Citizens of visa-required countries who have to transit through Japan on their way to a third country of destination need a Japan Transit Visa.

If you get a Japan Transit Visa, you can only use it for a few days and only for tourism, sightseeing, or rest. Usually, if you want to visit a family member, you will have to apply for a corresponding visa for visiting purposes.

This article will detail the Japan Transit Visa requirements, the application process, who is allowed to transit in Japan without a visa, and other relevant questions.

Who Needs a Visa to Transit Through Japan?

You need a transit visa for Japan if:

  • You are not from one of the countries on the list below; and
  • You intend to enter Japan while traveling to a third country of destination (ie. you will leave the airport)

You will usually be issued a transit visa if you have a connecting flight at another airport, which means you have no choice but to leave the airport’s premises or is there is no connecting flight within the same day.

Nationals of the following countries do not need a Japan Transit Visa:

  • 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

Passport holders of the following countries are exempt from Japan Transit Visas 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)

However, for citizens of some of the aforementioned countries, specific rules apply. See Who needs a Japan Visa?

Who Can Transit in Japan Without a Visa?

If you would normally need a visa to enter for Japan, you can transit without a visa only 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

If you have a travel ticket within 72 hours and there are no other connecting flights on the same day, you may be able to obtain a Shore Pass on arrival (see below).

What Documents Do I Need for a Japan Transit Visa Application?

When you apply for a Japan Transit Visa, you need the following supporting documents:

  • Japan Visa Application Form, completed and signed. You can download a copy of the application form from the website of the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (here). Complete all the fields, even if they do not apply to you (write “N/A”).
  • Your passport, which must be valid for at least another six months and have at least two blank pages for the visa to be affixed in.
  • Cover letter stating the purpose of your travel.
  • Passport-size pictures of yourself, with the following specifications:
    • Dimensions: 4.5cm x 4.5cm
    • White background
    • Taken in the last six months
    • You must be staring straight ahead, with a neutral facial expression
    • Your entire face has to be visible
    • Your name and birthdate have to be written on the back
  • Flight Itinerary, stating a detailed plan of your arrival and departure dates, flight reservation number, the Certificate of Reservation issued by the airline, etc.
  • Daily Itinerary. You have to include an itinerary of your daily activities in Japan. You can find a sample itinerary for Japan Visa at the website of the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affair (here).
  • Valid visa for the third country of destination.
  • Bank statements, proving you can finance yourself.
  • Latest Income Tax Returns

How to Apply for a Japan Transit Visa?

You have to apply for a Japan Transit Visa from one of the Diplomatic Representation offices of Japan abroad (an Embassy or Consulate). The application process for a Japan Transit Visa is as follows:

  1. Contact the Embassy or Consulate to book an appointment.
    • The diplomatic mRFission offices of some countries do not accept individual applications, however, and you may have to apply through an accredited travel agency.
  2. Collect the required documents for a Japan Transit Visa (see below)
  3. Submit the documents at the Embassy/Consulate or the travel agency.
  4. Wait for the visa to be processed. This will usually take 5 working days, starting from the day the Japanese Representative Office receives your completed application.
  5. Collect your passport Embassy/Consulate/travel agency. If the application has been approved, your visa will be affixed and you can use it to travel to Japan within three months.

How Much is the Transit Visa Fee?

The fee for a Japan Transit Visa is 700 Yen. You have to pay the fee at the Embassy or Consulate only if your visa application is approved.

Keep in mind:

The Japan visa cost may be slightly different based on your nationality, the type of visa you apply for and the local currency.

If you apply through an approved travel/visa application agency, they will charge you an additional service fee.

For How Long is a Japan Transit Visa Valid?

The Japan Transit Visa is issued for a maximum of 15 days, and it cannot be extended.

Japan Shore Pass

If you have a travel ticket within 72 hours and there are no other connecting flights on the same day, you may be able to obtain a Japan Transit Visa on arrival, which is known as a Japan Shore Pass. The Shore Pass application is usually handled by your airline, so you should contact them to learn if they can help you receive it before you travel. You are eligible for the Japan Shore Pass if:

  • You have all the required documents for the final country of destination
  • You have enough financial means to cover the duration of your stay
  • You will arrive and depart from an airport or seaport located in the same groups:
  • Group A:
    • Airports: Narita (NRT), Haneda (HND), Nagoya (NGO), Niigata (KIJ), Komatsu (KMQ) and Yokota (OKO).
    • Seaports: Tokyo, Yokohama, Niigata, and Nagoya.
  • Group B:
    • Airports: Osaka (KIX), Nagoya (NGO) and Komatsu (KMQ)
    • Seaports: Osaka, Kobe and Nagoya.
  • Group C:
    • Airports: Fukuoka (FUK), Nagasaki (NGS), Kumamoto (KMJ), Kagoshima (KOJ), Naha (OKA) and Kadena (DNA)
    • Seaports: Hakata (Fukuoka), Shimonoseki and Naha (Okinawa)
  • Group D:
    • Airport: Chitose (CTS)
    • Seaports: Tomakomai, Otaru, Hakodate and Muroran.

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