So, you’ve gone through the entire application process for the JET Programme. You’ve compiled all your documents, wrote a killer SOP, got called in for your interview, survived said nerve-wracking interview, and now are playing the waiting game once again for results. Congratulations! This is waiting game makes up most of the JET application process and by now you’re a pro.
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.
The decision process is a long one, involving not only your local consulate/embassy but any external parties they outsource to assist in grading your initial paper applications, your interviewers, and then the three main Japanese ministries (MEXT, MOFA, and MIC) plus CLAIR. The entire JET selection process is kept pretty hush-hush, but some research has been done on the matter. (Research has also shown that your SOP and your references might be the biggest contributors to landing an interview.)
The initial “paper” screening is typically outsourced to a trusted agency or directly undertaken by your country’s embassy and graded on a point scale. Those who pass are moved onto the interview stage where you are once again graded on another point scale. This one is where things really matter, as this is your last chance to prove that you live up to your application and are the better candidate than the others interviewing. Your consulate/embassy where you interview at will make this final selection before passing the information on to Japan, where the three Ministries and CLAIR make their final selections. Japan seems to typically accept the decisions made by your country, but they may deny or make alterations for whatever reasons they see fit. Once this final selection is made, they pass on the results back to your country’s main JET office/embassy and then it is passed on to your consulate. Finally, it is then passed on to the applicants.
Your interview would typically take place in February and results are expected to be announced around early to mid-April via email. The exact timeline of results depends on your country and each consulate/embassy within your country. Some people tend to hear back a lot sooner than others. Do not panic if you end up not hearing back right away.
JET asks applicants to wait a full 24 hours before posting publicly about their results in order to be courteous to all applicants for this very reason. In the U.S. (+Guam) alone, there are 19 departure locations with their own timeline for releasing their results. Some consulates send out their results days after others.
If you follow any of the JET social media sites, both official and unofficial, you might start to see results being announced as early as early-March for Early Departure (ED), to the end of March and as late as late-April for normal departure, depending on the year and your location. Your country’s JET’s official Twitter (US JET) and Facebook will have updates on when results are announced for everyone, but you can check out the JET Reddit for more staggered results as they come in. Every year there is one megathread for results for that year, starting with ED results, and it quickly fills up with JETs from all over the world when they start getting their results.
Short-listed results typically come in first, followed by alternative candidates, and lastly rejections. While this is not officially how they are announced, recent years have seen results being announced in the Reddit group in this order.
For 2019 US JETs, a lot of us started receiving results in the last week of March.
I received my results from the LA consulate on Monday, March 25th in the afternoon PST. I was lucky enough to be short-listed. Most people who fall under LA’s jurisdiction found out their results on the 25-26th. Most consulates will not announce results until they have everyone’s results in to be fair to everyone.
If you were rejected, it is not the end of the world. You can use this time to think about if you wish to reapply for the next year and what you could do to improve your application. Do you think it was your interview that fell short or your overall application? What were your weakest points in your opinion? How can you work on being the best you can be in the next year?
If you were selected as an alternate, congrats! You’ve got probably the most stressful status of us all. You have passed the overall selection, however, there were those who were deemed to be slightly more qualified or got lucky to get those last remaining spots. All hope it not lost. Should an opening pop up, and there is always a decent amount for each country, depending on your position on the Alternate list (which is also kept hush-hush), you might get upgraded to short-listed. You must play the waiting game for a bit longer. You could be upgraded at any point in time, from just a few days after results are announced until the very last minute before Group C departures in mid-August. Some Alternate do not find out about upgraded status until December even. JET recommends Alternates who have not been upgraded by October to consider reapplying for the next year’s intake in case there are no additional openings that year. Make sure to get all your documents in on time—the quicker the better. If you have your documents in before anther alternate and a spot opens, you might get selected over them to expedite the process. You will be given a detailed timeline of all required documents that you will need to submit.
Short-listed candidates, give yourself a pat on the back, let out all those nerves you’ve had pent up over the past few months, and celebrate. Woo! Go you! You made it!! You passed and were the best of the best out of hundred of thousands of applicants!
Now, sit down and get ready for more waiting.
Early Departure candidates, if you are in fact selected for ED, you will find out early March and depart for Japan between mid-Aril to late July (April 13-July 27, 2019) at any time. Essentially, you must be prepared to depart at a moment’s notice after you accept your offer and placement and have all your documents and visa sorted.
If you do not hear back about your acceptance results in March to early April, you can assume that you were not selected for ED but have been moved to the standard departure pool of candidates. You will find results along with everyone else at this point.
I’ll mainly be discussing normal departure from here on out.
Once you get your results, you’ll be asked to
1. Reply to your results email;
2. submit an electronic Reply Form;
3. submit a hardcopy of the Reply Form + 2 official passport photos.
You will have to accept or decline your candidacy by a certain date. For 2019, it was early/mid-April. On top of the electronic form, you must submit a hardcopy of the Reply Form to your consulate. This was due by April 12th in 2019 for normal departure.
Note that this is the received by date, not the postmarked date if you are sending in your documents and not hand delivering them. All documents that are required at this point on can either be sent in or hand delivered but must be received by their respective deadlines. Anything received after this will not be accepted and your candidacy will more than likely be revoked. You should track/insure your packages if you are sending them in to verify yourself if they have been received by the consulate/embassy. This will make it easier for you verify with your coordinator should you need to inquire about them.
After you submit these, you’ll then have to submit your FBI/Criminal Report and Health Check by the end of May.
In June you’ll have to submit the following:
- Passport for visa
- Visa application
- JET Insurance form
- For certain consulates in the US, such as LA, we had to submit this by the end of May along with our BG check+Heath forms. Check with your consulate for exact dates.
- Proof of Graduation
- If you were still in school at the time of application and did not submit documents beforehand.
Additional documents to submit/obtain, if you wish:
- IRS 8802 form for US Residency Certification*
- Needed to get IRS 6166. These are only for ALT candidates to receive Japanese tax exception for 2 years. CIR (and SEA) candidates do not qualify. You will hand in 6166 to your Contracting Organisation (CO) when you arrive in Japan.
- JET cannot provide tax support or advice; however, they have provided instructions on how to fill out 8802 if you are an ALT candidate. Any further questions need to be directed to the IRS.
- Submit & pay for this ASAP if you are ALT and want to save money for 2 years (who doesn’t?!). You need to submit this to your CO ASAP when you arrive in Japan because your employment officially starts the day after you land in Japan and they need to submit this to the Japanese government for taxes.
- Yakkan Shoumei (Japanese drug/medicine application form to bring into the country)
- International Driver’s Permit
- Power of Attorney*
- Recommended to conduct official business on your behalf in your home country from a trusted source. JET cannot nor will not advise on this matter.
- [Living] Will*
- Recommended in case of injury or death during your time on the program. Life happens, you can never be too safe. JET cannot nor will not advise on this matter.
Will go further into detail in another post eventually.
Once short-listed applicants send in their acceptances, their profiles are sent to the various COs participating on the JET Programme to select their next ALTs/CIRs. Once they make their decisions, they will send it back over to your local consulate/embassy and they will then pass it on to you. You might find out just your prefecture first and then more details later, or everything at once. It all depends on your CO.
You will start to receive placement results end of May throughout July. Yes, you read that right. Some people do not find out their placement details until just before departure and it is stressful. Other than just wanting to know where you will be living in Japan (city/region-wise) and what schools/offices you will be working in, you will want to know exact details—do you have a predecessor? Will you move into their housing or must find your own place? Will there be key/deposit/gift money (#RIPBankAccount)? How many schools will you be teaching at? Will you have to teach at all or just stay in an office (CIRs)? Will you have to buy all your furniture? What about mobile phones/banking/transportation/internet? What is life?
Finding out where you are placed will help lessen your worries pre-departure because you can start really planning your move to Japan and asking specific questions to your CO or predecessor.
At the time of writing, I have yet to receive my placement (April 27th, 3 months to departure on the dot). There has been chatter on the Japan side from current JETs and their COs but no official news for incoming JETs yet. Some current JETs’ COs have been instructed to not contact incoming JETs until after May 23rd, which would fit into the Mid to late May timeline for initial placement results. This chatter has been for when COs are able to contact incoming JETs and not your consulate/embassy per se. Embassies/consulates typically reach out about initial placement/CO results before your CO reaches out, but not always, so there is a chance that we will receive information a few days before this. If I’m lucky, I’ll find out more information in less than a month.
The wait is killing me, and I seem to be even more anxious about my pre-departure wait/results than my actual acceptance results. 3 months seem to be going by so slow right now, yet, I know that soon time will go by far too quickly.
If you passed your interviews, congrats again! You have a lot to look forward to in the coming months to years.
If you did not make the cut this time around, go over your application and see how you can improve it for next year.
Happy waiting JETsetters!