Travelers heading to Japan will no longer need to queue at a Japanese embassy or consulate to apply for a visa for Japan. The new tourist eVisa for Japan will launch in April 2020 and tourists will be able to complete the application online in just a few minutes.
The first eligible nationality will be Chinese tourists as they represent the largest demographic (over 60%) of visitors to Japan. The electronic visa will be gradually rolled out to other nationalities later on in the year.
The tourist visa is part of a wider government plan to boost tourism. The target is to reach 40 million visitors by 2020 and 60 million by 2030. The new visa will make traveling to Japan much more accessible more millions of people around the world.
Preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
The Japanese Government is keen to ensure the country is as ready as it can be before the influx of sports fans who will head to Japan for the Olympics and Paralympics. Other new types of visas are also on the horizon and there are plans to increase the number of low-cost flights to Japan.
In 2018, Japan received a record-breaking number of tourists, over 30 million, and this number will continue to increase over the next couple of years. Last year’s figure would have been even greater had it not been for an unusually high number of natural disasters which hindered tourism.
The new Japan tourist eVisa will reduce the workload at embassies and consulates and tighten immigration controls as all visitors will be pre-checked before they arrive. Travelers will need to provide a range of information to complete the online application and the data will be screened by the relevant authorities before the visas are issued.
Who will be eligible for the eVisas?
The government has not yet published the list of eligible nationalities for the eVisa. Chinese visitors will be the first ones who will be able to apply, then more will follow.
At the moment, there are 66 nationalities who can travel to Japan without a visa. These include all EU countries, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, South Korea, Turkey, and Thailand. It may be the case that some of the nationalities who currently enjoy visa-free travel to Japan will need to apply for the eVisa.
If so, it will not be a big problem as the online application will only take a few minutes to complete. Applicants will just need to enter basic information such as their name, address, passport details, and travel plans.