Exchange students who are not Japanese citizens must obtain ‘college student’ or other suitable visa status in order to register for courses at Sophia University. ‘College student’ visa is valid for one year and should be obtained in student’s home country. In order to apply for a College Student Visa, the student will need the Acceptance Letter from Sophia University and CERTIFICATE OF ELIGIBILITY (CoE) issued by the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau.


Sophia University will apply the CERTIFICATE OF ELIGIBILITY (CoE) for students who have been nominated by partner institutions. The document will be issued by Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau in approximately 9-11 weeks

The following documents are necessary for obtaining the Certificate of Eligibility.

1. Application for Certificate of Eligibility (Can be downloaded and submitted through application portal)

2. A photocopy of the applicant’s passport title page. Number, place of issuing, period of validity, and birth date must be visible.

3. Digital color photo (jpg format, length 4cm × width 3cm, white background)
No edge, Just size, In formal pose, Clearness and No background scenery.


As soon as the Certificate of Eligibility is issued, Sophia will forward the Certificate to the student’s home institution. The student must present the Certificate of Eligibility, letter of acceptance, and a valid passport to a Japanese embassy or consulate either in the country of citizenship or in the country where the student’s home institution is located. The bureaucrat will issue the college student visa and students will receive their residence stamp it in the back of the student’s passport.
N.B: We do not recommend students to enter Japan with short-term visitor visa then change residence status to college student visa as this process usually takes more time and students may not be able to obtain college student visa before the semester start.


All students with a “College Student” status of residence will be issued a resident card at Narita, Haneda, Chubu, and Kansai Airports, besides having a seal of landing verification stamped in your passports. At other ports of entry/departure, a seal of landing verification will be stamped in the passport and the description which states “a resident card will be issued later” will be made near the stamp. In this case, after you follow the residency procedure at the municipal office of the city/town/village, a resident card will be mailed by the Regional Immigration Office to the reported place of residence. You must carry the resident card all the time during your stay in Japan. For detailed information, please refer to THE HANDBOOK FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS.

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