Visas for U.S. citizens 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 U.S. citizens to aid in your planning. U.S. citizens without a work visa cannot work in Japan.
Here are useful links:
- VISA/Residing in Japan by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- The Immigration Bureau, the Ministry of Justice
- The information about the Basic Resident Registration System for Foreign Residents by the Ministy of Internal Affairs and Communications
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 Airport near Tokyo, Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Chubu Airport serving Nagoya, and at Kansai Airport, near Osaka, followed by Shin-Chitose Airport near Sapporo, Hiroshima Airport and Fukuoka Airport.
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.
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, consult with one of the nearest Japanese Immigration Information Centers.
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.
U.S. citizens 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.
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.
Follow this link for more information on taking depositions in Japan
Visas to China
U.S. citizens need visas to visit China. The U.S. Embassy is not able to provide support for visa applications by U.S. citizens. See the following for further information:
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
A passport and onward/return transportation ticket are required. Visas are not required for tourist/business stay of up to 90 days. Visit the following link for further information:
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.
Fingerprint/Photo Requirements for Entry to Japan
All foreign nationals entering Japan, with the exemption of certain categories listed below, are required to provide fingerprint scans and be photographed at the port of entry. This requirement does not replace any existing visa or passport requirements.
Foreign nationals exempt from this new requirement include special permanent residents, persons under 16 years of age, holders of diplomatic or official visas, and persons invited by the head of a national administrative organization. U.S. travelers on official business must have a diplomatic or official visa specifying the nature of travel as “As Diplomat,” “As Official,” or “In Transit” to be exempt from biometric collection.
All other visa holders, including those with diplomatic and official visas stating “As Temporary Visitor,” are subject to this requirement. SOFA personnel are exempt from the new biometrics entry requirements under SOFA Article 9 (2).