Frequently Asked Questions 

 

If you have questions about the JET Program, please check through the Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions and the subject areas for the FAQ. If you can't find the answer here, then contact the JET Program Office.

 

 

TOP 10 MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Some of my answers are cut off when I preview the completed application. That’s ok, right?

No. All answers must be visible in full in the printed application. It is this hard-copy which is reviewed by our selection committee, not the online form. When completing answers, do not use the “Enter” key to create vertical lists, write in paragraph format to ensure your information will fit.

 

 

My relevant courses are listed in my transcript. Do I really need to write them out in the application as well?

Yes. If you do not write them in the application you will not get credit for them. Application reviewers check many applications. Make it easy for them to give you credit for what you have accomplished, even if it means some redundancy. When in doubt, write it out.

Additionally, if you have more information than will fit into the application form (i.e. there is space to list five answers, but you took six courses), please create a separate document and list the relevant information. This should be included in the hard-copy application packet which is submitted to the JET Program Office at the Embassy of Japan.

 

 

My transcript is in a sealed envelope that says it will not be official if removed. How should I make copies?

Many colleges and universities will seal the envelope that the transcript arrives with a notice that it will no longer be official if opened. The JET Program Office requires official transcripts, however, for the purposes of our application please remove the transcript from the envelope to make photocopies. Include two photocopies in your sets of application documents. You do not need to include the empty envelope.

 

 

Who can fill out the Physician’s Form or Certificate of Health?

A doctor or mental health specialist with knowledge of your condition(s) and medical/mental health history should fill out the form(s). This doctor should not be a family member. A Registered Nurse Practitioner can also complete the form. A Physician’s Assistant cannot sign off on the form unless it is co-signed by the practicing doctor.

 

 

Can I apply before I graduate?

Yes, if you will be graduating from an accredited university with a Bachelor's degree by July 1 of the departure year, you are eligible to apply for the JET Program. With your application, you must also provide an official statement from your college or university that you are currently enrolled and the date that you are expected to graduate.

We will accept a statement or certificate of expected graduation from the registrar’s office, from a dean’s office, academic advisor, or from the National Student Clearinghouse. 

NOTE: if the date listed is too vague to determine that you will graduate by July 1, 2015 (e.g. Summer 2015, etc.) it will not be accepted as adequate proof of expected date of graduation. Likewise, if the proof of expected graduation does not show the correct date (e.g. the applicant will graduate June 2015, but the proof says June 2016) it will not be accepted. It is the applicant's responsibility to check that the date is correct.

 

 

Why can't I send documents separately?

Your application will not be disqualified if documents are sent in separately, however it is beneficial to the applicant to submit a complete application.

The Washington DC JET Office receives several thousand applications every year. Sorting all of the applications takes a great deal of time and work; having pieces sent in separately only prolongs the checking process and increases the possibility that a vital part of an application may become lost or not matched with the rest of the application. The JET Program Office does not take responsibility for documents which are lost or misplaced due to being sent in separately from the main application.

 

 

When are the departure dates for the 2014 JET Program?

The departure date for those selected for Early Departure will be April 7, 2015. Individuals who select Early Departure can also be selected to depart at any time between mid-April and mid-July.

Dates for the main summer departure are as follows:

Group A: July 25, 2015

Group B: August 1, 2015

 

 

I'm a U.S. resident, but not a citizen. Can I still apply through the U.S.?

No, to be considered eligible in the United States, you must have U.S. citizenship by the application deadline. Please contact the Embassy of Japan of your country of citizenship to learn more about applying for the JET Program. A list of countries currently participating on the JET Program is available at the JET Program international website at http://www.jetprogramme.org/e/aspiring/countries.html

 

 

What are my chances of being selected for the JET Program?

The JET Program application process is very competitive. Several thousand applications are received each year, of which only a portion are invited to an interview. Of those interviewed, the top candidates are selected to participate. While we do not release statistics related to the application, interview, or selection process, general statistics about JETs currently in Japan can be found here.

 

 

What jobs do JET participants find after completing the JET Program?

Our alumni network is almost 60,000 strong and reaches around the globe. Former JET Program participants can be found in every sector: business, government, non-profit, education, and more.

After deciding to end their contract, JET participants can attend a Returnees Conference in Tokyo with seminars and workshops on how to plan the next stage of their careers. There are also 52 regional JET Alumni Association chapters around the world, including 19 here in the United States, which host networking events to assist newly returned JETs.

There's nothing JETs can't do!

 

 

ELIGIBILITY

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What are your requirements?

To apply through the Embassy of Japan in the U.S., applicants must hold U.S. citizenship by the application deadline, complete a bachelor’s degree by July 1 of the year of departure, have native or near native English speaking proficiency and not have lived six or more years in Japan since 2005. See the explanations on the Positions page for the job duties related to applying as an ALT or CIR and the Eligibility Requirements page for a list of all eligibility requirements, including the Japanese language proficiency criteria for CIRs.

 

 

I'm a U.S. resident, but not a citizen. Can I still apply through the U.S.?

No, to be considered eligible in the United States, you must have U.S. citizenship by the application deadline. Please contact the Embassy of Japan of your country of citizenship to learn more about applying for the JET Program. A list of countries currently participating on the JET Program is available at the JET Program international website.

 

 

I’m a U.S. citizen currently living overseas. Can I still apply to the JET Program?

Yes, you are eligible to apply for the JET Program and in fact we have a number of applicants each year who apply while studying, living, and working overseas. Application materials will be available online in the fall and materials must be received in the JET Program Office in Washington, DC by the deadline so be careful to leave enough time for the materials to be delivered. If selected for an interview ALL U.S. JET applicants must interview in person at one of the designated interview locations. Overseas applicants will NOT be able to interview at the U.S. Embassy in Japan, at Japanese embassies in foreign countries, by phone, or by Skype.

 

 

Is a junior or associate's degree sufficient to be eligible?

No, to be considered eligible for the JET Program in the United States, you must have at least a Bachelor's degree from an accredited university before July 1 of the departure year. Alternatively, applicants will be eligible if they have completed at least a 3-year course for education/teacher-training program for elementary, middle, or high school.

 

 

Can I apply before I graduate?

Yes, if you will be graduating from an accredited university with a Bachelor's degree by July 1 of the departure year, you are eligible to apply for the JET Program. With your application, you must also provide an official statement from your college or university that you are currently enrolled and the date that you are expected to graduate.

We will accept a statement or certificate of expected graduation from the registrar’s office, from a dean’s office, or from the National Student Clearinghouse. We will NOT accept a letter from a professor or academic advisor.

NOTE: if the date listed is too vague to determine that you will graduate by July 1, 2015 (i.e. Summer 2015, etc.) it will not be accepted as adequate proof of expected date of graduation. It is the applicants responsibility to check that the date is correct.

 

 

Can I apply if I have dual citizenship?

Yes, you can apply. However, if you have dual citizenship between the U.S. and Japan, then you must renounce your Japanese citizenship before departing for Japan if accepted. If your citizenship is between the United States and another country which participates in the JET Program, then you may only apply through one them.

 

 

What kind of applicant are you looking for?

JET looks for enthusiastic young people with an interest in Japan and a desire to teach about their languages and cultures. JET annually hires applicants from a multitude of ethnic, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds with varied interests and skills. There is no single "type" of JET the program looks for. However, while any undergraduate major is acceptable, a background (or at least a genuine interest) in Japanese history, culture, and language is beneficial and strongly recommended. Enthusiasm, dedication, and a heartfelt interest in the program are all desired attributes and can reflect very positively upon a candidate. We encourage applicants to be honest and earnest in both their applications and their interviews. However, given the program's popularity, not all qualified candidates can be chosen. Visit the explanations on the Positions page for requirements specific to ALTs and CIRs.

 

 

Will I still be considered if I have a criminal record?

Applicants should read the information on disqualification listed under the eligibility requirements page.

 

Applications with criminal records will be carefully reviewed, and decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis. It is important to honestly answer the questions regarding criminal history in the application and provide as full and detailed an explanation as possible. Failure to honestly and completely answer these questions can result in the application being dropped from consideration. Applicants with criminal records must submit an FBI Criminal History Check to the Washington, DC JET Program office by January 15.

All applicants who are eventually selected for the JET Program will also have to undergo a background check as well, so it is better to list anything that might appear on such a check. If an applicant arrested, charged or convicted in the time between submission of the application and departure for Japan, they are mandated to inform the JET Program Office immediately. Failure to do so may result in disqualification.

 

 

Will everyone who is eligible be hired?

The JET Program is very competitive and unfortunately not all who apply, not even all who are eligible, will be hired. Several thousand applications are received each year and of these, less than half are typically invited to interview. Of those who are interviewed, not all are offered a position in Japan on the JET Program. For any given year, the number of JETs who will be hired varies depending on the needs of boards of education and local governments in Japan.

 

 

How many JETs does the U.S. accept each year?

Acceptance rates vary from year to year depending upon how many current JETs choose to stay or leave and depending upon the needs of various contracting organizations. To see current country statistics, please click here.

 

 

Do I have to know Japanese to be eligible?

ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) applicants are not required to have any knowledge of the Japanese language, although it is beneficial and highly recommended to have some speaking ability before going to Japan. Those applying for the CIR (Coordinator for International Relations) position must have at least a semi-advanced to advanced level of Japanese proficiency (approximately JLPT level N2 or above) in order to be considered eligible.

 

 

How much Japanese do I have to know to be eligible as a CIR candidate?

CIR duties can vary but generally involve a great deal of translation and interpretation between Japanese and English (in the case of CIRs from the U.S.). Therefore, CIRs must have a very high-level of Japanese comprehension in the areas of speaking, reading, listening and writing. Knowing katakana, hiragana and only a few kanji is not sufficient to be eligible for the CIR position. As a benchmark, eligible CIR applicants should be at roughly a JLPT level N2 or N1 (semi-advanced to advanced) proficiency level.

 

Applicants who have passed the JLPT or some other proficiency test are encouraged to submit copies of those results in their application packet. Please note that it is not required that CIR applicants must have taken the JLPT exam in order to be selected for the JET Program, however they must have language ability sufficient to be able to do so.

 

 

Does saying I like anime and manga ruin my chances?

No. We know that many of our applicants become interested in Japan from a variety of sources, including anime, manga, music, tea ceremony, martial arts, etc... These are not negative things, and are actually quite common amongst current and former JETs. At the same time, they represent only a small portion of Japanese culture, and can create unrealistic impressions and understandings of Japan and Japanese life. While having Japanese hobbies can be an excellent introduction to the country, it is important that applicants understand the limitations as well as the benefits to these pursuits.

 

 

Can I apply in the U.S. if I am a U.S. citizen but live in a U.S. territory where English is not necessarily the primary language?

Yes, all U.S. citizens meeting eligibility requirements can apply for the JET Program through the United States, regardless if they live in a state or territory. Applicants can apply to interview and depart through any of the designated interview/departure locations.

For those whose first language is not English, your English proficiency will be tested through your application and interview, if passed to that stage. The United States only sends JETs to Japan to assist with English teaching or training, and therefore it is important that all selected JETs have excellent English comprehension and pronunciation.

 

 

I have a lot of teaching experience, but not a Bachelor's degree or 3-year teaching certificate. Am I still eligible to apply?

No, the requirements are very firm. Regardless of experience, an applicant must have a Bachelor's degree or a 3-year teaching certificate by July 1 of the departure year in order to be eligible for the JET Program.

 

 

Am I ineligible if I have tattoos? What about if I have body piercings or an unusual hair style/color?

An applicant is not ineligible for having tattoos, body piercings, an unusual hair style or color, or any other similar type of body modification. However, as with many workplaces, a school or contracting organization may be very wary of JETs who do have any of these things. JETs may be asked to cover tattoos, remove clearly visible body piercings, and change their hairstyles and color to create a more professional, neutral appearance. Whether or not a JET chooses to do this is largely an independent choice, but not complying with a school or board of education's request could create conflict.

We encourage JETs with tattoos, body piercings and unusual hair to be flexible and to understand that, in Japan, these expressions of individual style can be looked down upon and in some cases can have very negative connotations. At the same time, some schools or contracting organizations may have no problem with them whatsoever and may, in some cases, welcome these as signs of a JET's personal creativity and uniqueness. Be aware that applicants must note the size and location of any tattoo(s) or body piercings(s) on the Self-Assessment Medical Form.

 

EARLY PLACEMENT

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What is Early Placement (also known as April Placement)?

While the standard JET Program contract year begins in late July/early August, some contracting organizations in Japan request to have a JET participant to arrive in spring. Applicants who indicate their willingness to depart early, and are able to meet the additional eligibility requirements, may be selected to depart between April and July. Requesting consideration for Early Departure does not increase your chances of being selected for the JET Program. Visit the Early Placement section on the Placement information page for more details.

 

 

What if I am selected for Early Placement but decide that cannot leave in the time frame indicated? Can I turn down Early Placement and just leave with the regular departure groups in the summer?

No. If an applicant indicates they are willing to accept Early Placement in their application, reconfirms it at the interview, and then is selected for Early Placement, they must be prepared to depart at any time between April and July with perhaps only a few weeks notice. Applicants who turn down their Early Placement selection are withdrawing from the entire application process for that year and will not be eligible to leave for Japan with the summer departure groups in late July/early August.

 

 

What happens if I apply for Early Placement but I am not selected?

Not all applicants who request Early Placement will be selected. We anticipate there will only be a few dozen openings that will be filled by Early Placement candidates from around the world. In those cases where applicants requested but were not selected for Early Placement, they will still be considered for participation with the groups departing in July and August.

 

INFORMATION SESSIONS & CAREER FAIRS

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Will a JET Program representative be coming to my school this year?

JET Program representatives visit many career fairs and Japan-related events around the country. Many also hold on-campus information sessions to provide interested applicants with a more in-depth introduction to JET as well as an opportunity to ask questions.

Scheduling for these events is handled by the JET Program Office at the consulate general of Japan responsible for your jurisdiction. You can visit the JET Program Calendar for a view of the events around the country or contact your local JET Program Office to find out if they will be visiting your area. You can also find out more by liking the JET Program on Facebook or following us on Twitter.

 

 

When/where will the information sessions take place this year? What will be covered?

Recruiting sessions take place on several university campuses in the fall, usually in September and October. These sessions are held either by a JET Program Coordinator or by JET alumni. Typically, these sessions involve watching a short movie that looks at the program in general, daily life as a JET, and the differences among the three job positions. Please view the Calendar for information on upcoming information sessions around the U.S.

 

 

What should I bring to meet the JET representative at the career fair or information session?

A resume is not required for the JET Program application, so it is not necessary to bring one to a JET Program representative at a career fair or information session. Do bring something to take notes on and any questions you may have!

 

HOW TO APPLY

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Where can I pick up a copy of the application?

The JET Program application is no longer available at Embassies or Consulates General of Japan in hardcopy. All information and application materials are available online. Please see the information on the How to Apply page for detailed instructions on application procedures and requirements.

 

 

Can I apply again if I applied last year? What if I turned down a position? What if I'm currently on an alternate list?

You may apply again in a following year if you were unsuccessful or placed on an alternate list. If you were offered a position and you turned it down BEFORE finding out your assigned placement, you may reapply in the following year.

 

However, if you turned down the position AFTER learning of your placement assignment then you must wait one (1) year before reapplying. If you turned down a position after learning of your placement assignment on account of extenuating circumstances (such as a death in the family or serious illness), please contact the Washington, DC JET Program Office at jetprogram@ws.mofa.go.jp.

 

If you are reapplying this year while still on an alternate list from the previous JET Program application cycle, you can do so and also still be eligible to be upgraded until mid-December. Please notify your JET Program coordinator upon being upgraded if you have submitted an application for the new application year.

 

 

Can I apply for both the CIR and ALT positions?

No, you can only apply for one at a time, not both concurrently. Do NOT submit more than one application.

Due to the high competition for CIR positions, CIR applicants are able to indicate their willingness to accept an ALT position if a CIR position is not available for therm. These candidates must first pass all eligibility requirements for CIR applicants at the application stage, including the Japanese language proficiency requirement. CIR applicants who do not have language ability sufficient to be eligible for the CIR position, will not be considered for any position on the JET Program.

 

If the CIR applicant passes the initial screening and is invited to interview, he/she will be asked to demonstrate their Japanese language ability. At this point, if the applicant also appears well-suited to the ALT position, then they may be asked to consider a position as an ALT. CIRs may also be placed on an alternate candidate list, pending a position for a CIR becoming available.

ALTs do not have an option to be considered for the CIR position.

 

 

When can I apply for the JET Program?

An general timeline of the JET application cycle is available on the Aspiring JETs page, though specific dates may vary from year to year. JET applications for U.S. citizens become available on the JET Program USA website in October the autumn before the departure year. The deadline for submission is in November. We strongly recommend that potential applicants sign up on our homepage to receive email updates when new information is posted to the website. 

 

 

After I fill out the online form, is my application complete?

No. After filling out the online form, please be sure that you hit the “Submit” button. Each year, many individuals preview the application and forget to submit it online. Once your application is submitted online, you will shortly receive a confirmation email. After submitting the application online, you must print the full document, sign in the appropriate places, and collect all required supplemental documents. Applicants must provide a set of originals and two sets of photocopies of all documents and send the complete application packet to the JET Program Office at the Embassy of Japan in Washington DC on or before the application deadline. Visit the How to Apply page for more information.

 

 

Can I send additional materials, such as my resume or CV?

While some additional information (such as results of language proficiency tests) can be beneficial, other materials like artwork portfolios, pictures, and resumes will be discarded prior to review. Please limit your application packet to include only those items requested and/or directly relevant for the program. In particular, the How to Apply information specifically indicates that two letters of recommendation must be submitted with the application. In order to judge all applications on an even basis, only two letters of recommendation will be accepted. If more than two letters of recommendation are submitted, additional letters will be chosen at random and discarded before the application is reviewed.

 

 

Can you keep my transcripts and letters of reference on file for the next JET application cycle if I don't get in this year?

Due to the large volume of applications received each year, it impossible for us to carry documents from one application cycle over to consideration for the next application cycle. In order to be considered eligible for future application cycles, all prior applicants must resubmit entirely new application packets complete with transcripts and letters of reference.

 

 

Can I send an application after the deadline?

No. Given the program's popularity and competitiveness, we closely adhere to our stated deadlines. Please note that deadlines are NOT "send by" dates. All applications must be received in the Washington, DC JET Program office by end of business (5:30 pm EST) on the deadline date. No applications will be accepted past this time or date.

 

 

Can I apply any other time of the year than fall?

No. JET applications are only available in the fall and there is only one application cycle every year. The only exception to this is application for SEA positions, if any are available, which are due in the spring.

 

 

Are my chances of being interviewed or accepted better if I apply through Washington, DC or a different city's Japanese consulate/embassy?

All applications are reviewed by a select committee of former JETs and experienced professionals. Invitations to interview for the JET Program are awarded based on the merit of the application package. Interview location is not a factor in determining who will be interviewed. As for acceptances, while it is true that the consulates and interviewing locations in smaller cities generally do not have nearly as many applicants as those in larger cities, at the same time they are not given as many openings either. Therefore, an applicant's chances of acceptance are largely the same no matter where he or she may interview.

 

 

I was unsuccessful last year but want to apply again. What should I change to increase my chances?

Applications may be unsuccessful for a number of reasons. In some cases, if required documents are not included, the application is considered incomplete and is disqualified from consideration, so please carefully read all instructions regarding supplemental documents. Additionally, an application may be complete but still not receive an invitation to interview. The JET Program is highly competitive and only a fraction of all applicants are invited to interview for the JET Program each year.

When preparing to apply again, applicants may want to have someone look over their previous applications to look for any glaring errors or areas that could be improved upon. If possible, it may be advantageous to study Japanese, gain teaching/tutoring experience, or work to become more active in your local community. However, these alone will not guarantee acceptance.

 

 

ONLINE APPLICATION FORM

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I applied last year and wasn’t accepted. When I went to the online application this year, it says that the application was already submitted. What happened? Do I have to submit last year’s application?

For prior applicants, it is important that you DO NOT log in to the application website with the same PIN and password from the previous year. The website will automatically pull up your old application which has already been submitted, rendering you unable to update it.

Please carefully read and follow the instructions on the online application log-in page state for all previous applicants. You MUST create a new account for each year that you apply. You may use the same email address, but you MUST choose a new password. For your first log-in for this year's application process, click "continue and create new account". (This will ensure your new account creation for this year's up-to-date application.) After logging in, please first go to the "Downloadable Documents" page and read the 2015 Application Guidelines carefully for any changes.

 

 

After I fill out the online form, is my application complete?

No. After filling out the online form, please be sure that you hit the “Submit” button. Each year, many individuals preview the application and forget to submit it online. Once your application is submitted online, you will shortly receive a confirmation email. After submitting the application online, you must print the full document, sign in the appropriate places, and collect all required supplemental documents. Applicants must provide a set of originals and two sets of photocopies of all documents and send the complete application packet to the JET Program Office at the Embassy of Japan in Washington DC before the application deadline. Visit the How to Apply page for more information.

 

 

Some of my answers are cut off when I preview the completed application. That’s ok, right?

No. All answers must be visible in full in the printed application. When completing answers, do not use the “Enter” key to create vertical lists, write in paragraph format.

 

 

I'm having trouble with the online application. Whom should I contact?

If the problem you are having seems to be with the online application itself, please contact tech support (contact information is available on each page of the application website itself). We have an account with this company and they are trained to help with situations that are directly related to the online application's operation. Please do not contact coordinators with issues about logging on, the site being down, or other system bugs, as we will not be able to assist you. For any problems with regards to the content listed on the application, contact a JET Program Coordinator.

Please note: in the past there have been problems with too many people logging in to submit last minute applications. This caused the site to temporarily crash. We will try to be accommodating if this occurs, but it is possible that technical error and lateness could result in disqualification. Therefore, we highly recommend all applicants submit their applications online and in hard copy as early as they are able.

 

REQUIRED AND SUPPLEMENTAL DOCUMENTS

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After I fill out the online form, is my application complete?

No. After filling out the online form, please be sure that you hit the “Submit” button. Each year, many individuals preview the application and forget to submit it online. Once your application is submitted online, you will shortly receive a confirmation email. After submitting the application online, you must print the full document, sign in the appropriate places, and collect all required supplemental documents. Applicants must provide a set of originals and two sets of photocopies of all documents and send the complete application packet to the JET Program Office at the Embassy of Japan in Washington DC on or before the application deadline. Visit the How to Apply page for more information.

 

 

Can I send additional materials, such as my resume or CV?

While some additional information (such as results of language proficiency tests) can be beneficial, other materials like artwork portfolios, pictures, and resumes will be discarded prior to review. Please limit your application packet to include only those items requested and/or directly relevant for the program. In particular, the Required Documents information specifically indicates that two letters of recommendation must be submitted with the application. In order to judge all applications on an even basis, only two letters of recommendation will be accepted. If more than two letters of recommendation are submitted, additional letters will be chosen at random and discarded before the application is reviewed.

 

 

Will my application be rejected or negatively affected if I did not include all the proper materials or if I did not collate properly?

This depends upon what was not included. If the application does not contain an original signature in one of the three required locations, or if a required document is not included, the application will be considered incomplete and dropped from consideration. 

Please, carefully read the Required Documents section carefully for information on what must be included with the application and review the Checklist and Mailing Instructions to ensure you are properly submitting the documents. Your application packet should include one set of “original” documents and two complete sets of photocopies, all of which should be sorted in the same order as reflected in the checklist.

Contrary to rumors which are on the JET Program Forums, an application will not be disqualified if the applicant does not put the application in the correct order, uses staples instead of paperclips, etc. however this does make it more difficult and time-consuming for the office to process your application and may delay your application.

 

THE SELF-ASSESSMENT MEDICAL FORM

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Do I need to submit the Self-Assessment Medical Form? I cannot find it on the Required Documents page.

The Self-Assessment Medical Form is part of the online application form. It must be completed by all JET Program applicants. After completing the entire application, it must be submitted online, printed, and signed and dated in several locations, including the Self-Assessment Medical Form.

 

 

Several questions on the Self-Assessment Medical Form seem to ask the same thing. Do I need to fill out the same answers over and over?

Some questions on the application may have over-lapping answers in your particular case. Please take the time to fill out each question completely, even if it means repeating previous answers.

 

 

When I preview the application, some of the answers in this section are cut off. That’s ok, right?

No. All answers MUST be visible in full in the printed application. When completing answers, do not use the “Enter” key to create vertical lists, write in paragraph format.

 

 

Do I need to list all illnesses, conditions, procedures, or injuries? Even from when I was a child?

For physical ailments, please be sure to list anything that has happened within the past five years and any major, especially any condition for which you are currently undergoing treatment, or any debilitating illnesses, conditions, procedures, or injuries in your lifetime. For mental/psychological conditions or disorders, ALL must be listed, even those from childhood.

Failure to answer all questions fully and honestly may result in disqualification.

 

 

If I write that I have had or currently have any physical/mental condition or disorder, will it disqualify my application?

Medical histories of applicants are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. For any condition listed in the Self-Assessment Medical Form, an accompanying Physician’s Form must describe the condition and include a statement by the physician as to your ability to live and work overseas.

The health and well-being of JET Program applicants is of paramount importance to us and we want to ensure that you will have a healthy and thriving life while on the JET Program. The purpose of the Self-Assessment Medical Form is to place you in a location where your needs can be met and to serve as a quick reference guide should any medical issues arise while you are in Japan.

 

THE PHYSICIAN'S FORM

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How do I know if I need to complete a Physician’s Form and submit it with my application packet?

An applicant with ANY medical history of physical or mental condition(s)/illness(es) should provide the Physician's Form. Having a medical condition will not disqualify the applicant from consideration, however, failure to provide the Physician's Form if one is required may delay or disqualify the application at the initial screening. We strongly encourage all applicants with any medical history to plan ahead by making an appointment ith your physician in mid-October. It is easier to cancel an appointment than to try and schedule one at the last minute.

 

The purpose of the Physician’s Form is to corroborate any conditions listed in the Self-Assessment Medical Form. This is why we strongly recommend that applicants take the Self-Assessment Medical Form with them to the doctor’s appointment.

 

Follow the instructions on the Self-Assessment Medical Form and fill out all necessary information. If you list any conditions, please have the Physician's Form completed.

 

 

My Self-Assessment Medical Form lists previous physical or mental conditions (e.g. broken bones, serious illness, history of depression, etc.) from which I no longer suffer. On my Physician's Form the doctor only wrote "Ok" or "Currently Stable." Is this sufficient?

No. The Physician's Form should list by name every condition listed in your Self-Assessment Medical Form and detail any current medication as well as indicate your current status with regard to each condition.


It is your responsibility at the time of your appointment to check that the Physician's Form provides sufficient information and that it is legible. A Physician's Form which is not completely filled out may be a cause for disqualification.


The form should also clearly and explicitly state that the doctor feels that you are physicially and mentally fit to work in Japan on the JET Program.

 

 

Will you contact my doctor directly?

The JET Program Office reserves the right to contact physicians in situations it deems necessary. However, it is your responsibility as the applicant to provide all information and ensure that all forms are filled out properly. Forms which lack essential information may be deemed insufficient to fulfill requirements which may lead to the application being disqualified.

 

 

Who can fill out the Physician’s Form?

Ideally, a doctor or mental health specialist with knowledge of your condition should fill out the Physician’s Form. This doctor cannot be a family member. A Registered Nurse Practitioner can also complete the form. A Physician’s Assistant cannot sign off on the form unless it is co-signed by the practicing doctor.

 

CERTIFICATE OF HEALTH

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Do I need to submit the Certificate of Health with the initial application?

Only those candidates who are applying for Early Placement consideration should submit a Certificate of Health with the initial application. If you are not requesting Early Placement, do not submit the Certificate of Health until instructed to do so by the JET Program coordinator.

All applicants who are selected as a short-list candidate after the interview will need to submit a Certificate of Health, but please wait for instructions to do so. Certificates of Health which are submitted too early will be considered out of date by the time of departure and you will be required to submit a more recent one.

Individuals who apply but are not selected for Early Departure may be required to submit an updated Certificate of Health at the time of departure. Your JET Program coordinator will provide you with further details if/when you pass the interview stage of selection.

 

 

Who can fill out the Certificate of Health?

Ideally, a doctor with knowledge of your medical history should fill out the Physician’s Form. This doctor should not be a family member. A Registered Nurse Practitioner can also complete the form. A Physician’s Assistant cannot sign off of the form unless it is co-signed by the practicing doctor.

 

FBI CRIMINAL HISTORY CHECK

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Do I need to submit the FBI check with the initial application?

Only two types of applicants need to submit the FBI check with the initial application: those who wish to apply for Early Placement and those who indicate a criminal history (having ever been arrested, charged or convicted of any crime, other than a minor traffic violation such as speeding or parking tickets, even those incidents which occurred when the applicant was under 18 years of age or which the applicant believes to have been expunged from his/her record.)

All applicants who successfully pass the interview will be asked to submit an FBI check, but if you do not fall into one of the two categories listed above, do not submit it with the initial application packet. It will be outdated by the time of departure and you will be required to submit a new one.

 

 

The FBI website lists two options, should I get the FBI check or can I use one of the FBI-approved channelers to complete my background check?

For the purposes of the JET Program Application, we require that the criminal history background check comes from the FBI (Option 1 as listed on the FBI website) and NOT one of the FBI-approved channelers.

 

 

What if my criminal history background check doesn’t come by the application deadline?

Due to the amount of time required to receive the results from an FBI Criminal History Check, the deadline for submission is January 15. Early Departure candidates who do not submit the results on time will be removed from Early Departure consideration, but will not be disqualified. Applicants with a criminal history who do not submit the results on time will be disqualified. For any applicant who thinks they will need to submit an FBI criminal history background check, we strongly encourage you to submit the application to the FBI in September or October.

 

 

Where do I send the FBI background check?

If you are an applicant for Early Departure or with a criminal history, you should have the FBI background check sent to yourself. You should then open the results, make photocopies, and include the original and two copies in your application packet if it arrives before the application deadline. If it arrives after the application deadline, please open it, make photocopies and mail the original and two copies to the JET Program Office in Washington DC.

If you have been selected as a candidate after the interview, you should have the FBI results sent directly to the JET Program Office correlating to your interview location. Please follow any specific instructions given to you by your JET Program Coordinator.

Individuals who apply but are not selected for Early Departure may be required to submit updated FBI results at the time of departure.

 

 

 

I know that all candidates who are selected after the interview stage must provide an FBI Criminal History Summary. What is the earliest I should request it?

After you have passed the interview stage of the selection process, your JET Program coordinator will provide specific instructions for submitting the FBI Criminal History Check.

Please note that the procedure for post-interview candidates is different from the procedure for candidates who must submit an FBI Criminal History Summary with the initial application due to either criminal arrest history or request for Early Departure consideration. Wait for proper instructions before requesting the FBI Criminal History Summary to ensure that the summary results will be accepted by the JET Program Office. Candidates who do not follow instructions may be required to re-submit the FBI Criminal History Summary.

 

 

THE STATEMENT OF PURPOSE 

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What should I write about?

The prompt for the Statement of Purpose is available under the How to Apply page. Do not call the JET Office to ask our opinion of your topic or ask us to proofread your paper.

 

 

My statement of purpose is more than two pages long, is that ok?

No. The guidelines for the Statement of Purpose are clearly stated. It must be no more than two pages long on either standard letter-size (8½” x 11”) or A4 size paper. It must be typewritten in black 12-point font, either Ariel or Times New Roman, and double-spaced with one-inch margins. Your last name and the page number should appear on both as a header in the upper right corner. If more than two pages are included in your Statement of Purpose, the additional page(s) will be discarded and will not be reviewed. Failure to follow these guidelines will not disqualify your application, however your inability to follow instructions will be taken into account when scoring the statement of purpose during the review stage. 

 

TRANSCRIPTS

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If I attended more than one college or university, even though I did not have status as a full-time student, do I need to provide transcripts?

Yes. Failure to provide transcripts from all college or university courses taken will result in your application being disqualified.

 

 

If my credits from my first school transferred to my current university, do I still need to provide transcripts for the first school?

If only the number of credits transferred that is not considered sufficient. However, if the current university lists all of the following information: the date or semester-year, course title, credit hours, and grade received, then it will be accepted.

 

 

My transcript from my current university shows the transferred credits from my first school. However, in place of grades (A, B, C, etc.) it lists T or S to show that the transferred credits earned a grade of C or higher. Will this satisfy the requirements?

No. The JET Program Office looks for the actual grades for all transferred credits. If your current university's transcript lists transferred grades without providing the actual grades received, it does not satisfy the requirements and you should provide the official transcript from the prior university.
Please note that we are aware that schools may have different grading systems (letter grades, numerical grades on a 4-point system, descriptive transcripts provided by professors, etc.)

 

 

My transcript is in a sealed envelope that says it will not be official if removed. How should I make copies?

Many colleges and universitieswill seal the envelope that the transcript arrives with a notice that it will no longer be official if opened. The JET Program Office requires official transcripts, however, for the purposes of our application please remove the transcript from the envelope to make photocopies. Include two photocopies in your sets of application documents. You do not need to include the empty envelope.

 

 

If my transcript fulfills multiple requirements, (i.e. shows my classes, lists my study abroad information, and the date my degree was conferred) do I need to provide multiple sets of the same transcript to fulfill the transcript requirement, the proof of study abroad requirement and the proof of graduation requirement?

No. You can submit one transcript from a school to serve the place of multiple requirements. We do recommend that if this is the case, that you attach a sticky note to the transcript to highlight the different areas. Do not write on the transcript.

 

 

My student portal page/online transcript show transferred credits, but the official transcript does not. Can I submit my unofficial transcript instead?

The JET Program application requires official, paper transcripts. However, unofficial transcripts can be accepted if the applicant takes it to the registrar’s office and has it authenticated with the official embossed/inked stamp/seal/signature.

 

 

My school prefers to send online/email transcripts. Will this satisfy the JET Program application requirement?

No. While most schools prefer to offer online or email transcripts, almost all will provide you with a hard-copy of your transcripts if you request them in a timely manner. It is your responsibility to plan ahead and provide an official hard-copy of the transcripts.  Please note that many online transcripts (such as eSCRIP-SAFE) have a disclaimer stating that the document is official as a PDF file. Once printed, it is no longer a PDF file and therefore not official.

 

If your school truly will not provide any type of physical transcript, please contact the JET Program Office at the Embassy of Japan at jetprogram@ws.mofa.go.jp or 202-238-6772. Be prepared to provide the contact information for your school’s office of the registrar because we will call to verify.

 

 

My Japan-related courses and/or education-related courses are already listed in my transcript. Do I really need to write them out in the application as well?

Yes. If you do not write them in the application you will not get credit for them. Application reviewers check many applications. Make it easy for them to give you credit for what you have accomplished, even if it means some redundancy. When in doubt, write it out.

 

 

Can you keep my transcripts on file if I don't get in this year?

No. Due to the large volume of applications received each year, it impossible for us to carry documents from one application cycle over to consideration for the next application cycle. In order to be considered eligible for future application seasons, all prior applicants must resubmit entirely new application packets complete with transcripts and letters of reference.

 

 

Why can't I send transcripts separately?

The Washington DC JET Office receives several thousand applications every year. Sorting through all of the applications takes a great deal of time and work; having pieces sent in separately only prolongs the process and increases the possibility that a vital part of an application may become lost or misplaced. Therefore, we ask that applicants send in complete applications.


If your college or university will only provide unofficial transcripts directly to students, you may have official transcripts sent separately from your application materials. In this case, they should be mailed directly from the Registrar's Office to the JET Program Office at the Embassy of Japan in Washington DC.

 

 

I took college/university classes as a high school student. Do I still need to provide the transcripts?

If the credits transferred to your college record then you should provide transcripts. The transcript submission guidelines state that transcripts are required for ALL college and university courses undertaken.

 

STUDY ABROAD

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I never studied abroad, will this disqualify me from the JET Program?

Applicants are not required to have studied overseas in order to participate on the JET Program. If you have this experience though, it is helpful to document it for the application. Furthermore, if you studied at an overseas college or university, then you must list it under the colleges.

 

 

Should I list my study abroad experience under Education History or International/Intercultural Experience?

To be sure that it is not overlooked, it is better to list it in both places. Do not be afraid of redundancy in the application. When in doubt, write it out.

 

 

I don’t know how to get transcripts from my study abroad college or university. What should I do?

If you studied abroad at an overseas college or university, it falls under the transcript requirement that you must provide transcripts from all college or university courses taken. However, we understand that it can be difficult to receive transcripts from an overseas institution or you may only have a single copy that you don’t wish to give up. If this is the case, we will also accept a letter from the registrar’s office at your school or a study abroad office. The letter must be on letterhead and include contact information for the individual writing the letter. The letter must include the dates or semester-year of your study abroad, the country and/or city of your study, the course titles, and the grades received.

 

 

My transcript from my primary university shows that I studied abroad but it only lists the number of credits transferred, is this enough?

No. If this is the only information provided, it is not sufficient and your application will be considered incomplete for not providing transcripts from the college or university you attended overseas. Please supplement the transcript by including a letter from the registrar’s office at your school or a study abroad office. The letter must be on letterhead and include contact information for the individual writing the letter. The letter must include the dates or semester-year of your study abroad, the country and/or city of your study, the course titles, and the grades received.

 

 

My transcript from my primary university lists all the course information, but does not say that the study took place overseas. Will I get full credit for my study abroad experience?

If this is the case, your application will not be disqualified, but you may not receive full credit for the time you studied overseas. Please supplement your transcript with a letter from the registrar’s office at your school or a study abroad office. The letter must be on letterhead and include contact information for the individual writing the letter. The letter must include the dates or semester-year of your study abroad, the country and/or city of your study, the course titles, and the grades received. 

 

PROOF OF GRADUATION OR PROOF OF EXPECTED DATE OF GRADUATION / CURRENT ENROLLMENT

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I have not yet completed my degree. Am I eligible to apply for the JET Program?

Yes. In order to be eligible for July/August departures in summer 2015, you must complete your degree by July 1, 2015. For Early Placement, you must complete your degree by April 1, 2015.  Many of our applicants are graduating seniors who are currently enrolled at the time of application.

 

 

 

If my transcript fulfills multiple requirements, (i.e. shows my classes, my study abroad information, and the date my degree was conferred) do I need to provide multiple sets of the same transcript to fulfill the transcript requirement, the proof of study abroad requirement and the proof of graduation requirement?

No. You can submit one transcript from a school to serve the place of multiple requirements. We do recommend that if this is the case, that you attach a sticky note to the transcript to point out the different areas. Do not write on the transcript.

 

 

If my transcript shows the classes that I am currently taking, will this count as proof of current enrollment?

No. Even if your transcript shows the classes you are enrolled in or “In Progress” for Fall 2015, this is not considered proof of enrollment. Please contact the registrar's office or office of student records to provide a proof of current enrollment.

 

 

My college registrar’s office will not provide me with a proof of expected date of graduation. What do I do?

Some registrar’s offices think that you are requesting proof that you will graduate by a certain date. Often they are hesitant to put definite wording in writing when all graduation requirements/classes have not yet been completed. Be sure to ask them for a letter of "expected" or "anticipated" gradution, which includes conditional wording such as “provided that the student completes all degree requirements, he/she is expected to graduate dd/mm/yyyy.”

 

 

PROOF OF TEACHING CERTIFICATION

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I do not have a teaching certification. Will this disqualify me from the JET Program?

Applicants are not required to have teaching experience or certification in order to participate on the JET Program. If you have this experience though, it is helpful to document it for the application.

 

 

I have teaching experience but I do not have a teaching certification. How should I show this?

The application has a section where applicants can indicate formal classroom teaching experience, informal teaching (such as working as a teaching assistant or teaching a hobby), and teacher training. Please list your experience there.

 

 

I have a TESL/TEFL certificate, should I also mark 'Yes' to having teaching certification because it is teaching of English as a Second Language?

No. The Teaching Certification question is for individuals who hold a certification to teach primary/elementary school or secondary school. Unless you are certified to teach as a subject teacher or at these grade levels (e.g. certified in K-12 education), you should not mark 'Yes' to this question.

 

 

PROOF OF TESL/TEFL QUALIFICATION

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I do not have a TESL/TEFL certification or teaching qualification. Will this disqualify me from the JET Program?

Applicants are not required to have teaching experience or certification in order to participate on the JET Program. If you have this experience though, it is helpful to document it for the application.

 

 

Do you accept CELTA/TESOL/etc.?

The proof of TESL/TEFL certification will be accepted from any reputable source. We do not have a preference for one certifying agency over another. Be sure that it lists the number of hours of ESL training you have completed.

 

 

Do I need to provide an original copy of my certification for proof of TESL/TEFL certification or teaching qualification? Will I get it back?

Do not provide your real certification with the JET application. This is one of the documents for which a photocopy will suffice, even with the set of other “original” documents. Documents which are submitted with the JET Program application are not returned.

 

 

PROOF OF JAPANESE LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY

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I have not studied Japanese or have not taken a Japanese language proficiency exam. Will this disqualify me from the JET Program?

ALTs are not required to have Japanese language proficiency in order to participate on the JET Program. If you have this experience though, it is helpful to document it for the application.

CIRs must have at least semi-advanced to advanced level Japanese proficiency in order to qualify for the position on the JET Program. Please carefully read the the proficiency guideline in order to determine your level. Proof of language proficiency is not required at the application stage, though it you have passed a proficiency exam such as the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) or Japan Kanji Aptitude Test (Kanji Kentei) it is helpful to document it for the application.

 

 

Do I need to provide an original copy of my certification for proof of Japanese language ability? Will I get it back?

Do not provide your original certification with the JET application. This is one of the documents for which a photocopy will suffice, even with the set of other “original” documents. Documents which are submitted with the JET Program application are not returned.

 

 

PROOF OF U.S. CITIZENSHIP

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Do I have to be a US citizen in order to apply for the JET Program?

The Japan Exchange and Teaching Program is an initiative of the Japanese government and currently engages teachers from 42 countries around the world. In order to apply through the Embassy of Japan in the United States, you must have US citizenship. Citizens of other countries should visit the JET Program international page and/or contact the Japanese Embassy of their home country. 

 

 

Is my social security card proof of citizenship?

No. Accepted proofs of citizenship include either a photocopy of a birth certificate, a photocopy of your passport information page, or a photocopy of your naturalization papers. Please do not send your social security card.

 

 

Do I need to provide my original birth certificate, passport, or naturalization papers? Will I get it back?

Do not provide your original birth certificate, passport, or naturalization papers with the JET application. This is one of the documents for which a photocopy will suffice, even with the set of other “original” documents. Documents which are submitted with the JET Program application are not returned.

 

 

My legal name does not match what I wrote on my application. Is this a problem?

Do not apply using a nickname. You must apply using your current legal name. If your current legal name does not match the name which is on your birth certificate, passport or naturalization papers, then you must submit additional proof. If for example, you married and changed your name or gone through the process of legally changing your name, you must provide a photocopy of the marriage certificate or a photocopy of the legal name change paperwork.

 

 

LETTERS OF REFERENCE

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Should I open a letter of reference to make copies?

No. While it would be ideal if your references supplied you with 2 copies of their letters of reference and reference cover forms (in addition to the 1 original of each), if they have not, then it is in your best interests to submit the letters unopened. It will not count against you to have only one copy of your letter of reference, whereas submitting a non-confidential reference letter could negatively affect your application.

 

 

Why shouldn't I send letters of reference separately?

The Washington, DC JET office receives several thousand applications every year. Sorting through all of the applications takes a great deal of time and work; having pieces sent in separately only prolongs the process and increases the possibility that a vital part of an application may become lost or not matched with the rest of the application. Therefore, we ask that applicants send in complete applications.

 

 

Whom should I ask to write my letter of reference?

The requirements state that you must provide two references, academic or professional, and that they should not be friends or family members. Beyond that, we can only recommend that it is better to have a reference from someone who knows you rather than an individual with an impressive title who can only provide a very generic letter. Please do not call the JET Office and ask us which of three or four reference writers would be better for your application.

 

 

Can I send more than two letters of reference?

No. The Required Documents information specifically indicates that two letters of recommendation must be submitted with the application. In order to judge all applications on an even basis, only two letters of recommendation will be accepted. If more than two letters of recommendation are submitted, additional letters will be chosen at random and discarded before the application is reviewed.

If you are uncertain which two letters of reference to send, it is better to send the two that you feel would best be able to speak of your abilities and qualifications in light of the program (they should be from academic, professional or business contacts, NOT family members or family friends). If you are a currently enrolled undergraduate student, one of your letters of reference needs to be from a professor or administrator associated with your college or university, and it should mention your expected date of graduation.

Given the high number of JET applications that arrive at the Washington, DC JET Office every year and the amount of time it takes to process and review each application, please refrain from sending more than the requested documents.

 

 

Can you keep my letters of reference on file if I don't get in this year?

No, due to the large volume of applications received each year, it impossible for us to carry documents from one application cycle over to consideration for the next application cycle. In order to be considered eligible for future application seasons, all prior applicants must resubmit entirely new application packets complete with transcripts and letters of reference.

 

 

My reference writer wants to provide the reference letter by email, is this ok?

We will not accept letters of reference by email except in extreme extenuating circumstances. You must receive permission from the JET Program Office in Washington DC in advance in order for your reference to submit their letter by email. If you fail to provide the reference writer with enough time to complete the letter in a timely manner, this does not constitute an extenuating circumstance.

 

 

My reference writer refuses to provide me with the letter of recommendation and insists on sending it separately to the JET Program Office. Will my application be disqualified?

If your reference writer refuses provide you with the letter as the instructions state and instead sends it directly to the JET Program Office, your application will not be negatively affected. We do strongly enourage that reference writers follow instructions so that all parts of the application can be submitted in one complete application packet. This reduces the risk that materials will go astray.

 

 

INTERVIEWS AND NOTIFICATION

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Can I change my interview location?

No. Once you have submitted your application, your interview location cannot be changed.

 

 

I can't interview in January or February. Can't I do it by phone or in another month?

No, the JET Program operates by a very strict timeline. Interviews must take place in person at the location you indicated on the application during the designated interview days for that location. If you are not able to interview during this time, you will be disqualified.

 

 

When will I find out if I got an interview?

After your application has been processed, a card will be sent to you with an ID number (this is the same ID number that appears on the upper right-hand corner of an application once it has been electronically submitted). After all of the applications have been processed and reviewed, a PDF document will be uploaded at the JET Program USA website in mid-late January/early February. If your ID number is listed, then you have been selected for an interview. Unsuccessful candidates are not contacted. The JET Program Coordinator at the interview location you indicated on your application will then contact you to arrange a time. Interviews take place in February. Each interviewing location follows a different schedule.

 

 

Do I have to know Japanese for the interview?

For ALTs, Japanese proficiency is not required. If you indicate in your application that you have studied it, you will most likely undergo a Japanese language test just to determine your ability level and, if selected, for the purposes of placement.

For CIRs, Japanese proficiency is required and all CIR applicants will undergo a Japanese language test. If an applicant is judged to not have a sufficient level of Japanese proficiency, he or she may be asked to consider switching to applying for the ALT position. Please see here for more information about judging your level of Japanese before applying.

 

 

I'm a U.S. citizen studying or living abroad in another country that participates with the JET Program. Can I interview there?

No. Every country has a different set of standards and requirements for screening and selecting JET applicants. Therefore, all U.S. applicants must be able to interview at a Japanese consulate in the United States in January/February of the departure year. There are no exceptions.

 

 

What are my chances of being accepted?

We do not release official statistics relative to received applications, interviews, or acceptances. It is true that the JET Program is extremely competitive. However, we encourage all those who are qualified to apply. Unlike applying for graduate schools and jobs where specific grades and academic majors can be the deciding factor for acceptance, the JET Program has participants from a number of different academic and cultural backgrounds who share an interest in promoting their cultures and language abroad. Therefore, despite the JET Program's competitiveness, we do not want qualified applicants to be afraid or intimidated to apply, as it may turn out that they could be some of our top candidates.

 

 

I'm an alternate. What are my chances of an upgrade?

The number of alternates who are upgraded varies. Coordinators are not authorized to tell alternates their specific place on the alternate list. Moreover, as other alternates may choose to drop out or contracting organizations in Japan request JETs with particular skill sets, those initial rankings are not necessarily an accurate reflection as to which alternates will be upgraded. Coordinators have the right to pass over a higher-ranked alternate in favor of one who has already turned in all required documents, particularly if there is a short time period until departure. Therefore, we highly encourage all alternates apply for and submit the same materials as short list candidates and to keep coordinators informed of any change in contact information.

 

 

Can I defer my acceptance until another year?

No, all decisions are relevant for the current application year only. If you find you are unable to participate in the JET Program this year, please notify your JET Program Coordinator as soon as possible that you will be withdrawing. To participate the following year, you must reapply.

 

 

Why was I not chosen? Can I contact the embassy or consulate for feedback?

Unfortunately, due to the program's popularity and competitiveness, not all qualified applicants can be chosen. In fact, the majority of JET applicants will be unsuccessful. Sometimes candidates are not chosen based on technicalities in the application, such as:

  • Not meeting basic requirements
  • Submitting insufficient or incomplete required documents
  • Neglecting to sign the application in all required places
  • Submitting a statement of purpose that is full of spelling or grammatical errors or whose content does not adequately address an applicant's motivation for participation, relevant experience, and goals
  • Not submitting a complete application by the deadline
  • Application was complete but did not score high enough in comparison to other applications to be invited to an interview.

Even if an applicant is selected for an interview, there is a chance that he or she may not be chosen. This is partially determined by number limitations and partially determined through rankings. We encourage qualified unsuccessful applicants to reapply in future years.

JET coordinators are not authorized to discuss specific applications or interviews with candidates. All decisions are final.

 

 

I was not accepted. Can I request my application and transcripts back?

JET Program Coordinators do not return any part of applications, whether they are successful or not. Please be sure not to send in original copies of diplomas, birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc. as they will not be returned.

 

 

PLACEMENT

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Can I request where I want to go?

Yes, JET applicants can request up to three (3) locations on the application as well as provide an explanation for why they should be placed in one of those areas. JET requests are taken into consideration when making placement assignments, but please be aware that JET positions in major cities are rare and many JETs may be assigned to areas far from where they requested. Even though JETs have the option to request specific placements, they are not guaranteed to be placed in one of those areas, and applicants need to be prepared to go wherever it is they may be assigned. Read more about rural and urban placements on our Placement information page.

All JET placement assignments are final; if you decide not to accept the placement to which you have been assigned, please inform your JET Program coordinator immediately that you wish to withdraw from the program. If you turn down your JET offer after learning of your assigned placement, you will not be eligible to reapply for JET for one (1) year.

 

 

If I do not like the place where I am assigned, can I change it? Could I transfer later on?

While placement requests are taken into consideration when making JET assignments, we do not guarantee that they can be met. Many JETs will be assigned to areas very different from what they requested; on account of that, we do ask that applicants be flexible and prepared for the possibility that they may end up going anywhere within Japan.

Once your placement is allocated, there is no possibility to change prior to departure for Japan. In some limited situations, JETs may be permitted to transfer within the same host prefecture or designated city, from CIR to ALT (or vice versa), or to a different prefecture or designated city. In general, transfers are under the jurisdiction and at the discretion of the host prefecture or designated city. It is very rare to have a transfer take place to a different prefecture or designated city, and is generally only granted in special cases (such as for health or family reasons). Even when there is a legitimate reason, a transfer may not be able to be granted. Therefore, JETs should anticipate staying with their assigned contracting organization for their full term of participation with the JET Program.

 

 

Is there a way I can request to be placed near a friend or family member who is a current JET or also applying to be a JET?

Yes, there is a place on the application where JET applicants can indicate a person they would like to be placed near or with as well as their relationship to one another. This is not only limited to friends and family currently with or applying to the JET Program but can also apply to those currently living in Japan (such as Japanese host families). In a case where two JET applicants would like to be placed with or near one another, each should write the full name of the other person (it must be exactly as stated on the application; no nicknames). Applicants wishing to be placed together should also list the same location preferences on their application form.

While these requests will be taken into consideration, we do not guarantee they will be met. Even in those cases where a married or engaged couple is requesting to be placed with or near one another, it is possible that their assigned contracting organizations may be distant from one another. Couples should discuss and prepare for this possibility.

 

 

ORIENTATION AND TRAINING

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If I am currently living in another country, do I still have to return to the U.S. for the Pre-departure Orientation?

If you are currently living in Japan and are able to change your Status of Residence within the country (such as a dependent visa or long-term resident visa), you may be exempted from returning to the United States for your Pre-Departure Orientation. Instead, you would go to Tokyo for the Group A orientation and would be responsible for going through the steps of changing your visa in Japan. You would still need to return the United States for the interviewing process, though.

If you are living in a country other than the U.S. or Japan, or if you are living in Japan on a visa type that you would not be permitted to change yourself (such as a Temporary Visitor visa), you would be required to return the U.S. for the Pre-Departure Orientation. The Pre-Departure Orientation typically takes place shortly before the Groups A and B departure dates (depending upon the city). However, JET candidates living abroad may need to return earlier than this date in order to get the proper visa processed and added to their passport. You will need to confirm this information with your JET Program coordinator.

 

 

Will there be additional orientations/training once we reach Japan?

Each Consulate General and the Embassy hold their own Q&A Sessions for new JET Program participants in the summer before departure. These are typically held with JET Program alumni to give new participants the chance to learn from their predecessors. Participants are also encouraged to participate in various events and activities sponsored by their local JET Program office or alumni association. Such activities include Japanese language courses, opportunities to meet with JET Program alumni mentors, trips to Japanese grocery stores, and other social and educational outings.

Additional information about orientation/training which takes places while the JET is in Japan is available on the Orientation and Training section of the Contract & Benefits page of this website.

 

DEPARTURE

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When are the departure dates this year?

The departure date for those selected for Early Departure will be April 7, 2015. Individuals who select Early Departure can also be selected to depart at any time between mid-April and mid-July.

Dates for the main summer departure are as follows:

Group A: July 25, 2015

Group B: August 1, 2015

 

 

Can I go to any other countries besides Japan with the JET Program?

No, the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program is administered by the Japanese government and is only focused on hiring JETs to go to Japan.

 

 

Can I interview in one city but leave from another?

This depends upon which city you interviewed in and which you wish to depart from. Further information will be posted when departure date information becomes available.

 

 

If upgraded from an alternate candidate to being selected for departure, when will I go to Japan?

Upgraded alternates may leave at the same time as short-listed JETs if the change in status occurs early enough (usually before mid-June). Otherwise, upgraded alternates will leave in mid-August. Individuals who are upgraded after the main departures have taken place may be sent to Japan on an individual basis

 

 

What is Early Placement (also known as April Placement)?

While the standard JET Program contract year begins in late July/early August, some contracting organizations in Japan request to have a JET participant to arrive in spring. Applicants who indicate their willingness to depart early, and are able to meet the additional eligibility requirements, may be selected to depart between April and July. Requesting consideration for Early Placement does not increase your chances of being selected for the JET Program. Visit our Placement page for more information.

 

 

If I am an upgraded alternate, when will I be departing for Japan? What will be different about the terms of my contract?

In general, alternates who are upgraded to shortlisted candidate status will go through the same processes and procedures as a JET initially accepted to the shortlist. If the upgrade occurs early enough (approximately mid-June and before), upgraded alternates may be able to attend the regular summer departures in July or August, depending upon their interview locations.

If the upgrade occurs after this period, the participants will have a departure later in August. This late August departure is not connected with the interview location, but rather with the date when the alternate was upgraded.

It is also possible to be upgraded after this late August departure. If this is the case, the JET will depart for Japan on an individual basis rather than as part of a group. Most upgrades take place between April and July, but alternates can be contacted up until mid-December. Late upgrades should be aware that your contract period, orientation experience, and tax liability may be different from other JETs.

 

 

 

How do I get a working visa?

JET Program Coordinators will direct shortlisted JETs how to submit the necessary paperwork for their visas. Since passports do need to be surrendered to the Japanese embassy or consulate the candidate is applying for the visa through, candidates should not intend to travel overseas in the month of July. JET Program participants do not need to procure a Certificate of Eligibility, as this will be provided directly to the consulate or embassy through which their visas will be issued.

 

 

If I withdraw from the JET Program, am I liable for any costs? What if I withdraw after arriving in Japan?

If an applicant immediately turns down their position as a short-listed candidate with the JET Program, there is no penalty. If a JET candidate withdraws from the JET Program after learning about their assigned placement, they will not be permitted to reapply for the following application year. Candidates who withdraw from the JET Program after tickets have been purchased may be liable for part or all of the cancelation fees and/or ticket and hotel costs. A JET Program participant who breaks contract (e.g. quits) after arriving in Japan may be responsible for repaying his or her contracting organization for all transportation, hotel, and training costs.

JET candidates and participants who withdraw from the program before departure or break contract after arriving on account of personal illness or a family emergency may still be held liable for some or all of these costs. They may be asked to provide documentation outlining the details of the emergency.

 

LIFE IN JAPAN

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How much money should I plan to bring with me?

Since JETs may have start-up costs related to procuring and/or furnishing their apartments, we strongly recommend JETs bring (or have access to) at least $2,500-$3,000 with them. JETs typically will not receive their first paychecks until the end of the first month, so they should plan to have enough money for basic necessities, including for food and potentially apartment deposits and rent.

 

 

Can I work at another job while employed with the JET Program?

In general, the JET Program has a very strict policy that JET participants are only allowed to work for their contracting organizations. In some rare cases, boards of education may arrange or request for JETs to work at local English conversation clubs that may provide additional pay (or that may be part of the JET's appointment). In most cases, though, if a JET is found working outside of the JET appointment, particularly without the knowledge of the contracting organization, this may be grounds for immediate dismissal. Moreover, it may be a violation of the terms of the JET's working visa and could result in deportation.

 

 

Can I bring my family to Japan with me?

Legal spouses as recognized by Japan and children under the age of 18 may accompany JETs on a general dependent visa, which is good for 3 years (it may be renewed if the JET re-contracts beyond a third year). Spouses and children must travel to Japan within 3 months of the dependent visa's issuance. JETs are recommended to bring 2 or more notarized copies of marriage licenses and children's birth certificates. Please note that those on a dependent visa are not eligible to work unless they apply to a local immigration office for a provision that permits dependents to work a maximum of 20 hours per week. Alternatively, a JET spouse can arrange a job prior to departing for Japan and present a Certificate of Eligibility to a Japanese embassy or consulate to receive a work visa. Please note that the JET Program does not assist non-JET spouses in finding employment or in getting work visas. The JET Program also cannot help with finding schools or childcare, although a contracting organization may be willing to help with these arrangements.

While it is not prohibited, we ask that JETs not bring spouses or children to the Tokyo orientation, as this can be a very stressful and busy time. It is better to wait a few days to a few weeks before having a family join you at your contracting organization. The JET Program does not pay for JET dependent travel arrangements.

 

 

Can I bring a pet to Japan with me?

It is strongly recommended that JETs do NOT attempt to bring pets with them. Japan has very strict quarantine laws and a JET’s first few days in Japan will be too hectic and scheduled to provide them with the time necessary to take care of legal issues involved with importing an animal into Japan. Additionally, many boards of education and/or building managers do not allow pets in the JET residence. Some JETs choose to purchase or adopt pets after moving to Japan and bring them back to their home countries after completing their appointments. However, these JETs do so at their own risk. Before adopting or importing a pet, JETs should check with their building managers or supervisors to see if pets are allowed.

 

 

What is JET housing like?

Contracting organizations generally assist with providing housing for JETs, but the quality and cost can vary significantly, even between JETs in the same contracting organization. Some JETs are provided with spacious, subsidized housing, while others are asked to pay full rent for a small apartment. Applicants and candidates cannot request "types" of housing; that is something that must be negotiated with contracting organizations or arranged independently. Most JETs inherit housing from predecessors, and many predecessors choose to leave or sell furnishings to their successors. In some cases, JETs may be asked to pay a non-refundable deposit known as "key money" upon arriving at their towns in order to secure their housing. Therefore, we recommend JETs bring at least $2,500 with them to cover potential initial expenses. Once placement decisions have been made, new JETs should be contacted by their predecessors and/or contracting organizations, who should be able to inform and advise new JETs on living situations and any upfront expenses to expect.

 

 

What taxes do I have to pay?

Given the terms of a current U.S.-Japan tax treaty, ALTs from the U.S. are exempt from paying Japanese taxes for the first two (2) years, and are requested to provide their contracting organizations with an IRS 6166 form for this purpose. CIRs are not eligible for this tax exemption. From the third year onward, ALTs will also be responsible for paying Japanese taxes. Please note that there may be cases in which participants have to temporarily pay a portion of income and resident taxes up front before being reimbursed at a later date.

JETs must also satisfy all tax requirements for the United States. If the proper documentation is filed and they meet the bona fide residency requirements, American JETs can file for "Foreign Earned Income Exclusion." However, JETs who begin their contract in Japan after regular departures (and therefore having an initial contract period of less than one year) may have a different tax situation. Please visit the IRS webpage and consult with an accountant prior to departure.

While not a tax per se, all JET Participants are enrolled in the National Health Insurance Program, JET Accident Insurance, Pension Fund, and Employment Insurance. Enrollment is mandatory and will be deducted from monthly paychecks. Upon returning to their home countries after the JET Program, foreigners enrolled in the Pension Fund for 6 months or longer (including JETs) are eligible to apply for a Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment pension refund if applied for within 2 years of leaving Japan.

Further information is available in the General Information Handbook which is provided to all JET participants and is also available for free download here.

*The JET Program, CLAIR, and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Japan do not specialize in tax matters. Neither the JET Program nor the Embassy of Japan in Washington DC take responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained here or in any JET-related materials concerning U.S. or Japanese taxes. It is in each participant's interests to independently verify the steps necessary to apply for and be granted tax exemption.

Please be advised that, as tax policies are liable to change, the information contained here or in any JET-related materials is not necessarily accurate. Please contact the proper tax authorities for guidance and instruction.

 

AFTER JET

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Can I stay in Japan after I finish my appointment?

A JET alumni can remain in Japan after finishing their appointments, however, there are some restrictions depending upon the intended purposes and length of time the JET intends to stay. See the Immigration Bureau of Japan for additional information.

 

 

How can I verify employment after JET?

You may wish to ask a principal, teacher, supervisor, or coworker to write you a letter of recommendation for future employment after finishing your JET appointment (as teachers and some administrators routinely change workplaces, though, it is a good idea to keep in touch with them every few years to make sure their contact information is accurate).

To receive a proof of JET Program employment, visit the Japan Local Government Center website's page on JET Certificate of Participation.

 

 

I was a JET previously. When can I reapply?

JET alumni are eligible to apply to return to Japan three (3) years after finishing their prior JET appointment. Former JETs who finished their JET appointments by summer 2012 or before are eligible to apply for the summer 2015 departure. Please note that another eligibility requirement states that an applicant cannot have lived in Japan for 6 or more years within the past 10 years (for the 2015 application cycle, that means since 2005).

 

 

How do I join a JET Alumni Association?

There are currently 52 JET Alumni Association (JETAA) chapters around the world, including 19 in the United States. Please see JETAA International and JETAA USA for more information on these chapters and how to join.

 

 

How can I continue to work on my Japanese language skills after I finish JET?

Many areas have active Japan-America Societies which may offer Japanese language classes. Check also with the JETAA chapter responsible for your area and the consulate with jurisdiction in your location to see whether or not Japanese language classes or resources are available.

The Japan Foundation also provides a variety of free online Japanese language resources. See also The Japan Foundation's Nihongo e- for a collection of online webpages offering Japanese learning tools (for beginner through advanced).

 

 

What are some resources that are available for finding Japan-related jobs after JET?

JET Alumni Associations are often excellent locations to start networking and finding out about job opportunities. Prior to completing their contracts, JET participants are encouraged to join the JETAA chapter in the location where they will be relocating to as well as join their mailing lists, Facebook groups, LinkedIn pages, etc.

 

 

If you still have questions which have not been answered after reading the information provided on this FAQ page, please contact the JET Program Office.