Our Application and Departure Process
2020 JET Program Departure Dates
Early Departure: April 11, 2020
Group A: September 8, 2020
Group B: September 12, 2020
Application Available: September 25, 2019
Application Deadline: November 15, 2019 (11:59PM HST)
Interviews: Jan-Feb* 2020
Early Departure Interview Results: March 2020
Early Departure: April-September 2020
Group A/B Interview Results: April 2020
Group A/B Departure: September 2020
*Please note that the interview dates are set by the individual interview locations and may vary depending on location.
The JET Program application is open once a year for approximately 2 months between late September to mid November. All applications must be submitted during this time via our secure online portal. The deadline is final, and no applications will be accepted after it has passed. After the deadline, applications are checked for completion and then evaluated. Incomplete applications are removed from consideration at this time. Regardless of the status of your application, you will receive your interview notification in January.
Interviews are typically held in late January or early February. Interview dates are set independently by each interview location. All candidates are required to appear in person at their chosen interview location without exception. Interviews at Embassies of Japan outside the U.S. are not possible. Remote interviews cannot be accommodated. After successfully completing the interview stage, you will hear back about your final result in late March to mid April.
Candidates who make it to the interview stage will receive one of three possible results after Tokyo has reviewed the results of their application and interview. Candidates typically receive notification of their results in late March to mid April.
A short-list candidate is someone who scored highly in the selection process and is invited to participate in the JET Program. Candidates who are short-listed and receive a placement location but then drop out will not be eligible to re-apply for a one year period from the year they applied (ie. a short-listed candidate for the 2020 JET Program who drops out at this point will not be eligible to re-apply until the 2022 JET Program).
Candidates who scored well in the selection process but did not make it onto the shortlist will be considered ‘alternate’ candidates. These candidates may be invited to participate in the JET Program if a position opens up between mid April and the second week of December of the departure year. If an alternate candidate accepts the invitation, they may have less time to prepare for departure compared to short-listed candidate. If a candidate refuses an upgrade invitation, they will not be offered a second one but will remain eligible to reapply for the next JET Program year if they so choose. If a candidate is not upgraded by September, they are welcome to re-apply for the next JET Program cycle.
Candidates who do not meet the standards we require for our participants will receive notification at the same time as successful candidates. If you are not invited to be either a short-list candidate or alternate candidate, you are still eligible to apply again the following year if you feel that the JET Program is the right career opportunity for you.
On the application, applicants are asked to choose an interview location. In principle, the interview location will also be the candidate’s departure location if they are selected to participate. Every interview location is sorted into one of two groups: Group A and Group B. It is possible to interview at one location and depart from another if and only if those two locations are within the same departure group. To see which locations fall in which group, please see here: https://jetprogramusa.org/interview-departure-locations/.
Candidates who are willing and able to depart on a faster schedule may request to be considered for Early Departure. Early Departure candidates leave in April of their departure year rather than the summer. Candidates who request consideration for Early Departure on their application must submit a Certificate of Health and FBI Background Check to their interview location in late January or early February. They must also have their Bachelor’s degree conferred no later than April 1st of the departure year. Acceptance notifications for Early Departure candidates are sent in March of the departure year. This means that Early Departure candidates will only have a few weeks to prepare before they depart for Japan.
Very few Early Departure positions open up each year, so the majority of our Early Departure hopefuls are not chosen to depart in April. Candidates who are not chosen for Early Departure will still be considered you for a position in the summer departure group. If you are selected for the summer departure group rather than the Early Departure group, you will receive your acceptance notification in early April.
Unless otherwise specified, all JET Program applicants apply to depart in the summer of the program year. Candidates who are seeking consideration for the summer departure do not need to prepare a Certificate of Health or FBI Background Check* in advance of their interview. The deadline for when summer departure candidates must have their degree conferred by is typically in late summer. Candidates leaving in the summer with Group A and B will receive a 3 day orientation upon their arrival in Japan. To learn more about the training opportunities the JET Program offers, please see here: https://jetprogramusa.org/orientation-training/.
*Candidates who indicate a criminal background on their application are required to provide an FBI Background Check prior to their interview without exception.