Japanese Passport Information
Japan is one of the most popular travel destinations
in East Asia
for both business and leisure travelers. It is arguably one of the easiest countries to visit in terms of visa and passport rules. In fact, visitors from the U.S., U.K, and several other nations are not required to obtain a Japanese visa before entering the country. However, there are some rules concerning special types of visas and the length that a visitor can stay on a regular tourist visa.
Visitors from Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Australia and most European Union countries do not need a visa. Passport holders from these countries are allowed to enter and can remain for up to 90 days. However, visitors entering Japan are required to have a return ticket. Immigration officials at the country's airports often ask visitors to produce this ticket before allowing them to pass through the immigration checkpoint.
After entering the country, visitors who were automatically given a 90-day stay can apply for an extension. If the extension is approved, they will be allowed to stay for an additional 90 days. Tourists and businesspeople can apply for an extension at any of Japan's many immigration offices. The process of getting an extension is not lengthy, but it is best to get the extension several weeks before the initial 90-day stay expires. Those who want to stay longer than 180 days will need a special visa (see below).
Those planning to work in Japan must apply for and receive a work visa from a Japanese consulate or embassy before entering Japan. There are specific classes of visas. Skilled workers such as educators and artists can obtain a general worker's visa. Journalists are always required to have a special visa, even if they only plan to stay in Japan for a short while.
Those who come to Japan for study or for athletic or cultural activities can obtain a student visa. Visa applicants can complete a "certificate of eligibility," which will streamline the application process as well as make future applications for Japanese visas easier.
Immigration authorities have the right to fingerprint and photograph foreign visitors. Visitors might also be questioned before being allowed to enter the country. It is, however, unusual for U.S. passport holders to be delayed by immigration authorities. Aside from having to wait in line at the immigration checkpoint, the process of entering Japan is decidedly easier and quicker than the process of entering certain other countries, such as China.
However, visitors who are going to Japan to work but who do not have a work visa could be denied entrance into Japan.
Many people who work in Japan or who are on an extended visit will remain in the country until their 90-day stay has expired. They will then spend a day in South Korea before returning to Japan for another 90 days. Foreigners who have traveled to Japan, visited Korea, and then returned to Japan will most likely be questioned by immigration officials. Those who are not working illegally in Japan have nothing to worry about, but they should be aware of the possibility of being delayed at an immigration checkpoint.
Josh Banyak has been providing content for the Web and for print publications for more than five years. He has written about world travel, entertainment, the green movement, popular and high-brow culture, and sporting events. Banyak studied creative and technical writing at Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, Minn.
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