Updated last year

Travelling to Japan is pretty straightforward if you are from one of the many countries that have “reciprocal visa exemption arrangements” with Japan. If you’re lucky enough to be from one of these 68 countries, you need only one thing for your travels to Japan – that's your passport!

For those from countries that do require a visa, the process is fairly standard and can be done at the Japanese embassy of your country of origin. To work in Japan a visa is required but the process is not tricky, and you can apply for the visa in your home country.

Visa exempt countries

Nationals from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Hong Kong, Germany and more have visa-free entry into Japan for a stay of up to 90 days. UAE nationals may stay for up to 30 days visa-free, and nationals from Thailand, Brunei and Indonesia for 15 days. Citizens from certain countries may also be able to extend their stay by an additional three months, provided they apply to the Japanese Immigration Service before their original 90 days expire. For a full list of visa exempt countries please visit the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.


The visa exemption for all these countries is, however, limited to tourist activity only and any paid activity, work or business activity is strictly prohibited.

Non-exempt countries

If you are not from one of the 68 visa-free countries, you must apply for a tourist visa before travelling to Japan. This can be done at the Japanese embassy of your home country and typically requires an application form and other documents. The documents differ depending on the reason for the visit and your nationality, so it is best to check what you need with the embassy in your home country first.


Once your visa is approved, you are allowed to stay for 90 days for leisure/ tourism purposes only.

Working visas and long term stay

If you plan to work or take part in any paid activity in Japan, you must apply for a working visa or a certificate of eligibility before travelling to Japan. This must be done at the Japanese embassy in your home country. The type of working visa depends on the type of work that you will undertake in Japan.

If your circumstances require you to stay longer than a tourist visa allows, you must apply for either a general or specified visa. Examples of these conditions are students, dependents, cultural activities, designated activities, etc.. Again, in most cases you must apply before arrival in Japan. Please visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' website on working and long-stay visas for more information.

Arrival and stay in Japan

Upon arrival, all foreign nationals are required to have their fingerprints scanned and have their photo taken, as well as the regular passport control and customs checks. Once in Japan it is highly recommended to keep your passport on you at all times as there is a slim chance Japanese police will want to see it and on a lighter note foreign passports often provide discounts whilst shopping.

 Useful links:

Japanese Immigration Service

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