Japan visa

Japan visa

Traveling to Japan

Japan is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations. With over 30 million travelers visiting Japan for tourism, business, medical, educational, and other purposes.

Japan visas are single entry and valid for 3 months. The duration of stay periods granted vary between countries: 15 days for Indonesia and Thailand, 14 days for Brunei, 30 days for UAE, and 90-days for other countries. Currently, Japan is not issuing double or multiple entry visas.

Travelers are advised to verify information regarding the Japan visa type they’re applying for, as changes may exist due to present COVID-19 measures.

Under present COVID-19 restrictions, all foreign nationals are required to obtain a visa to enter Japan, except those with a valid re-entry permit. All visa exemptions for countries, that could previously enter Japan visa-free, have now been suspended, as well as all transit visas for travelers connecting through Japan. As of now, all foreign nationals need a Japan visa to enter Japan.

Japan visa types

Foreign nationals must fall under one of the below Japan visa types in order to be eligible to apply for a Japan visa:

Short-Term Stay Visa

Also known as the Japan tourist visa, this visa allows for a stay of up to 90 days in Japan and is issued to foreign nationals entering Japan for tourism, business, family visits, and other short-term activities that do not involve compensation.

Work or Long-Term Stay Visa

This visa is issued for employment, education, cultural, humanitarian, diplomatic, official and other purposes that require longer stays. Depending on your nationality and purpose for visiting Japan, this visa can be issued for 6 months, 1, 3, or 5 years. The Japan long-term visas include:

  • Highly skilled professional visa
  • Working visa
  • General visa
  • Specified visa
  • Start-up visa
  • Diplomatic visa
  • Official visa

Medical Stay Visa

Visa Exemptions for Diplomatic and Official Passport Holders  

Japan visa requirements

The following are the required documents to apply for a Japan visa: 

Passport

A valid passport with at least one blank page

Application form 

One completed and signed Japan visa application form

Personal photo

One personal photo, taken within the last six months, 45mm ×35mm in size, and attached to the visa application form

Certificate of eligibility

Letter of guarantee that traveler meets the conditions of their intended purpose for traveling to Japan

Depending on your nationality and the Japan visa you are applying for, additional documentation may be required, such as an invitation letter or travel itinerary.

Contact your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for more information regarding the requirements of the specific Japan visa you are applying for. 

Japan visa application

Once the required documents have been gathered, the applicant can begin the application process:

  1. Complete the Japan visa application

    Fill out Japan visa application form online or make a printout

  2. Make an appointment at your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate

    Contact your nearest Japan embassy or representation office to set an appointment

  3. Attend appointment at your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate

    • Submit application and required documents
    • Pay the Japan visa fees

  4. Wait for Japan visa decision

    • If approved, pick up Japan visa from the Japan embassy or consulate where you applied
    • Verify that all information is correct and matches your passport

Please note that you may be contacted by the Japanese embassy or consulate where you applied if further documentation is required.

Where to apply for Japan visa

Eligible foreign nationals can apply for Japan visas at their nearest Japanese embassy or consulate abroad. Applicants should appear, in person, during the embassy/consulate times designated for visa applications. No visa applications are accepted by mail. It is important to note that Japan visas cannot be applied for or obtained from within Japan.

If an applicant wishes a representative to go to the Japanese embassy/consulate in their stead, applicant must submit a Letter of Proxy.

Japan visa processing time

Normally, it takes 5 business days from the date of application to process and issue a Japan visa. Processing times may be delayed if additional documents are required, an applicant interview is requested, or COVID-19 restrictions are in force. For these reasons, it is advisable to apply for a Japan visa well ahead your intended trip to Japan.

Japan visa FAQ

Is Japan issuing visas now?

Japan presently requires all foreign nationals to apply for a Japan visa, in order to travel to Japan. Foreign nationals with a re-entry permit are exempt from this rule and can enter Japan visa-free.

How long does it take for a Japan visa to be approved?

A Japan visa normally takes 5 business days to be fully processed and issued, however, with the present COVID-19 restrictions, processing times can take longer. Additionally, depending on your nationality and the specific Japan visa type you are applying for, you may be asked to supply additional information or attend a live interview. In all cases, it is advised to apply for your Japan visa well ahead your trip to Japan.

How long can a South African stay in Japan?

Japan visas are single entry with a 3-month validity period. Duration of stay periods include 15 days for Indonesia and Thailand, 14 days for Brunei, 30 days for UAE, and 90-days for all other countries.

How can I permanently live in Japan?

Foreign nationals wishing to permanently live in Japan are required to apply for a Japan permanent residence visa before their Japan residency status expires. Foreign nationals who are eligible by birth should apply within 30 days after their birth date. Applications submitted by proxies require the Japan visa applicant to be present in Japan, in case additional information or a live interview is requested. Applicants for permanent residence in Japan will have to prove they are of sound character, have the skills or financial means necessary to live in Japan, and that their permanent residence will be of benefit to the country.

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