1 Year Shibuya Startup Visa is available now, Tokyo

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Shibuya City will issue a startup visa for 1 year to entrepreneurs from all pver the world.

Shibuya, one of the 23 wards in Tokyo, is known as the centre for culture and the most startup concentrated area in Japan. They now would like to welcome startups from overseas to make them more diverse.

Following a special agreement with the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Trade and Immigration Bureau, all foreign-born entrepreneurs willing to relocate to Japan can apply for a 1-year Startup visa. The startup idea should meet the (startup) principles of viability, innovation and scalability, and founders are expected to switch to the Business Manager visa before the Startup visa expires. Provided that you are able to pass the assessment interviews, the process usually takes from 1 to 3 months. firmly support you.

There are several local governments designated to provide startup visas such as Fukuoka city, Aichi Prefecture and others but Shibuya is the first local government to provide 1-year start-up visa in Tokyo where nearly 10 million people and 700,000 businesses exist.

Shibuya City will issue a startup visa for specific fields of industry. Here are the fields;

  • Health, Medical, Welfare
  • Environment/Energy
  • Food/Agriculture/Forestry/Fisheries
  • Information Technologies
  • Culture/Art
  • Fashion

How the process is structured:

– Prepare and submit all the necessary documents to Shibuya City 
– After the document screening, you will have a 30 min call with a Visa Lead for the initial assessment
– Revision of the documents (adding competitors’ information, market analysis, etc.)
– Document screening process
– If you pass the document screening process, you will have a 30 min interview with a Venture Capitalist and Shibuya city representative
– If successful, Shibuya city issues a proof letter to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility for a Designated Activity status or changing of status at the Immigration Bureau if you already reside in Japan. 

Here you can check all required documents.

More information about Startup visa in Japan is written by Sasha Kaverina in her post on Medium.

One of the ways to grow your presence is to go to the acceleration program.

A good startup accelerator opens doors and provides a great deal of credibility to your startup in Japan. Although most of the programs are focused on supporting local entrepreneurs, Shibuya Welcome Service can introduce you to the network of foreigner-friendly accelerator programs that will help accelerate your growth and connect to the investment opportunities — or occasionally even acquirers.

You can watch the recorded panel with Miho Tanaka, CEO of StartupWork and Director of Shibuya Welcome Service, which explained how to apply for the startup visa and build a thriving business in Japan.

The Key points:

✔️ Who is eligible to apply (industry, stage, visa status)
✔️ How to change your visa status
✔️ Necessary documents & procedures
✔️ Timeline (considering COVID-related delays)
✔️ Setting an office, incorporating, taxes
✔️ Q&A

Since June 2020, Shibuya city has been running PoCs with its numerous partners and selecting projects to participate in the collaborative experiments. Under the initiative “Innovation for New Normal from Shibuya”, startups addressing social issues raised by the spread of COVID-19, especially in the fields of welfare and environmental policy, are eligible for PoC support from Shibuya city. Interested founders can apply here.

If you have more questions you can contact Sasha Kaverina via LinkedIn and read more information on the official Shibuya Startup Support website.