Japan begins phased reopening – now allowing limited business travel
In a much-anticipated start of a phased reopening to foreigners, Japan is now allowing a limited number of foreign business travelers to enter the country. The new rule, which went into effect March 1, increases the number of daily foreign entrants allowed into Japan from 3,500 to 5,000. While just a fraction of the 64,000 daily visitors Japan had pre-pandemic, this is a small but encouraging step and hopefully the first of more good news as the country slowly reopens. Here’s what you need to know:
Who can now enter Japan?
Tourism remains off-limits and visa-free travel continues to be suspended. Japan is now allowing a limited number of foreign nationals newly entering Japan for a short-term stay (less than three months) for purposes including business or employment and foreign nationals newly entering Japan for a long term stay including foreign students and technical trainees will be allowed to enter Japan in limited numbers.
Obtaining a Japanese visa
All foreign nationals newly entering Japan need to apply for a visa issued by Embassies or Consulates or Consular Office of Japan in the country/region depending on the purpose of their entry. Receiving organizations in Japan should complete a pre-application via ‘’ERFS’’ (Entrants, Returnees Follow-up System) and download the ‘’Certificate for Completion of Registration’’ for the passengers. Once the application is completed, passengers will be able to apply for a visa at Embassy or Consulates of Japan in the country depending on the purpose of entry. Please submit the certificate with the other required documents for visa application. The Japan MOFA website has more details.
Japan entry requirements
COVID-19 testing prior to arrival
All inbound passengers must provide a negative certificate for COVID-19 (taken within 72 hours prior to departure) on arrival. These tests must be presented in the prescribed format and must comply with very strict requirements. The terms “nasopharyngeal” or “saliva” must be listed as the sample collection method. Nasal swab is also valid when the test method is Nucleic Acid Amplification test,
COVID-19 testing on arrival
All inbound passengers must take a test for COVID-19 on arrival. Test results should be available within 1-2 hours from the sample collection.
Accepted COVID vaccine certificates COVID-19 vaccination certificates must be issued by Official Body such as government of any of the countries. The following items must be listed either in Japanese or English.
- Date of birth
- Product name / Manufacturer of the Vaccines
- Date of vaccination
- The number of COVID-19 vaccine doses
First or Second dose must be Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or Janssen vaccine. Fosun Pharma/BioNTech (COMIRNATY) and Serum Institute of India (Covishield) are also valid. Third dose must be Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Fosun Pharma/BioNTech (Comirnaty) is also valid.
Fully-vaccinated and booster travelers
Starting March 1, eligible travelers to Japan from the United States will be eligible to bypass the quarantine period if fully vaccinated and boosted with a vaccine recognized by the Government of Japan. Upon arrival in Japan, travelers will be required to complete documentation, download several smartphone applications, and clear immigration. Children who are not allowed to be vaccinated in their country because of their age are treated same as a parent or guardian if children accompanied by a parent or guardian who has valid vaccination certificate.
Non-fully vaccinated travelers
Unvaccinated travelers and/or travelers who have not yet received their booster vaccination may be eligible for a three-day quarantine period, if tested on third day in Japan. Otherwise, they must quarantine for seven days at home or in a hotel. Details of the new quarantine requirements (effective on March 1) can be found on MHLW’s website and FAQ is available in Japanese at https://www.mhlw.go.jp/content/000901838.pdf .
Flight Crew Requirements
Regardless of vaccination status, travel history and nationality, crew may enter Japan with a SHORE PASS (Temporary Landing Permission) instead of a visa.
- Shore Pass will be arranged by handling agent upon arrival.
- Period of Validity
- Single-Port Pass : Crew may stay in the country for 7 nights / 8 days (eg. KIAH – RJAA – KIAH)
- Multi-Port Pass : Crew may stay in the country for 15 nights / 16 days (eg. KIAH – RJAA – RJTT – KIAH)
- Following crew members may also enter the country with a shore pass.
- Arrive & Depart as crew on a private jet
- Arrive as crew on a private jet and then depart as passenger on a commercial flight
- Arrive as passenger on a commercial flight and then depart as crew on a private jet
- COVID-19 testing prior to arrival is not required. However, there are cases when flight crew members will need to present a negative PCR test result upon arrival. For example, if it’s an air ambulance flight with COVID-19 positive patient, the quarantine officer will ask each crew member to present a negative PCR test result upon arrival.
- COVID-19 testing upon arrival is not required. However, there are cases when crew members may be required to take the test upon arrival.
- Flight crew must self-quarantine at hotel or home for 7 days, however, they are allowed to leave the country within the quarantine period. There is no designated quarantine facility for crew.
Tech Stop/Transit Flight
Visas, Vaccination Certificate and COVID-19 testing prior to arrival are not required if crew/pax will remain onboard.
For information on Japan’s updated travel restrictions, please see these websites:
- U.S. Embassy Japan
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Phased Measures for Resuming Cross-Border Travel
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Application for Visa for Foreign Nationals Eligible for Phase Measures toward Resuming Cross-Border Travel
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Border Enforcement Measures to Prevent the Spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Ministry of Justice: Information Related to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) from Immigration Service Agency
Universal Aviation Japan can help
For more information on handling in Japan, Universal Aviation Japan can help. Our teams have been supporting missions throughout the pandemic and are ready and waiting to support you at a moment’s notice.