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American Citizen Services

Visas to Japan for Americans

On July 9, 2012, the Government of Japan implemented changes in the Japanese Immigration and Residence Laws. The U.S. Embassy strongly encourages Americans residents in Japan to review the revised Japanese Immigration Policy to fully understand how you may be affected.

Please carefully review the Japanese Immigration Bureau's pamphlet for more information on these changes.

The information about the new residency management system is available at the Japanese Government Internet TV in English.

If you have questions regarding the new Immigration and Residence Laws, please check directly with the Japan Immigration Bureau or with your local city or ward municipal office.

Additional FAQs can be found online here and here.

Visas for Americans hoping to travel, study or work in Japan are controlled by the Japanese government. While the Japanese Government is the ultimate authority on visa matters, we would like to present some general information on visas for Americans to aid in your planning.

When you are ready for more specific information, please take a look at the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Guide to Japanese Visas.

Americans without a work visa cannot work in Japan.

Americans now in the U.S. may also wish to contact the Japanese Embassy, or one of its Consulates in the U.S. for visa information.

Start online with the Japanese Embassy to locate the Japanese Consulate (in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Portland and San Francisco) nearest your home.

Looking for information on visas for China? Follow this link.

Follow this link if you are actually looking for visa information for non-U.S. Citizens seeking to travel or study in the U.S.

We have specific information on visas for attorneys taking depositions in Japan.

Tourist or Short-Term Business

Americans generally may enter Japan for business or pleasure without a visa for up to 90 days. Travelers entering the country without a visa must have a return or onward ticket in their possession, proof of adequate funds for their stay, and be otherwise admissible under Japanese law. Extensions of the 90-day stay are normally not allowed, and no changes to status are permitted.

Longer Stays with an appropriate visa such as a work visa

If you will be staying longer than 90 days with an appropriate visa, you must register your address with your residence's municipal office and obtain a Resident Card ("Zairyu Card") from regional immigration offices. For those newly arrived resident aliens with an appropriate visa, Resident Cards will be issued at Narita and Haneda Airports near Tokyo, at Chubu Airport serving Nagoya, and at Kansai Airport, near Osaka.

If you move from one residence in Japan to another, you are required to report to your current municipal office first and then to your new municipal office within 14 days to register your new address.

If you currently have your valid Alien Registration Card, you are not required to replace it with a new resident card immediately. It will be deemed equivalent to a new resident card until it expires but not beyond July 8, 2015.

Carry your Residence Card with you at all times. The Japanese Police are allowed to stop you and ask to see the card at any time, and not having it with you is a violation of local law.

If you are planning to stay in Japan more than 90 days, seek a change of status or perform tasks which do not fall under the definition of routine business, you should obtain a visa before coming to Japan. Visas are issued only by Japanese Embassies and Consulates overseas.

If you already have a Japanese visa and plan to leave the country temporarily for any purpose with the intention to come back within one year, your are no longer required to obtain a re-entry permit.

Please note that the Embassy has no authority to intervene in any Japanese government immigration decision.

Please read the information provided at the beginning of this page about changes in the Japanese Immigration and Residence Laws effective July 9, 2012.

Unauthorized Employment

Americans entering either visa free or with a tourist visa are not allowed to work in Japan.

Persons found working illegally are subject to arrest and deportation.

Persons believed to be entering Japan without a working visa but who intend to work here can be denied entry into Japan. This means that you will not exit the airport and will be required to return directly to the U.S.

Japanese Immigration officials are aware of the pattern of people staying for 80-90 days as "tourists," spending a few days in Korea, Guam or some other nearby area and then seeking to re-enter Japan for another 90 days. Persons with such a travel pattern can expect to face questions at Japanese Immigration and may be denied entry with the suspicion that they have been or will work illegally in Japan. In that Japanese Immigration records are computerized, a "lost" passport does not serve to mask long stays in Japan.

Contacting Japanese Immigration

Americans in the Tokyo area with visa questions should contact the Immigration Information Center at the below-listed Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau Office.

Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau
5-5-30, Konan
Minato-ku, Tokyo
Tel: (03) 5796-7112
(Access map)

Americans in other parts of Japan can contact the nearest immigration office:

Here's the list of Japanese Immigration Offices in Japan.

More Information

  • Other Americans have told us that useful books to consult include The Japan Times' "Immigration: A Guide to Alien Procedures in Japan," and "A Guide to Entry, Residence and Registration Procedures in Japan for Foreign Nationals" published by the Japan Immigration Association.
  • Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Guide to Japanese Visas is a good single-source for visa information.
  • Americans in Korea planning to travel to Fukuoka to apply for a Korean visa:
  • Or, information on Green Cards to allow the spouse of an American Citizen to live in the U.S.?

Visas for Attorneys Taking Depositions in Japan

Foreign attorneys taking depositions in Japan must apply for a "special deposition visa" at the Japanese Embassy or a Japanese Consulate in the United States. You will be required to present a photocopy of the commission or court order.

Deposition visas must be applied for at least two weeks before departure for Japan. The request should be made on letterhead stationery and include the following information: (a) the name and location of the court; (b) name and occupation of each witness; and (c) a summary of the case. Travelers will also be required to present their U.S. passport, complete Japanese Embassy/consulate visa application forms and photographs. A photocopy of the commission or order for a U.S. consular officer to take the deposition must accompany the request.

Special deposition visas may also be required of deposition participants other than attorneys (American stenographers, interpreters, parties, etc.). Inquiries should be made of the appropriate Japanese consular officer in the United States.

Once it receives the application for the special deposition visa, (a) the Japanese Embassy or Consulate in the United States will contact the Japanese Foreign Ministry for permission to issue the "special deposition visa"; (b) the Japanese Foreign Ministry will contact the U.S. Embassy to confirm whether the U.S. consular officer has received the reservation fee, a certified copy of the U.S. court order/commission and the statutory consular fees; and (c) the Japanese Foreign Ministry will authorize the Japanese Embassy or Consulate in the United States to issue the "special deposition visa."

Follow this link for more information on taking depositions in Japan

Visas to China

Americans need visas to visit China. Transit visas are required for any stop (even if you do not exit the plane or train) in China. Business travelers are required to obtain a formal invitation from a Chinese business contact. Tourist visas are issued only after receipt of a confirmation letter from a Chinese tour agency or letter of invitation from a relative in China.

These visas are available only from the Chinese Embassy or Consulate, and are not issued by the American Embassy or our Consulates.

For the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region only, a passport and onward/return transportation ticket are required. Visas are not required for tourist/business stay of up to 90 days.

Information about Chinese visas is only available directly from the Chinese. Contact them by phone at 03-5785-6868, or visit their web site.

General info on visa requirements for Americans for every country and territory worldwide is available on the Consular Affairs' web site. This information applies only to American Citizens; citizens of other countries should check with their own Embassy.

Information on Visas for Non-U.S. Citizens Traveling to the U.S.

Please visit the U.S. Embassy's web site for contact information. Please note that visa information is not available through the U.S. Embassy's phone numbers. Please use the Visa Information Line for all visa questions.

Korean Work Visa Seekers in Fukuoka

  • The Korean Consulate General in Fukuoka City is located at 1-1-3 Jigyohama, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 810-0065, on Yokatopia-dori Avenue about 500 meters south of the Fukuoka Dome. The telephone number is 092-771-0461; the fax is 092-771-0464.

    According to Korean Consulate General officials, if all the necessary documents have been submitted, visa applications to work or teach in Korea require at a minimum 2 days to process, and may take longer in some instances. We advise visa seekers to bring sufficient funds (in yen or dollars) to accommodate a stay of several days. Korean currency is often not accepted for accommodation exchange at local hotels or banks.

    The Korean Consulate General in Fukuoka is closed on weekends, Japanese holidays and some Korean holidays (March 1, August 15, and October 3).

    Useful Telephone Numbers:

    * Camelia Line ferry (Fukuoka-Pusan) 092-262-2323
    * Beatle hovercraft (Fukuoka-Pusan) 092-281-2315