Day job to freelancing - Immigration process

I have a valid Engineer Visa till 2018 April.

Currently I am in a day Job. I am now going to start to be a freelancer. My client is based in US. According to the contract, the salary is more than 5 million Yen (contract done in USD).

I have below queries.

  1. Should I go and intimate the immigration that I had quit my job and that I am going to work as a freelancer? Is there any such rule and is it seriously imposed?
  2. If I need to intimate about my quitting and starting to work as a freelancer, would I need some documents or just go and declare this?

If anyone has experience with this, any advice or clarification would be much appreciated.

First off, it’s hard to give blanket statements about what is the best approach, as it really depends on individual situations. I’d recommend talking with several immigration lawyers about this. Normally they’re willing to have a quick chat for free with the intention of you using them when you do renew your visa. You may find that some think it is impossible to do what you want to do, and in that case I’d just talk with other ones.

As I understand it, there is no problem with doing freelancing under an Engineer Visa. I’m not sure what the procedure is regarding immigration, and this is something I’d seek advice from a lawyer about.

You may have an issue when going to renew your visa though. Though it is possible to self sponsor your Engineering visa renewal, if you only have one client, you might run into issues. Normally freelancers are supposed to have multiple clients, otherwise they can be considered employees of the company they are working for. I think this is more of an issue from a tax perspective though, and am not sure how immigration handles it.

You also have the option of creating a company in Japan. If you create a company and have that company invoice the US one, it’s perhaps the cleanest, but also has the most overhead.