- DV-2017 visa lottery program (October 1, 2015)
Online registration for the DV-2017 Program will begin on Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), and conclude on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST). For details, please see the Diversity Visa Program Instructions webpage.
- CBP Launches Redesigned ESTA Website (September 15, 2015)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection launched the redesigned website for Visa Waiver Program (VWP) visitors to apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to traveling to the United States. The new website makes the process of applying for an ESTA more user-friendly and will improve and better facilitate the experience for VWP travelers wishing to visit the United States.
The website has new and improved functionality and navigation capabilities in addition to its new look displaying U.S. landmarks. Some of the new and updated features include:
- Access to frequently asked questions at any time during the application process.
- Mobile-friendly design allows VWP visitors to apply and check the status of their ESTA using their smartphones.
- Users will be able to translate the page into a different language at any point in the application by choosing one of the 23 languages in the language selector
- The Group feature has been moved to the beginning of the application process making it easier for families and groups to submit their applications at once.
Please make sure to use a recent internet browser to access to the new ESTA website. The page may not display properly if you are using older browser version to access to the page.
For more details, please visit: http://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/national-media-release/2015-09-10-000000/cbp-launches-redesigned-esta-website-visa-waiver
- Military Blanket Exception for I-130 Petition (July 23, 2015)
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has granted a blanket exception to the Department of State to accept and adjudicate Form I-130 immigrant visa petitions for immediate relatives filed by qualified active duty U.S. service members permanently assigned to U.S. military bases outside of the United States where USCIS does not have a presence. Qualified U.S. citizen service members may file I-130 petitions at the Embassy in Tokyo or Consulate in Naha. For more details, please see here.
- Changes on supporting documents for E visa interview (April 30, 2015)
Effective April 30, 2015, companies that submit E visa applications for multiple employees per year, please only include financial statements or tax returns with one application per year. Ideally, the financial statements would be sent with the first applicant after the financial statements are announced or tax returns are filed. Please see here for detailed information on required documents for E visa interview.
- Changes on procedures of abandoning Lawful Permanent Resident Status (I-407)(April 2, 2015)
- Effective March 26, 2015, a new version of form I-407 (Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status) was implemented worldwide. After March 26, 2015, you will need to submit the revised form when applying to abandon U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident status . Please note that prior versions cannot be accepted. You may download the revised form from the Embassy ‘s website.
- In addition to filing form I-407 in person at the Embassy/Consulates, you may also now submit Form I-407 via mail directly to the USCIS Seoul Field Office.
For detailed information, please visit here
- Revised Reciprocity Schedule for China (November 10, 2014)
Effective immediately, the reciprocity schedule for Chinese nationals has been revised for the B, F, J, and M nonimmigrant visa (NIV) categories. The maximum visa validity for the B category is now 120 months, and that for F, J, and M categories is 60 months. All other visa validities for Chinese nationals will remain unchanged. Please note that depending on the circumstances of each individual case, visas with shorter validity periods may be issued. Until an application has been adjudicated, we can make no guarantee that an issued visa will be valid for a particular length of time.
- Changes to ESTA- Additional questions required (November 3, 2014)
Effective November 3, 2014, additional questions have been added to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) application.
The additional questions are:
- Other Names/Aliases or Other Citizenships
- Parents name(s)
- National Identification Number (if applicable)
- Contact information (email, phone, points of contact)
- Employment information (if applicable)
- City of Birth
- DV-2016 visa lottery program (September 22, 2014)
Online registration for the DV-2016 Program will begin on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), and conclude on Monday, November 3, 2014 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST). For details, please see the Diversity Visa Program Instructions webpage.
- Interview Appointment Reschedule Option (September 18, 2014)
A new reschedule option is now added to the appointment scheduling process for the non-immigrant visa applications. Applicants are able to see the available dates before cancelling their appointments. For step-by-step instructions with screenshots are available here .
- New Application Fees (August 29, 2014)
Nonimmigrant and immigrant visa application fees for certain visa categories will change on September 12, 2014. All visa applicants must pay the fee amounts in effect on the day they pay, with the exception of Immigrant Visa application processing fees paid domestically to the National Visa Center (NVC), which will be effective as of the date of billing.
Fees that will decrease are not refundable. If you paid a visa fee before September 12, 2014 and that fee decreased, we cannot give you a refund.
Fees that will increase (nonimmigrant fees only): Visa fees paid will be accepted 90 days after the new fees go into effect, as follows:
- If you paid your visa fee before September 12, 2014, and your visa interview is on or before December 11, 2014, you do not have to pay the difference between the new and old fee amounts.
- If you paid your visa fee before September 12, 2014, and your visa interview is on or after December 12, 2014, you will be required to pay the difference between the old and new fee amounts – no exceptions.)
For more details, please see http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/fees/fees-visa-services.html .
- New Procedures for Access to the Visa Section (May 22, 2014)
Starting June 2, 2014, the Embassy will not store prohibited items for visa applicants. There is no facility at the Embassy to store such items, so you must make arrangements to store these items elsewhere before you enter. If you arrive with a prohibited item, you will be turned away and asked to make a new appointment.
You are allowed to bring the following items to the U.S. Embassy:
- One cellphone (which must be checked at the security gate)
- One small purse or bag that can be carried by hand (no larger than 10” x 10”)
- Clear plastic folders containing visa application-related papers
- Umbrella (which must be stored in the umbrella rack outside the security gate)
You are NOT allowed to enter the U.S. Embassy while carrying any of the following items:
- Battery-operated or electronic devices such as laptops, iPads, thumb drives, digital diaries, smart watches, pagers, cameras, audio/video cassettes, compact discs, MP3s, floppy disks, or portable music players
- Any luggage
- Bags such as travel bags, backpacks, briefcases, suitcases, leather, cloth bags, and zip folders
- Large shoulder bags/purses
- Food items
- Cigarettes, cigars, match boxes, lighters
- Sharp objects such as scissors, pen knives or nail files
- Weapons or explosive materials of any kind
This list is not exhaustive. Other items may be prohibited at the discretion of security staff.
Due to security considerations, there is no information window for walk-in visitors at the Embassy. Only visa applicants with scheduled interviews will be admitted. We are introducing these measures to reduce the amount of time applicants wait in line outside the Embassy.
For details, plesae see Interview Procedures FAQ page.
- The Consulate in Osaka-Kobe temporarily stopping E-1/E-2 visa interviews (May 22, 2014)
From June 1 through Aug. 31, the Consulate in Osaka-Kobe will temporarily stop accepting E1/E2 non-immigrant visa appointments. During this time frame, all E visa applicants, including dependents over the age of 14, will have to interview at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or Consulate in Fukuoka. The Consulate in Osaka-Kobe will continue to process “drop-box”/mail-in renewal cases as normal. Individuals are also able to send minor dependent (under the age of 14) as per our normal mail-in (no-interview) procedures. Companies who are registering for the first time as an E visa company with Osaka are able to submit their paper-work and per normal procedures. The Consulate in Osaka-Kobe will contact first time applicants on an individual basis to set-up as needed appointments. Please allow 10-12 weeks for the processing of these cases.
From Sept. 1, the Consulate in Osaka-Kobe will resume processing all E applications as usual. For details, please see the Treaty Trader and Investor Visas FAQ page.
- DV-2015 WINNERS ARE REQUIRED TO USE DS-260 (May 13, 2014)
Starting May 19, 2014, the DS-260 electronic application form will be available at https://ceac.state.gov/ceac/ for DV-2015 winners (begin applying for immigrant visas on and after October 1, 2014). Winners for the DV-2015 program may not use the paper form. For details, please see the notice on Immigrant Visa Categories webpage.
- Chile participates in the Visa Waiver Program (March 3, 2014)
Starting May 1, 2014, eligible Chilean passport holders with both an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA, and an e-passport will be able to visit the U.S. without first obtaining a nonimmigrant visitor visa.
Travelers may begin submitting applications via the ESTA website starting Feb 28, 2014. For more information, please visit the CBP's webpage.
- Change of Fiance K visa appointment procedures (December 20, 2013)
Effective January 7, 2014, the interview appointment procedure for K visas will change. Applicants will need to make an appointment through their Dashboard. Appointment letters will no longer be sent to applicants by email. Please read the procedures carefully and make sure you have paid the correct K1 fee and bring your appointment letter to your interview with any other required documents. Please note: If you made an appointment before January 7, 2014, you will not need to change your appointment date. (Please do not double book your appointment online.) You may come on the date you already have.
- Change on E company annual update procedures (November 14, 2013)
Effective December 1, registered E companies are no longer required to send DS-156E and financial documents annually to the Embassy/Consulate. However, please note each E visa applicant will be required to submit DS-156E Part I and II with non-consolidated financial statements or tax return (Form-1120) at the time of his/her visa application.
Qualified E companies will remain on the registry as long as the companies keep their status as E visa qualified companies, and there is at least 1 employee holding a current E visa. New company registration procedures will remain the same.
- The online entry registration period for DV-2015 is over (Nov. 4, 2013)
- Use of DS-160 For New K Visa Cases (October 9, 2013)
Effective immediately, the DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application will be used for processing K-1 and K-2 nonimmigrant visa (NIV) applications, except the following situations. The DS156 Electronic Visa Application Form (EVAF), the DS-156K (Nonimmigrant Fiancé Visa Application), and the paper-based DS-230 Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration will not be accepted.
- If you have already scheduled for an interviewed or have interviewed and your case is pending additional documentation or administrative processing.
- If you have already received K-visa instructions from US Embassy Tokyo or Consulate in Naha.
For DS-160 instruction, please see Complete the DS-160 page.
- DV-2015 visa lottery program (September, 18, 2013)
Online registration for the DV-2015 Program will begin on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), and conclude on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). For details, please see the Diversity Visa Program Instructions webpage.
- DS-260, New Immigrant Online Visa Application Form (August 29, 2013)
Effective September 1, 2013, the DS-260 Immigrant Visa(IV) Electronic Application and the DS-261 (Choice of Address and Agent) replace the paper-based DS-230(parts I and II) and the DS-3032. IV applicants who are required to use the new form(s) will receive an instruction later. For details, please visit State Department’s Online Immigrant Visa Forms webpage.
- Revised Form I-129S (August 13, 2013)
Form I-129S, Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition, has been revised. Date of the revised version has been specified as 06/12/13 on the lower right of the form. After September 9, 2013, you will need to submit a revised form when applying for a blanket L visa. Please note that old versions dated 04/01/12 and 11/3/10 cannot be accepted. You may download the revised form from the USCIS website.
Changes of Diplomatic/Official Visa Applications Procedures (Tokyo) (July 26, 2013)
ALL applicants who need to pay a fee must schedule a regular appointment
Starting August 5, 2013, the Visa Unit will require certain applicants whose cases require payment of a fee to make an appointment for a visa interview.
- Official passport holders traveling for non-official purposes: tourism ("B" visas), study on "F" visas, participation in "J" visa exchange programs, etc.
To schedule an appointment and apply for a visa, applicants must create a profile at: www.ustraveldocs.com/jp/. These applicants will have interviews during regular visa interviewing hours in the morning.
"No Fee, No Appointment, Interview Hour" will be on Mondays, from 2-3 p.m.
There are also some visa applicants who do not need a fee. Previously, these applicants were free to come for their fingerprinting and interviews any afternoon between Tuesday and Thursday. If Monday is a U.S. or Japanese holiday, you may come on the following Tuesday at the same hours. No appointment is required.
- Diplomatic passport holders traveling for non-official purposes: tourism ("B" visas), study on "F" visas, etc.
- Any passport holders traveling on traveling as "J" visa exchange visitors with program numbers beginning with G1/G2/G3 or G7
- Applicants for A-3 and G-5 visas
This does not change current existing operations for the following applicants, who need neither fees nor fingerprints, and can drop off cases in person or via a travel agent during our travel agent hours (Monday- Friday 2:30-3 p.m.):
- Official duty: A-1, A-2, or C-3 visas
- Employees of certain international organizations traveling on G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visas
- Green Card Abandonment will be accepted on Mondays in Tokyo (July 17, 2013)
Effective July 22, 2013 (Monday), the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo will accept abandonment of Green Card on Mondays except U.S. and Japanese holidays, 2-3:30 p.m. If Monday is a U.S. or Japanese holiday, you may file Form I-407 on the following Tuesday at same hours. No appointment is required. For required documents, please visit Abandoning Legal Permanent Resident Status webpage.
- Telephone numbers for our call center have changed! (July 2, 2013)
If you call in Japan, the new number is 050-5533- 2737. If you call in the U.S., the new number is 1-703-520-2233. You may also send your inquiries by email to email@example.com.
- I-94 Arrival/Departure form is now automated! (June 19, 2013)
International non-immigrant visitors is no longer required to fill out a paper Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record upon arrival to the U.S. by air or sea. Travelers who need the information from their admission record to verify immigration status or employment authorization is able to get it online at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html. Further information: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/i-94_instructions/i94_rollout.xml
- Follow Embassy Tokyo Visa Branch on Twitter! (May 23, 2013)
The Visa Branch of the U.S. Embassy Tokyo started tweeting regularly on the U.S. visa information in both English and Japanese. https://twitter.com/USVisaTokyo
- The online entry registration period for DV-2014 is over (Nov. 5, 2012)
- International Virtual College Fair (October 17, 2012)
The college fair will be held on November 13 from noon to 11:59 p.m. EST/5:00 GMT to 4:59 GMT. It includes online booths where more than 150 participating institutions will engage students through visuals, links, and the opportunity to chat live with school representatives during posted hours (5:00 am to 7:00 pm EST).
The event includes live webcast sessions with subject matter experts and admission representatives and/or student ambassadors. They are:
--Discover U.S. Higher Education (7-8 am EST)
--International Students Share Their Experiences (8-9 am EST)
--Graduate Admissions and Funding (9-10 am EST)
--Undergraduate Admissions and Funding (10-11 am EST)
--Understanding Community Colleges (11-12 am EST)
--The U.S. Student Visa Process (12-1 pm EST)
--Choosing a U.S. Institution (1-2 pm EST).
A detailed list of participating institutions, schedules of events, and registration information is available on CollegeWeek Live (CWL) website at http://www.collegeweeklive.com/en_CA/br/EducationUSA_College_Fair.
- Taiwan participates in the Visa Waiver Program (October 10, 2012)
Beginning November 1, 2012, Taiwan passport holders will be eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) for business or pleasure for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa, if certain requirements are met.
Taiwan VWP travelers are required to travel on a biometric Taiwan passport (called an e-passport) that was issued on or after December 29, 2008 and contains a National ID number. They then must apply and be approved for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before beginning travel. For more information, please visit http://www.ait.org.tw/en/vwp.html
- DV-2014 visa lottery program (September, 18, 2012)
Online registration for the DV-2014 Program will begin on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and conclude on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4). For details, please see the Diversity Visa Program Instructions webpage.
- Timely Submission of Required Documentation of DV-2012 (April 12, 2012)
If you have been selected for further processing in the Diversity Visa (DV) program, please submit the required documents to Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) as soon as possible. Do not wait the end of the DV-2012 submission due.
DV-2012 selectees may also electronically check their status through https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/ until June 30, 2012 by entering "Confirmation Number", "Last/Family Name", and "Year of Birth" information.
The Department of State, Office of Visa Services is aware of a notable increase in fraudulent emails and letters sent to DV program applicants. Selectees will only receive e-mail communications from the KCC alerting them that a visa appointment has been scheduled after they have responded to the notification instructions on Entry Status Check. Please be informed there is no charge to download and complete the Electronic Diversity Visa application form.
For details of DV-2012, please visit State Department's website and DV-2012 instructions.
- New Application Fees (April 10, 2012)
Nonimmigrant and immigrant visa application fees will change on April 13, 2012. The fees for nonimmigrant visa applications except E and K visa and Border Crossing Cards will increase, while all immigrant visa application fees will decrease. All visa applicants must pay the fee amounts in effect on the day they pay, including immigrant visa applicants who pay fees to the National Visa Center (NVC).
Fees that will decrease are not refundable - If you paid a visa fee before April 13, 2012 and that fee decreased, we cannot give you a refund.
Fees that will increase (only nonimmigrant fees) - If you paid your visa fee before April 13, 2012, you do not have to pay the difference between the new and old fee amounts as long as your visa interview is on or before July 12, 2012. Starting July 13, 2012, you will be required to pay the difference between the old and new fee amounts at the Consular cashier – no exceptions.Review the Press Release and Visa News to learn more.
- Update of Airline Crew Application Procedures (March 28, 2012)
Airline Crew applying at US Embassy Tokyo and Consulate General Osaka/Kobe are required to make an interview appointment. For appointment procedures, please visit http://www.ustraveldocs.com/jp/jp-niv-visaapply.asp. Please come to the interview after you have made an appointment following the new application steps.
Note: Please make sure to select visa type as "C1/D" when you make an Airline crew appointment.
Airline Crew appointments at US Embassy Tokyo are available Tuesdays through Thursdays 2-3 p.m. through the above link.
- New Visa Application Procedures (March 23, 2012)
- In Tokyo, Please call 03-6743-9732.
- In Osaka, Please call 06-6943-6700
- In Naha, call 098-854-7050.
- In the United States, call toll-free 1 646-259-0526
As of Friday, March 23, 2012, services including calling for information and envelopes for visa’ed passports will be provided at no additional cost to visa applicants.
English- and Japanese-speaking customer service agents are ready to assist you 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Japan Time (JT) Monday through Friday. The call center is closed for U.S. and Japanese holidays.
Telephone: Please contact a customer service representative using one of these telephone numbers:
Email: To reach a customer service representative via email, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For details on the new application procedures and services, please visit http://www.ustraveldocs.com/jp/index.html
- Change of Non-immigrant Visa Application Procedures - Updated (February 28, 2012)
- Interview Waiver Pilot Program (February 16, 2012)
Qualified foreign visitors who were interviewed and thoroughly screened in conjunction with a prior visa application may be eligible to renew their visas without undergoing another interview. Please see here for details.
- Change of Non-immigrant Visa Application Procedures (February 2, 2012)
Effective March 23, 2012, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Japan will implement new visa application procedures. Applicants who apply for non-immigrant visas will be required to pay the application fee before they make interview appointments. The new system will be available on March 23.
1) Applicants who have interview appointments on or before March 23 may pay the visa application fee through the following site, http://japan.usembassy.gov/e/visa/tvisa-niv-walkin2.html. Please ensure that you bring your receipt attached to the DS-160 Confirmation Page with you to your appointment. Applications without an original receipt for the visa application fee will not be accepted.
2) Applicants who have appointments on or after March 27(Tokyo)/March 26(Osaka, Naha), need to pay the fee through the new payment site which will be available on March 23.
3) If you schedule an appointment for April 2 or later, you will not be able to make an appointment until you have paid the fee in the new system. Please DO NOT pay the visa application fee by using the current system, prior to the new system start on March 23.
Thank you for your patience during this transition time. We will continue to post updated information about this transition along with new information regarding new procedures for payment, appointment scheduling, and for the return of applicants’ passports. Please continue to check here frequently for updated information.
- Fee change for Diversity Visa(DV)applicants (February 2, 2012)
Effective February 2, 2012, the application fee and IV security surcharge are not charged to the DV Program applicants. Paid fees before the effective date are not refundable. Please visit State Department's website for required fee information.
- Parole of Citizens of Russia into Guam and CNMI (January 27,2012)
Beginning January 15, 2012, Russian citizens whose purpose of travel meets specific criteria are eligible to be paroled into Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) without a visa. Please see here for details.
See also: visa news archives.