Japan Officially Lifts Travel Ban on Foreign Residents
Updated: Sep 1, 2020
Japan is officially lifting its re-entry restrictions for foreigners starting today, September 1.
Foreign residents with “proper visas” will now be accommodated to re-enter Japan. By proper visas, it means people who have valid resident status regardless of visa types. The new travel advisory covers expats, foreign residents, and teachers at international schools regardless of where they are at press time.
Many foreign residents have been locked out of Japan since the lockdown started in April. Before this mandate, foreign residents were only allowed to enter Japan if and only if for pressing matters like family deaths and emergencies.
Foreign travelers who are allowed to come home starting September 1 will be required to take extra measures to avoid contracting the coronavirus infection.
All non-Japanese entering the country will also be required to go through a test for COVID-19 at the airports and to self-quarantine for 14 days. They will not be allowed to use public transportation within that time.
For non-Japanese who left Japan by the end of August will have to coordinate with the closest Japanese embassy or diplomatic office to obtain a letter confirming they have valid visas and are allowed to re-enter soon. Non-Japanese who left the country starting April 3, when the travel restrictions were implemented, can also secure the same letter.
For travelers going out of Japan from September 2 onwards will be required to provide the Immigration Services Agency (ISA) with a detailed itinerary of their destination country or region. They will be allowed to go out of the country as soon as they can secure approval from the immigration office.
All non-Japanese leaving the country starting September will be required to go specific tests for COVID-19.
The ISA, however, warns applicants seeking re-entry that the approval of documents will depend on the testing capacity, which is currently at 6,000 per day at major international airports — Haneda, Narita, and Kansai. The government is looking to increase that to 10,000 per day.
The ISA will be posting an email address on their website where applicants can send their request for re-entry. Applicants have to provide information like residence card number, nationality, and other passport details, as well as itinerary and planned departure and re-entry dates.
Leisure travelers who come from the 159 countries and regions under Japan’s entry ban list will not be allowed for now. The same for business travelers and exchange students.
In July, Japan started allowing business travelers but only from Vietnam. Ever since, the government has been in talks with countries like Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia to ease travel restrictions between borders.