Entry and departure from Japan, visa requirements
Preparation before travelling
When travelling to Japan, you must apply and obtain a visa at the Embassy of Japan or Consulate General of Japan. Visas are generally a stamp or a sticker attached to your passport. Obtaining a visa does not guarantee entry into Japan as Japan carries out strict entry screening by immigrations.
66 Countries including 8 from Asia, 2 of North America, 12 from Middle & South America, 2 Pacific, 2 Middle Eastern, 3 African and 37 European nationals are permitted a short-stay entry without a visa for the purpose of business, attending a conference, sightseeing and meeting friends or relatives (as of July 2013. Conditions differ based on Country). The visa exempt short stays are granted up to 15days for Thai and Brunei nationals and up to 90 days for other nationals. Visa exemptions details are listed on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Landing permission sticker and departure stamp by immigration officer
Entry into Japan
Passports (with visa stickers) and an ED Card (Entry Departure Card) must be presented to the immigrations officer at airport immigrations. ED Cards are given out on flights into Japan and can also be found at the airport. Complete your ED card with name, gender, DOB, passport number, flight details etc. before lining up at immigrations.
Immigrations will verify your identity against the passport photo. They check your history of entry into Japan and assess if you are eligible to enter Japan or not. Your passport validity is checked and you may be refused entry if your passport doesn’t have enough days until expiry. Once you pass the assessment by immigrations, a landing permission sticker is affixed to your passport. In addition, you must pass customs, quarantine and baggage inspections to depart from the airport.
An Immigration system called J-BIS has been introduced into the major airports and harbours in Japan from 2007. This machine is set up at immigrations booths, taking a facial photograph and index finger prints which is cross checked against Immigration’s data base.
Departure from Japan
The same procedure of passing baggage inspections, quarantine and customs are required when departing Japan. At immigrations, present your boarding pass, passport and ED Card to receive a departure stamp on your passport to leave the country.