So do you need a Japan visa? If you're coming here on holiday then, with a bit of luck and your nationality being on your side, the process is quite a simple one.
If you're planning on staying a little longer, either for work or play, then your visa for Japan needs a little more thought and preparation. We'll walk you through the basics and provide you with the links you'll need to gather any extra info required.
Before you even think about your Japan visa, the first thing you're going to need is a passport that will be valid for 6 months or more from your date of entry.
I know it sounds daft to say this but just check when your passport runs out if you're planning on going away anywhere - it's amazing how many people have been caught out by this!
There are a number of different types of visa available for Japan depending on the purpose of your visit. The most common ones are:
If you're coming to Tokyo on vacation then it's the tourist Japan visa that you're looking for.
It's really not worth putting off sorting this one out. It can cause you far more hassle than the few minutes it takes to check what you need to do. A few years ago I knew someone who was coming here to work but she didn't get her work visa organized before she arrived. Her plan was to get a tourist visa for 3 months and apply for the working visa within that time. When immigration asked her what her purpose for visiting was, she said she was coming here to work. Ummm... that doesn't match the request for a tourist visa stamp. She ended up locked in a hotel room overnight with guards posted outside and then deported the next morning. Add to that the fact she had to pay for all her costs including the guards and it wasn't a great experience for her! Don't make the same mistake. And if you're coming here to work get the paperwork in place before you get here.
In February 2008, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs listed 62 countries that have tourist visa requirements waived. What that means to you is if you are a national of any of the following countries, you don't need to worry about getting a Japan visa if you're visiting Tokyo on holiday. Ok, if you're on this list you don't need to worry about any paperwork!
For nationals who are eligible for the 6 months or less landing permission stamp, be aware that when you first land what you will actually get is the 90 day stamp. If you want to extend it to the 6 months, you have to go to your nearest Japanese immigration office in Japan and apply. If you're in Tokyo, its the Tokyo Immigration Center that you need.
Be careful to check how long your landing permit is valid for and what day you need to leave. 90 days is not the same as 3 months. Don't get caught out by it!
If you intend to stay for longer than the period allowed on a tourist visa, if you intend to earn money by any means, or if you wish to study, you must check the individual requirements for your country. Visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan visa section for more information.
Please always confirm this information with your travel agent or with the Embassy or Immigration Bureau in case there have been any changes. We do our best to keep on top of these things but it's always better to double check.
There are certain procedures at immigration that can be a little disconcerting if you're not expecting them. See what we mean on our Tokyo Narita Landing Procedures page.
It's also important to note that for Japanese immigration, you need to be able to prove your onward travel arrangements so a return onward flight or other ticket is required. If this is asked of you and you don't have it you can be turned away to leave the country. Again not what you want to happen!
Ok that's the end of Step 1. It's time to move to Step 2. Just click the button : )
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