Do You Need a Visa to Go to Japan? Important Considerations to Make Before Packing Your Bags

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Traveling the world is a beautiful way to get a first-hand experience with different cultures around the world. But to go to some of these places, such as Japan, for example, you may need more than just a plane ticket to be able to visit the country. 

So the question stands: Do you need a visa to go to Japan? These are essential considerations to make before packing your bags, and we’ll be going over all of the details that are important for you to make a stress-free trip to the land of the rising sun.

Unfortunately, the answer to this question largely depends on how long you intend to stay in Japan. There are also other requirements that need to get met before you can even consider traveling to Japan; there’s also the question on why you’re visiting. 

These are all essential points that need to be looked at before you start your trip and you may find that getting over there it is more complicated than what you may have initially thought.

Passports vs. Visas


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So what’re the significant differences when it comes to a passport versus a Visa? This question is one that a lot of people have in regards to what travel documents that they are going to need when they go abroad. Thankfully, the information is easy to obtain, and you’ll be able to get a better sense of what you need quickly.

Travel Visas

travel visa is an endorsement that has gotten placed within a passport to Grant its holder official permission to enter, leave, or stay in a country for a length of time. Most of the time, you’ll find people with visas when they’re doing one of the following things:

  • Working or studying abroad
  • Immigration Visas
  • Tourism
  • Staying in the country for an extended period of time
  • Entering and leaving the country multiple times in a year.
  • Residential Visa

Every country has a different protocol when it comes to tourists and foreigners entering their country whether it be for a short period or longer time frame.

people walking in Japan street downtown

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Passports are a form of identification that’s issued to a country citizen to prepare them for international travel. Passports get ideally used as a way to verify the citizenship of its holder to the country that they’re native to, and it’s also a useful way to regain entry into your own country once you’ve left on vacation or travel of any kind.

When you get your passport, you’ll notice that it typically has the following information included in it:

  • Your name
  • Your birthday
  • Your photo ID 
  • Your gender
  • Any physical characteristics that you have

If your US citizen, some countries only require a passport for you to re-enter the country, and other countries require a Visa paired with your passport to enter. The beautiful thing about being a United States citizen is that you can travel up to 88% of the world with no upfront work required.

There are over 196 total countries in the world and Americans can travel to 174 of them while only needing a passport for re-entry into their country. The count does exclude places like the Cook Islands, Neway and other countries that the UN does not recognize. 

Diplomats and other forms of government officials get different styles of passports then what provided to the general public.  

Why Do You Need a Visa?

Necessarily your Visa will be used to determine your ability to travel across the world. Understanding the requirements is essential if you plan on visiting another country that requires one.

It’s also worth mentioning that different types of visas are available depending on the kind of visitation that you’re doing and that also makes it easier for the countries that you’re planning on visiting to determine what your intentions are while you’re staying in their country.

As stated above, there are many different types of visas that you can obtain depending on why you’re traveling to that specific country in the first place. If you are going to a particular country to learn about the culture and experience the different lifestyles that are present there, then you would probably look at a tourist visa. 

Do You Need A Visa To Go To Japan?

Currently, if you plan on visiting Japan, as long as you intend to stay no longer than 90 days you can travel there under a simple passport and be just fine. However, that passport will need to be active for at least six months before you can be allowed entry into the country. If you do plan to stay longer than 90 days, you will need to acquire a visa instead.

time lapsed photo of traffic in Japan

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Other Kinds Of Visas 

Student Visas

There are other kinds of visas besides the tourist visa that you may need to take advantage of if you are going to Japan for different reasons. For example, if you plan on going to Japan to study abroad, you will need a visa and a valid passport to do so. You will have to go to the Us embassy’s website and fill out the appropriate passport application for Japan in order to apply. 

You will also need a photograph attached to the application form that’s 2in by 2in in meets the standard passport criteria for pictures. You also need an original Certificate of Eligibility that you and your sponsor in Japan will need a copy of, but you can get from their website.

If you don’t have a Certificate of Eligibility, you will need an acceptance letter from an educational Institution as well as documents that certify that the applicant can take care of any expenses during their stay By providing proof of scholarships and grants or bank statements. 

These are documents that will need to be signed by parents as well as officials from your school’s or from the schools that are going to be receiving you while you’re studying abroad. 

Work Visas

Working visas are a little bit more complicated than a simple student visa. There are only five types of Industries in which you can apply for a working Visa to work in Japan. These five different industries include the following:

  • Engineering
  • Skilled Labor
  • Business Management
  • Intra-Company Transferee
  • Highly-Skilled Professional

There are also different types of working visas that will get granted to those who have acquired individual skills or knowledge as well as status. These include:

welder professional

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  • Instructors
  • Professors
  • Artists
  • Journalists
  • Diplomats
  • Legal Services
  • medical services
  • Entertainers
  • Researchers
  • Religious organizations 

Global Entry Program

If you find yourself frequently traveling overseas, then you know that the most considerable headache is getting through customs when you have a ride to your destination. Thankfully a program was created to lessen the overall hassle that comes with overseas traveling thanks to a United States government program known as the global entry program.

This program is one that’s one of five available in The Trusted Travelers Program. Four of the programs involved in this grouping come specially designed for business travelers, and personal travelers and these programs include:

  • Global Entry
  • TSA PreCheck

Out of all of these programs,  TSA PreCheck does the only one that isn’t governed by the United States Custom and Border Protection and is instead administered and secured by the Transportation Security Administration. You may see this program frequently advertised and local airports and on the TSA website.

The global entry program gets exercised in over 42 U.S Airports, and there are over two million people that are enrolled already. With 50,000 people applying every single month. This program allows you to eliminate waiting times as all of your member information is stored in a database that’s accessible through airports that carry the system.  

You scan your machine-readable passport and your fingerprints at a kiosk, and then you complete a declaration form before proceeding straight through the bagging area. Easy right?

You directly pay a one-time fee of $100, even if you’re under the age of 18, and then apply. If your application does get rejected for any reason, you will not get a refund for your application fee, but if you do get approved, then you’ll also be able to access the TSA pre-check traveler program which is an $85 value in itself. 

busy people walking in the Street of Japan

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The Verdict

Overall if you don’t plan on staying a long. Of time while you’re in Japan, all you’ll need is a simple passport that’s at least six months old to go. Otherwise, if you do plan on staying for more than six months as a tourist, then you will need a tourist visa to accompany your passport.

The same is true if you plan on working or traveling abroad as a student as well as supplying the appropriate documentation to go. Japan is a beautiful country worth visiting, and as long as you have a proper plan involving how long you plan to stay, you can get all of your paperwork in order and have a relatively hassle-free trip.

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