Japan – Covid-19 – Immigration update

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Update: January 5th, 2021

Latest restrictions on entry to Japan for arrivals from the UK

What is the change?

With effect from 24 December 2020 until further notice, all foreign nationals who have stayed in the UK within the 14 days prior to their submission of the application of landing will be denied entry to Japan.

All Japanese nationals and foreign nationals with the status of residence who are arriving from the UK will also be required to submit the Written Pledge (in Japanese) to the airport quarantine officer with effect from 24 December 2020.

Suspension of Phased Measure for Resuming Cross-Border Travel

What is the change?

The Government of Japan has announced the suspension of the Phased Measure for Resuming Cross-Border Travel from 28 December 2020 until the end of January 2021. However, the entry of holders of visas already issued under this Measure will be basically permitted (except for those who have stayed in the UK or South Africa in the last 14 days before arriving in Japan; and those who intend to enter Japan after 12 a.m. (Japan Standard Time) on 4 January 2021, having stayed in countries and regions categorised as level 3 (Avoid All Travel) in the 14 days before arriving in Japan) until the end of January 2021.

Update: November 12th, 2020

Denial of permission to enter Japan

What is the change?

The Government of Japan has decided to impose an entry ban on Jordan and Myanmar, which came into effect on 1 November 2020. Concurrently, it has also decided to remove the entry ban on the following territories: Australia, Brunei, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. In addition, travellers from these territories will be exempted from the need to undergo a pre-entry COVID-19 test prior to departure and a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test at the port of entry in Japan. More information can be found here (Japanese).

Re-entry of foreign nationals with the status of residence

What is the change

With effect from 1 November 2020, foreign nationals with the status of residence, and who possess a valid re-entry permit, will not be required to obtain a « Letter of Confirmation of Submitting Required Documentation for Re-entry into Japan” or “Receipt for Request of Re-entry” when re-entering Japan from territories designated as areas subject to the denial of permission to enter Japan.

However, they will still be required to present a certificate of a negative pre-entry COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours of departure when re-entering from territories designated as areas subject to the denial of permission to enter Japan. More details on the required format for the pre-entry test results can be found here.

Update: October 19th, 2020

Latest updates on the “Phased Measures toward Resuming Cross-Border Travel” framework

What is the change?

Following the addition of the Republic of Korea to the “Residence Track” and “Business Track” on 8 October 2020, the following geographies are now covered under the “Phased Measures toward Resuming Cross-Border Travel” framework:

  • Residence Track: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam
  • Business Track: Republic of Korea, Singapore

For more information on the required documentation and application procedures, please refer to the link below.

Update: August 10th, 2020

Re-entry of foreign nationals possessing the status of residence from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines, and Peru

What is the change?

With effect from 7 August 2020, foreign nationals who possess a re-entry permit and have stayed in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines, or Peru within last 14 days prior to landing in Japan will be required to present a “Letter of Confirmation of Submitting Required Documentation for Re-entry into Japan” and a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test result conducted within 72 hours prior to their departure to Japan. This measure will apply to holders of the status of “Permanent Resident”, “Long Term Resident”, “Spouse or Child of Japanese National”, and “Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident”, and the spouse or child of Japanese nationals and permanent residents who do not possess these statuses of residence. Diplomats and foreign government officials will be exempted from this measure.

Update: July 30th, 2020

Phased measures toward resuming cross-border travel

What is the change?

The Government of Japan (GOJ) intends to set up a special quota of cross-border business travellers and others for entry into and exit from Japan. The GOJ will start consultations with countries/regions currently subject to denial of permission to entry into Japan where the spread of infection is contained. Currently, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and Vietnam are candidates for this framework. To view the application procedures for the Visa or Letter of Confirmation for eligible foreign nationals (currently Thailand and Vietnam only), please click here. More information on the additional quarantine measures that will be implemented under this framework can also be found in the link below.

Addition of countries/regions to restricted list

What is the change?

With effect from 24 July 2020, the following countries/regions have been added to restricted list for refusal of landing: Botswana; Comoros; Congo; Kenya; Liberia; Libya; Madagascar; Namibia; Nepal; Palestine; Paraguay; Sierra Leone; Somalia; Sudan; Suriname; Uzbekistan; and Venezuela. To view the latest list of restricted countries/regions, please refer to the link below.

Update: July 8th, 2020

Updated list of restricted countries/regions

What is the change?

On 1 July 2020, the following additions have been made to the list of restricted countries/regions, and foreign nationals who have stayed in these countries/regions 14 days before landing will be denied entry to Japan: Algeria; Cameroon; Central Africa; Costa Rica; Cuba; Eswatini (Swaziland); Georgia; Grenada; Guatemala; Guiana; Haiti; Iraq; Jamaica; Lebanon; Mauritania; Nicaragua; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; and Senegal.

The restriction also applies to foreign nationals who are Permanent Residents, spouses or children of a Japanese national, spouses or children of Permanent Residents, and Long Term Residents (including spouses or children of Japanese nationals who do not possess the other resident statuses).

For more information on specific examples where permission for re-entry may be granted as a result of exceptional circumstances, please click here.

Validity of certificates of eligibility

What is the change?

Certificates of eligibility issued to foreign nationals between 1 October 2019 and 29 January 2021, which are normally valid for three months, will be treated as valid for six months from the date of the lifting of entry restrictions or until 30 April 2021, whichever is earlier. For more information on the policies for foreign nationals who departed from Japan with re-entry permission while in the process of applying for residence, and whose period of stay has expired while outside Japan, please refer to the link below.

Suspension of visa validity and visa exemption measures

What is the change?

Existing visa validity and visa exemption measures have been suspended until 31 July 2020. To view the full list of visa single and multiple-entry visas whose validities has been suspended, and visa exemption measures (including the APEC Business Travel Card) that have been suspended, please refer to the link below.

Update: July 3rd, 2020

Advisory for foreigners planning to enter Japan

What is the change?

Certificates of eligibility issued to foreign nationals between 1 October 2019 and 29 January 2021, which are normally valid for three months, will be treated as valid for six months from the date of the lifting of entry restrictions or until 30 April 2021, whichever is earlier. More details on the application procedures for foreign nationals whose period of stay has expired while outside Japan, and foreign nationals whose certificate of eligibility has expired can be found here.

For more information on the policies for foreign nationals who departed from Japan with re-entry permission while in the process of applying for residence, and whose period of stay has expired while outside Japan, please refer to the link below.

Update: May 21th, 2020

Refusal of landing

What is the change?

With effect from 12 a.m. on 16 May 2020, 13 additions have been made to the list of restricted countries/regions. Foreign nationals who have been to the following countries/regions within the last 14 days will now no longer be permitted to enter Japan: Azerbaijan; Bahamas; Cabo Verde; Colombia; Equatorial Guinea; Gabo; Guinea-Bissau; Honduras; Kazakhstan; Maldives; Mexico; Sao Tome and Principe; and Uruguay.

The restrictions will also apply to foreign nationals with the following residence statuses who have departed from Japan with re-entry permission (including special re-entry permission): “Permanent Resident”, “Spouse or Child of Japanese National”, “Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident”, or “Long-Term Resident” (including the spouse of a Japanese national or Japanese child who does not have these statuses of residence).

Update: May 11th, 2020

Government expands entry ban

What is the change?

Japan has updated its entry ban to include 87 countries. The updated ban, which adds 14 countries, took effect Wednesday, April 29, and will remain in force until further notice.

Key Points:

      • Foreign nationals who have stayed in the following countries/regions within 14 days are prohibited from entering Japan:
        Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belarus, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Kuwait, Oman, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and United Arab Emirates.
      • The entrance ban includes permanent residents who leave Japan on or after April 29.

The following countries were included under previously implemented rules.

      • Asia: Brunei, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.
      • Oceania: Australia, New Zealand.
      • North America: Canada, United States.
      • Latin America and the Caribbean: Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Panama.
      • Europe: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Northern Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Vatican.
      • Middle East: Bahrain, Iran, Israel, Turkey.
      • Africa: Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Mauritius, Morocco.

Update: April 10th, 2020

Border enforcement measures

What is the change?

Denial of permission for entry

Foreign nationals in the following categories are denied permission to enter Japan, unless exceptional circumstances are found:

      • Foreigners who have stayed in any of the following countries/regions within 14 days prior to the application for landing:
        • Asia: Brunei, China, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam
        • Oceania: Australia, New Zealand
        • North America: Canada, United States (US)
        • Latin America and the Caribbean: Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Dominica, Panama
        • Europe: Albania, Andorra, Armenia. Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, Vatican
        • Middle East: Bahrain, Israel, Iran, Turkey
        • Africa: Cote d’lvoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Mauritius, Morocco
      • Foreigners who have Chinese passports issued in Hubei Province, or Zhejiang Province of China
      • Foreigners who were on the cruise ship Westerdam that departed from Hong Kong

Quarantine measures

All nationals who have stayed in any of the countries/regions listed under paragraph 1 above in the last 14 days prior to the application for landing into Japan will be subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. All nationals arriving from all regions will also need to wait at a location designated by the quarantine station chief for 14 days, and refrain from using public transportation.

Suspension of visa validity

The validity of visas the following visas have been suspended:

      • Single and multiple-entry visas issued by 8 March by Japanese Embassies or Consulates General in China (including Hong Kong and Macau) and Republic of Korea
      • Single and multiple-entry visas issued by 20 March by Japanese Embassies and Consulates General in the following countries:
        • Europe: Andorra, Austria, Bulgaria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Vatican
        • Middle East: Iran
        • Africa: Egypt
      • Single and multiple-entry visas issued by 27 March by Japanese Embassies and Consulates General in the following countries:
        • Asia: Brunei, Indonesia (including seal of “visa waiver registration certificate”), Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
        • Middle East: Bahrain, Israel, Qatar
        • Africa: Democratic Republic of the Congo
      • Single and multiple-entry visas issued by 2 April, by Japanese Embassies and Consulates General located in or accredited to the following countries and regions:
        • Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Laos, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste
        • Oceania: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu
        • Latin America and the Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentine, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guyana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint. Vincent, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela
        • Europe: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan
        • Middle East: Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates (including seal of “visa waiver registration certificate”), Yemen
        • Africa: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles , Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Suspension of visa exemption measures

As visa exemption measures with the countries/regions listed below are now suspended, travellers will be required to obtain visas before visiting Japan:

      • Visa exemption measures agreed between Japan and the following countries and regions – Asia: Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Laos. Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
        • Oceania: Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon
        • Latin America and the Caribbean: Argentine, Bahamas, Barbados, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay
        • Europe: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, UK, Uzbekistan, Vatican
        • Middle East: Israel, Iran, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates
        • Africa: Lesotho, Tunisia
      • Pre-Clearances (i.e., visa exemptions) granted by the Japanese Government to APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) issued by the following countries and regions have also been suspended:
        • Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam

Restrictions on airport/ports for arrival from China or Republic of Korea

Arrival airports for passenger flights from China or Republic of Korea are restricted to Narita International Airport and Kansai International Airport only. Passenger ship transportation departing from China or Republic of Korea has also been suspended.

— 

Update: March 20th, 2020

Visa restrictions

What is the change?

Effective from 0:00 a.m. (JST) on 21 March until 30 April (this period may be subjected to renewal), the following groups of travellers may not be permitted to enter Japan:

      • Travellers with single or multiple-entry visas issued on or before 20 March by Japanese Embassies or Consulates General in subject countries1.
      • Travellers with passports issued by the subject countries for which visa exemption measures have been suspended, and who intend to enter Japan without obtaining a visa.
      • All nationals arriving from subject countries will need to wait for 14 days at a location designated by the quarantine station chief, and refrain from using public transportation.

1 Schengen countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland), Andorra, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Ireland, Monaco, Romania, San Marino, the United Kingdom, and Vatican)

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