Japan has reopened its borders to foreign tourists for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The gradual reopening will start with small-scale test tours from a limited number of countries. In a controversial move, the number of visitors that can enter the country is currently capped at 50. These individuals will
9 December 2019| Post by
The Japanese government has announced the launch of a new online visa for Japan, with Chinese passport holders first in line for the new electronic system.
The electronic visa is being introduced as part of a government initiative to make bureaucratic procedures paperless and facilitate the process of applying for a visa for Japan, as well as to boost the number of tourist arrivals to the country.
The online visa will first be available to citizens of China as a single-entry tourist visa from April 2020, and is expected to be implemented for a number of other foreign nationalities soon after. China is currently the biggest market for tourist arrivals to Japan, with Chinese visitors accounting for almost 60 percent of all Japanese visas issued in 2017.
Japanese Tourist eVisa to Debut in 2020
The introduction of the eVisa system for Japan will arrive just in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games, itself expected to be a major draw for tourists to the country. The government is hoping the two events will help them achieve their goal of 40 million inbound visitors to Japan by the end of next year, and 60 million yearly arrivals by 2030.
After the introduction of the eVisa for tourism, the government plans to make other visa types for Japan available through the online application. At the moment, citizens of number of counties, including Russia, India, and Brazil, are required to apply for a visa for Japan from an embassy and consulate. However, this will change once the eVisa system is fully implemented.
Online System for Japan Visa to Benefit Japanese Citizens
The implementation of the electronic visa for Japan is also bringing positive changes to bureaucratic procedures for Japanese citizens. The government’s efforts to cut the need for paperwork is leading to the introduction for an online system to apply for Japanese passports, expected to be implemented by 2024.
The announcement follows several recent calls for an online passport application for Japan, in response to congestion at passport offices around major holidays in the country. Approximately 4,3 million Japanese passports were issued in 2018 alone.
The current process of obtaining a Japanese passport involves the need to psychically travel to a passport office in Japan at least twice, to submit supporting documentation and then to retrieve the passport.
The new system will at least eliminate the need to present documents in person, although the government is still deciding whether it will be viable to send passports to applicants. The United Kingdom and France areadly their permit citizens to apply online for a passport, and both allow applicants to receive their new passport in the mail.
Both the new online visa and electronic passport systems will allow users to pay Japanese government processing fees using a credit card. Previously, Japanese citizens living abroad were required to pay fees in cash in order to renew their passport. To check visa requirements for every country in the world, including Japan, visit onlinevisa.com.
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Japan will be introducing electronic visas for single-entry visits from 2020. China is among the countries that will be elegible for the evisa.