Eligibility

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Who is eligible for the Japan Rail Pass?

The Japan Rail Pass is a special discounted service, created for foreign nationals, visiting Japan for tourism purposes, with a maximum stay of 90 days. Please read the eligibility requirements carefully before continuing to making a JR Pass purchase.

The Japanese Rail Pass is available to all foreign nationals who are visiting the country for a short period of time and have obtained a Japanese Tourist Visa. The Tourist Visa allows for a stay of up to 90 days in the country. This rule applies to all visitors - adults, children, tourist groups etc.

The same rules are valid for the foreign permanent residents such as students and interns, who work or reside permanently in the country. This would mean they have a permanent and not a Tourist Visa in their passport.

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Remember that the Tourist Visa is the only visa which allows you to obtain and use the Japan Rail Pass.

Note: The Japanese Immigration Laws have a very strict policy, which regards the Temporary Visitor visa as the only valid stamp for you to receive and use the Japan Rail Pass. Be aware as there are other types of visas, allowing for a short-term entry but are not eligible for the Pass.

Japanese nationals

From June 1, 2017 Japanese nationals who reside permanently outside of Japan, and have done so for at least 10 years, are eligible to purchase the JR Pass. Eligible Japanese nationals will need to have a valid Japanese passport and written proof — obtained from the embassy or diplomatic representative office of Japan in the foreign country where they live — that they have been living legally in the country for at least 10 years.

Acceptable written proof:

1. Copy of your Overseas Residential Registration issued by the embassy or legation of Japan in the foreign country where you live (limited to an Overseas Residential Registration with a date of acceptance at least 10 years earlier).

2. Certificate of Overseas Residence issued by the embassy or legation of Japan in the foreign country where you live (limited to a Certificate of Overseas Residence with a date at least 10 years earlier as the date on which your address (or place of temporary residence) was established as your present address).

3. As a special case limited to the USA, Brazil, and Canada, the Permanent Resident Card issued by these 3 countries can be used as written proof until further notice (limited to a Permanent Resident Card confirming your stay in the relevant country for 10 years or more).

Please keep in mind:

a) In regard to (1), if a single copy of your Overseas Residential Registration verifies that any family members living with you in the country have stayed for 10 consecutive years or more, such a document is valid for those family members.

b) Concerning children (under 12 years of age) whose stay in the country is less than 10 years at the time of purchase of an Exchange Order, if a single copy of the Overseas Residential Registration stated in (1) verifies that they live together with the applicant whose stay in the country is 10 consecutive years or more, and if they also use the JAPAN RAIL PASS together with that applicant, their eligibility requirements are satisfied.

c) The copy of the Overseas Residential Registration and the Certificate of Overseas Residence are only valid for 6 months after the date of issue.

d) You cannot use a photocopy of your written proof to purchase an Exchange Order or to exchange your Exchange Order for a JAPAN RAIL PASS.

e) Definition of “10 years or more”: At the time of purchase of an Exchange Order, a date in the same month 10 years earlier or before is valid. (Example) In the case of the purchase of an Exchange Order on June 1, 2017, a date anytime in June 2007 or earlier is valid. (A date between June 1 and June 30, 2007 is deemed as “June 2007” and valid.)

f) You can purchase an Exchange Order and exchange it for a JAPAN RAIL PASS only if you can present any one of the written proof described in the above (1) to (3).

Dual citizenship

Those Japanese nationals who have dual citizenship must enter Japan with their non-Japanese passport. This is the only way to receive a Tourist Visa stamp upon entry. The Тourist Visa stamp will be required when exchanging the order (the Japan Rail voucher) for the actual Japan Rail Pass. In case you have entered the country with your Japanese passport, you must also provide proof of residence in another country (for a period of at least 10 years) or you will not be eligible to exchange the voucher and receive your JR Pass.

Note: Entering the country with a Japanese passport and then showing a foreign passport at the Exchange Bureau will not guarantee a successful exchange, nor showing a foreign birth certificate or a driving license. All dual citizenship nationals who enter Japan with their foreign passport must have the Tourist Stamp in their foreign passport. Otherwise, the exchange of the voucher will not be possible.

More information in Japanese can be found in our blog: 新たなご利用資格要件の基で JR パス購入が可能な方とは

Eligibility verification

If after having read all the eligibility requirements mentioned above, you still have doubts about whether or not you are eligible to make the Japan Rail Pass exchange, please do not hesitate to contact us so we can help you assess your case. Please keep in mind that if the JR personnel is unable to verify your eligibility due to missing, unclear or unofficial documents, you will not receive the Rail Pass. Please, make sure you understand and comply with the requirements mentioned above before purchasing the Pass.

Remember that the Tourist Visa is the only visa which allows you to obtain and use the Japan Rail Pass. The Japanese Immigration Laws have a very strict policy, which regards the Temporary Visitor visa as the only valid stamp for you to receive and use the Japan Rail Pass. Be aware as there are other types of visas, allowing for a short-term entry but are not eligible for the JR Pass.

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