What is a COE?

What is a COE?

So what is COE? it is a Certificate of Eligibility! If you’re delving into the world of Japanese visa applications or perhaps considering a long stay in Japan, you’ve likely come across the term. But what does it really mean, and why is it so important? In this piece, we will unveil the intricacies of the COE and discuss its significance.

girl asking a question

What is COE?

So, what is COE? COE, or Certificate of Eligibility, serves as a preliminary screening done by Japan’s Immigration Bureau before one applies for a visa. It essentially showcases that the applicant meets the conditions for landing in Japan for the specific status they are aiming for. While it doesn’t replace the visa itself, having a COE smoothens and speeds up the visa acquisition process.

In summary, think of COE as a golden ticket: a vital document that ascertains your eligibility for the main show – the visa.

Purpose of COE

Understanding the purpose of the COE is paramount. Below are some of the main categories for which a COE might be required:

purpose of COE


For family members depending on the main visa holder.


Categories here include entertainer, artist, professor, researcher, etc.

Religious Activities

For those participating in religious activities.


For students, trainees, or interns in Japan.

Cultural Activities

For those involved in arts or other cultural activities.

Long-term Resident

For individuals who qualify for long-term residency.

How do I get COE for Student Visa?

Planning to study in Japan? Great! But first, here’s what you need to know about the COE application for a student visa.

How? written on a window

The school or educational institution you’ll be attending in Japan will typically handle the COE application on your behalf. However, as an applicant, you are responsible for furnishing the necessary documents for the COE application to the school. This often includes documents like application forms, proof of your academic qualifications, proof of finances, and so on. Make sure to check with your school for a comprehensive list.

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What is the timeline for receiving COE?

Time is of the essence, and when it comes to bureaucratic processes, it’s always good to be in the know. Generally, after the application has been submitted, the wait time for receiving the COE is about 2-3 months. Remember, this timeline might vary slightly based on the category of your visa and the completeness and correctness of your application.

Tips for a Higher Chance of COE Grant

Now that you’re familiar with the basics, let’s delve into some best practices. If you want to increase your odds of getting that COE stamp of approval, follow these guidelines:

  • No Discrepancies on the Documents: Ensure that all details in the documents are consistent and accurate.
  • Japanese Proficiency Certifications: Being able to speak the language always helps. Any certifications showcasing your proficiency in Japanese can be a feather in your cap.
  • Good Bank Statement Record: A healthy bank statement not only shows your financial stability but also proves your capability to support yourself during your stay.
  • Enough Money in the Bank: Ensure that you have sufficient funds to cover your expenses in Japan. The exact amount might vary based on the type and duration of your stay.
  • Sponsor Details: If someone is sponsoring your stay, ensure that your sponsor is either employed or has a reputable business.
  • Age Considerations:
    • Relevance: Depending on the type of program or course you’re enrolling in, age can play a role. For instance, if you’re applying for undergraduate programs, being a recent high school graduate or in an age group typically enrolling in undergraduate courses can be advantageous. Conversely, if you’re considerably older, you may need to provide additional justification for why you’re pursuing the course now.
    • Flexibility: While age might not be a strict criterion, being within the typical age range for a course or program could smoothen the application process.
  • Clear Purpose of Study: Clearly articulate why you’ve chosen a particular program or course in Japan. Whether it’s because of a unique curriculum unavailable in your home country, a desire to study under specific professors, or other valid reasons – being precise about it helps.


The journey to understanding what is COE and its nuances can seem daunting. However, with the right knowledge and preparation, it becomes a manageable task. Always remember, the COE is your stepping stone to a larger adventure in Japan, whether it’s for study, work, or cultural immersion. So, arm yourself with information, adhere to the guidelines, and you’re well on your way to an exciting Japanese sojourn!

We at UNMEI Nihongo Center are always here to support your journey, from mastering the Japanese language to understanding the intricacies of Japanese processes. Ganbatte!


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