This paper investigates the effect of international research visits on promotion. Research visits may help to expand existing networks and promote knowledge transfer while at the same time ensuring career stability, identified as the main barrier to mobility in Europe and Japan. Using a dataset of 370 bioscience professors in Japan we find that international research visits have a positive effect on promotion and reduce the waiting time for promotion by one year. This provides evidence that these visits also benefit a researcher’s career in the long-term. This positive research visit effect is weaker for academics who also change jobs, but stronger for inbred academics. Research visits may therefore be of specific importance for otherwise immobile academics. Further, we find that while research visits of tenured staff enhance the career by providing an early chair, postdoctoral fellowships have no lasting effect on career progression.