Japan Visa Information
Japan Visas ビザ
Japan Tourist Visas 観光ビザ
Visitors from most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, North America and Singapore are usually issued a 3-month tourist visa for Japan on each entry to the country (see below). Holders of a valid HKSAR (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) passport also are granted visa-free access to enter Japan for tourism and short-term visits up to 90 days.
Nationals from other countries will have to obtain a visa in advance to enter Japan.
Foreign tourists are required by Japanese law to carry their passports with them at all times.
Citizens of nations other than those listed below must apply for a 90-day tourist visa in their home countries from the Japanese embassy or consulate.
Passport photos and a return ticket are usually necessary. Processing is usually free of charge, though there is a fee for the visa itself. For further details see our Japanese visa requirements section.
All visitors to Japan including permanent residents are electronically fingerprinted on both index fingers and photographed on entry to the country following a change to the law in 2007.
*For nationals of Malaysia (since July 1, 2013), visas are not required for holders of an ePassport in compliance with ICAO standards.
**For citizens of Hong Kong, visas are not required 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. For citizens of Macao, visas are not required for holders of SAR passport issued by the Macao SAR of the People's Republic of China.
***For citizens of Taiwan, visas are not required for holders of Taiwan passport which includes a personal identification number. Those without a personal identification number require a visa.
****Brunei & Thai visitors with a return ticket, evidence of financial support (cash/credit card) and whose activities in Japan are categorized as "Temporary Visitor" may enter Japan for not more than 15 days without a visa.
Activities allowed under the "Temporary Visitor" category are sightseeing, visiting friends, attending lectures or business meetings.
Reciprocal visa exemption for Japan
Countries that have reciprocal visa exemption arrangements with Japan are:
6 months or less: (An extendable 3-month visa is usually issued on arrival, for further details see Immigration Offices).
Austria, Germany, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Switzerland, UK.
*For nationals of those countries with visa exemptions permitting stays of up to 6 months under the bilateral visa exemption arrangements, those who wish to stay in Japan for more than 90 days are required to apply for an extension of the period of stay to the Ministry of Justice (Regional Immigration Bureau) before the period of permitted stay is to expire.
3 months or less: (A non-extendable 3-month visa is usually issued on arrival).
Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Israel, Iceland, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Macedonia, Mauritius, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Surinam, Sweden, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey and Uruguay.
90 days or less: (A non-extendable 90 day visa is usually issued on arrival).
Barbados, New Zealand and the USA.
14 days or less:
If in doubt, check with the Japanese Embassy or Consulate in your country.
Types of Japan Residence Visa
Visa Telephone Service Number: 03 5501 8431
According to Japanese law there are 27 types of residence visa as well as the tourist visas described above. Residency periods for these visas range from permanent status to a 15 day transit visa, including visas for 3 years, 1 year, 6 months, 3 months, 90 days and 15 days. Visas which allow paid work on the whole require a Japanese company, school, university or individual to act as sponsor. Find more information on Japan working visas.
- accounting or law business
- artist - artists, musicians and writers; not allowed to receive an income
- company internal transfer - employee of a foreign company with main or branch office in Japan, transferred to Japan for a specified period of time
- cultural activity - students of Japanese arts and martial arts etc - technically are not allowed to receive an income
- diplomat or consular official
- education - language teaching in Japanese elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools and private language schools
- entertainment industry
- family resident - spouses and children of persons holding specified visas
- foreign spouse or child of a Japanese national - typically 1 or 3 years. Spouse visa holders can legally work
- government official
- humanities, social science knowledge or international business
- investment or management - managers of trading companies with offices and 2 or more full time employees
- media - employees of media organizations including newspapers and TV stations inclusing freelancers
- medical care - qualified doctors or Japan licenced nurse
- overseas student - students of Japanese universities or vocational schools
- permanent resident - spouses of Japanese nationals and long-term residents who have lived in Japan at least five consecutive years are advised to apply for this visa
- professor - professors, assistant professors and lecturers (full-time or part-time) who work in a Japanese university, usually 1 or 3 years
- religious - members of religious groups sent to Japan to undertake religious activities
- research - paid research under contract with a public or private institution
- school attendance - high school or language school students
- settlement visa - cases determined by the Justice Ministry
- short-term resident - 15 day or 90 day tourist or family visit visa
- specific activity - cases determined by the Justice Ministry
- spouse or child of a permanent resident - this visa is valid for between three months and three years and the holder is only allowed to work with permission of the immigration office
- technical skill
Re-entry Permits For Japan
All Japan visa holders in the majority of cases will need a re-entry permit to re-enter Japan after travel abroad. Single or multiple use re-entry permits valid for 3 years can be obtained at immigration offices and at airport immigration offices in the case of emergency. Stamps corresponding to the re-entry permit fee must be purchased from booths either in or near the Immigration Office.
Working Holiday Visas For Japan
Japan has mutual working holiday visa agreements with Australia, Britain (UK), Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Korea Republic (South Korea), Taiwan, New Zealand and Norway. Young people normally between the ages of 18-25 (sometimes 30 with the agreement of the immigration office) may work part-time during a one-year stay in Japan.
The working holiday visa is a single entry visa with stays permitted from 6 months (extendable for another 6 months) for Australia and Canada to one year (non-extendable) for Denmark, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, France, Germany, Ireland, UK, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Norway.
*The Working Holiday Visa is only issued once to an applicant and is free except for nationals of the UK, Norway and Taiwan.
For further details on visas for Japan contact the Japanese embassy in your home country
Alien Registration in Japan
All non-Japanese citizens who are resident in Japan for more than 90 days will need to apply for an alien registration card (gaikokujin-toroku-shomeisho) within their first 90 days of residence. Alien registration cards are issued from local ward offices and contain the photograph (but no longer the fingerprint) of the holder.
Alien registration cards are necessary documents for obtaining a driving license, opening a bank account, buying or moving into a house or apartment and other activities requiring legal proof of identity. Foreign residents of Japan are legally required to carry their alien registration cards at all times.
Alien registration cards need to be updated if the holder's visa status changes or the holder moves to live in a different ward of the same city or to a different city within Japan.
Permanent Resident Visas
Foreign nationals with a Japanese spouse may apply for a permanent resident visa (永住権; eijuuken) instead of renewing a spouse visa after a minimum period of 5 years of residency and marriage. Single foreign nationals may have to wait for 10 years to apply. Applicants for a permanent residents visa will need to show evidence of income/job including an annual gensen choshu sho (源泉徴収書) document, which should be given you by your employer and the koseki touhon (戸籍謄本) of your Japanese spouse and your own gaikokujin torokuzumi shomeisho (外国人登録済証明書) both obtainable from the local ward office. The present cost of the application is 8,000 yen. Foreign Permanent Residents must still pay for a re-entry permit, and the validity of the re-entry permit is 3 years (see above).
If you are caught overstaying your Japan visa you may be detained and confined for an undetermined period before being deported and served with an official banning order from re-entering Japan for a period of 5 years. If you voluntarily appear at an Immigration Office and announce your overstay, you should usually not be detained and you will be issued with a Departure Order. After the issuing of a Departure Order you will be banned from re-entering Japan for a period of one year.