Home > Visiting Japan > Visa Overview

Visiting Japan - Visa Overview

General Information

Generally, a national of a foreign country who wishes to enter Japan must first obtain a visa. Under the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act of Japan, it is stipulated that any foreigner wishing to enter or land in Japan must possess a valid passport and a visa obtained from an embassy or consulate. Travelers from certain countries may be eligible to visit Japan without a visa under reciprocal visa exemption arrangements. (See later in this document for further details.)

Jurisdiction

Visa applications should be made at the Japanese embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over applicant's place of residency. The Consulate General of Japan in Boston serves Connecticut (except for Fairfield County, which is under the jurisdiction of the Consulate General of Japan in New York), Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. We may decline visa applications from areas outside our jurisdiction.

Categories of Visa

Before applying, visa applicants must first decide which kind of visa (and status of residence) to apply for according to the purpose of their visit to Japan. The documentation required for application differs depending on which kind of visa (and status of residence) the applicant wishes. Please check Types and Categories of Visa.

At the Port of Entry

Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into Japan. The Ministry of Justice (the Immigration Office) has the authority to deny admission. A visa is used solely to make application for Landing Permission, which defines the period for which a foreign national is authorized to remain in Japan, and the Status of Residence, which determines the activities a foreign national is authorized to engage in in Japan. Landing Permissions are determined by the immigration official at the port of entry, not the consular official.

BACK TO TOP

Temporary Visitor Visa / Transit Visa

Who Can Use a Temporary Visitor Visa

A Temporary Visitor Visa is for those who intend to stay in Japan for 90 days or less for such purposes as follows:
Sightseeing; recreation; sports; visiting relatives, friends, or acquaintances; visiting a sick person; attending a wedding or funeral ceremony; participating in athletic tournaments; contests etc. as an amateur; business purposes (such as market research, business liaison, business consultation, signing a contract, or providing after-sale service for imported machinery); inspecting or visiting plants, trade fairs etc.; attending lectures, explanatory meetings etc.; academic surveys or research presentations; religious pilgrimages or visits; friendship visits to sister cities, sister schools etc; or other similar activities during a short period of stay in Japan.

Persons planning to travel to Japan for a different purpose, such as students, workers, journalists, entertainers etc., must apply for a different visa in the appropriate category.

Visa Exemption

U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries which have a reciprocal visa exemption arrangement with Japan may be eligible to visit Japan without a visa for a short-term stay for the activities allowed to Temporary Visitors. For more information about reciprocal visa exemption arrangements, please check the reciprocity table.

Documentation

Each applicant for a Temporary Visitor Visa must submit the following documents. Please be aware that we decline incomplete documents.

  1. One application form, completed and signed. Chinese and Korean citizens must write their names in Chinese characters as well as in Roman letters.
  2. Valid passport (original and one photocopy of ID page) with sufficient space for visa stamp. If, instead of a national passport, you submit a PERMIT TO REENTER THE UNITED STATES or a REFUGEE TRAVEL DOCUMENT issued by the U.S. government, it must have a validity date at least six months beyond the day of application. If you already have a valid Japanese visa in your passport, please include a signed Consent form.
  3. One photograph 2 inches square, taken within the previous six months of application, attached to the application forms.
  4. Green Card or valid U.S. visa to reenter the United States (original and one photocopy) An F or J visa holder must show an I-20 or DS-2019 with the valid signature of an appropriate official in order for return. If you will be entering a third country after leaving Japan, you must show a valid visa to enter the country (or a national passport of the country) instead of a U.S. visa.
  5. Arrangements to depart Japan
    -- Rserved flight itinerary showing applicant's name issued by travel agency or airline company. Please provide us the itinerary of your entire trip (starting from Boston and coming back to Boston). We advise applicants not to purchase airline tickets until the visa is approved.
  6. Arrangements to cover the cost of the trip
    -- Persons traveling to Japan on business must submit a letter from the business firm (US) indicating that the company will defray travel costs.
    -- Persons traveling to Japan for pleasure must submit a bank statement and a certificate of employment which states the applicant's salary. Students must submit a bank statement and an enrollment letter from a school with expected graduation date.
  7. Purpose of the trip
    -- Persons traveling to Japan on business must submit a letter from the business firm (US) and an invitation letter from the host (Japan) which indicate applicant's employment status (position, length of employment etc.), purpose of the trip, intended length of stay and name and address of a business reference in Japan.
    -- Persons traveling to Japan for pleasure must submit a letter from relatives or friends in Japan whom the applicant plans to visit, confirmation of participation in a planned tour, or a statement about the tour schedule with the applicant's name. A person planning to stay at a hotel must submit hotel reservations.

Applicants must demonstrate that they are properly classifiable as a Temporary Visitor. It is impossible to specify the exact form the evidence should take since applicants' circumstances vary greatly. Additional Documents may be required depending on the case.

Letters from the US side (from business firms, schools etc.) must be in the original with hand-written signatures. Electric signatures are not acceptable.

 

Visa Fees

Visa fees are determined according to reciprocal arrangements between Japan and the country of the applicant's nationality. Please check the page of Visa Fees.

Processing Time

The time to process an application for a Temporary Visitor Visa depends on the applicant's circumstances. In most cases, it takes three business days to a week (excluding the date of application), if the documentation is in order. There are some cases, however, in which over a few weeks or more are needed to process an application. It should be noted that the Consulate does not issue visas on the same day of the application.

Applicants who wish to have their passports returned by FedEx or UPS can submit a pre-paid, self-addressed return envelope with application documents. (FedEx Ground should not be used. Also, any services requiring direct hand-over to the shipping companies should not be used. Please note we do not use USPS for the return of passports.) Applicants should be aware that the Consulate does not bear any responsibility for the delay or loss of envelopes or passports by the shipping companies.

Other Information

Application Procedures for Multiple Entry Visas for Indian Nationals .

BACK TO TOP

Visas for Work and Long Term Stay

Documentation

Each applicant must submit the following documents. Please be aware that we decline incomplete documents.

  1. One application form, completed and signed. Blank forms are available without charge at Japanese consular offices.Chinese and Korean citizens must write their names in Chinese characters as well as in Roman letters.
  2. Valid passport with sufficient space for visa stamp. If, instead of a national passport, you submit a PERMIT TO REENTER THE UNITED STATES or a REFUGEE TRAVEL DOCUMENT issued by the U.S. government, it must have a validity date at least six months beyond the day of application. If you already have a valid Japanese visa in your passport, please include a signed Consent form.
  3. One photograph 2 inches square, taken within the previous six months of application, attached to the application forms.
  4. Certificate of Eligibility, original and one photocopy

Certificate of Eligibility

Questions about how to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility should be made to the local Immigration office.

Visa Fees

Visa fees are determined according to reciprocal arrangements between Japan and the country of the applicant's nationality. Please check the page of Visa Fees.

Processing Time

In the case of application with a Certificate of Eligibility, it usually takes three business days to a week (excluding the date of application), if the documentation is in order. In the case of application without a Certificate of Eligibility, the processing time varies depending on the applicant's circumstances and the visa category. In some cases it can take over a few weeks or more. It should be noted that the Consulate does not issue visas on the same day of application.

Applicants who wish to have their passports returned by FedEx or UPS can submit a pre-paid, self-addressed return envelope with application documents. (FedEx Ground should not be used. Also, any services requiring direct hand-over to the shipping companies should not be used. Please note we do not use USPS for the return of passports.) Applicants should be aware that the Consulate does not bear any responsibility for the delay or loss of envelopes or passports by the shipping companies.

BACK TO TOP

Visa Office:

Monday through Friday (except for holidays)

9:00-12:15, 13:15-16:00

APPOINTMENTS ARE NOT REQUIRED.

Consulate-General of Japan in Boston
Federal Reserve Plaza 22nd Floor,
600 Atlantic Ave., Boston, MA 02210
TEL:617-973-9772,FAX:617-542-1329

BACK TO TOP