So You Wanna Be A JET: Application Part 2

Hey JETsetters!

Welcome to my JET Programme application series! Here you’ll find some tips and advice on how to go about applying for the JET Program.  Here’s Part 2 of the application process!

Check out Part 1 here.


Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert on the JET Program or how its application process is done. All the advice and situations discussed in this series will be primarily based off my own experiences, as well as those of my friends and colleagues that are or were a part of the program.


Criminal History

If you have any sort of criminal history, including as a juvenile, you must report it in detail. This is primarily for visa and immigration purposes, for you will have to go deep into detail about this on that application. If it comes out later that you had any sort of record on file, even if you honestly did not consider it to be that serious or forgot about, it could negatively affect your entire application and position with the program–and not just for this one application term. It is best to be as upfront about anything at this point and then explain things as you proceed in the application process

Should you be short-listed or placed as an alternate you will be required to submit an official criminal history report from your country’s federal or state police agency. For the U.S., you must get an FBI background check done, fingerprints and all. I’ll go more into detail about the FBI process in another post, but it is a major part of your acceptance into the program.


Work and Education

In order to participate in the JET Programme, you must have at least Bachelor’s degree. This is non-negotiable. It does not matter how much work experience you have; if you do not have the degree, you cannot participate in the program. This is not JET’s rules, but the visa/immigration laws for Japan that are attached to the positions/agreement JET has.

You will state your current status for employment and schooling. You need to describe your current occupation–either what you do for work or simply “student”.


Additionally, you will have to state your highest level of [completed] education at the time of the application due date in November. Likewise, you will be required to also provide what your education level will be at in April. This is due to results being announced around this time and, if you’re Early Departure, when you’ll be leaving for work.

You’ll have to list any and all Post-Secondary institutions you attended, including study abroad. Anything that provided a transcript of your courses taken will be required to be listed and you will have to submit copies of those transcripts.

For your education, you’ll list your school details and specialisations. If you’ve ever applied to any job or created a resume or CV, you should have no trouble jotting this info down quickly.


Please make sure you request official transcripts of all institutions you attended and list. As the application is now online, you will be allowed to open the seal on your paper transcripts for the purpose of the JET program. You will upload scans of the documents and keep the physical copies for your records.

I clearly marked on the back of my master’s transcript envelope that it was opened exclusively for JET, so that I did not use it for anything else. Also, it really helped me to have this online system, because my Uni only provided me with one official transcript and considering Japan’s love for red-tape and paperwork, it would have taken a couple of months and cost me more than $50 just for one copy of my transcript. I just uploaded a scan of my one copy for Uni into the portal and I was good to go.

If you have graduated at the time of applying, then you will need to submit proof of your graduation in the form of a copy of your degree and/or final transcript that clearly states that you have already graduated. If you have yet to graduate, you will need to upload proof of prospective graduation (which needs to be before June/July for visa and departure reasons). This can typically be obtained through your school’s registrar.


Check out Part 3 of the JET application process here.

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