Japan to soon introduce electronic travel authorization requirements for visa-exempt travelers

Japan to soon introduce electronic travel authorization requirements for visa-exempt travelers

In order to prevent terrorism and illegal work, the Japanese government has decided to pre-screen certain foreign tourists, a plan similar to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) launched by the United States.

According to the VisaGuide.World report, travelers exempt from short-term visa requirements must submit an electronic application before entry, which must include information such as name, date of birth, reason for entering Japan, and accommodation address.

Japan is a popular tourist destination and is expected to receive 60 million tourists in 2030 when the measure is implemented.

Pre-screening is available to all foreign visitors who do not require a short-term visa

People entering Japan for business purposes must indicate the names of their business partners, while those seeking medical care must disclose the hospital where they will receive treatment. If the visitor uses a travel agency, the travel agency must be listed.

Japanese immigration officials will review the applications, and airlines will only allow applicants with approved applications to board.

The new measures will apply to passport holders from 71 countries and regions around the world starting in April, with the system designed to filter out illegal immigrants before their planes land in Japan.

Rising number of overstayed foreigners is threatening Japan’s tourist-friendly reputation

Japanese authorities revealed that as of the beginning of 2024, the country had recorded approximately 79,000 cases of foreign visa overstays, 62.9% of which were short-term stay visa holders. According to data from the Immigration and Immigration Service, there have been an increase of 20,000 such cases compared with ten years ago.

However, the Japanese government wants to maintain its reputation as a tourist-friendly country and hopes to further improve this reputation by exempting more countries from short-term visa requirements.

For nationals of visa-free countries that allow a stay of up to 6 months under bilateral visa-free arrangements, if they wish to stay in Japan for more than 90 days, they need to apply to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan to extend their period of stay. Before the expiration of the residence permit period, the Ministry of Justice (Regional Immigration Bureau).

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Most countries in continental Europe can stay in Japan for up to 90 days on a short-term visa. The new measures could make Japan a more attractive destination for tourists.

Japan, on the other hand, allows its citizens to enter many countries visa-free. As of April 2024, the Japanese passport ranks 14th in the world. According to the Passport Index, the Japanese passport allows its citizens to travel to approximately 143 countries visa-free.

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