Japan is one of the most popular tourist hotspots in the world, attracting millions of tourists every year. This island nation has a lot to offer, from culture to modern cities, to history and nature. This is why Japan has waived visas for citizens of several countries. They also intend to make the visa application process easier for citizens of the countries who do need a visa by implementing an online application system.

This article will answer the question of who needs a visa to enter Japan and detail the rules of Japan visa exemptions.

Do I Need a Visa for Japan?

You need a visa for Japan unless you are from one of the countries which are exempt from visa requirements for short-term stays (listed on the table below).

This means that if you are from one of the following countries, you can visit Japan without a visa for up to 90 days, unless otherwise stated.

  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahamas
  • Belgium
  • Brunei (visa exemption for up to 15 days)
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong*
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macao**
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Republic of Korea
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Surinam
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan***
  • Tunisia
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Uruguay

*Only for holders of  Special Administrative Region (SAR) passports issued by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the PRC.

**Only for holders of  Special Administrative Region (SAR) passports issued by the Macao Special Administrative Region of the PRC.

***Only for holders of passports containing an identification number.

Additionally, nationals of the following countries are exempt from Japan Visas for up to 90 days, only if they have a Machine-Readable Passport (MRP) or an ePassport in line with ICAO standards.

  • Barbados
  • Indonesia (visa exemption for up to 15 days)
  • Lesotho
  • Malaysia
  • Serbia
  • Thailand (visa exemption for up to 15 days)
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates (visa exemption for up to 30 days)

Japan Visa Exemptions for Non-Ordinary Passport Holders

Holders of Diplomatic or Service passports from the following countries are also exempt from Japan Visas:

  • Albania
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bangladesh
  • Belgium
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Cambodia
  • Colombia
  • Czech Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Kazakhstan
  • Laos
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • Myanmar
  • Nauru
  • Netherlands
  • Oman
  • Palau
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Samoa
  • Slovakia
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • United Kingdom
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Vatican
  • Vietnam

Do I Need a Japan Visa for Long-term Stays?

Yes, you do. Even if you are from a visa-exempt country, if you want to study, work, join a family member in Japan, or travel for any other long-term purpose, you have to apply for the respective Japan Visa from your home country before you travel.

Do I Need a Japan Transit Visa?

You can transit in Japan without a visa if:

  • You have a confirmed onward ticket within the same calendar day
  • You stay within the international transit area of the airport
  • You have the necessary documents needed for the next country of destination

If you are traveling through Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) or Kansai International Airport in Osaka, you can transit without a visa if:

  • You have a confirmed onward ticket within the next 72 hours
  • You stay within the international transit area of the airport
  • You have the necessary documents needed for the next country of destination

How to Travel to Japan if I Don’t Need a Visa?

If you are from one of the visa-exempt countries listed above, and you are traveling for short-term purposes, you can travel to Japan with just:

  • Your passport, which must be valid for at least another six months and have at least two blank pages for the entry/exit stamps
  • A confirmed return ticket

However, if you are traveling under a visa exemption, you cannot work or engage in any renumerated activities in Japan. Additionally, you cannot apply to extend your stay or get another type of visa in Japan.

You have to apply for the respective long-term visa from your country before you travel.

How to Get a Japan Visa if I Need One?

If you need a visa for Japan, you can apply at one of the Embassies or Consulates of Japan abroad. The application process for a Japan Visa is outlined here.

If you are applying for a long-term visa, you have to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE)  from an Immigration Office in Japan. You have to get the COE through a proxy before you submit the visa application.

 

Last Updated on