Foreign travel advice

Japan

Important COVID-19 travel guidance

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Travel to some countries and territories is currently exempted.

This advice is being kept under constant review. Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice, so check our travel guidance.

Entry requirements

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Japan

Japan has suspended its visa waiver system for anyone travelling on a British Citizen or British National (Overseas) passport until at least the end of July 2020. Japan has also suspended single and multiple entry visas issued by Japanese Embassies and Consulate Generals in the UK prior to 20 March and in many other countries; the full list is here. Anyone arriving in Japan without a valid visa will not be able to enter.

Entry to Japan is also denied for any non-Japanese nationals who have been to the UK or this list of countries in the last 14 days, other than in exceptional circumstances. These measures also apply to people who live in Japan but are temporarily out of the country.

Exceptions may be granted to those who left Japan on or before 2 April with re-entry permission and who are:

  • holders of permanent residency permits (eijusha)
  • holders of long-term residence permits (teijusha)
  • spouses or children of permanent residents (eijusha no haigusha-to)
  • direct relatives of Japanese nationals.

Those who leave Japan on or after 3 April will in principle be denied re-entry even in the above cases.

However, you may wish to confirm possible eligibility for any other exceptions, including for humanitarian reasons (see Ministry of Justice guidance here) to enter Japan before you travel. Consult with the consular section of the Japanese Embassy in London or your nearest Japanese Embassy if you are in a third country. If you’re in Japan, contact the Immigration Services Agency on +81 570 013 904 or +81 357 967 112.

Transiting Japan

These measures do not apply to passengers who are transiting through the same airport and do not go through immigration. If you are transiting using different airports you will need a transit permit on arrival.

To get one you will be required to demonstrate that you have not come from a country on the banned list, that you have timely onward travel plans and show that you will not use public transport to move between airports; this includes taxis.

You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the authorities. You should also check the latest entry requirements for your destination.

Testing/screening on arrival

All passengers arriving in Japan are required to complete a health questionnaire before disembarkation, including contact details. They are then required to undergo a coronavirus screening test (PCR) at the airport. If arrivals do not have symptoms, and have arranged private transportation, they are able to wait for their test results at their accommodation.

Quarantine requirements

All passengers arriving in Japan are required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival at a designated location (such as a hotel or your own home) and to avoid using public transport. These measures will remain in place until at least the end of July.

Visas

Japan has suspended its visa waiver system for anyone travelling on a British Citizen or British National (Overseas) passport until at least the end of July 2020. Japan has also suspended single and multiple entry visas issued by Japanese Embassies and Consulate Generals in the UK prior to 20 March and in many other countries; the full list is here. Anyone arriving in Japan without a valid visa will not be able to enter.

These measures do not impact on the ‘Status of Residence’ of British nationals already living in Japan.

However, if you are already in Japan and your visa has expired or due to expire before the end of July 2020, Japan’s Immigration Service Agency has introduced a three-month grace period for renewing an expired visa without penalty. This includes short-term tourist visas, subject to proof that you were not able to easily leave Japan due to COVID-19 related reasons. The three-month period starts from the date the visa expires – you must visit an immigration centre to renew your visa during this time. You will need to present a valid visa when leaving Japan.

This includes short-term tourist visas, subject to proof that you were not able to easily leave Japan. The three-month period starts from the date the visa expires – you must visit an immigration centre to renew your visa during this time. You will need to present a valid visa when leaving Japan.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

In normal circumstances, if you have a ‘British Citizen’ or ‘British National (Overseas)’ passport you can enter Japan as a visitor for up to 90 days without a visa. You may need to provide evidence of a return or onward ticket.

If you have a different type of British nationality, or you wish to enter Japan for other purposes (long-term stay, study, settlement, employment); if you have any doubts about whether you’re eligible to enter Japan (eg, if you have a criminal record or have been arrested even if it did not result in a conviction) or about visa matters generally, contact a Japanese Embassy or Consulate. Visas aren’t issued after arrival in Japan.

It’s illegal to work in Japan without the correct visa, however informal or temporary the work. Don’t overstay your permission to remain in the country, otherwise you risk arrest, detention and a heavy fine.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Japan.

Medication

The use or possession of some common prescription and over-the-counter medicines are banned under Japan’s strictly enforced anti-stimulant drugs law. This includes Vicks inhalers, medicines for allergies and sinus problems, cold and flu medication containing Pseudoephedrine and even some over-the-counter painkillers like those containing codeine. Foreign nationals have been detained and deported for offences - ignorance may not be considered a defence. You should check the status of your medication with the nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate before you travel.

If you’re travelling with prescription medication that is permitted under Japanese law, you’re normally allowed to bring in up to one month’s supply. You’re advised to bring a copy of your prescription and a letter from your doctor stating the medical condition that the medication has been prescribed to treat. For more guidance on travelling with medication, check information pages from NHS Choices and the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) in our foreign travel checklist.

If you need prescription medicine for long term use, you may need to provide extra paperwork, such as an import licence. The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare provides information about bringing medication for personal use.