Types of Visa

Information about the different types of visa available, and the requirements which must be met to enter Japan...

Short Visits (up to 90 days)

Short-term visas allow the holder to spend a maximum of 90 days in Japan for recreational purposes. Any work-related visits require a business visa, regardless of the applicant's country of origin.

Japan has a visa waiver programme with 66 countries; citizens of these countries do not need a visa for a short visit and in some cases may stay in Japan for up to 6 months, as long as the official application for extension is submitted during this time. The following countries have a visa waiver agreement with Japan:

  • Australia: for stays up to 90 days
  • Canada: for stays up to 90 days
  • New Zealand: for stays up to 90 days
  • United Kingdom: for stays up to six months
  • United States: for stays up to 90 days

Most European Union countries also have a visa waiver programme with Japan.

Visas for Medical Stay

Visas are given to allow foreign individuals to receive medical care in Japan. These visas also cover an accompanying person (not necessarily a family member). The validity of these visas depends on the clinical requirements of the applicant but are generally multiples of 90 days with a normal maximum of three years. Documentation is required to support all applications.

  • The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs publishes comprehensive information on the regulations of, and requirements for, medical visas to Japan

Long-term Visas

These visas are required by people who intend to work in Japan (for any length of time) or to stay for longer than 90 days (for recreational purposes). There are a number of different types of long-stay visa:

  • Working visas
  • Student and training visas
  • Visas for cultural visits
  • Spouse visas, for people married to Japanese citizens or permanent residents
  • Diplomatic visas

Long-term visas typically allow the holder to remain in the country for a period ranging from three months to three years. The holder can only engage in activities authorised by the visa they hold.

A change in circumstances, for example foreigners already in Japan on a temporary visitor visa, and who want to work, means that the person must apply for a Change of Status of Residence. Applications for a Change of Status of Residence should be made at a local immigration bureau. Applications to extend the length of stay of a visa should also be made at an immigration bureau before the current visa expires.