Japan to Introduce Electronic Visas from 2021

The Japan electronic visa will simplify the application process as it can be applied for online and without queueing at an embassy. The decision will be quick and the eVisa can then be printed out.

Japan and Japanese culture have long been a source of fascination for people across the world. From stunning temples surrounded by cherry blossom to unique cuisine and ultra-modern high-tech cities, the country attracts millions of visitors each year (30 million in 2018). But the Japanese authorities are looking to further increase the annual number of tourists to Japan and reach 60 million by 2030. Hence the announcement that, from 2021, the country will begin to offer electronic visas.

In order to apply for the Japan eVisa, you will require a passport that is valid for at least 6 months, a working email address at which to receive the document, and a credit or debit card with which to pay. It is important to make sure that the details on your eVisa are identical to those on your passport. You will also be asked other basic questions such as your address, your reason for visiting Japan, and whether you have a criminal record.

Under current Japanese immigration policy, citizens of 68 countries can visit Japan for tourism without the need for a visa. These include all EU countries, the US, Canada and Australia. Be sure to check visa requirements before buying your flights, to see if citizens from your country require a visa or not.

Boosting Security and Increasing Visitor Numbers

The first electronic visas will be issued in time for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.The 2020 Olympics in Japan will see over 11,000 athletes from more than 200 nations compete.

As well as making travel to Japan easier, the electronic visas are also intended to improve security, with information shared between immigration officials and airlines. It will also reduce the strain on the Japanese diplomatic authorities who process all visas under the current system.

At first, the new system will only be available for Chinese citizens, who currently represent 60% of tourists to the country. Japan is becoming an even-more popular place for Chinese citizens to visit, with the country receiving an increasingly favorable image in China.

The eVisa will then be extended to other nationalities provided the initial trial is a success. This is part of a strategy that includes easing visa requirements for those not eligible for the  eVisa, and increasing the number of low-cost flights to Japan.

The Japanese Government views tourism as one of the key sectors for future economic growth. The Olympic Games will no doubt further help to showcase Japan as a top destination open to the world.