Visas for Japan

Temporary visitors to Japan will need a visitor visa for stays of up to 90 days, although citizens from countries such as the USA, UK, Canada and Australia, as well as EU nationals, are exempt from this.

However, if intending to stay in Japan for longer than three months, all visitors will need to apply for a long-term visa. While on a tourist visa in Japan, sightseeing and tourist activities are allowed, but engaging in employment is illegal.

Temporary visas or visitor visas for Japan

Those not from a visa-exempt country who would like to visit for tourism, attend conferences or conduct research are required to apply for a temporary visa for Japan. Depending on a person’s nationality and the purpose of their visit, these are valid for 15, 30 or 90 days and can be applied for at a Japanese embassy or consulate before arriving in the country. Applicants will need to complete an application form and submit proof of return flights.

If travelling to Japan on business, additional documents may be required such as a letter from the applicant’s company stating the nature of their visit and proof that the company will bear all costs of the visit.

Long-term visas for Japan

Those intending to live and work in the country for an extended period of time need to apply for a long-term visa for Japan. There are different requirements depending on one’s purpose in the country and long-term visas should be applied for before entry into Japan.

Visitors who arrive in Japan on a long-term visa and those intending to work in the country will need to get a Residence Card (Zairyu Card), which can be done on arrival at any of Japan’s main airports. This card allows for multiple re-entries into the country.

Those wishing to work, study or live in Japan are also required to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility before applying for a long-term visa at a Japanese embassy (temporary visitors do not need one). The certificate is applied for by the applicant’s sponsor in Japan, such as their employer or school, on their behalf and testifies that the bearer meets the requirements for a visa. It is valid for three months so the applicant then needs to obtain their visa and arrive in Japan before the certificate expires.

*Visa and work permit requirements are subject to change at short notice and expats are advised to contact their nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for the latest information.

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