Japan Visa Requirements – 5 Easy Steps to Apply for Japanese Tourist and Travel Visa
Japan, also known as the land of the rising sun is a destination with a very long history. Ancient temples and castles are fascinating places to visit as well as the cosmopolitan cities that have sprung up alongside. The famous Mount Fuji is a spectacular sight with its snowy peaks visible far off in the distance. There are plenty of things to do and see here – trees full of cherry blossom, islands with beautiful beaches, skiing or white water rafting. Whatever you do, you will be amazed at the beauty of Japan. In this article learn more about how to apply for Japan Visa at the Japanese embassies and consulates worldwide, flight itinerary for Japan visa, Japan visa appointment booking, Processing time at the Japanese visa application center, Japan Visa Application Process, sample Japan visa application form, who needs a visa to enter Japan, apply from China, Philippines, India, Russia, CIS, etc
In 2017, 5,869,012 visas for Japan were issued. This figure represents the highest number of visas issued since 2013. 77% of this total amount came from Chinese nationals.
Applying for Japan visa
If you are planning on going to Japan you may need a visa to be able to enter the country. This depends on your nationality and the reason for traveling to Japan.
Nationals from the following countries do NOT need a visa to enter Japan:
- Asia: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan
- North America: Canada, United States
- Latin America and the Caribbean: Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Suriname, Uruguay
- Europe: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Macedonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom
- Oceania: Australia, New Zealand
- Middle East: Israel, Turkey, United Arab Emirates
- Africa: Lesotho, Mauritius, Tunisia
To be able to enjoy this visa-free status, you must be in possession of an ePassport, a Machine Readable Passport (MRP), or a Special Administrative Region (SAR) passport. Please check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Japan’s website for further information.
In addition, the maximum number of days you are allowed to remain in Japan differs depending on where you come from:
- 15 days – Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand nationals
- 30 days – United Arab Emirates nationals
- 90 days – other nationals
If you come from any of the following countries, you DO need a visa to be able to enter Japan:
- Commonwealth of Independent States countries (CIS) of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan
- China, Russia, Philippines, Vietnam
- Other nationalities – Pacific Islands, India, Qatar, Indonesia, Ecuador, Saint Vincent, and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Saint Christopher, and Nevis
Types of visas for Japan
There are several types of visas for Japan and the one you apply for depends on how long you plan to go for and why you wish to travel to Japan.
- Short-term stay – this visa is available for the purposes of tourism, business, visiting family or friends etc., for a maximum of 90 days
- Work or long-term stay – this visa is for paid employment purposes and is suitable for those wishing to stay in Japan for over 90 days
- Medical stay – for those applicants wishing to visit Japan for medical reasons
- Transit – if you are changing planes in a Japanese airport en route to your final destination
Visas can be issued as:
- Single entry – valid for 1 entry
- Double entry – valid for 2 entries
- Multiple entry – valid for unlimited entries within 1 – 5 years. For business travelers only
Where to apply for Japan Visa
If you are from a country that requires a visa to be able to enter the country, the first thing you need to do is find out where you need to apply. You have to make sure you apply at the right Japanese embassy and consulate.
Go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Japan’s website and click on: “Consular services”:
Click on: “Visa/Residing in Japan”:
Click on the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan link:
The website will give you a list of all the websites of Japanese Embassies and Consulate Generals in countries around the world:
You’ll need to choose the correct embassy or consulate in the country where you are legally resident.
Each of the embassies and consulates has their own visa sections on their websites, so it’s a good idea to take time to understand the process and what documents you need for your type of visa before doing anything else. This will save time when you begin the application process.
Here are the links for the Japanese Embassies for nationals of countries that require a visa to enter Japan. Please note, these are the links for the embassies only, so you may find a consulate in your specific region. Check the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan for further details.
- Embassy of Japan in China
- Embassy of Japan in Russia
- Embassy of Japan in Philippines
- Embassy of Japan in Vietnam
- Embassy of Japan in CIS countries
- Embassy of Japan in Pacific Islands
- Embassy of Japan in India
- Embassy of Japan in Qatar
- Embassy of Japan in Indonesia
- Embassy of Japan in Ecuador
- Embassy of Japan in Saint Vincent
- Embassy of Japan in Saudi Arabia
- Embassy of Japan in Saint Christopher and Nevis
The Japan Visa Application Process and Requirements
When you apply for your Japan visa, you need to take account of processing times. Generally, the turnaround time is 5 days. However, if there are any problems the embassy or consulate will send your application to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in Tokyo, so this could increase the processing time by up to 1 month.
In addition, if you are applying for a work or long-stay visa, it is recommended that you obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the regional immigration bureau in Japan before you apply for your visa. You can arrange this via proxy if you are outside Japan. If you do not do this prior to applying for your visa, the application could take any time between 1 and 3 months regardless of whether there are any problems with it.
The best thing to do is check the embassy or consulate’s website for their processing times and apply well in advance of your trip.
Once you know where to apply from, there are a serious of steps to help you apply for your Japan visa. The first one is to prepare the required documents for your application.
Step 1: Make your appointment online
Visit your chosen Japanese Embassy or Consulate’s website for instructions on how to make an appointment. Most will have an online system that you can use in order to make a suitable appointment in order to submit your file. However, some will simply ask you to make your appointment by contacting them by phone or email.
Step 2: Complete your application form
You need to complete your application form. You can find this on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Japan. Alternatively, check the website of the embassy or consulate you are using. You will be able to complete the application form online or download it to complete and sign it manually.
Step 3: Get your documents ready
You need to make sure you have all the required paperwork in order to submit these to the embassy or consulate along with your application for your visa. It’s your responsibility to get everything prepared. Missing documents could result in your application being denied.
Documents required for temporary visitor stays of up to 90 days for business affairs, visiting family or friends, and tourism:
1) Passport with 6 months remaining after your trip and at least 1 page should be free.
2) Visa application form (nationals of CIS countries, Russia, or Georgia need 2 application forms)
3) Passport-sized photograph (nationals of CIS countries, Russia, or Georgia need 2 photos)
4) Documents to prove reservation of air or ship booking
5) Proof of sufficient funds – Proof of employer-paid expenses/letter of mission/income tax return/ certificate of deposit
6) Certificate of employment to prove your employment status as an employed, self-employed, student, or retired
7) Birth/marriage certificate and/or other certified documents to prove family ties
8) Proof of ID
9) Proof of residence – residence card or valid visa
10) Itinerary in Japan and/or hotel booking
If you’re planning to obtain your flight reservation for visa without paying for the ticket, all you have to do is follow the 3 simple steps below:
- Visit the Visa Reservation website to choose the right package
- Submit the travel details and make the payment online
- Receive flight itinerary in email
The following documents are required if you are being invited to visit Japan by an individual/company or if someone is acting as guarantor. These documents should be prepared and received by you prior to the application for the visa:
- Letter of invitation or other documents to explain activities in Japan, such as a business contract or conference/trading materials
- List of visa applicants if there is more than one visa applicant
- Schedule/itinerary of stay
If the guarantor is paying for the applicant’s travel expenses the following documents are also required:
- Letter of guarantee
- Details of the company – an overview of the company or a certified copy of the business register
- Certificate of Eligibility
- Certificate of income tax and/or certificate of deposit balance
- Certificate of residence (Jyuminhyo) – including a description of family relations
- Valid residence card with certificate of residence and passport – if a guarantor is foreign national
Chinese nationals should also submit:
- Certified copy of Chinese family register
- Temporary residence permit or residence certificate
- Graduation certificate
- Employment certificate of the financial supporter
Please note that this list of documents may not be all that you need to prepare, so you should spend time looking at the website of the embassy or consulate where you will submit your visa application.
You can have a look at the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Japan for information regarding the documents required too.
Please be aware that any documents should be valid and issued within the last 3 months. Also, you will need to present original documents as well as photocopies, so don’t forget to do this.
Step 4: Submitting your file
On the day of your appointment, you should arrive at the embassy or consulate early. If you are late, your appointment may have to be rescheduled so as not to inconvenience other applicants.
You should also dress formally to make a good impression.
Don’t forget any of your documents because this may also mean that you will have to make a new appointment for when you can present everything that is required. The embassy or consulate cannot make a decision with missing information.
The visa staff will examine your application and supporting documents. If they wish to confirm anything they may question you further. They could ask things like:
- What are your plans when you are in Japan?
- Will you work when you are there?
- What will you do if your application gets refused?
If you get asked any questions like these, just answer them confidently and honestly.
You will also pay the fee for your visa. The fee must be paid for in cash in the local currency of the country you are applying for.
|Visa Type||Fee in USD||Fee in Yen|
|Double entry and Multiple entry||$56||6,000|
Step 5: Receive your visa
When a decision regarding your visa has been made, you will receive notification from the respective Japanese Embassy or Consulate and you can make arrangements to collect your passport from their office.
Hopefully, your new Japan visa will be in your passport, but your application could have been denied for any number of reasons such as:
- You currently hold a valid visa
- Your previous visa application was rejected and you have reapplied within 6 months
- There are missing documents
- There are no free pages in your passport
- You are from Japan
There is no need for a visa for Japanese nationals, so check the list of countries that are exempt from needing a visa to enter Japan. Similarly, if you already have a visa, applying for a new one when you don’t have to is a waste of everybody’s time. Make sure you submit all the necessary paperwork along with your application and also that your passport has sufficient space for your visa to be attached.
Please note, if your visa is approved, it will be valid for a specific amount of time and you must enter Japan within this timescale. There are no opportunities to have these visas extended. For example:
- Single entry – valid for 3 months from the date of issue
- Double entry – valid for 4 months from the date of issue
- Multiple entry- valid for 1-5 years from the date of issue
1) I want to go to Japan, do I need a visa?
It depends on your nationality. Currently, there are 68 countries whose nationals do not need to visa to enter Japan as long as the duration is 90 days or less and the purpose is for tourism, business, visiting family or friends, or attending a conference. If you plan to take up any kind of employment, you will need a visa
2) I want to invite someone to Japan. What documents do I need to prepare?
If you are inviting someone for stays of less than 90 days for tourist or business purposes you need:
- Letter of invitation
- Schedule of stay
If you are inviting someone from China, Russia, CIS countries, or Georgia and will be paying for their expenses you need:
- Letter of Guarantee
- Certificate of residence of a guarantor
- Proof of financial responsibility
If you wish to invite someone to come for longer stays over 90 days you need:
- Certificate of eligibility – this can be obtained from your regional immigration bureau
The documents should be prepared and sent to the visa applicant prior to them making their visa application.
For more detailed information on specific application process and required documents, visit below links:
- Japan Visa Requirements and Application Process from China
- Japan Visa Requirements and Application Process from Russia
- Japan Visa Requirements and Application Process from Philippines
- Japan Visa Requirements and Application Process from Vietnam
- Japan Visa Requirements and Application Process from CIS countries
- Japan Visa Requirements and Application Process from Other Nationalities
3) Can someone else apply for my Japanese visa on my behalf?
Yes. There are 3 ways to apply for your Japanese visa:
- Apply at you’re your local embassy or consulate yourself
- Arrange for your application to be submitted by someone on your behalf. You will need a letter of proxy to be able to do this
- Apply through a travel agent that has been approved by the Japanese Embassy or Consulate
However, you should check with your local embassy or consulate because they may require you to submit your application in person and they will not accept a proxy on your behalf.
4) Do I have to provide any additional information?
You have to submit the application form and the aforementioned supporting documents for the visa staff to be able to make a decision regarding whether to grant your visa or not. If they need to clarify anything you may be requested to provide additional paperwork.
5) I am departing in the next few days. Can my visa be approved before I leave?
Not necessarily. There is no rush processing available. The normal processing time is 5 days and applications are dealt with in order of receipt.
6) Can I apply at any Japanese Embassy or Consulate?
No. You have to apply at the embassy or consulate in the region where you live. Each office deals with applications from within its jurisdiction, so you should check the website to make sure you are applying at the correct one
7) What should I do to avoid my application from being rejected?
The best way you can avoid a rejected application is:
- Provide all the requested documents
- Turn up for your appointment on time
- Answer any additional questions confidently
- Provide any further documents if requested
- Sign all forms
- Apply at the correct embassy or consulate
8) Can I apply again if my application is rejected?
Yes. However, if you are applying for the visa for the same reason and/or your circumstances have not changed a great deal, you must wait 6 months before reapplying
9) I had my visa approved on 1st January 2019. Can I enter Japan on 20th April 2019?
No. Your approved visa is valid for 3 months, so you must enter the country within that timescale. If you don’t you need to apply again
10) I have a visa for Japan. Is this a guarantee that I can enter the country?
No. Even though your visa application is approved, this is still not a guarantee that you will be permitted to enter. The immigration entry point can refuse you entry if they think it necessary. For example, if you cannot satisfy them of your plans after entering Japan
Contact details of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan
Address: 2-2-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8919, Japan
List of Japanese Embassies and Consulates around the world: https://www.mofa.go.jp/about/emb_cons/mofaserv.html
So, the first thing you need to do is to find out where you need to apply for your Japan visa. Once you know this, the process is a simple one. All you need to do is:
- Make an appointment
- Complete your application form
- Get your documents ready
- Submit your file
- Receive your visa
5 straightforward steps to apply for your Japan visa. Once you’ve done that and you have your visa, you can start to prepare for your amazing trip!
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