Points to Note and Application Procedures
An application for visa is made by the applicant him/herself at the Japanese Embassy / Consulate General with jurisdiction over the area in which the applicant lives or those with jurisdiction over the country of which the applicant’s passport is issued. In some cases the application may be made by an accredited travel agent that has been approved by the Japanese Embassy / Consulate General.
The documents that are necessary for the application differ depending on the travel purpose and the nationality of the applicant. In some cases, not only documents prepared by the applicant him/herself but documents prepared by the inviting person in Japan are required to apply for visa. Please send all necessary documents prepared by the inviting person in Japan well in advance to the applicant in order for the applicant to make the application for visa.
To find out what documents are necessary for visa application, please refer to the relevant section of this website.
Visa Processing Time
The processing period for visa issuance is approximately 5 working days from the day after the date of the acceptance of application as long as there are no particular problems with the content of the application. It may take less time than it depending on the Embassy/Consulate General and the purpose of visit.
If there is any problem with the content of the application, the Embassy/Consulate General transmits the application to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo for further examination. In such cases issuance of a visa may take more than a month. Visa applicants are reminded to apply early for their visa, well in advance of the anticipated travel date.
If the purpose of visit is to work or a long-term stay, it is recommended that the visa applicant obtains a Certificate of Eligibility from the regional Immigration bureau in Japan before making visa application. If a Certificate of Eligibility is not submitted when the visa application is made, issuance of the visa will take a long time (typically one to three months) regardless of whether or not there is a problem with the content of the application.
The Certificate of Eligibility can be applied in advance at the regional Immigration bureau in Japan via a proxy of the foreign national who wish to enter Japan and will be issued if the foreign national concerned conforms to the conditions set in the Article 7, Paragraph 1, Item 2 of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act of Japan.
Validity of a Visa
Visas are only valid for entering Japan on one occasion. The period of validity of the single-entry visa is three months. Please make sure that the bearer of visa apply for landing with an immigration inspector at the port of entry where he/she seeks to land and undergo an examination for landing before the visa is expired. The visa will become invalid once he/she applied for landing or be expired by reaching expiry date which is earlier.
The extension of period of validity of visa is not possible. If a foreign national residing in Japan wish to have his/her period of stay extended while he/she is in Japan, please consult with the regional immigration bureau.
Multiple-entry visas can be issued to business travelers, etc. The period of validity of these visas is from one to five years, and these visas can be used any number of times during their period of validity.
Fees must be paid for the issuance of visas. The fees are about 3,000 yen for a single-entry visa, 6,000 yen for a double-entry or multiple-entry visa, and 700 yen for a transit visa. Fees are collected in the currency of the country (region) in which the Embassy / Consulate General is located.
Depending on the purpose of your visit and your nationality, fees may not be required or may be a different amount.
If the visa is not issued, no fees are required. The processing fees are needed in addition to the visa issuance fees in case the visa application is made through an approved agency by the Embassy / Consulate General of Japan.
Criteria of Visa Issuance
A Japanese visa will be issued to an applicant when he/she meets all of the following requirements and if the issuance is considered to be appropriate.
• (1) The applicant possesses a valid passport and is entitled to the re-entry to a country of his/her nationality or a country of his/her residence.
• (2) All submitted documents are authentic, completed and satisfactory.
• (3) The activities to be engaged in Japan/ the civil status or the position of the applicant/ the period of stay meet the requirements for the status of residence and the period of stay stipulated in the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act. (Cabinet Order No.319 of 1951. Hereinafter referred to as the "Immigration Control Act")
• (4) The applicant do not fall under any of the items of Article 5, Paragraph 1 of the Immigration Control Act.
Visas and Landing Permission
Based on the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, in principle a foreign national wishing to enter Japan is required to have a valid passport issued by the government of their own country with a visa issued by the head of the embassy or consulate-general of Japan.
The visa confirms the validity of a foreign national’s passport and also suggests that a bearer of visa would not pose any problem as long as he/she enters Japan in accordance with the conditions specified on the visa. Furthermore, holding a visa is only one of the requirements for a landing permission application at the port of entry of Japan and does not guarantee that the holder of the visa will be able to enter Japan.
Visas are issued in the Japanese embassy or consulate. Visas cannot be obtained at the port of entry in Japan.
The immigration officers check whether or not the foreign national wishing to enter Japan meets all the requirements for entering Japan stipulated in the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act when he/she applies for landing at the port of entry. The requirements include having a valid passport with a valid visa, the purpose of entering Japan, and the planned length of the stay. If the requirements are met, the immigration officer grants the foreign national "landing permission" (by affixing the seal of verification for landing in the passport of the foreign national).
The "landing permission" seal displays the "status of residence" showing the activities, etc. that the foreign national can engage in while in Japan and the "period of stay" which is the length of time that the foreign national can stay in Japan.
The visa immediately becomes invalid once the foreign national applied for landing in Japan. (Note) The "landing permission" becomes the legal basis for the stay of the foreign national in Japan.
(Note) Multiple visas remain valid until the date of their expiration.
People commonly talk about "changing the type of visa" and "extending or renewing a visa" but in fact these actions cannot be done. (A "change of status of residence" and an "extension of period of stay" respectively can be done by the Ministry of Justice (the Regional Immigration Bureau)).
Information Source: https://www.mofa.go.jp/