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Pre-COVID, almost 70 countries enjoyed visa-free travel to Japan, making the country one of the most open destinations for foreign travel.

But, like many, Japan shut its doors to outside visitors, even for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics. The good news for travelers is that Japan is beginning to reopen. But the process inevitably comes with conditions.

While, for now, visa-free travel to Japan has been suspended, meaning foreign nationals planning to travel to Japan will need to apply for a visa, the number of total entries to Japan is being limited. Both short- and long-term visas are being processed for business travelers and students.

Japan is currently offering four types of work visas:

  1. an Engineers or Specialists in Humanities or International Services category, which requires an employment contract directly with a Japanese entity;
  2. a Business Manager category for experienced managers employed with a Japanese company, or an individual launching a business in Japan;
  3. a work visa for intra-company transferees; and
  4. a highly skilled professional visa for qualifying individuals based on a points system. Long-term visas for students and technical trainees are also being processed.

Individuals hoping to visit Japan for leisure will find their options are more limited. As of June 2022, Japan is issuing some tourist visas, but only to individuals visiting Japan as part of a tour group with a fixed and pre-approved itinerary.

Also, the country has implemented a ranking system of foreign countries with Red indicating countries with the highest potential for COVID infection, Yellow for moderate COVID risk, and Blue for countries with a low COVID risk.

A PCR test taken less than 72 hours before departure is required for all travellers. Upon arrival, travellers from Red countries will also need to test again and perform a 3-day quarantine at a registered facility; visitors from Yellow countries will have to test and quarantine at home for three days (or for seven days if they do not test). Visitors from Blue countries have no mandatory testing or quarantine requirement.

Though it is expected Japan will eventually reinstate their visa-waiver policies with some foreign nations, the visa requirements and COVID restrictions are in place for all visitors at this time.

This information came from a blog post originally published here.

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