Visa policy of Japan

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A double-entry Japanese transit visa on a Chinese passport

Visitors to Japan must obtain a visa from one of the Japanese diplomatic missions unless they come from one of the visa-exempt countries. The Government of Japan currently allows citizens of 67 countries/territories to travel to Japan for tourism or business without having to obtain a visa.[1][2][3]

Visa policy map[edit]

Countries which are allowed visa-free entry to Japan

Visa exempt countries[edit]

A Japanese temporary visitor landing permission sticker issued at the Haneda Airport on a Taiwan passport

Holders of passports issued by the following 67 countries or regions are visa exempt for visits up to 901 days (unless otherwise noted):[4]

1 - Citizens of Austria, Germany, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Switzerland and the United Kingdom may apply for an extension of stay with the Ministry of Justice for up to 6 months.
2 - For the United Kingdom, only British citizens and British National (Overseas) are eligible for visa-free entry.
3 - With biometric passports only.
4 - For holders of Taiwan passports which includes a personal identification number.
5 - only for holders of biometric Indonesian passport who were issued a Visa Waiver Registration Certificate at the Japan Embassy/Consulate in Indonesia.[5]
6 - For holders of HKSAR passport or BN(O) passport.
7 - For holders of MSAR passport.

Holders of diplomatic or official/service passports of Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Iran, Morocco, Papua New Guinea, Turkmenistan, Vietnam as well as holders of only diplomatic passports of Albania, Georgia, India, Laos, Ukraine and Vatican City do not require a visa to visit Japan.

APEC Business Travel Card[edit]

Holders of passports issued by the following countries who possess an APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) which states on the reverse that it is valid for travel to Japan can enter visa-free for up to 90 days.[6]

ABTCs are issued to nationals of:[7]

Special visa policy for some countries[edit]

Japan has a special visa policy for nationals of Russia, other CIS countries, and Georgia. [8] Nationals of these countries can not provide their financial guarantees and get a visa on their own - they must apply through touristic companies or residents of Japan. These additional requirements are due to the South Kuril islands dispute - all these countries were members of the USSR. (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are members of the Schengen Area and are covered under the European Union.)

In addition, Japanese MOFA has a special visa policy for nationals of China and the Philippines. [9] [10]

As of 2014 nationals of Philippines and Vietnam travelling in a group through a registered travel agency can obtain entry visas for tourist visits up to 15 days in a simplified process that requires fewer documents than before.[11]

Chinese tourists travelling on approved cruise ships do not require a visa as of April 2015. They must embark and disembark the same specified ships.[12] Japan is reportedly set to ease visa requirements for visitors from key markets, such as India, China and Vietnam, starting in the summer of 2016. [13]


In 2015 4,768,286 Japanese visas were issued.[14] It is an increase of 66% from 2014 when 2,871,639 visas were issued and the highest number ever recorded.[15]

Most visas were applied for by nationals of the following countries:[16][17][18]

Application from Issued visas in 2015 Share Issued visas in 2014 Share Issued visas in 2013 Issued visas in 2012
 China 3,780,773 79% 2,048,106 71% 971,542 1,112,407
 Philippines 225,676 5% 163,386 6% 99,258 74,424
 Indonesia 162,273 3% 141,321 5% 122,376 90,498
 Vietnam 139,236 3% 96,648 3% 65,305 39,581
 India 74,088 2% 66,696 2% 55,622 50,938
 Russia 47,813 1% 57,606 2% 54,948 45,468
 Brazil 38,798 1% 34,217 1% 28,697 35,049
 Thailand[19] 20,857 1% 21,322 1% 183,684 228,528
 Republic of Korea[20] 20,399 0% 18,861 1% 21,644 22,964
 United States[21] 19,349 0% 19,017 1% N/A N/A
 Malaysia[22] N/A N/A N/A N/A 70,231 115,348
Others 239,026 5% 204,459 7% 191,118 171.316

In 2015 most visas were issued for group sightseeing (1,957,498) and individual sightseeing (1,126,209). There were 62,052 multiple-entry visas for Okinawa and 10,500 multiple-entry visas for three prefectures in Tōhoku.

In 2015 19,737,409 foreign tourists visited Japan.[23]

See also[edit]