Japan Entry and Travel Requirements

Japan Entry Requirements is  the set of standards that a person must meet in order to be allowed to enter Japan. These requirements vary depending on the person's nationality, purpose of visit, and length of stay.

To enter Japan, you will need a valid passport and a visa. Depending on your purpose of visit, the type of visa you will need will vary. 

If you are planning to stay in Japan for less than 90 days for business, tourism or other short-term purposes, you will need an eVisa.  

If you are planning to stay in Japan for longer than 90 days, or if you are planning to work, study, or engage in other activities, you will need a different type of visa. 

Japan is finally preparing for the long-awaited tourism reopening in the summer of 2022. Since June 10, 2022, the country has started to welcome tourists in stages. The government of Japan firstly allowed guided and organized tours from countries classified as low-risk.

The world countries were divided into 3 categories, red, yellow, and blue. The classification is based on Covid-19 infection rates. The color blue corresponds to the low-risk category, and as of now, only countries falling under the blue category can enter Japan.

Due to the constantly changing coronavirus situation around the globe as well as the gradual process of the Japanese full reopening, it is essential always to check the latest update on the Japan entry requirements. 

Important Update! Japan has fully reopened to foreign visitors. Individual travelers can enter Japan after more than 2 years. As of 11th October 2022, the country also resumed visa-free entry for travelers from 68 different countries and territories. Following, there is a summary of the latest changes:

  • visa-free independent travel permitted for most nationalities
  • dropping of quarantine and post-arrival testing requirements for travelers from the 'blue' countries category (including the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and EU)
  • lifting the vaccination proof requirement for travelers from the 'blue' category
  • removing the pre-departure testing requirement for triple-vaccinated (boosted) travelers and children traveling with them (regardless of children's vaccination status)

Who can enter Japan?

Starting from June 10, 2022, the following groups of travelers may enter Japan:

  • nationals of countries classified under the blue category traveling as part of a package tour who applied for a Japanese visa in advance
  • family members of Japanese citizens and foreign residents of Japan who applied for a kinship visa before travel
  • foreign business travelers ad students holding the proper visa and having a sponsor in Japan

Japan still does not allow independent travelers. Nevertheless, the country is preparing to welcome them in the autumn of 2022.

Documents check-list for entering Japan

Before traveling to Japan, make sure you have:

  • a valid passport
  • an approved Covid-19 test performed within 72 hours prior to departure
  • a signed written pledge that you will follow all Japanese entry requirements
  • completed an online health questionnaire and received a QR code

Please note that you may be asked to show all these documents to board the flight to Japan.

You may also need:

  • a valid Japanese visa
  • travel insurance with Covid-19 coverage

After arriving in Japan, you will need to:

  • take another Covid-19 test (depending on nationality)
  • install a coronavirus tracing app

Testing, Vaccination, and Quarantine Requirements

Testing requirements

Pre-departure testing

Every single passenger entering Japan, regardless of nationality, must provide a negative result of the Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours before departure time.

Please note that the test certificates must meet the following requirements to be recognized as valid:

  • must include the date of the test certificate issuance and time of collection of the specimen (taken within 72 hours before planned departure);
  • must be taken using one of the accepted testing and collection methods.

Accepted COVID-19 test sample collection methods include:

  • Nasopharyngeal swab/Nasopharynx swab /Rhinopharyngeal swab/Rhinopharynx swab
  • Saliva sample (Deep throat)
  • Nasal Swab (Nucleic Acid Amplification Test Only)
  • Nasopharyngeal (*) and Oropharyngeal (throat) swabs/Naso and oropharyngeal/Rhino and oropharyngeal /Oro and nasopharyngeal and Nasal Swab (*)(*Nasopharyngeal/Rhinopharyngeal/Nasopharynx/Rhinopharynx)

Valid methods of COVID-19 testing

Nucleic Acid Amplification Test:

  • real-time RT-PCR
  • LAMP
  • TMA
  • TRC
  • Smart Amp
  • NEAR

Other

  • Next Generation Sequence
  • Quantitative Antigen Test* (CLEIA) (*Not a qualitative antigen test)

Please check here for more details on the test certificate required formats.

On-arrival testing

Travelers who need to isolate upon arrival in Japan will be tested against Covid-19 at the airport. They may need to wait for long hours to await the test results.

Currently, on-arrival testing is mandatory for unvaccinated arrivals from the 'yellow' category as well as all travelers from countries classified as 'red' (vaccinated and non-vaccinated).

Vaccination requirements

Japan allows entry both to fully vaccinated and non-vaccinated foreign travelers. Visitors from countries classified as 'blue' do not need to show a Covid-19 vaccination certificate to enter Japan. Travelers from the yellow group may use valid vaccination proof to skip the post-arrival testing and quarantine.

Foreigners from the red group are subject to the same entry requirements regardless of their vaccination status, i.e., they must take a pre-departure test, be tested on arrival, and undergo quarantine.

Check here for the full list of countries grouped according to colors.

If you are subject to quarantine, you may shorten your isolation period by providing a vaccination certificate.

Covid-19 vaccines recognized in Japan

The Covid-19 vaccination proof must indicate that you have received two doses of one of the following vaccines:

  • Vaxzevria/AstraZeneca
  • Comirnaty/Pfizer
  • Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine/Janssen (one dose)
  • COVAXIN/Bharat Biotech
  • Moderna
  • Nuvaxovid/Novavax

Note: Vaccines will be valid even if mixed.

Accepted third dose of Covid-19 vaccine

  • Comirnaty/Pfizer
  • Moderna
  • Nuvaxovid/Novavax

Quarantine requirements

Blue countries

No quarantine regardless of vaccination status

Yellow countries

  • Unvaccinated travelers: on-arrival test + 3-day home quarantine and PCR test on day 3 to end the quarantine earlier, or on-arrival test + 7-day home quarantine without testing
  • Fully vaccinated travelers: no quarantine

Red countries

  • Unvaccinated travelers: on-arrival test + 3-day quarantine at a specific facility and testing at the government-designated facility
  • Fully vaccinated travelers: on-arrival test + 3-day home quarantine and PCR test taken on day 3 to end the quarantine earlier, or on-arrival test + 7-day home quarantine without testing

Written Pledge

Foreign nationals arriving in Japan who will be quarantined at home or in accommodations secured by the quarantine station need to submit and sign a written pledge to the quarantine station. This document confirms that they agree not to use public transportation and stay at home during the isolation period.

MySOS App

Every person quarantined in Japan needs to report their location via the Health and Location Monitoring App for Overseas Entrants (MySOS). The app must be installed from the unique QR code, and the traveler is required to provide their passport number and date of birth to start using the MySOS App. Once arrive at the isolation accommodation, foreign nationals must 'check in' through the application. Notifications asking for confirmation of the current location of the quarantined person will be sent a few times a day. The traveler must tap the 'I'm Here!" button to confirm their location. Once a day, it is also necessary to confirm the current health condition.

Important tip: In order to shorten time at Japanese airports, you can register all the required documents via the MySOS app, i.e., questionnaire, written pledge, Covid-19 inspection certificate, and vaccination proof.

Traveling from Japan

There are no specified requirements to exit Japan. Travelers should check the entry rules for their next travel destination or home country if they return to their homeland.

Depending on the airline, there may be some internal requirements to board the flight, including testing requirements. Make sure to check the recent requirements before departing from Japan and remember that entry and travel protocols are subject to change at short notice worldwide.

Traveling to Japan

Starting from June 10, 2022, travelers from certain countries can travel to Japan as part of package tours with a visa applied for in advance of travel. A kinship visa also permits entry for family members of Japanese and foreign residents of Japan. International students or business travelers may enter Japan with a relevant visa too.

Quarantine and on-arrival testing requirements have been dropped for travelers classified as 'blue' countries. This category includes most developed nations like Canada, the USA, Australia, the UK, New Zealand, and most of the EU countries. Travelers from 'blue' countries do not need to be vaccinated to enter Japan.

Japan is still preparing to reopen to international tourists fully. The Japanese government plans to welcome independent travelers to the country in the fall of 2022. Follow the updates on the entry rules. These are subject to constant change due to the constantly evolving situation.

Entry Rules for Children

There is no exemption for testing requirements based on age. Even though there may be some flexibility in pre-departure Covid-19 tests for minors aged 5 and younger, it is not guaranteed. Moreover, all travelers, including children, are subject to on-arrival testing.

Children younger than 18 years (even if not fully vaccinated), when accompanied by a fully vaccinated parent (who has been administered a booster shot), are allowed to follow the same entry protocol as the parent.

Transit through Japan

The covid-related regulations described above do not apply to passengers who plan to transit through one of the Japanese airports and do not go through immigration. Please note that internal airport procedures may forbid transit. Check with your airline what are the specific requirements to take your connecting flight in Japan.

When making a tranist through Japan, remember to comply with all additional protective measures introduced by the Japanese local authorities. Don't also forget to check the latest updates on entry requirements for your final destination.

Visa requirements

Although nationals of a few countries can travel to Japan visa-free for tourism purposes, most foreign travelers must obtain a Japanese visa in advance of their trip.

Every foreign citizen who holds a tourist visa for entry into Japan must visit a diplomatic post to arrange visa formalities in person at the nearest embassy. A visa applicant will need to provide some supporting documents, including a passport that will remain valid for at least 6 months. A tourist visa for Japan is usually issued for 3 months and allows a total stay of up to 30 days.

The Government of Japan also plans to finally introduce an online visa application for a Japanese tourist eVisa, which will significantly facilitate and speed up the entire application process.

Electronic Visa

Together with the announcement of the reopening of the Japanese borders, we can anticipate that the Japan eVisa may be implemented in the coming months. The electronic visa system is expected to allow certain citizens to apply for and receive the visa approval entirely online without a single embassy visit.

The Japanese electronic visa will be issued as a single-entry permit allowing a short-term stay in the country for tourism-related purposes. Nationals of the Republic of China will have the opportunity to take advantage of the online visa application before the online service becomes available for others.

Like electronic visas to other worldwide destinations, applicants for the Japanese eVisa will probably need to fill out the online questionnaire with basic personal data and passport information and answer a few health and travel-related questions. More details on visa requirements are to be announced as soon as the Japanese authorities decide to reveal the system start date.

Visa Exemption

At the moment, there are over 65 countries whose citizens can travel to Japan without a visa for tourism or business purposes, including attending conferences and other business meetings but not taking up paid employment in Japan. Depending on the traveler's nationality, the allowed visa-free length of stay may vary from 15 days to 180 days.

Moreover, passengers from China traveling on a cruise company approved by the Japanese authorities do not need a visa for Japan as long as they embark and disembark from the same particular cruise ship.

Foreign travelers who wish to visit Japan for a longer period of time or travel to Japan for other purposes, including work or study, will need to visit the Japanese Embassy and obtain a visa in advance of the intended trip.

Embassy or Consular Visa

According to Japanese visa policy, there are up to 180 countries in the world whose citizens need to obtain an embassy visa before traveling to Japan. The application for an embassy or consulate visa for Japan requires making an appointment well in advance of the planned entry into Japan. As a rule, it may take up to a few weeks or even longer get the approved visa.

A visa applicant needs to appear in the embassy with some required documents, including a valid passport. Sometimes, a given embassy may require some supporting documents. Every application also requires covering the processing fee.

A Japanese embassy visa is granted for various purposes, e.g., tourism, work, education, or transit. The reason why you wish to travel to Japan must be indicated in your visa application.

Kinship Visa

Relatives of Japanese citizens or foreign residents of Japan can now enter Japan when applying for a kinship visa in advance of their planned trip.

The following members of the family may be granted a kinship visa:

  • spouse, children, and parents of long-term residents
  • second-degree relatives of Japanese citizens or permanent residents, including children, grandchildren, grandparents, and spouses

The relative residing in Japan must supply some documents such as a residence card copy. A kinship visa enables visiting Japan for non-emergency reasons and traveling across the entire country.

Japan Passenger Locator Form

The Japan Health Questionnaire is a document introduced by the Government of Japan in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The introduction of the form aims at ensuring the safety of Japanese citizens and incoming travelers as well as minimizing the spread of new Covid-19 cases.

All international travelers planning to travel to Japan must complete the health declaration before the intended trip and show its confirmation upon entering the country. Those who will not be able to provide the QR code issued upon completion of the online application will be denied entry to Japan.

The requirement to complete the Japan Health Declaration also applies to Japanese nationals and citizens who travel to Japan.

Every traveler, including children, needs to complete the form separately. In the case of minor travelers, the application should be made by their parents or legal guardians.

Travel Insurance

Before you travel to Japan, it's important to make sure you're adequately covered by health insurance. While it's not legally required, it's highly advisable in case you need medical care, lose your luggage, or have to cancel your hotel and plane tickets.

The national health care system primarily serves Japanese citizens, and many hospitals are not used to providing care for foreign tourists. As a result, tourists have been refused treatment in some cases. We recommend purchasing travel health insurance with Covid-19 coverage before your trip to avoid any problems. With the right policy in place, you can relax and enjoy your time in Japan, knowing that you're protected in case of an emergency.

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