Everything about Japan visa
Oh, Japan! The land of the rising sun. The place where a fusion of tradition and development truly manifests itself. The land where the beauty of nature strikes in calm, but prominent ways. The epicenter of modern technologies and world-renowned cuisine. You know, too, that the list could go on and on... That's probably the reason why Japan has conquered the minds, hearts, and curiosity of countless travelers over the centuries. The unique blend of culture is something to experience at least once in a lifetime, and you are looking into possibilities of doing it. Understanding the means of travel, the formalities to enter the country and the potential costs are the prerequisites of making it happen, aren't they? In this article, I will help with one of these crucial steps - getting to know the Japan visa process better, so you are well prepared once the decision is made. The article will take you through several important aspects - how to apply for Japan visa, how much is Japan visa, and a brief description of the available Japan visa types. All the basic information as well as some sources to feed your curiosity. Shall we kick it off?
Everything about the eligibility for a Japan visa
Most travelers will need to acquire a visa to enter Japan because nationals of only about one-third of the world's countries (68 to be precise) are exempt from that. The list is long, and let's be honest, who wants to read an article full of dry information with a copy-paste list of countries, am I right? If you would like to find out if a visa to Japan is something you should worry about, then check the details with the closest Japanese embassy or on their Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Everything about Japan visa types and characteristics
Let's start with a description of the conditions for anyone who is allowed to enter Japan visa-free. If you are a lucky national of one of those 68 countries, you will be allowed to stay in the country for up to 90 days. Sounds great. What's even better is - if you travel with the passport of Austria, Germany, Ireland, Lichtenstein, Mexico, Switzerland, or the UK, you may extend the stay for another 90 days. Just keep in mind that you need to have a valid passport for the entire stay, and you won't engage in any paid work or activities. Additionally, if you belong to this list of 68 countries and have proof of savings that exceed 3 million yen (about 22 400 EUR), you might be eligible for the Longer Stays Program. It will allow a stay in Japan for up to one year for sightseeing or recreational purposes visa-free!
So what about the travelers that do need a visa? Japan visa policy seems to be rather organized and easy to comprehend. The classification falls into two major categories - short and long-term visas. Let me elaborate a little more on each of those to give you an impression of what they mean.
Japan short-term visas may be obtained if you travel for tourism, business, or family/friend visitation. Please remember that none of these include permission to perform remunerative activities. People who would travel under, for example, Japan tourist visa and start a job in Japan would get fined easily. Just don't do it. Consider some other Japan visa types if you see prospects of earning some income during your stay in the country. As per usual, that does not apply to the digital nomads that are paid by an entity in another country but perform their usual job while on their tourism trip. I guess that's the easiest way to explain this.
On the other hand, Japan long-term visas may grant you a chance to stay in Japan even for several years. They are subdivided into categories of highly skilled professional visa, work visa, general visa, and start-up visa. Here is a short description of each of those.
● The highly skilled professional visa is intended for scientists, engineers, lawyers, business executives, and other highly professional people who would like to work in Japan. Depending on your profession it may grant a chance to stay for up to 6 years! The purpose of this visa is to give preferential treatment and easier chances of staying in Japan as highly professional specialists are crucial to the country's economic development.
● The work visa allows working in Japan under one of the many professions. The list is long, but to give you an example, subcategories of this type include a work visa for artists, professors, or intra-company transferees.
● The general visa has the most diverse meaning. This visa type will fit you if you intend to stay for cultural activities (e.g. learning flower arrangements or tea ceremonies, as well as for unpaid internships, etc.), training, or for family purposes. Additionally, there is no such Japan student visa, but if your purpose of travel is studying, then it would also fall under this category.
● If your business plan is realistic, you may apply for a start-up visa and stay in Japan for up to 6 months.
Everything about Japan visa requirements
Each of the many categories I described above comes with a slightly different list of requirements that will make the officials see you are eligible to obtain the desired type of visa. Nevertheless, if you travel for the purposes you are claiming, there should be no problem in being able to prove the legitimacy. For the sake of example, I will note a few basic requirements that most if not all applicants will have to provide during their application process.
Your application will consist of: an application form (one or two copies depending on your nationality), two 4,5 x 4,5 photos with white background, proof of sufficient financial means for the duration of your stay (e.g. bank statements, etc.), as well as a passport that is valid for at least 90 days after you depart from Japan (nonetheless, a 6-month validity is advised). And then, depending on the purpose of your travel - a proof of your intentions. For a long-term Japan student visa, you will need a certificate proving the institution of your education. For a short-term Japan tourist visa, it will usually be an itinerary of your trip (your day-to-day plan in Japan), as well as confirmations for your flights and hotel reservations with clear dates stated, etc.
Everything about the Japan visa process
Figuring out how to apply for Japan visa is an easy process. Let me tell you - nothing much is extraordinary about it. If you have ever obtained a visa to enter another country, you get the idea. You should find out the requirements that correspond to your particular case (best by contacting an embassy, Japan visa center, or another place where the application will be handed in). Then collect all the necessary documents and head on to submit them.
In most cases, it will be a diplomatic mission of sorts in your own country, but if there is none, then you should find out which of these entities serves the nationals of your country. Then wait some time, pay the fee, and voila! You are good to go!
Everything about the processing time of Japan visa
Most applications for a Japan visa will be processed in 2-15 days, depending on the country where you hand in the documents and if the officials will need additional information or not. It just means - make sure you fill all the Japan visa requirements to a T if you want to get the visa sooner!
Everything about Japan visa fees
To be honest, the fees are very dependent on the type of visa you are applying to, as well as the diplomatic mission where you do it. Generally, Japan visa fees range from 0 - 50 USD. You will be able to find out how much is Japan visa in your particular case by consulting an embassy or other entity where you hand in your application.
Do you see? The world is your oyster in terms of obtaining a visa to Japan. The process is generally standard, the prices - affordable, and the Japan visa policy is not too complicated to comprehend in general, is it? Is it going to be a Japan tourist visa or something else? Only you know. What matters now is that you set your mind to doing this. Do you have the resources and the time to make the journey happen? If the answer is yes - don't chicken out and plan that trip of yours! Check the flights, check the accommodation options, and find the closest Japan visa center to make an appointment that will get you a few steps closer to a myriad of unforgettable experiences. All I can do to further aid the process is just wishing you the best of luck and...Sayonara!
Ieva Miltina is an activist and entrepreneur of many sorts. By profession project manager of marketing and culture events, in her heart she is a passionate traveler and a cook, soon to become a pastry chef. Deeply rooted in non-formal education she has been involved in youth work since her teenage years and up till nowadays holds a deep interest in innovative approaches to learning and personal development, which she transfers to people from all Europe during various international trainings. Always looking for new discoveries and adventures she happily shares her positive view on the world and the neverending stories with the people who cross her path. While studying hospitality and tourism management she wrote a thesis on home-chefs, which ignited her dream of owning her cozy and heartwarming home restaurant, which will hopefully materialize very soon. Meanwhile writing articles and doing food photography she is working towards another dream of hers - becoming a published author someday.