How to Apply for a Japanese Visa
Japan has one of the more restrictive immigration schemes in the world. Most visitors traveling to the country must have a visa, even if they're only coming as a tourist for a brief stay. The process for getting a Japanese visa varies depending on your reason for traveling to the country and how long you intend to stay.
Getting a Short-Term or Tourist Visa
Determine whether a short-term visa is required.Japan has visa exemption arrangements with 68 countries, as of July 2019. These arrangements allow citizens of those countries to travel to Japan for tourism for up to 90 days in most cases.
- Countries with visa exemption arrangements include Canada, the United States, and most countries in Europe.
- Citizens of Brunei, Indonesia, and Thailand can only travel to Japan for 15 days without a visa.
Plan your trip to Japan.Before you can apply for a short-term or tourist visa, you must have hotel reservations and a confirmed flight reservation for airfare into and out of Japan. If you're staying with friends in Japan, you'll need a letter from them stating how long you will be staying with them in Japan.
- You'll also need a basic itinerary showing where you plan to go and what you plan to do while you're in Japan. It doesn't need to be detailed. It is simply used to prove that you're visiting as a tourist and not for a business purpose or other reason.
Get passport photos made.Your application must be accompanied by passport photos that will be used for your visa if it is approved. The photos must be relatively recent. Once the photos are taken, you must glue them to your visa application.
- You can use the passport photo standards of your own country. Typically you can get photos made at a discount store or post office, or you can make them yourself as long as you have the ability to use a photo app or other software to crop the photos down to passport size.
Complete your visa application.The visa application requires you to provide information about yourself, your background, and your employment. You must provide documents to support the information you include on your application, including bank statements or financial records that demonstrate your financial ability.
- To download the visa application form online, visit the website of the Japanese embassy or consulate in your country. Go to for embassy websites and locations around the world. You can also visit a Japanese embassy or consulate to pick up a paper form.
- If you have a friend, family member, school, or organization inviting you to Japan, you'll also need a letter from them. However, in most cases it is not necessary to have someone inviting you for a short-term or tourist visit.
Submit your application and supporting documents.You must take your application and supporting documents in person to the Japanese embassy or consulate nearest you. Japan does not accept visa applications through the mail.
- Some applicants, including those from Russia, must submit 2 completed applications with 2 passport photos.
- Specific documents required to support your visa application vary depending on your nationality and the reason you're traveling. Some applicants may be required to be invited by a person in Japan.
- You must provide your passport along with your application and supporting documents.
Retrieve your visa and passport.Once your application is reviewed, your visa typically will be issued within 5 to 7 working days from the date you submitted it. You'll get a phone call if additional information or documents are required to process your application.
- You'll pay your visa issuance fees when you pick up your visa and passport. Your visa will be inside your passport. You must enter Japan within 3 months of the date your visa is issued.
Visiting Japan for Medical Purposes
Contact a guarantor registered for the visa scheme.Japan has lists of medical coordinators and travel agencies that are registered with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to coordinate trips to Japan for medical purposes.
- Go to and scroll down to the bottom of the page for links to the lists.
- Each of the registered guarantor works with potential patients in specific countries, and can communicate in the languages stated on the list.
Select your host medical institution.Work with your guarantor to find a medical institution that will be primarily responsible for your treatment in Japan. The medical institution will provide a certificate describing the planned medical services you will receive.
- In some cases, particularly if you have a longer period of stay planned or must make multiple trips to Japan for follow-up, the medical institution must also draw up a medical treatment plan for you.
- Your certificate and medical treatment plan must accompany your visa application.
Gather required documents.In addition to your certificate and medical treatment plan, you also need identification and financial documents. The specific documents required vary depending on your nationality.
- The embassy or consulate in your home country can tell you exactly what documents you'll need to include with your visa application. Visit and click on the link under the closest city to you.
Complete the visa application form.The application requires you to provide information about your identity, background, medical condition, and medical treatment plan. You can get the form from the Japanese embassy or consulate nearest you, or you can download it from their website.
- Glue a recent passport photo to the top of your application. Your guarantor can help you if you have any questions on how to fill out the form. You can also ask staff at the Japanese embassy or consulate.
- Unlike other visas, family or friends who must accompany you for a medical or support reason can travel to Japan with you under the same visa. They do not have to submit separate applications.
Submit your form to the Japanese embassy in your home country.When you've completed your application, you must take it in person to the nearest Japanese embassy or consulate. Make sure you have all required supporting documents. Leaving something out could delay the processing of your application.
- When you submit your application, you must also hand over your passport. If your application is rejected, your passport will be returned to you.
- Visa applications for a medical stay are typically processed within 1 or 2 weeks, provided all the necessary accompanying documentation is included.
Pick up your visa.You will be notified when your visa has been issued. You must travel to the Japanese embassy or consulate where you submitted your application to retrieve your passport and visa.
- You generally have 3 months from the date your visa is issued to enter Japan. However, you may be issued multiple visas, which may be valid for up to 3 years, depending on your medical condition and treatment plan.
- You can stay in Japan for a maximum of 6 months. However, if you're staying for longer than 90 days, you must be hospitalized in the medical institution where you're receiving treatment.
Living and Working in Japan
Choose the appropriate working or long-term visa scheme.Japan has a number of visa schemes available for immigrants who want to move to Japan to live and work for a longer term. The requirements for these schemes vary greatly.
- Go to to look at the list of working and long-term visa schemes available. Click on the link to schemes you think apply to you to learn more about the requirements for that specific scheme.
- For example, if you've recently married a Japanese national, you would click on the link for "Spouse or child of Japanese national."
Connect with a Japanese national.If you want to visit Japan for a period longer than 90 days, or you want to work in Japan, you must be invited to the country by a Japanese national. They must submit documents and get a Certificate of Eligibility for you before you can submit your visa application.
- For example, if you've recently married a Japanese national, your Japanese spouse would need to get your Certificate of Eligibility. If you had a job offer from a Japanese company, that would be your manager's responsibility.
- If you don't get a Certificate of Eligibility before you submit your application, it can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months to process your application, even if your application and supporting documents are all in order.
Complete your application and supporting documents.You can pick up a visa application at the Japanese embassy or consulate nearest you, or download a copy from their website. Different supporting documents are required depending on your nationality and the visa scheme you're using.
- Go to to find the website of the nearest embassy or consulate. Click on the link to get contact information and the address.
Apply at the Japanese embassy or consulate nearest you.Once you've completed your application and gathered all your documents, present them in person to embassy or consulate staff. Japan does not allow you to submit a visa application through the mail for security reasons.
- When you submit your application, you must also turn over your passport. If your application is rejected, your passport will be returned to you.
Attend an interview if required.Once submitted, your application will be reviewed at the embassy or consulate. Provided all of your documents are in order, this process shouldn't take longer than 1 or 2 weeks. However, after examining your application, staff may determine that more information is necessary before a decision can be made.
- Embassy or consulate staff will contact you if they need additional documentation or want to talk to you in person. Expect this to extend the processing time of your application several weeks.
Return to the embassy or consulate to retrieve your passport.If your application is approved, you can pick up your passport with your visa inside at the embassy or consulate where you submitted your application.
- You have 3 months from the date your visa was issued to enter Japan.
- Fees for your visa will be around 3,000 yen for a single-entry visa, or 6,000 for a multiple-entry visa. For transit visas, which allow you to travel through Japan and remain there for 3 days or fewer on the way somewhere else, your fee is 700 yen.Fees must be paid in cash using local currency.
- If your visa application is rejected, you will not be given a reason why. You don't have to pay any fees, and are free to apply again. However, you must wait 6 months before you reapply to travel to Japan for the same purpose.
Video: How to get a Japanese visa | Moving to Japan
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