To enter Japan you need a passport and a visa (unless you are from a country which is visa-exempt). There are a number of different types of Japanese visas which are designed by the Japanese government for different purposes and lengths of time.
There are 68 countries whose citizens can enter visa-free for tourism or business. Other nationalities currently need to go to a Japanese embassy or consulate to apply for a visa. Japan plans to introduce an eVisa in 2020 that will simplify the application process to acquire the Japan visa.
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Japan visa types
At the moment there are numerous different types of visas and more will be introduced in the future, including the eVisa. Visas are obtained directly from Japanese embassies and consulates, althought the application process for the eVisa will be completed entirely online.
The tourist visa is available for citizens of many countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. They allow visitors to stay for up to 90 days and it is possible to apply for a double-entry visa for two short trips within a 6-month period. Applicants need a valid passport with at least 2 blank pages.
There is a temporary business visa for stays of up to 90 days which can single or double-entry visa (if both trips are within a 6-month period). Business purposes include conferences, meetings, signing contracts, and market surveys.
Some nationalities need a transit visa to stop over in Japan when going to an onward destination. Many travelers do not need this as long as they stay within the allocated zone and do not leave the airport.
The are two types of Japanese work visas: the Working Visa and the Highly Professional Visa. The former is designed for a range of professions including professors, managers, and researchers. The latter is for foreign workers with advanced and specialized skills. The can be valid for up to 5 years depending on the case.
Which countries need a tourist visa?
All nationalities who are not visa-exempt need to a visa to enter Japan. Citizens of certain countries can enter with Temporary Visitor status for limited periods of time (15 to 90 consecutive days) for tourism or business purposes.
Visitors receive a stamp in their passport which is a requirement for the Japan Rail Pass. The rules are very strict and it is not possible to get the pass without showing the stamp (tourists with other types of visas are not eligible for the Pass).
The following nationalities are eligible for Temporary Visitor status (all others need a visa to enter):
|JAPAN VISA-EXEMPT COUNTRIES & REGIONS (as of December 2018)|
|LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN|
|Brunei (15 days)||Republic of Korea||Thailand (15 days)||Macao|
|Israel||United Arab Emirates (30 days)||Turkey|
The nationalities listed above can enter for tourism, visiting relatives, and business purposes. However, visitors cannot be paid for work under Temporary Visitor status. In these cases, it is necessary to obtain a work visa.
Japan visa requirements
To successfully apply for a tourist visa for Japan, those applicants who don’t come from the mentioned countries, must meet the following visa requirements:
- Hold a valid passport with at least 6 months remaining and 2 blank pages
- Complete the visa application form
- Provide a recent passport photo and a certified copy of birth certificate
- Submit a marriage certificate (if issued within the last year)
- Provide a schedule and travel plans for the trip
The visa requirements for the Japan eVisa will be published in 2020 when the travel authorization is launched.
Japan Tourist eVisa
The new Japan Tourist eVisa will be available for eligible nationalities from April 2020, in time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The electronic visa is part of the government’s wider plan to reach 60 million foreign visitors a year by 2030.
The online application form will be straightforward to complete and will mean that tourists will not need to go to an embassy or consulate to complete the application. It is being designed to simplify the visa application process.
Once an application has been submitted and approved, the eVisa will be sent to applicants by email. Travelers will be able to present the eVisa at the border to gain entry.
The eVisas will be single-entry and it will be necessary to make a payment by credit or debit card to submit the application. More information will be published in the months leading up the launch of the visa.
More information about Japan tourist eVisa at: https://www.visasjapan.com/tourist-evisa/.