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How to Apply for a Japan Tourist Visa: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you planning a trip to Japan and unsure about how to get your visa? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Follow this step-by-step guide to make your visa application process smoother.

Step 1: Determine If You Need a Visa

First, find out if you need a visa to visit Japan. Japan has visa exemptions for some countries, meaning citizens of these countries can travel to Japan for a short-term stay for up to 3 weeks without needing a visa. Conversely, citizens of other countries will need to apply for a tourist visa. If you are staying longer than 3 weeks but under 90 days then onto Step 2!

Step 2: Gather Your Documents

If you do need a visa, the next step is to gather all the necessary documents. These include:

  • A valid passport with at least 6 months validity and 2 blank pages
  • A completed and signed visa application form
  • A recent photograph, size 4.5 x 4.5 cm, in color and with a white background
  • An official birth certificate or a certified copy
  • If the traveler is married, it is necessary to submit a marriage certificate issued within one year
  • Schedule and travel plans in Japan​​

In addition, you may need to provide evidence of your ability to cover the expenses of your stay. This could include a bank certificate issued within the last 3 months and your income tax return. If you have a sponsor or guarantor for your trip, you will need to provide additional documents such as a guarantee letter and proof of relationship with the guarantor

Step 3: Apply for Your Visa

Once you have all your documents ready, it’s time to apply for your visa. If you’re from countries like Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, or the U.S.A, you can apply for a visa online using the JAPAN eVISA website. For this, you will need an internet connection at your departure airport to display the “Visa issuance notice”.

If you’re not from one of these countries, you will need to apply at the Japanese Embassy, Consulate General, or Consular office in your country/region of residence.

There are some key things to keep in mind while applying for your visa:

  • All applications must be filled in English or Japanese.
  • If there are discrepancies between the details on the application form and the passport, the application will not be accepted.
  • It is necessary to upload a digital photo that meets the specified requirements.
  • The visa application fee is non-refundable and must be paid online via credit card.
  • The application process takes about 5 business days​.

Step 4: Receive Your Visa

After you’ve submitted your application, all that’s left is to wait for your visa. If your application is approved, you will receive a “Visa issuance notice”. This notice is not a visa, but it is necessary to display it at the departure airport. Once the time on the notice is ready, return to the consulate or embassy to retrieve your visa!

Congratulations! You have successfully received your tourist visa!

Working Visa

For working visas, the process is a bit more complex. This is because you must have a job offer in Japan before you can apply for a work visa. Your future employer will be your sponsor and they will initiate the visa application process on your behalf.

In addition to the standard requirements, you may need to provide additional documentation such as a Certificate of Eligibility (CoE), proof of your professional qualifications, and a contract from your employer in Japan.

Student Visa

For a student visa, you need to have been accepted onto a program or degree at a Japanese university before you can apply. Your chosen university will then apply for a Certificate of Eligibility on your behalf. Once the CoE has been issued, you can then apply for your visa.

Just like with the work visa, you will need to provide additional documentation such as proof of sufficient funds to cover all your expenses while in Japan and proof of your academic qualifications.

If you’re a student who plans to apply for a study abroad program in Japan through your current school, there are additional requirements you must meet, including maintaining a specific cumulative grade point average and obtaining a nomination letter from your school. It’s important to note that only universities that have partnership agreements with Japanese universities are eligible for student exchange programs. Additionally, the selection process for these programs is often competitive, which means that many applications may be rejected.

Note: The visa application fee is typically around ¥3,000 to ¥7,000, but this can vary depending on your nationality and the type of visa you’re applying for. It’s important to note that the visa application process can take several weeks or even months, so be sure to plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to apply before your planned departure date.

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