address to different cities, towns or wards, please first go to the municipal office of your old residence to file for transference before you move. At that time, a notification of change of residence will be issued to you. After you move to your new residence, please bring the notification to the municipal office of your new residence, and notify them of your new address within 14 days. If you move and change your address within the same city, town or ward, you also need to report the change of address to the municipal office.

4. Your Contact Information

All students are required to notify us of your registered address and phone number by updating your contact information on Loyola Website. User ID and password of Loyola are notified to you on a separate sheet. Please log in to Loyola and update your contact information after our Orientation as soon as possible. When you change your address or phone number, please also make sure to update your information on Loyola.

5. Bulletin Board

Please check “Loyola” Web Bulletin Board regularly for information from Sophia University.
URL: https://scs.cl.sophia.ac.jp/campusweb (You can switch language Japanese/ English)
GMobile URL: https://scs.cl.sophia.ac.jp/campusweb/campussmart.do?locale=en_US
*Please use your username and password provided at the orientation.
The University may contact you via Loyola message, call or E-Mail when necessary.

6. Note about Illegal Drugs

Possession of marijuana, cocaine, and other illegal drugs imposes very severe penalties in Japan. Some of those drugs may be legal in your country, but all of them are strictly prohibited in Japan, and you can be arrested for the possession of the drugs. Obeying all laws dealing with the use of/ possession of illegal drugs, and liability rests entirely with each student.
*According to newspaper accounts, usage of quasi-legal narcotics called “danger drug” is increasing, causing traffic and other accidents. Possession, use and/or sales of these quasi-legal herbs/drugs are strictly prohibited at Sophia University and will be subject to punishments including expulsion.
Please do not accept or carry luggage on behalf of strangers. If the luggage contains illegal items such as illicit drugs or copies of credit cards, you could be arrested just for possessing them.

7. Avoid Unpaid Debts of Housing, Utility Fees, Mobile Phone Fees, Overdue Books

Housing costs and other utility fees should be paid by the prescribed deadline of each term.

Unless these fees have been paid, the academic record will not be listed, transcript will not be issued, and the student will not be allowed to register for courses in the following semester.
This will also be reported to your home institution.

In case you have overdue books, the same penalty will be applied.
If your housing arranged by Sophia University falls behind in payments, you will be asked to leave, and the problem will be reported to your home institution.

8. Smoking

Smoking is forbidden in all areas in the campus, and allowed only at the designated area. Chiyoda ward, where Sophia is located, charge penalty fee for smoking on the street.

Academic Information

Please also refer to this web page for the restriction of the course registration.

1. Course Registration and “Loyola”

Details on course registration and its schedule will be explained at the orientation.

“Loyola” is the Sophia University’s Online Registration System.
Loyola URL: https://scs.cl.sophia.ac.jp/campusweb/

Your username and password for Loyola will be provided at the orientation.

You should also frequently check the web bulletin board “Loyola” for any additional information (course/classroom change). Important notices on academic matters are also provided through “Loyola”.
*For operation manuals, please refer to “Loyola” (Login > Home > Loyola Handbook).

2. Japanese Placement Test

For detail, please refer to this page.

3. Grades and Transcripts

For detail, please refer to this page.

Student Life

1. Housing

If you made the accommodation arrangements through Sophia University, in principle, you cannot leave the housing during your period of exchange. However, if you need to move out under unavoidable circumstance, please first consult with your accommodation owner/office and the Center for Global Education and Discovery. You must gain approval to move out from both parties before moving out. Also, you will need to look for the new accommodation by yourself.
Apartments can be rent through real estate agents, but house hunting in Japan is not always easy for non-Japanese. If you do not speak good Japanese, it is strongly advised that you visit the agents with someone who speaks fluent Japanese. Be careful about making housing arrangement through the internet, which could result in serious problem. For your reference, please refer to the information of agencies which is foreigners friendly and we usually recommend exchange students to contact.

2. Student Commuter Pass/ Travel Discount

Student Commuter Pass

The student commuter pass allows you to take unlimited rides between stations on the specific route (nearest stations of your home and university). To purchase a student commuter pass, fill in a request form at the station and submit it together with your student ID card with the student commuter pass sticker on the back.
Student Travel Discount Certificate can be used on JR trains for traveling 100km or more one way; you can get a 20% discount on basic fare. The certificate can be issued at the certificate issuance machine (Building No.2, 4F). Please present it at the station at the time of purchasing ticket.

3. Bicycles

Parking facility is not available at Sophia. Students are not allowed to ride bikes or motorcycles to campus.
Also, you may often notice that there are bicycles parked in front of the stations or on the side of the road. You are prohibited to ride a bicycle that is not your own. Most bicycle users register their bicycle to the police for theft prevention. If you are seen by the police with those registered bicycles that is not your own, you will be charged with theft.
Please also be aware that riding double on a bicycle or bike as well as riding it during night time without a light on is prohibited. The police may ask questions if you are seen doing such acts.
If you purchase a bicycle or bike on your own, please make sure to register it to prevent theft. If you are to receive a bicycle or bike from someone else, you will need to ask the initial owner to visit the police station and go through the process of registration of transfer.

4. Sophia ICT Account

Your username and password for Sophia ICT Account will be provided at the orientation.

Please visit the ICT Office (3F, Bldg. No.2) if you have any questions regarding the service. For service hours and location of PC rooms, please refer to ICT Office Website:
Support mail address: ict-support@sophia.ac.jp

Note: The password of the Sophia ICT Account is different from Loyola portal site password.
If you have any questions or need information about Loyola, please contact the Center for Academic Affairs (1F, Bldg. No.2).

5. Working Part-Time

Working Part-Time

For working permit, please refer to this page.

Unless you obtain this permit from the Japanese government, you will be regarded as working illegally in Japan and may be forced to deport from the country.
*Not applicable for students holding Japanese citizenship.

6. Events for International Students (Sophia Student Integration Commons (SSIC))

Sophia Student Integration Commons (SSIC) offers several cultural events for international students

such as “Flower arrangement Experience”, “Tea ceremony Experience”, and “Kabuki Tour”. Up coming events will be announced on Loyola and FIND SOPHIA.
If you are interested in the events, please contact the Center for Student Affairs (1F, Bldg. No.2/ E-mail: ssic-co@sophia.ac.jp). Twitter:@CommonsSophia

7. Extracurricular Activities

If you are interested in joining clubs and circles, please contact the Center for Student Affairs.
Please check the List of Clubs and Circles from this web page.

1. English-Speaking Doctors and Hospitals in Tokyo

The following information service will be useful to search hospital/clinic by location:
URL: https://www.fukushihoken.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/iryo/sodan/komatta/gaikokugo.html

There is also translation service for emergency medical care.

Japanese: 03-5272-0303 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year)
English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Thai: 03-5285-8181 (Monday to Friday, 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM)

In addition, at the Sophia University Well-being Center (2nd floor of Hoffman Hall), we also offer internal medicine consultations by internists, mental health consultations by psychiatrists, and introductions to medical institutions.

2. Hospitals

You must present the card when you go see doctors. With the Japanese National Health Insurance, you only have to pay 30% of the medical costs. Please ask the nearest municipal office of your residence for details.

3. In Case of Emergency

In Case of Emergency

Police: call 110.  Fire, Ambulance: call 119.  (Toll Free, 24h, English available)

  In case you are on campus when an earthquake occurs, please refer to the “Earthquake Response Manual.”

You should complete all payments incurred while in Japan BEFORE returning to your home country. These are some of the fees you may need to take care of before leaving:

  • Return books to library
  • Housing fee, Utility fee, Phone bills (including mobile phones)
  • Medical fee or insurance premium

Unless these fees have been paid, academic credit will not be entered on your record, nor any transcript issued. In case you have overdue books, the same penalty will be applied.
This will also be reported to your home institution.

In particular, be careful of utility fees and the bills for the mobile phone because you will be billed for them the following month. Please be sure to make arrangements so that you can make the payment for utility fees for your last month before your departure. You are strongly recommended to choose the payment with your credit card.

Also, you will need the password for viewing your grades at Loyola Website. We can’t provide the password to you after your leave. If you don’t remember the password, please visit the Center for Academic Affairs to acquire a new password before you leave.

  • Center for Global Education and Discovery (Inquiries regarding Exchange Students in general)
    Contact: 03 3238 3521 / inbound-co@sophia.ac.jp
  • Center for Academic Affairs (Course registration, Examination, Certificates)
    Contact: 03 3238 3515 (Course registration, Grade) / 03 3238 3519 (Certificates)
  • Center for Student Affairs (Club activities, SSIC, Student Travel Discount Certificate, Personal Accident Insurance for Students Pursuing Education and Research)
    Contact: 03 3238 3525

*Office Hours: Fri. 10:00am 11:30am, 12:30pm 3:30pm
(Office hours during spring and summer recess: Fri. 12:30pm 3:30pm)

If you wish to extend your study at Sophia University, you are required to submit the application form for extension of enrollment. The form is available on our moodle course.

After you get the approval of extension from your home institution, please get the form. You also need to get the signatures from the coordinator of your home institution and get 2 recommendation letters from the professors of the courses you are currently taking. Please inform us of your intention of applying for the extension, complete the application forms, and submit all the documents during the following periods.

  • Extension for Autumn Semester : From May 10 to June 10
  • Extension for Spring Semester: From November 1 to November 30

If you are receiving a scholarship from Sophia University, your scholarship period will NOT be extended.