Bridgeway Legal Services Overview

Bridgeway Legal Services is headed by Fumiko Ito, an experienced immigration and import/export lawyer.
Since 2005, Bridgeway Legal Services has been paving the way for families, employees, and professionals in all occupations to live and work in Japan, providing global immigration application, import/export licensing and translation services. With over l8 years of real-world experience, Bridgeway Legal Services provides a level of expertise, competence and strategic focus that ensures the best chance of success for corporate and individual clients worldwide.
There are numerous ways in which an individual can apply for temporary or permanent residence status in Japan. Bridgeway Legal Services is pleased to assist both corporations and individuals in meeting the extensive requirements of gaining legal entry into Japan.

Bridgeway Legal Services has successfully represented thousands of clients of various nationalities in obtaining visa for working or living in Japan, so let us ensure that your entrée into Japan is a smooth and worry-free onel

We can assist you in the following areas.

Note: Fees vary based on each individuals and each client's situation. Ask us for a quote.

Business Services

Working Visa Application in Japan

Over the years, we have successfully handled hundreds of Japanese visas for people from broad range of professions, from skilled labours, professionals and dependents, to company presidents and large investors.

If you intend to live and work in Japan, it is necessary to obtain a long-term visa and to determine which type of visa you qualify for. Once you have determined the type of visa that best suits your situation, you will need to apply for it at the Japanese embassy or consulate in your home country. It usually takes at least 3 months for issuance of the visa. However, this lengthy process can be shortened considerably by obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility (COE).

A COE is issued before the visa application, by the regional immigration authority in Japan, as evidence that you meet all the conditions of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (i.e. that you are eligible for a visa). Information on the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act can be found at this link:

By submitting the COE to the Japanese embassy or consulate in your home country, you can obtain the visa much quicker. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you apply for a COE, in order to speed-up the visa process.

How long does it take to receive a Japanese visa?
Each individual's situation is different, but the average processing time is one (1) to two (2) months.
How can one obtain Investor/Business Manager status?
In cases where the applicant will;
1) commence the operation of international trade or other business,
2) invest in international trade or other business in Japan and to operate or manage that business,
3) operate or manage international trade or other business on behalf of a foreign national or a foreign company who has begun such an operation in Japan or has invested in such a business in Japan,※

※ In this case, the applicant must have at least 3 years' experience or more in the operation or management of business.

the following requirements must be fulfilled.
1) A minimum of five-million yen in initially invested capital. This is the official equivalent of hiring two or more full-time employees.
2) An office should be rented. Your home double as your office, but the working space must be clearly separated from the living space.

Click here to find the required visa-related documents and criteria.

The criteria for visa approval are specified by the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act.

However, the Minister of Justice has the discretionary power to approve or disapprove visas. An experienced immigration lawyer has the knowledge, Japanese language ability and contacts to navigate the often complex and confusing environment of the Japanese immigration system.

Company/Branch Establishment

Kabushiki Kaisha (K.K., limited company/joint stock company)

This type of company can be set up with any amount of capital and at least one director.

There are two ways to set up a KK as a base of foreign business operations:

  1. The KK may be capitalized by a corporate entity (Inc. LLC, etc.) based in another country;
  2. The KK may be capitalized by individuals living in other countries.

Normally, an individual of any nationality living outside Japan can be registered as a company president in Japan, provided that he or she is also an investor in the company.
However, a Kabushiki Kaisha scheme requires that the company president be either a Japanese national or a foreign national who resides in Japan and possesses a valid resident card. Please note that being registered with the Japanese government as a president is different from actually living in Japan and working as a president who is making day-to-day decisions on behalf of the company.

Therefore, foreign nationals living in Japan who wish to set up a KK as owners or presidents, have to consider if they are eligible to work as a president/owner or director, based on work restrictions specified by visa regulations. Those foreign nationals who possess a spousal visa or another type of visa may serve as a company president and/or owner. If you are not sure of your eligibility to run a company in Japan, please ask us!

Godo Gaisya (LLC - a limited liability company)

The advantages in setting up an LLC over setting up a K.K. are twofold:

  1. Only around half of the initial set-up cost is required (about 100,000 yen).
  2. If an LLC is a subsidiary of a foreign company, that foreign company may be eligible for certain tax incentives from its own government.

    Most LLCs eventually become K.K.'s later because a K.K. company is perceived by the Japanese business community as being more prestigious (and credible) than other company schemes.

    An LLC may open a bank account or enter into a rental agreement for office space.

    There are two ways to set up a LLC as a base of foreign business operations:
  3. The LLC may be capitalized by a corporate entity(Inc. LLC, etc.) based in another country,
  4. The LLC may be capitalized by individuals living in other countries.


A branch can engage in commercial activities based on the capital of the parent company, open a bank account in Japan, enter into a lease contract and be registered with the Legal Affairs Bureau. Those companies without a source of capital in Japan are advised to establish a branch office in Japan.

How long does it take to set up a K.K. or LLC?
it will take up to three days to prepare the Article of Incorporation and have it notarized. After that you must to apply for registry of the company, to a regional legal affairs bureau. Each legal affairs bureau's processing time is different, but average processing time is ten (10) to fourteen (14) days.

Contact Information

Other visa types and visa-related services

Spousal Visa or Other Visa Applications for Japan

There are three kinds of family-related visas:

  1. "Spouse of a Japanese national" (e.g. a spouse or biological child of a Japanese national)
  2. "Spouse of a permanent resident" (e.g. spouse or biological child of a permanent resident)
  3. Long-term resident (e.g. persons of Japanese ancestry, Indochinese refugee settlers, spouse or children of Japanese nationals left behind in China, etc.)

Following are some important points to be aware of regarding family-related visas:

--The holder of a family-based visa may engage in any legally-paid activity in Japan. Eligibility for a family visa requires that the candidate family visa holder prove that he or she is able to financially support his or her entire family.

--Applicants for family-related visas must prove that their marriage is legal and legitimate (i.e. not entered into solely for the purpose of acquiring a Japanese visa).

--if the applicant's spouse works for a company, the documents required for application for a certificate of eligibility are generally the following:
-Resident card, if any
-Photo ID
-Certificate of acceptance of notification of marriage or family register (Kosekitohon)
Marriage certificate, issued by the authority in the applicant's country
-Historical photos of the couple
-Financial documents
-Applicant's birth certificate
-Tax certificate of the spouse
-Letter from company of the spouse as proof of employment at that company
-Resident certificate issued by city or ward office
-Guarantor's letter

--Required documents depend on the country the applicant is from or the situation of the couple.


To obtain Japanese nationality, you must meet specific conditions, including these basic criteria:

  1. Must be a resident of Japan for five years or longer
  2. Have no criminal record or traffic offenses during that period
  3. Must be employed (a company employee or self-employed), or possess sufficient assets to support yourself

However, if you are the spouse of a Japanese national, you must meet the following conditions:

  1. Must be a resident of Japan for 3 years or longer
  2. Have no criminal record or traffic offenses
  3. Your spouse must be employed or self-employed, or have sufficient assets to support you both.

A document declaring that the applicant intends to relinquish his or her nationality must be submitted when applying for naturalization. Once Japanese nationality is acquired, the applicant's previous nationality must be officially relinquished.

Other visa types

it is possible to work as a part-time employee under a non-working visa, subject to approval of the Immigration Bureau. "Part-time" is defined as working no more than 28 hours per week during the school semester.

Other specific visa categories:

--Cultural activities (e.g. unpaid internships, study of Japanese culture-e.g. tea ceremony, Japanese flower arranging, etc.)
--Student (e.g. high school, college undergraduate and graduate students, Japanese-language students, vocational school students, etc.)
--Training (e.g. Trades-fishing, agriculture, food service, hospitality, etc.)
--Dependent (e.g. The spouse and children of a foreign national on a long-term stay)
--Designated activities (e.g. those foreign nationals who wish to enter Japan as privately-employed domestic workers, on working holidays, and paid internships etc.)

Visa application under the Points-Based System

Under the Points-Based System, foreign professionals who earn 70 points or more will be recognized as "highly skilled foreign professionals" and will be given preferential immigration treatment.

Click here to find the required visa-related documents and criteria for the Points-Based System:

Residence Card procedures (Loss of card, career change, divorce, etc.)

What is a resident card?

A resident card is issued to all mid- to long-term residents who have been granted permission for the following: residency, landing permission, permission for change of resident status and permission for extension of period-of-stay.

if your residence card is lost or stolen in another country, you must apply for a reissuance of your resident card. If you are not in Japan, you cannot enter Japan without that card. However, even if you are in another country and your card has been lost or stolen, BRIDGEWAY can ensure that you get a replacement card quickly, by applying for the residence card reissuance on your behalf through a power-of-attorney.

Visa Applications to Other Countries

It is necessary for some foreign nationals to obtain a visa for each trip outside of Japan; Obtaining this type of one-time or multiple travel visas is required for some holders or applicants. For business purposes, some foreign nationals may urgently need to obtain this type of travel visa on short notice. With the help of an immigration lawyer, it is possible to prepare this type of visa application on short notice BRIDGEWAY can assure that its clients get the last-minute documents that they need to grow their businesses.

Visa procedures and processing time varies based on the regulations of each country. However, we have significant experience in processing foreign visa applications.

Contact Information


We offer translation services in order to report change in marriage status, obtain a passport for a new-born baby or obtain a visa for Japan or for other countries. For a price quotation for any translation work, please email or fax to BRIDGEWAY the scanned copy of the documents that need to be translated.

Following are requirements for translated documents:

Family Register-Japan has a unique system of recording its residents personal data; this is the Family Registry System (in Japanese: "Koseki"). Each person born in Japan becomes part of his or her family register, and the family receives an actual document called "Koseki tohon (referred to as Family Register hereinafter). The Family Register includes a family's personal information, such as family name, relationship, date of birth, marriage, etc.

A translated Family Register in English may substitute for a marriage certificate, which is required as a supporting document when applying for another country's visa.

Those Japanese nationals marrying a foreign national living in Japan need to submit a marriage report to their city or ward office. After registering their marriage, the city or ward office will issue a family register. Then, you need to submit the translated Family Register to the embassy or consulate of the foreign national spouse to report the marriage status;

Marriage Certificate -If a couple (Japanese and non-Japanese spouse) is married outside of Japan, a copy of the marriage certificate, in the language of the issuing country/authority must be submitted to the Japanese government. Also, when the foreign national spouse applies for a Japanese visa, the couple's marriage certificate issued by a foreign authority must be submitted to Japanese Immigration as a supporting document.

Translation of Professional Resume

If you intend to work or live in Japan or another country, your visa application package may require a resume as a supporting document.

We can translate your resume from English to Japanese quickly and accurately. Our extensive business experience gives us an excellent grasp of specialized business and technical terminology.

Translation of driver's license

In order to open a bank account in foreign country, a driver's license may be presented to the bank as proof-of-residence or proof-of-identity.

Passport Certificate, Notarization and Apostille

Passport Certificate

In order to open a bank account in a foreign country, a passport certificate can be used as proof of identity. A passport certificate is a document that verifies that the passport holder's passport is authentic.

We are licensed to generate passport certificates; as an administrative attorney, we have the legal authority (under provision l.2 of the Administrative Attorneys' Law, entitled "Documentation for Attesting the Fact") to certify that your passport is a legally valid document. This process is required to obtain a Passport Certificate.
Please email or fax us a copy of your passport and driver's license. The cost for this service is 5,400 yen per signature (cost includes 8% consumption tax).

Notarization or Apostille

Documents used for legal purposes in Japan or other countries may require notarization by a notarizing official. The individual who needs to have a document or documents notarized must appear in person at a notary or our office, present proper identification (a valid passport and one valid official ID such as a driver's license) and pay the appropriate fee.

While both BRIDGEWAY and a notary office can certify that you have signed and sworn or affirmed under oath that the contents of a document(s) are true, a notary office CANNOT, UNDER LAW, offer legal advice regarding the form or content of the documents to be notarized. Bridgeway Legal Services can and will offer you legal advice on the documents that need to be notarized.

What is an Apostille?

An "apostille" is a form of authentication used for documents and is used in countries that have joined the Hague Convention of 1961.
A list of countries that accept apostilles ( is provided by the Hague Conference.

If the country of intended use has not joined the Hague Convention, then the documents being sent to that country can be "authenticated" or "certified".

The notary office provides apostille and authentication services to Japanese and foreign nationals for documents that will be used overseas. Such documents include: corporate documents such as company bylaws and articles of incorporation, power-of-attorney, academic diplomas, letters relating to marital status and job certifications, home studies, distributorship agreements, papers for adoption purposes, etc.

Contact Information

Office Name Bridgeway Legal Services
Representative Fumiko Ito
Address Koyo Building 3rd Floor, 1-8-4 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan 104-0045
TEL +81-3-6278-8232


Koyo Building 3rd Floor, 1-8-4 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan 104-0045

◆How to find us◆
○ 2 min. walk from Ext. 2 of Shintomicho Station (Yurakucho Line)
○ 3 min. walk from Ext. 4 of Tsukiji Station(Hibiya Line)
○ 6 min. walk from Ext. A7 of HigashiGinza Station (Hibiya Line, Asakusa Line)
○ 9 min. walk from Ext. A13 of Ginza Station (Ginza Line, Marunouchi Line)

Contact Us

Click here!