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Smooth Entry and Departure To and From Japan: Japanese Customs & Immigration

Smooth Entry and Departure To and From Japan: Japanese Customs & Immigration

Date published: 22 March 2016
Last updated: 16 October 2018

When traveling overseas, everyone may think of immigration procedures as being terribly tiresome. But If you are well-prepared and know what to do, you can master them quite them smoothly. Let's look at necessary immigration and emigration procedures for international travelers coming to Japan.

Sometimes, a visa isn't necessary

Sometimes, a visa isn't necessary

A short stay is defined as staying in Japan for no longer than 90 days to enjoy sightseeing and meeting family without getting any remuneration. Japan has visa exemption agreements with 66 countries and areas.

However, if you receive payment for something or if you stay longer than these 90 days, you need a visa. You sometimes need a passport with personal information data and so on readable by machine, or an IC passport with the IC chip providing personal information, a photo, biometric identification data, and so on. Partly due to anti-terror measures, it is obligatory for international travelers to provide personal identification information such as their fingerprints and facial photo upon entering Japan.

Countries that require visas

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the following countries do not have "Reciprocal Visa Exemption Arrangements" and visitors would need to acquire a tourist visa:
- China
- Russia, CIS countries, or Georgia
- Philippines

A full list of countries that require tourism visas, plus applicable procedures to apply for a visa, may be found at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website at: http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/index.html

Immigration clearance process

Immigration clearance process

When you enter Japan, you have to go through immigration clearance by presenting necessary documents, your passport and visa (if required) to receive landing cards at an airport or a port. If you are infected or stayed in an area with an epidemic of an infectious disease, you have to go through a quarantine before immigration clearance. Next, you go through immigration. If necessary, you are instructed to go through animal, plant quarantine and customs clearance procedures. Not only items purchased overseas but also items received from other people and presents are examined. Also, those who will be staying in Japan long-term must obtain a residence card. This card is issued when you go through immigration at Haneda, Narita, Chubu, and Kansai airport. But if you enter Japan from other airports, you have to take the necessary steps to get a card issued at the municipal government in which you plan to live.

What is necessary to perform the embarkation procedures?

What is necessary to perform the embarkation procedures?

When you leave Japan, you have to get confirmation of departure from an immigration inspector at an airport or a port. It's not to restrict you from leaving Japan but to have a record of people leaving the country. If you have documents such as a visa and so on at that time, the documents are collected so your resident status and residence period disappears. Those who received a re-entry permit (including a special re-entry permit) before leaving Japan can retain their resident status and residence period if they re-enter Japan within the valid period.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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