Frequently Asked Questions
Table of Contents:
1. Do I need a diploma or teaching certificate to apply for JET?
You have to hold at least a Bachelor's Degree or obtain one prior to departure for Japan. Teaching certification or teaching experience is not required to apply for the JET Programme.
2. Do I need a Bachelor's Degree in Japanese, English, or Education to apply for JET?
No, a Bachelor's Degree in any field is acceptable.
3. Do I need a teaching experience in an actual school to apply for JET?
No, teaching experience in a school is not required for participation in the JET Programme.
4. Do I need a TESL/TEFL certificate to apply for JET?
A few contracting organizations participating in the JET Programme do request JET participants with this type of certification. however, it is not a "MUST" to apply for the Programme.
5. I graduated from a TAFE College. Can I apply for this program?
No, you must have a University Bachelor's Degree or complete at least a Bachelor's Degree by the time you depart for Japan.
6. I don't have Australian citizenship but I am a permanent resident of Australia and speak English. Can I apply for JET?
You cannot apply for the JET Programme through the Embassy of Japan in Canberra. The Embassy in Canberra accepts applications from Australian citizens only. If you are a citizen of any of the other countries participating in the JET Programme, you may apply through the country in which you have citizenship. You must contact the Embassy of Japan or Consulate General of Japan in your home country to request an application.
7. I am not currently an Australian citizen but have applied for citizenship. Can I still apply for JET through Australia?
Yes, but only if you will become a citizen of Australia by the application deadline.
8. I have dual nationality with Japan and one of the countries participating in the JET Programme. Can I still apply for JET?
Yes, but you must renounce your Japanese citizenship before departing for Japan. Please contact the Embassy of Japan or one of the Japanese consulates for further information.
9. I have participated in the JET Programme in the past. Can I apply again?
Former JETs can reapply but only if they have not participated in the program in the last three years or been on the Programme for more than five years in total.
10. In the past, I applied to JET, was accepted, and then withdrew. Can I apply again?
In general, if you withdrew before you were notified of your placement, you can re-apply for JET during any Programme year. If you withdrew after your placement information was given to you and you had an unavoidable reason for withdrawing, you may re-apply during any program year. An example of an unavoidable reason is the serious illness or death of a family member. The final decision on whether your reason for withdrawing was unavoidable and whether you can re-apply will be determined by the JET Program Office at the Embassy of Japan. If you withdrew after you were notified of your placement information without an unavoidable reason, you are not eligible to re-apply for at least one program year. If you previously applied as an Australian citizen and would like to re-apply for the current program year but are not certain if you are eligible, please contact the JET Program Coordinator at the consulate-General of Japan in Sydney on (02) 9250 1000.
11. I have lived in Japan in the past. Can I still apply for JET?
Yes, as long as you have not lived in Japan for six or more years in total in the past 10 years.
COMPLETING THE APPLICATION
1. Can I use a previous JET Programme application form to apply for the current JET Programme intake?
No, you cannot. We make slight changes to the application every year, therefore, you should NOT use an application from a previous Programme year. Using an old application form may result in the disqualification of your application.
2. I am fully qualified for the Programme. Can I apply directly in Japan?
No, you cannot. You must apply through the country in which you have citizenship provided that country is one of the countries which participates in the JET Programme.
3. Can I fill in the application by hand?
Yes, you may fill in the application by hand as long as you write neatly. If your application is not legible, you may lose credit for experience or other qualifications that we cannot read. Due to the high volume of applications received each year, we do not have time to call individual applicants for clarification. A neat and well-prepared application also indicates the applicant's professionalism and serious desire to become a JET Programme participant.
4. Can I apply for both the CIR and ALT positions?
If you apply for the CIR position but are not offered it, you can be considered for the ALT position.
5. Can I use the same application form which is used for the CIR and ALT positions to apply for the SEA position?
No, you cannot. The SEA application is different and recruitment for SEAs takes place only when an SEA is requested in a specific field. Also it is not offered every year.
6. Will I be disqualified if my application is on time but my transcripts and/or reference letters arrive past the deadline?
It is likely that your application will be disqualified if your materials arrive past the deadline. We strongly encourage applicants to send all materials together in one envelope prior to the deadline. The JET Programme Office is not responsible for lost or late materials. Final decisions about whether lost or late materials will be accepted will be made by the JET Programme Coordinator at the Consulate or Embassy of Japan's JET Programme Office.
7. Can I send in my transcripts and or/or reference letters separately from my application?
It is not encouraged. We strongly encourage applicants to send all materials together in one envelope prior to the deadline. The JET Programme Office is not responsible for lost or late materials.
8. The JET Programme only requires participants to have a Bachelor's Degree. Does this mean that I only need to send in the transcript from the courses I took at my undergraduate university?
As stated in the application booklet, applicants must send transcripts from ALL undergraduate and postgraduate course work attended, including community college, junior college, study abroad, and any associate's degree transcripts. ALL transcripts should show the names of the courses taken, the dates, and the grades received. In addition, study abroad transcripts should show where the study abroad took palace. Please read the instructions regarding transcripts in the application booklet CAREFULLY. If your transcripts do not show the required information, your application will likely be disqualified.
9. Do I need to have official transcripts or will a copy of my transcripts downloaded from the Internet be acceptable?
Official transcripts are preferable. Official transcripts are generally on the school's letter head, contain an embossed seal, and the registrar's signature. The JET Programme will usually accept unofficial transcripts as long as they have the registrar's seal and/or signature and show no signs of tampering. The Consulate-General of Japan's JET Programme Office will make the final determination on whether an unofficial transcript is acceptable.
Transcripts downloaded from the Internet will not be accepted. Both official and unofficial transcripts should show the names of the courses taken, the dates, and the grades received. Study abroad transcripts should show the courses taken, grades, dates, and city and country where the study abroad took place. If you cannot get an official transcript of your study abroad, a document from your university or study abroad program showing the courses taken, dates, grades, and city and country where the study abroad took place is acceptable.
10. I am currently in graduate school and my graduate school transcript contains information about my undergraduate course work. Is this acceptable?
It is acceptable as long as the graduate transcript shows the name of the undergraduate courses taken, the dates, and the grades received.
11. The JET Programme application asks for my employment history. Is it okay just to attach my resume?
No, you must fill out the official application completely. However, since this employment section has limited space, you may add maximum a one-page attachment in the same format as the application. Please first use the spaces on the application from before adding an attachment. You should indicate on the application that you are including an attachment. Resumes will be discarded at the time your application is opened by the JET Programme Office, and you will receive credit only for the experience written on the application from or in an attachment as described above.
12. How will I know if the JET Desk has received my applications?
We recommend that all applicants include a stamped, unsealed, self-addressed envelope with their application. Enclosed in the envelope will be an acknowledgement of receipt. Please not that receipts will be returned as soon as possible, however, there may be a delay during the busiest period in November and December. It may not be possible to confirm receipt of an application until sometime after the deadline has passed.
1. What is the JET Programme's selection procedure?
Applications must be submitted to the Embassy of Japan in Canberra by the application deadline in November. During December and January, applications are processed and reviewed. Applicants are notified by late December/early January whether or not they have been selected for an interview. Interviews are generally held in late January to early February. After interviews, the results of the application review and interviews are sent to Tokyo where the final decisions are made. Applicants will be notified of these final decisions sometime in March (for April departures) and in April (for July departures). If an applicant is selected as a Programme participant, he or she will depart for Japan in mid April or late July.
2. What are the general criteria for selection to the JET Programme?
There are three general criteria for selection to the JET Programme. Applicants for both the Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) and Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) positions MUST
1) be an Australian citizen
3. What are you looking for in ALT candidates?
Applicants should be motivated to teach English, work with kids, and participate in international exchange activities. They should also be flexible and adaptable to new cultures, as well as having a good understanding of their own country and culture and be willing to share this knowledge with people of other cultures. Finally, applicants should be open-minded and interested in learning about Japanese language and culture.
4. What are you looking for in CIR candidates?
Applicants should be motivated to participate in international exchange activities. CIR applicants should have a functional command of the Japanese language at a semi-advanced or advanced level in the areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing. As the duties of CIRs often include translating and interpreting, CIR candidates must also demonstrate a good command of English. In addition, they should be flexible and adaptable to new cultures, as well as having a good understanding of their own country and culture and be willing to share this knowledge with people of other cultures. Finally, applicants should be open-minded and interested in learning more about Japanese language and culture.
5. I don't have any Japanese language ability. Is this a disadvantage for selection?
For CIR candidates this will disqualify you. For ALT candidates, in general, not having any Japanese language ability will not disqualify you. However, it could be a disadvantage if the available contracting organizations request ALTs with some Japanese language skills.
6. I can speak a little Japanese but not well. Can I still apply for the CIR position?
Japanese language ability is required for CIR participants since they assist with international exchange activities in the local communities. Applicants need semi-advanced or advanced Japanese skills to function successfully as CIRs. Applicants at a semi-advanced level should have mastered grammar at a relatively high level, 1000 kanji (reading, writing and pronunciation), a vocabulary of around 6000 words and should be able to demonstrate listening and reading comprehension ability about matters of a general nature. Applicants at an advanced level should have mastered grammar at a high level, 2000 kanji (reading, writing and pronunciation), a vocabulary of around 10,000 words, and should have an integrated command of the language sufficient for life in Japanese society and for providing a useful base for study at a Japanese university. Interviews of CIR applicants are conducted partly in Japanese.
7. Will previous stays in Japan help me in the selection process?
Yes, previous stays will help you in the selection process because they reflect your interest in Japan and Japanese culture, possible Japanese language ability, and your adaptability to Japanese life. However, if you stayed in Japan for six or more years in total in the past 10 years, you are not eligible to apply for the JET Programme.
8. Is it possible for a participant to be disqualified after he or she has been offered a position on the JET Programme?
Yes, a participant or an applicant can be disqualified from the program without warning in the following circumstances:
- the participant/applicant engages in conduct which is considered unsuitable for a JET Programme participant or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the participant/applicant may engage in such behavior;
9. If I am chosen as an alternate, what are the chances that I will be upgraded to a participant and offered a position on the JET Programme?
An alternate is offered a position when a participant withdraws from the Programme. The JET Programme cannot foresee when candidates will withdraw and so cannot guarantee that an alternate will be upgraded.
10. How are married/engaged/companion couples treated in the selection process?
Married/engaged/companion couples are treated the same as unmarried/single applicants. Therefore, we cannot guarantee placement together for couples, however if it is a married couple, the chances are greater.
11. I have a criminal record. What role will this play in selection?
A criminal record will not necessarily disqualify you. However, the seriousness of the crime will be taken into account and a final decision will be made in Tokyo regarding whether or not to offer the applicant a position with the programme.
12. If I am offered a position on the JET Programme, may I defer my acceptance until the following year?
Generally, no. If you are accepted as a participant you may not defer JET Programme participation unless there is some factor restricting your ability to fulfill the duties of the job and a contracting organization cannot be found to accommodate you. If, for the following JET year, it is determined that the factors which hindered your ability to perform the duties of the job no longer exist, you will not be required to complete an application form again if you still wish to participate in the JET Programme. When such situations arise, final decisions about whether or not the applicant can defer participation will be made by our Tokyo office.
1. I was selected for an interview but would like to interview in a location different from the one I indicated on my application. Is this possible?
No, in most cases it is not possible to change your interview location.
2. I was selected for an interview but will be living in another country during the time of the interviews. This country does participate in the JET programme. Is it possible to interview there?
No, you MUST interview in your home country. The number of participants is decided by country and each country uses its own criteria to select participants.
3. If I am selected for an interview but cannot attend for various reasons (i.e. living and working in a foreign country, traveling to a foreign country etc.) how will this affect my candidacy?
You will be disqualified if you cannot attend the interview.
4. Is it possible to reschedule the interview for a date other than that indicated by the Embassy or Consulate?
No, interviews for Australian participants will only be held during the dates specified by the Embassy or Consulate. Due to the large number of interviews conducted we cannot accommodate individual schedules. No exceptions. The information for the interviews is usually announced at the end of January or beginning of February.
PLACEMENT IN JAPAN
1. How are placements allocated?
The Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) considers the requests of both contracting organisations and participants. CLAIR then submits their proposals to the Special Mediator Committee consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and local governments. This committee makes the final decisions on participant placements.
2. What weight are participant placement requests given?
All requests are considered but due to the varying needs of each contracting organization it is difficult to satisfy every request. In all cases, the JET Programme cannot guarantee any placement requests.
3. I have lived in Japan in the past. Is it possible to be posted to the place where I used to live?
Applicants are encouraged to indicate on the application (Question 16) if they have any placement requests. However, the JET Programme cannot guarantee any requests.
4. If both my spouse and I apply to the JET Programme, can we be posted to the same place?
All applicants are considered as individuals during the selection process. However, the JET Programme does try to place married couples in the same area but cannot guarantee placement together.
5. What is the possibility of teaching in universities/tertiary Institutions?
There have been no participants teaching at the university/tertiary Institution level since 1992. The purpose of the JET Programme is to enrich foreign language education primarily in Japanese elementary, junior high and senior high schools.
6. Is there any possibility of teaching at a private company?
No, there is no possibility.
7. Before departing for Japan can participants change their placements?
No, under no circumstances can participants change their placements.
8. Why is placement and working condition information not given to participants when they receive their offer of a position on the JET Programme?
Placements are not decided until after successful candidates have been chosen and agree to accept a position with the Programme.
9. After receiving the notice of placement and contracting organization information can the participant make changes?
No, under no circumstances can participants change their placement or contracting organization.
10. How can I get information regarding the area in which I will be placed and my working conditions?
Your contracting organization will give you this information.
11. After arriving in Japan, can I change my placement?
Generally you cannot change your placement after arriving in Japan. However, under extraordinary circumstances placement changes may be considered.
1. What kind of visa is issued to JET Programme participants and for how long is it valid?
Participants are issued working visas as CIRs (Specialist in Humanities/International Services visa) or as ALTs (Instructor visa) for a length of three years.
2. Can I obtain a visa in an Embassy or Consulate General of Japan outside of Australia?
In general, you must obtain the special visa for the JET Programme from the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan where you were interviewed or from which you will depart.
3. When is the visa issued?
It is usually issued in time for the Pre-departure Orientation.
4. How can I obtain a visa?
If you are a JET Programme participant, the JET Programme Office at the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan where you were interviewed will issue you a visa. All participants will have to provide the JET Programme Office with a signed and completed visa application from, passport (with at least one blank page for the visa sticker), and one 3cm x 4cm (passport-sized) photo. All passports with visa stickers will usually be returned to participants at the Pre-departure Orientation.
5. What kind of visa is provided to family members who accompany JET participants?
Family members are issued general visas for dependents for a length of stay of 3 years and a one-time entry.
6. Can a non-JET spouse obtain a work visa for Japan?
If a non-JET spouse wants to arrange a job before entering Japan, the work visa must be obtained prior to entering Japan. The company which is making the job offer must first provide a Certificate of Eligibility which is required in order to obtain this type of visa. If a non-JET spouse wants to arrange work after entering Japan, he or she can apply at the local immigration office for a provision that permits the spouse to work a maximum of 20 hours a week. The JET Program does not assist non-JET spouses in finding employment or in getting work visas.
7. If a participant wishes to accompany his or her fiancee, or girlfriend/boyfriend, or de-facto wife/husband to Japan, what kind of visa can he or she get?
Under Japanese law, a fiancee, girlfriend/boyfriend, and de-facto wife/husband are not considered the same as a spouse and cannot obtain a dependent visa. However, they can get a short-term tourist visa that has a maximum length of stay of 90 days.
8. What is the procedure for departing and re-entering Japan?
Participants on the JET Programme are permitted to depart from and then re-enter Japan within the permitted term of their visa. In the case of re-entry, JET Programme participants do not need to obtain new visas.