Japan’s Borders are Open Again! Visa, Quarantine, and Travel Information (March 2022)

Japan visa borders reopen March 2022 quarantine

Japanese borders have reopened! Here’s what you need to do to secure your visa, travel to Japan, and complete quarantine.


The information in this article is current as of March 12, 2022, but may change again without notice, so please be sure to seek current official information before planning your visa application and travel to Japan.

In late February, the Japanese government announced that the borders would open on March 1, 2022 after nearly two years of being all-but closed to new international arrivals. Tourist visits, etc., still are not allowed, but for students, workers, and families who have been waiting to get into the country, it is now possible!

Even since the initial announcement, the entry measures and procedures have changed a few times. It is difficult to find a complete reference in English or Japanese, but in this article, I am going to share what I know about the situation, focused primarily on students and families (Spouse/Child of Japanese National or Permanent Resident, Dependent), since that is mostly who reads this blog.

I will cover:

  • Quarantine measures after arrival
  • Control of the number of new daily arrivals (including the special allotment for students)
  • Extension of Certificate of Eligibility validity
  • How to get the new documents you need for your visa application

Again, this is all current as of the writing, but subject to change ay any time.

Quarantine measures after arrival

In general, anyone arriving in Japan or returning to Japan after a trip abroad (including citizens/residents) is required to quarantine for 7 days (not including the day of arrival) after arrival in Japan at their home or a hotel. However, this requirement varies based on your vaccination status and the countries you have visited within the 14 days prior to departure to Japan.

Vaccination Requirement

The quarantine requirement is different if you are “fully vaccinated” per the standards of the Japanese government. To count as fully vaccinated you must:

  • Have received 3 shots of the vaccine (2 if your first shot was Johnson & Johnson/Yansen)
  • Your first two vaccine doses (or first dose if your first shot was Johnson & Johnson/Yansen) must have been one of the following:
    • Comirnaty/Pfizer/復星医薬
    • Vaxeria/Astrazeneca/Covishield
    • Moderna
    • Johnson & Johnson/Yansen (only one dose required)

    It is possible to mix-and-match among the shots above.

  • Your third vaccine dose (or second dose if your first shot was Johnson & Johnson/Yansen) must have been one of the following:
    • Comirnaty/Pfizer/復星医薬
    • Moderna
  • Your vaccination certificate must be issued by a government organization (not a medical facility) and must include:
    • Your full name (matching your passport)
    • Your birthday or passport number
    • The name of the vaccine and manufacturer
    • The date of each shot
    • The number of shots received
  • Your vaccination certificate must be in English or Japanese or have a translation into English or Japanese attached

Visited countries requirement

Your quarantine requirement varies depending on whether you have visited any of the following “designated countries” within the 14 days prior to departure to Japan. (Current as of March 12, 2022)

  • Brazil (other than Parana)
  • Egypt
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Mongolia
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • Sri Lanka
  • Turkey
  • Vietnam

Please note that this list can change with little or no warning, so it is possible that your country’s status could change on the day before you fly to Japan!

A layover in an airport in one of the countries above does not count as “visiting” if you do not exit the immigration area (e.g. no passport stamp) and your layover does not exceed 24 hours.

Quarantine Requirements based on the criteria above

Fully Vaccinated? Visited Designated Country? Day 0 (Arrival Day) Day 1-3 Day 4-7
Yes No PCR Test at arrival airport No quarantine required
Yes Yes Quarantine at home or a hotel, etc. Continue quarantine at home or a hotel, etc.
However, if you voluntarily take a PCR test on Day 3 or later, and the result is negative, you can report that test to the government and they will release you from your remaining quarantine.
No No
No Yes Quarantine at Government-designated facility. Take a PCR test on day 3 and result is negative. Released from quarantine

In some of the conditions above, you have the option to take a voluntary PCR test on Day 3 or later to shorten your quarantine. However, the PCR test must be done at a government-approved facility, and the waiting time for the result can be up to a day, so considering the expense, it might not be worth it. (Even if you are staying in a hotel for your quarantine, the PCR test will likely cost as must as a two-night stay, or more, and will shorten your stay by three nights, at most, depending on when you get the results.)

Note about public transportation: It used to be the rule that during the quarantine period, you were prohibited from using any public transportation. But now, it is allowable to use public transportation for the first 24 hours after your arrival in Japan for the sole purpose of traveling to your quarantine location by the shortest route possible.

Control of the number of new daily arrivals

Including the special allotment for students

When borders reopened, the number of new daily entrants allowed into the country was increased from 3,500 per day to 5,000 per day. Since then, it has further increased to 7,000 per day, including a special allotment of 1,000 Student Visa holders, (but only on Mondays through Thursdays).

Because I work in international exchange and we were interested in getting our new students into the country as quickly as possible, the first question on our mind was: How is this number controlled? Since the limit includes new foreign-national arrivals, returning Japanese citizens, and other returning Japanese residents, we were confused how the government could possibly regulate it.

But here’s the answer, and I hope it gives you peace of mind: They control the number of flights arriving each day!
So, that means that if you can get a flight to Japan, you are within the limit for that day. You won’t find yourself in a situation where you have a flight booked and paid for only to learn that you aren’t included in the limit.

Special Allotment for Students

The Japanese Ministry of Education (Monbukagakusho) has hyped up the fact that they have secured a special allotment within the daily limit for 1,000 new arrival places (flight seats) to be prioritized for students, but this has led to a lot of confusion both for students and institutions in Japan.

Some people worried that this number might limit the number of students who can arrive, but that is not the case!

Student Visa holders can still purchase flights from the “general” pool of all available flights. So, theoretically, all 7,000 new arrivals on a given day could be international students.

However, if students are not able to secure a flight through buying one in general, they can use this system as a back-up plan.

If you arriving in Japan as a student and you cannot purchase a flight for the day that you want to travel (or the date that your institution in Japan says that you have to travel), and your travel day is Monday-Thursday, then you can contact your host institution in Japan to try to get one of the reserved seats.

The Japanese host institution will then contact the support center set up by the government to try to get you the possibility to purchase one of the 1,000 tickets reserved for students. The support center will then contact participating airlines (currently only ANA and JAL) to see if there are flights are available. If there is an available flight, they will make a provisional reservation for you, and send the information back to your host institution.

Your institution will send you the flight and payment information. You would have to complete the payment to make the reservation official.

Even if you are a student visa holder, I recommend you consider this a back-up option, only. If you can book a flight directly, it is likely to be a lot simpler and cheaper.

Certificate of Eligibility Validity Period Extension

In my articles about Spouse Visas and Dependent Visas, I mentioned that the Certificate of Eligibility is only valid for three months in usual cases. However, that does not apply to Certificates of Eligibility that expired while the borders are closed.

If your Certificate of Eligibility was issued before January 31, 2022, you can still use it until the end of July 2022. For CoEs issued on or after February 1, 2022, they are valid for 6 months. (You can find an official explanation here.)

If more than 3 months have passed since the CoE was issued, then in addition to the original CoE, you will also need a document called a “申立書” (declaration) from your host in Japan, which states that the original purpose for your visa application is still valid.
The format for that declaration can be found here:

How to get the new documents you need for your visa application

The documents required for your visa application are going to differ depending on your visa category and the country where you are applying, so be sure to check with the Japanese embassy or consulate where you will apply in advance to make sure you know what you need and collect everything before your visa application appointment.

However, there are a few common documents that everyone will need, including two new requirements:

  • The visa application form (get it from the embassy website)
  • Your CoE (get it from the institution or person in Japan who is supporting your arrival and activities in Japan)
  • Declaration Form (as discussed in the previous section, if your CoE will be more than three months old as of the time of entering Japan)
  • Proof of Acceptance of Immigration Application (受付済証) or alternative – see below

What is the “Proof of Acceptance of Immigration Application”?

If you are entering Japan as a student, technical trainee, worker, or for business purposes – essentially, if you have an organization in Japan sponsoring your arrival – you will need this “Proof of Acceptance of Immigration Application” or 受付済証. But the good news is, the organization in Japan will get it for you. They have to register you in the government’s “Entrants, Returnees Follow-up System” (ERFS). Once they complete that registration, they will automatically receive digital proof of your registration and will send that to you. You can then use it to apply for your visa.

But if you do not have an “organization” in Japan accepting you – if you are a spouse, dependent*, long-term resident, etc., then you cannot get this document. Only accepting organizations, not individuals, can use the ERFS system. So, you would need the alternative documentation below.
*Note: In some cases, it is possible for an accepting organization in Japan to sponsor a working visa for a new employee and sponsor that employee’s family’s dependent visa at the same time. Employers need to meet certain criteria to be able to do this and it is limited to large businesses/publicly traded companies. But if a business is sponsoring your dependent visa to arrive simultaneously with your working spouse, then the company may be able to register you in ERFS.

Alternative Documentation for Spouse/Child of Japanese Nationals, Spouse/Child of Permanent Residents or Long-Term Resident

If you are coming to Japan as a spouse or child of a Japanese national or a permanent resident, you cannot be registered in ERFS but you can still apply for a visa by submitting the following documentation:

  1. Original passport (with at least two empty pages)
  2. Original visa application form with photo
  3. Original and one copy of Certificate of Eligibility (If you could not receive your original CoE due to disruptions to the postal system, etc. then you can submit 2 copies, instead)
  4. Original and one copy of Marriage certificate (spouse) or birth certificate (child) as well as a Japanese translation.
    4-2Original Koseki Tohon (Family Register) (for Spouse or Child of Japanese National visa, only)
  5. Schedule after entry
  6. Original or copy of “Declaration” (described above) if more than three months have passed between when your CoE was issued and when you will arrive in Japan

Alternative Documentation for Dependent

*Not required if the Dependent can be registered in ERFS, as described above.

If your spouse is already in Japan and sponsoring your Certificate of Eligibility, then you cannot be registered in ERFS, so you will have to submit the following documentation:

  1. Original passport (with at least two empty pages)
  2. Original visa application form with photo
  3. Original and one copy of Certificate of Eligibility (If you could not receive your original CoE due to disruptions to the postal system, etc. then you can submit 2 copies, instead)
  4. Original and one copy of Marriage certificate (spouse) or birth certificate (child) as well as a Japanese translation
  5. Copy of “Declaration” as well as a Japanese translation
  6. Copy of Certificate of Employment (if sponsor in Japan is employed) or Certificate of Enrollment (if sponsor in Japan is a Student)
  7. Copy of bank-issued balance certificate and balance sheet (account activity) for past 6 months
  8. Copy of sponsor’s Residence Card
  9. Copy of sponsor’s Residence Registration (住民票 juminhyo)
  10. Schedule after entry
  11. Copy of Approval to Accept Family Members (家族受入承認書) issued by the sponsor’s enrolled institution (only when the sponsor in Japan has a Student residence status)
  12. Certificate of Scholarship Receipt (only when the sponsor in Japan has a Student residence status and is receiving a scholarship)

Of course, be sure to check with the Japanese embassy or consulate where you will apply directly to see if requirements have changed or if there are any additional documents required!

Special Thanks

Special thanks to the TranSenz supporters on Patreon, who help keep this site running through their generous contributions, especially to new Daimyo Supporters Pablo and Alessia M as well as all new supporters since my last update: Mery, Ricardo C, Cheska G., Dimas, and Andrew L. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for your continued support! If this site has helped you in your application process and you want to “pay it forward” to keep the site running to help future applicants, every contribution helps!

Questions?

Let me know in the comments below!

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