Updated on 11 May 2021

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions were imposed and have been changing as the government reacts to local and international developments.

Until recently only Japanese nationals and residents with visas have been able to travel in and out of Japan abide by Japan’s coronavirus travel guidelines, as well as the guidelines established by the destination country. Foreign tourists, business travellers, and students are still blocked from entry.

Visa’s for Special Exceptional Circumstances

From Mid March 2021, the Japanese Government has slowly and cautiously opened up issuing visas for those with “special exceptional circumstances.” (The Ministry of Justice)

The visas being issued include:

  1. Spouse of Japanese (Spouse visa)
  2. Spouse of Permanent Resident (Dependent visa)
  3. Long-term visas
    – This is not related to how long a visa is but a stand-alone visa category. It is a general visa for people who have a reason to stay in Japan but may not meet other visa requirements such as those who have children or refugees.
  4. Professor & Instructor visas
    – To fill a vacancy at the educational institution where vacancy results in the suspension of the educational activities at that institution.
  5. Medical Purposes Visa
    – The purpose to contribute to the enhancement and strengthening of the Japanese medical system.
  6. Certificate of Eligibility (1584 in red)
  7. Permanent Resident (PR) who were unable to re-enter and lost status due to COVID-19
  8. Diplomats
  9. Humanitarian reasons

Notes
*1-6 Required a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). This is a document issued by a regional immigration authority after the pre-visa screening process to check the person applying meets all the conditions for landing in Japan. Once the COE is issued an applicant at a local consulate can apply for a visa.
*Visa processing times are expected to take longer.

Professional and Olympic Athletes

Professional athletes and coaches are expected to be included soon for baseball and soccer, with other sports are under consideration including people involved in preparations for the Tokyo Olympics and athletes competing in test events. (Only athletes and people with ‘essential and operational roles’ to be allowed in)

Work Visas and Students

Workers, students, talents, trainees, and short-term commercial visas are not being issued at this time. However, this is expected to change once the COVID19 situation within Japan becomes more stable.

You may also like:

Return to Japan Support Facebook Group

Join the community to hear first-hand experiences of people applying for visas and get a feel for actual system in practice around the world. There is plenty of other information about arriving and departing Japan. Return to Japan Support Facebook Group.

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