Flying into another country is not always that easy. We all think it is just about buying tickets and hopping on a plane. If so, one could just suddenly fly to wherever one wants at the moment and enjoy a new experience in another country. However, there are certain rules and restrictions that do not enable everyone to do this. While there are people who can enter a specific country any time they want because of the passports they hold, there are also others who cannot do this and would have to get a visa first. For people wishing to enter Japan, it should be noted that it has various requirements for each individual depending on one’s passport and other documents.
Tourist Visa for US Citizens: Entry, Exit, and Requirements
Great news for the citizens of the United States of America if they want to visit Japan is that they can enter the Land of the Sun without a visa. This is only applicable if the passenger has a valid passport and a return ticket for tourist or business stay. Americans can stay in Japan without a visa for up to 90 days. During the entire time that they are staying in Japan, their passports should be valid. It is also important to note that one cannot work in Japan on a 90-day visa-free entry.
People who would wish to change their visa status would have to go through another process. Their current visa-free entry status may not be altered to another visa status without first leaving the country. After departure, one would then have to apply for another visa status and re-enter Japan with the appropriate one. There are various visas that one can avail like a study visa, a work visa, or a spouse visa. Entry may also be prohibited if one seems to not have any visible means of support as checked by Japanese immigration officers.
Fingerprint scans are required to be obtained from all foreign nationals coming into the country. They shall also be photographed at the port of entry of Japan. There are certain exceptions to these rules such as for official and diplomatic visa holders and minors. Persons covered under SOFA Article IX.2 are also exempted from this requirement. To know more about landing procedures, one can just visit the website of the Immigration Bureau of Japan.
It is important to ensure that one’s passport and visa are valid and up to date prior to leaving the United States. There are no passport services at the airport. Boarding for transit may be denied by airlines in Japan if the passenger does not possess the required travel documents. This may also happen if the passport is not valid for six months. To know more about the entry requirements of a certain country for US citizens, check out the Country Specific Information website of the State Department.
Entry to Japan is allowed for active-duty U.S. military personnel under the Status of Forces Agreement or the SOFA. This shall be accompanied by proper Department of Defense or DOD identification and travel orders. However, all family members of this personnel, as well as SOFA civilian employees and contractors, must still have a valid passports before they can enter the Land of the Sun.
From Australia to Japan: Travel Checklist
Similar to US citizens, Australians can also enter Japan without a visa if the stay is less than 90 days and the purpose of the visit is for tourism, conferences, business trips, or to visit family and friends. Just the same, Australians should also possess a valid passport prior to leaving Australia until leaving Japan after their trip. However, if there are any paid activities involved such as work, any foreign national, including Australians, would have to apply for a visa regardless of how long they are staying in Japan.
The first thing to never forget before leaving for Japan is to bring one’s own medication. This is especially important for people who have a certain health condition. Although one can bring medicines when traveling to Japan, the country also has its own restrictions. Some medicines like codeine and morphine are prohibited from entering Japan. Importing medicines like Pseudoephedrine and Dexamphetamine is also illegal in Japan. Vaccinations can also be done prior to flying to Japan. Though this is not a requirement, some doctors may advise getting shots against Japanese encephalitis or Measles.
It is also important to take note of duty-free allowances when bringing goods to Japan. Items such as perfume, commercial goods, alcohol, cigarettes, and huge amounts of cash are subject to limitations. If one would be bringing plants and plant products, such as vegetables, fruits, and seeds, into Japan, these items would have to be inspected by the Plant and Animal Quarantine counter. The same goes for animals and animal products such as milk, eggs, and meat products. These items would need to have relevant certification and documentation.
Bringing food into Japan is allowed though there are conditions. Highly processed food from Australia such as Tim tams, tea, biscuits, and lollies typically no longer need to undergo inspection. One can just go through customs and bring these with them. However, if one is unsure of the foods that one is bringing, it would be best to check with the relevant Quarantine station.
Last but certainly not the least, do not forget to get mobile sim cards. Australians can look for their Network providers roaming partner in Japan prior to leaving Australia. However, using one’s sim in Japan may result in exorbitant fees and charges. Probably the best option would be to rent a phone or a sim while in Japan.
Japan Tourist Visa Requirements for Filipinos
For Filipinos wishing to travel to Japan for the first time, there are a number of requirements that one would have to obtain first. This is a must especially for people traveling without a guarantor. The first requirement on the list is a passport, of course. The passport must be valid for at least six months prior to departure and must be in good condition. There should also be at least two blank pages left in one’s passport. If not, it would be best to renew one’s passport prior to applying for a Japan tourist visa. The next step would be to download and fill up the Visa Application Form.
The photograph required for the application is a copy of 4.5cm by 4.5cm with white background. Certain guidelines need to be complied with regarding photo application. The fourth requirement would be the NSO-certified birth certificate with receipt, which can be ordered online. Should the birth certificate be not clear enough, one would have to acquire a birth certificate from the local civil registrar. If one’s live birth is not registered in the NSO, one would have to submit a Certificate of Non-Record from the NSO and acquire a birth certificate from the local civil registrar.
If applicable, one would also have to submit an NSO-issued marriage contract. Should there be no record in the NSO, one would have to get and submit a Certificate of Non-Record along with a marriage certificate from the local civil registrar. The sixth requirement would be the tour itinerary. One’s entire stay in Japan should be covered in the itinerary. It can be prepared by one’s travel agency or just by one’s self.
The seventh requirement is a bank balance certificate. It must be within 3 months of submission of the application. The balance in one’s bank should be able to cover one’s airfare as well as one’s stay in Japan. Last but certainly not the least, one should also submit their Income Tax Return. An original and a photocopy must be submitted when applying for a Japan Tourist Visa. Should one not have an ITR for some reason, a letter must be submitted to the Japan Embassy with an explanation as to why this is the case.
Short-Term Visa for Indians Wishing to Visit Japan
For Indians wishing to enter Japan, they can apply for the Short-Term Visa. This type of visa enables the applicant to be able to stay in Japan for up to 90 days. This can be for purposes such as tourism, visiting family and friends, business, or conferences, so long as this does not include paid activities such as work. The visit to Japan can be self-arranged or done by a travel agency.
There are a number of requirements for the application of a Short-Term Visa. The first requirement is a filled-out application form for the desired type of visa, accompanied by a photo that is within the guidelines set out by the embassy. The second requirement is a valid passport. This passport should be valid before leaving India and for the whole duration that one is in Japan.
The third requirement is Travel Booking. This includes the travel itinerary that covers the entire stay of one in Japan. It also includes the hotel booking where one would be staying while in Japan. The fourth requirement is a set of documents that will serve as proof that one is able to pay for one’s travel expenses. This includes one’s Latest Income Tax Return and one’s Bank Statement for the last 6 months prior to visa application.
Things to Know Such as Extensions for UK Citizens Visiting Japan
Similar to Americans and Australians, the citizens of UK can also enter Japan without a visa and stay for up to 90 days as a visitor. These citizens must hold a British Citizen or British National (Overseas) passport. A return or onward ticket would also have to be presented upon entering Japan.
One may also opt to contact a Japanese Embassy or Consulate for a number of reasons. This includes having a different type of British nationality, wanting to enter Japan for purposes other than tourism, and having a criminal record. If one would like to stay in Japan long-term for employment, education, or settlement, one would have to apply for a visa. It is important to note that visas are not issued upon arrival in Japan. Traveling with UK Emergency Travel Documents is allowed for entry, airside transit, and exit from Japan.
No matter if the work is only temporary or informal, it is still illegal to work in Japan without possessing the appropriate visa. Overstaying in Japan can result in arrest, detention, and a heavy fine. One’s passport must also be valid during one’s entire stay in Japan. Additional period of passport validity is not required beyond one’s stay. If one would like to extend one’s stay in Japan, contact a Japanese Embassy prior to leaving to learn about the requirements and restrictions.
Some prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines in the UK may be banned in Japan. This is because of their strict anti-stimulant drugs law. Medicines that contain codeine used as mild painkillers are prohibited to enter Japan. Other medicines include Vicks inhalers and medicines for allergies and sinus problems. Being ignorant or unaware of this rule would not be tolerated. It would be best to first consult with a Japanese Embassy or Consulate prior to travel.
Basic Information for Canadians Who Want to Visit Japan
Canadians who wish to enter Japan also do not need a visa if the stay is less than 90 days. They must hold a Canadian passport and shall not receive any sort of income while staying in the Land of the Sun. Should they wish to work in Japan, appropriate visa must be acquired. In order to get work visa, one would have to find a potential employer who would be willing to act as one’s sponsor or guarantor. One must also have a certificate of eligibility before one can work in Japan.
Visa status cannot be changed once one is already in Japan. It is possible to receive an offer of employment while staying in Japan for tourism. If one would like to get a work visa, one would first have to leave Japan and acquire the required visa either from a Japanese mission in Canada or from a Japanese mission in a third country. Also, ensure that one’s passport is valid during one’s entire stay in Japan.