A top destination for nursing immigration is Japan, a country renowned for its robust economy, technological advancements, and high living standards. Why? Because there’s a growing need for foreign nurses in Japan. This Visa Library article will dive into the details and tell you how to immigrate to Japan as a nurse and how to become a nurse in Japan by studying there. Continue reading to learn about both processes.

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Immigrate to Japan as a Nurse

How to Immigrate to Japan as a Nurse?

Working as a Nurse in Japan requires you to complete several steps. Where is the guide that helps you immigrate to Japan as a nurse:

  1. Getting qualification recognition
  2. Language proficiency
  3. Finding a job
  4. Relocating to Japan
  5. Applying for the Japanese national nursing examination
  6. Applying for a nursing license

Step 1. Getting Qualification Recognition

To move to Japan as a nurse, you must have the right qualifications and undergo a qualification recognition process:

Required Qualifications

  • A valid nursing degree, like a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing or an equivalent diploma from a recognized institution in your home country
  • Typically, 2 to 5 years of working experience
  • A valid nursing license or registration from the nursing authority in your home country

Process of Qualification Recognition

The Japanese Nursing Association (JNA) primarily recognizes foreign nursing qualifications in Japan. The cost for application and assessment can range between JPY 20,000 to JPY 50,000. Also, the process can take several months to over a year.

The recognition process involves the following steps:

  1. To find out more about qualification recognition, contact the JNA.
  2. Gather your nursing degree certificate, license, transcripts, and experience proof. Translate all documents into Japanese by a certified translator, if necessary.
  3. Send these to the JNA for evaluation. Depending on their requirements, you might have to mail physical copies and upload digital ones.
  4. The JNA will review you based on your education and work experience. To determine eligibility, they compare your qualifications with Japanese standards.
  5. You might have to take a competency test if needed. A written test, a practical demonstration, or an interview may be part of the process.

Step 2. Language Proficiency

To immigrate to Japan as a nurse, the ability to speak Japanese is essential. There’s no better test to assess Japanese language proficiency than the JLPT. It’s common for nurses to have at least a N2 level on the JLPT. N2 means you can understand Japanese. There are even some jobs that require N1.

A special test called the “Japanese Language Proficiency Test for Nursing Care Workers” also assesses language skills specific to nursing.

Step 3. Finding a Job

How to work as a nurse in Japan? You have to find a nursing job in Japan. Recruiters specializing in healthcare, online job portals, and the Japanese government’s program for foreign nurses can all help with the Japanese nurse hiring process.

Online Job Portals

  • WeXpats Jobs
  • Aurawoo
  • Robert Walters Japan

Recruitment Agencies Specializing in Healthcare

  • Robert Walters Japan
  • Titan Healthcare
  • BIC GROUP Search

Step 4. Getting a Japan Work Visa

Apply for the appropriate Japan work visa. Nursing workers typically get a Working Visa Under the Medical Services category. If you want to immigrate to Japan as a nurse, you must go through the following process to get a visa:

  1. You need a job offer from a Japanese healthcare facility before applying for a visa.
  2. Employers in Japan have to apply for Certificates of Eligibility on your behalf at the local immigration office. Your eligibility for the visa is pre-assessed by this certificate.
  3. Your employer will need your resume, job offer acceptance, qualifications, passport copy, and maybe more.
  4. Your employer will send you the CoE once it’s approved. It usually takes 1-3 months for the CoE to be processed.
  5. You can get the visa at the Japanese embassy or consulate in your country with the CoE. Along with the CoE, you’ll need a valid passport, a visa application form, and a photograph.
  6. Pay between USD 25 and USD 60 for the visa application.
  7. You might be required to attend an interview or submit additional documentation.
  8. Your visa will be issued after the embassy or consulate processes your application. Processing time varies but usually takes a few days to a few weeks.
  9. You can travel to Japan once you get your visa. Once you get here, you’ll have to apply for a residence card, essential for your stay in Japan.

Step 5. Relocating to Japan

Once you’ve secured a job and your visa is approved, it is time to immigrate to Japan as a nurse. You’ll have to arrange accommodation, figure out the cost of living in Japan, and sort out healthcare.


  • Japan Ryokan and Hotel Association
  • Airbnb

Cost of Living

The average salary for foreign nurses is about $3.5 million (about $31,000). A typical salary ranges from 2.5 million to 4.5 million, depending on experience and location.


The universal healthcare system covers all citizens and legal residents of Japan, including expats staying for three months or longer. The national healthcare scheme doesn’t cover mental healthcare or contraception.


  • Shinsei Bank
  • SMBC Trust Bank
  • Sony Bank
  • Rakuten Bank
  • Japan Post Bank (Yucho)

Step 6. Applying for the Japanese National Nursing Examination

You may need to pass the Japanese National Nursing Examination to practice as a registered nurse in Japan. The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare administers this exam. The exam is entirely in Japanese and covers a wide range of topics in medicine. This exam is usually held once a year. Also, you should expect to pay 10,000 to JPY 20,000.

Exam Topics

  • Basic nursing skills and knowledge
  • Community and home care nursing
  • Maternal and child health
  • Psychiatric Nursing
  • Medical and surgical nursing
  • Emergency and critical care nursing
  • Health promotion and maintenance
  • Ethical and legal aspects of nursing in Japan

Passing Score

The passing score for the exam is not fixed and can vary each year based on the overall performance of the candidates. However, it’s generally understood that a high level of competency is required to pass. Results are typically announced a few months after the exam.

To familiarize newly registered foreign nurses with the Japanese healthcare system and working conditions, some regions or employers in Japan may require them to participate in orientation programs.

Step 7. Applying for a Nursing License

How can I work as a foreign nurse in Japan? It is easy. You must get a nursing license. Here is the process:

  1. Gather necessary documentation, such as official results of the Japanese national nursing examination, Identification like your passport and residence card, proof of language proficiency, and any additional documents as specified by the prefectural government where you are applying.
  2. Submit your application to the prefectural government where you intend to work.
  3. Pay the licensing fee. It can vary depending on the prefecture.
  4. The prefectural office will review your application and documents. It typically takes a few weeks.
  5. Upon approval, you’ll get your nursing license. You can practice as a nurse in Japan with this license.

After you receive your nursing license in Japan, you typically need to do the following:

  • Register with the Local Nursing Association. You should join your local nursing association. There are often opportunities for professional development, information, and support through this association.
  • Residence Card. A residence card is given to foreigners when they enter Japan. Any changes in employment, address, or marital status must be updated on this card.
  • Local Municipality Registration. You have to register with your local municipality when you move to Japan. You’ll need it to set up healthcare and banking services and access various services.
  • Health Insurance Enrollment. The Japanese health insurance system is required for all residents, including foreigners. It could be Employees’ Health Insurance (if you work for a company) or National Health Insurance (if you’re self-employed).
  • Pension Scheme Enrollment. Foreign workers in Japan must also enroll in the Japanese pension system. This happens automatically if you’re enrolled in health insurance and start a job.
  • Tax Registration. In Japan, foreign workers have to register and pay taxes. Your employer can usually help you with this by submitting an annual tax return.
  • Professional Development Registration. You might need additional registrations if you’re involved in ongoing professional development or training with the Japanese Nurses Association.
How to immigrate and work in Japan as a nurse

Does Japan Accept Foreign Nurses?

It’s true. Japan accepts foreigners who are willing to work as nurses in Japan. But, they must pass the Japanese National Nursing Examination and be proficient in Japanese.

English Speaking Nurse Jobs in Japan

  • nursing jobs in Japan for English speakers
  • International Clinic Nurse
  • Travel Nurse
  • Embassy Health Coordinator
  • English Medical Interpreter/Translator in Hospitals
  • School Nurse at International Schools

RN Jobs in Japan

  • Registered Hospital Nurse
  • Community Health Nurse
  • Geriatric Nurse
  • Operating Room Nurse
  • Oncology Nurse

Nurse Jobs in Japan for Foreigners

  • Caregiver for Elderly
  • Nurse in International Hospitals
  • Public Health Nurse
  • Nurses at Expatriate Health Facilities
  • Home Care Nurse

Are Nurses in Japan Paid Well?

It depends on where you live, your experience, and what kind of institution you work for. Nurses are generally paid well, but not too much. Cost of living can offset salary benefits, especially in cities like Tokyo.

How Much is the Salary of Nursing Jobs in Japan?

Nurses in Japan make between 3.5 million and 6 million Yen a year (about USD 31,000 to USD 54,000). Nurses start at about 3 million Yen (about USD 27,000); more experienced nurses can make 8 million Yen (about USD 72,000) or more in senior positions.

Immigrate to Japan as a Nurse: Let’s Recap

Due to a shortage of nurses, Japan welcomes international nurses who must have their qualifications recognized, pass relevant tests, and speak fluent Japanese. It’s also important to get a job offer and work visa. We’ve outlined these requirements and the process for immigrating to Japan as a nurse and studying nursing here.

Let us know if you have any more questions in the comments below.


Nurses can move to Japan if they pass the Japanese National Nursing Examination, master the Japanese language, and obtain a medical services visa.

Nursing professionals from Canada must first obtain a job offer in Japan, pass the Japanese National Nursing Exam, and demonstrate Japanese language proficiency before applying for a working visa.

Nurses who wish to work in Japan must pass the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) nursing exam or the Japanese National Nursing Examination, demonstrate Japanese language proficiency, and get a job offer.

Obtaining a job offer, securing the appropriate work visa, and passing the JPEPA nursing examination will allow Filipino nurses to become nurses in Japan.

The Japanese call nurses “Kangoshi” for registered nurses and “Kaigofukushishi” for care workers.

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