Visa policy of Japan

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A single-entry Japanese temporary visitor visa (New design since 2016)
A double-entry Japanese transit visa on a Chinese passport (Old design)

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 68 countries/territories to travel to Japan for tourism or business without having to obtain a visa.[1][2][3]

Japan plans to introduce electronic system for tourist visa applications in April 2020.[4]

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
The Japanese temporary visitor landing permission stickers and departed stamps issued at the Narita Airport and Naha Airport on a British passport

Holders of passports issued by the following 66 countries or regions are visa exempt for visits up to 901 days (unless otherwise noted):[1][2]

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 Nationals (Overseas) are eligible for visa-free entry.
3 - For nationals of Barbados (since April 1, 2010), Turkey (since April 1, 2011) and Lesotho (since April 1, 2010), visas are not required only for holders of Machine-Readable Passport (MRP) or ePassport in compliance with ICAO standards. Those who do not hold an MRP or ePassport are advised to obtain a visa in advance, otherwise will be strictly examined and may be refused entry to Japan.
4 - For nationals of Malaysia (since July 1, 2013), visas are not required only for holders of ePassport in compliance with ICAO standards. Those who do not hold such ePassport are advised to obtain a visa in advance, otherwise will be strictly examined and may be refused entry to Japan.
5 - For holders of Taiwan passports which includes a personal identification number.
6 - For citizens of Hong Kong, visas are not required only for holders of Special Administrative Region (SAR) passport issued by the Hong Kong SAR of the People’s Republic of China or British National Overseas (BNO) passports who have the right of residence in Hong Kong.
7 - For citizens of Macao, visas are not required only for holders of SAR passport issued by the Macao SAR of the People’s Republic of China.

Holders of passports pre-registered at the diplomatic missions of Japan in the related country (the embassy, consulates, or the consulate) issued by these two countries can visit without a visa:[5][6]

1 - For nationals of Indonesia (since December 1, 2014), visas are not required only for those who have registered ICAO-compliant ePassport to diplomatic missions of Japan in Indonesia (the embassy, consulates-general, or the consulate). Validity of the registration is three years period or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.

2 - For nationals of the United Arab Emirates (since July 1, 2017), visas are not required only for those who have registered ICAO-compliant ePassport to diplomatic missions of Japan (the embassy, consulates-general, or the consulate). Validity of the registration is three years period or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.

Non-ordinary passports[edit]

  Japan
  Visa free access for diplomatic and service category passports
  Visa free access for diplomatic passports

The governments of the following 45 countries have concluded bilateral visa waiver agreements with Japan. Holders of diplomatic and/or service category passports do not require a visa to visit Japan:[82]

D — diplomatic passports

Holders of diplomatic and official passport of the countries (to whom visa exemption applies when using an ordinary passport) are also, on reciprocal basis, exempted from visa as temporary visitor. In this case, they will be granted the status of residence as "Temporary Visitor" at the landing inspection in Japan (not the status of residence as "Diplomat" or "Official".), and in principal, they are obliged to provide their personal identification information such as fingerprints and facial photo.[83]

B — diplomatic passports

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan holders of diplomatic and service passports of Taiwan and United States need a visa.[84]

APEC Business Travel Card[edit]

Holders of passports issued by the following countries who possess an APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) containing the "JPN" code on the reverse that it is valid for travel to Japan can enter visa-free for business trips for up to 90 days.[1]

ABTCs are issued to nationals of:[85]

Special visa policy for some countries[edit]

Japan had a special visa policy for nationals of some former Soviet countries who could not provide their financial guarantees and get a visa on their own but instead they had to apply through an approved travel agency or be invited by a resident or a citizen of Japan.[86] These requirements were lifted for citizens of Russia on 1 January 2017,[87] Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on 5 June 2017,[88][89] Armenia on 1 September 2017,[90] Azerbaijan on 1 December 2017[91] and Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine on 1 January 2018.[92][93]

In addition, Japanese MOFA has special visa policies for nationals of China and the Philippines. Nationals of these countries also must apply through an accredited travel agent or be invited by a Japanese citizen or a resident of Japan.[94][95]

As of 2014 nationals of the 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.[96] Moreover, nationals of India, the Philippines and Vietnam can obtain multiple-entry visas providing that they have visited Japan and other G7 countries or they have "sufficient financial capability".[97][98]

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.[99]

Japan was reportedly set to ease visa requirements for visitors from key markets, such as India, China and Vietnam, starting in the summer of 2016.[100] A new wave of visa liberalization policies for Chinese nationals started from 17 October 2016,[101] for Indian nationals started from 1 January 2018.[102]

Statistics[edit]

In 2015 4,768,286 Japanese visas were issued.[103] It is an increase of 66% from 2014 when 2,871,639 visas were issued and the highest number ever recorded.[104]

Most visas were applied for by nationals of the following countries:[105][106][107][108]

Application from Issued visas in 2017 Share Issued visas in 2015 Share Issued visas in 2014 Share Issued visas in 2013 Issued visas in 2012
 China 4,504,718 77% 3,780,773 79% 2,048,106 71% 971,542 1,112,407
 Philippines 325,564 5% 225,676 5% 163,386 6% 99,258 74,424
 Indonesia 239,201 4% 162,273 3% 141,321 5% 122,376 90,498
 Vietnam 226,993 4% 139,236 3% 96,648 3% 65,305 39,581
 India 96,658 2% 74,088 2% 66,696 2% 55,622 50,938
 Russia 67,445 1% 47,813 1% 57,606 2% 54,948 45,468
 Brazil 50,885 1% 38,798 1% 34,217 1% 28,697 35,049
 Thailand[109] N/A N/A 20,857 1% 21,322 1% 183,684 228,528
 South Korea[110] N/A N/A 20,399 0% 18,861 1% 21,644 22,964
 United States[111] N/A N/A 19,349 0% 19,017 1% N/A N/A
 Malaysia[112] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 70,231 115,348
Others 357,548 6% 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.

Most visitors arriving to Japan were from the following countries of nationality:

Country/Territory 2017[113] 2016[114] 2015[115] 2014[116] 2013[117]
 China Increase 7,355,800 Increase 6,373,564 Increase 4,993,689 Increase 2,409,158 Decrease 1,314,437
 South Korea Increase 7,140,200 Increase 5,090,302 Increase 4,002,095 Increase 2,755,313 Increase 2,456,165
 Taiwan Increase 4,564,100 Increase 4,167,512 Increase 3,677,075 Increase 2,829,821 Increase 2,210,821
 Hong Kong Increase 2,231,500 Increase 1,839,193 Increase 1,524,292 Increase 925,975 Increase 745,881
 United States Increase 1,375,000 Increase 1,242,719 Increase 1,033,258 Increase 891,668 Increase 799,280
 Thailand Increase 987,100 Increase 901,525 Increase 796,731 Increase 657,570 Increase 453,642
 Australia Increase 495,100 Increase 445,332 Increase 376,075 Increase 302,656 Increase 244,569
 Malaysia Increase 439,500 Increase 394,268 Increase 305,447 Increase 249,521 Increase 176,521
 Philippines Increase 424,200 Increase 347,861 Increase 268,361 Increase 184,204 Increase 108,351
 Singapore Increase 404,100 Increase 361,807 Increase 308,783 Increase 227,962 Increase 189,280
Total Increase 28,690,900 Increase 24,039,053 Increase 19,737,409 Increase 13,413,467 Increase 10,363,904

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Country information (visa section)". Timatic. International Air Transport Association (IATA) through Olympic Air. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b Exemption of Visa (Short-Term Stay)
  3. ^ VISA/Residing in Japan
  4. ^ Chinese tourists will be first in line for Japan’s electronic visas
  5. ^ Visa Waiver for Indonesian Nationals Based on a System of E-Passport Registration
  6. ^ Japan-UAE Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Working Dinner
  7. ^ Probably still applied under Visa waiver agreement between Japan and Yugoslavia on 1967 [1]
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  21. ^ Under Visa Agreement on 1958 [5]
    Previous visa-free agreement was applied from 1 Sep 1928 until the Anschluss 1938 under Visa agreement on 1927 [6]
  22. ^ [7]
  23. ^ "一部旅券査証及び査証料の相互免除に関する日本国政府とルクセンブルグ政府との間の取極(交換公文)" (PDF). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. 21 July 1960. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
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  28. ^ Under Agreement concerning Reciprocal Waiving of Passport Visas on 1 September 1966
  29. ^ http://www.hugtakasafn.utn.stjr.is/hugtak.adp?id=61867
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  41. ^ "旅券査証及び査証料の相互免除に関するオランダ政府と日本国政府との間の取極のスリナム及びアンティールへの適用に関する交換公文" (PDF). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. 8 June 1974. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
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  49. ^ "一部査証の相互免除に関するアメリカ合衆国政府と日本国政府との間の取極(口上書)" (PDF). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. 14 November 1988. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  50. ^ "一部査証の相互免除に関する日本国政府とアンドラ公国政府との間の口上書" (PDF). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. 10 June 1997. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  51. ^ "一部査証及び査証料の相互免除に関する日本国政府とマケドニア旧ユーゴスラヴィア共和国政府との間の口上書" (PDF). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. 11 June 1997. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  52. ^ [9]
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  61. ^ "香港特別行政区旅券所持者に対する一部査証及び査証料の免除に関する日本国政府から香港特別行政区政府あての口上書" (PDF). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. 30 March 2004. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  62. ^ "英国海外市民旅券有する香港居住権者に対する一部査証及び査証料免除に関する日本国政府から英国政府あての口上書" (PDF). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. 30 March 2004. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  63. ^ "Japan Grants Visa-free Access To Macao SAR Passport Holders". Macau SAR Identification Department. 15 March 2005. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  64. ^ ブルガリアへの入国・滞在に必要な手続き, Entry into Bulgaria: Necessary procedure for stay, Bulgarian Embassy in Tōkyō (in Japanese)
  65. ^ Temporary visa-free between 1 March 2005 and 28 February 2006
  66. ^ "一部査証の相互免除に関する日本国政府と大韓民国政府との間の口上書" (PDF). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. 2 March 2006. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  67. ^ "Romanians can travel to Japan for up to 90 days without visa". Romania Journal. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  68. ^ [10]
  69. ^ [11]
  70. ^ [12]
  71. ^ [13]
  72. ^ [14]
  73. ^ Was applied from 20 August 1973 under Visa waiver agreement on 1973 [15]
  74. ^ Was applied from 1 January 1961 under Visa waiver agreement on 1960 [16]
  75. ^ Was applied from 1 June 1967 under Visa waiver agreement on 1967 [17]
  76. ^ Was applied from 1 October 1974 under Visa waiver agreement on 1974 [18]
  77. ^ [19]
  78. ^ Was applied from 1 March 1983 under Visa waiver agreement on 1983 [20]
  79. ^ Was applied from 1 February 1972 under Visa waiver agreement on 1972 [21]
  80. ^ a b [22]
  81. ^ Was applied from 1 September 1962 under Visa waiver agreement on 1962 [23]
  82. ^ Visa Exemptions for Diplomatic and Official Passport Holders, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
  83. ^ Visa Exemptions for Diplomatic and Official Passport Holders, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
  84. ^ Visa Exemptions for Diplomatic and Official Passport Holders, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
  85. ^ "ABTC Summary". Archived from the original on 2016-10-19. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  86. ^ Nationals of Russian, CIS countries, or Georgia who wish to come to Japan for a short-term stay
  87. ^ [24]
  88. ^ [25]
  89. ^ [26]
  90. ^ [27]
  91. ^ [28]
  92. ^ http://www.mofa.go.jp/press/release/press4e_001844.html
  93. ^ http://www.mofa.go.jp/press/release/press4e_001786.html
  94. ^ Nationals of China who wish to come to Japan for a short-term stay
  95. ^ Nationals of Philippines who wish to come to Japan for a short-term stay
  96. ^ Japan eases visa requirements for Vietnamese going on organized tours
  97. ^ Application Procedures for Multiple Visa for Nationals of Indonesia, the Philippines, and Viet Nam
  98. ^ Application Procedures for Multiple Visa for Nationals of India
  99. ^ Japan offers visa-free cruises to Chinese tourists
  100. ^ Japan to ease visa rules this summer
  101. ^ Japan to relax visa rules for Chinese visitors
  102. ^ [29]
  103. ^ Statistics for the Number of Visas Issued in 2015
  104. ^ Statistics for the Number of Visas Issued in 2014
  105. ^ [30]
  106. ^ [31]
  107. ^ [32]
  108. ^ [33]
  109. ^ Visas abolished on 1 July 2013
  110. ^ Visa exempt country.
  111. ^ Visa exempt country.
  112. ^ Visas abolished on 1 July 2013
  113. ^ 2017 Foreign Visitors & Japanese Departures
  114. ^ 2016 Foreign Visitors & Japanese Departures
  115. ^ 2015 Foreign Visitors & Japanese Departures, Japan National Tourism Organization
  116. ^ 2014 Foreign Visitors & Japanese Departures, Japan National Tourism Organization
  117. ^ 2013 Foreign Visitors & Japanese Departures, Japan National Tourism Organization

External links[edit]