General Visa Questions

Q Does my passport have to be valid for at least six months to enter Japan?
A Any foreign visitor who wishes to enter Japan must have a passport, which will remain valid during the period of stay. However, if you have a U.S. Refugee travel document or a permit (permit to re-enter), we require 6 months validity. If you have a temporary passport, emergency passport or other type of travel document, please contact us in advance.
Q Do I need a visa to enter Japan?
A Please see the Visa Information Page on our website.
Q I plan to visit another country via Japan. Do I need to get a transit visa?
A Nationals of visa-exempt countries/regions do not need a transit visa. For others, those who pass through immigration on their way to another country, a transit visa is required. (Those who do not pass through immigration do not need a visa.) Since this depends on the flights and the airport, applicants should check with their airlines to make sure.
Q How long is the processing time?
A The visa approval process takes a minimum of five (5) business days with sufficient documents. Additionally, we do not have expedited services, no exceptions.
Q Can you tell me the status of my visa application?
A Our office cannot provide any updates on the status of your visa application.
Q Do I need to make an appointment?
A No, please apply by drop-off or mail.
For a single-entry short-term stay visa for the purpose of Tourism (NOT for visiting relatives/friends) you may apply online. JAPAN eVISA
Q Where can I find the visa application form?
A Please download from the Download Form Page.
Q How much is the visa fee?
A Please see the Visa Fee Page on our website.
You can pay in exact amount cash, money order, cashier's check made payable to “Consulate General of Japan”, or credit card (eVISA ONLY). We do not accept personal checks.
Q I live in Las Vegas (State of Nevada), may I apply for my visa in the L.A. office?
A No. You must apply by mail by following our mailing instructions.
Q Can I work/study in Japan?
A Please see the Working/Long Term Stay on our web site. Please email us before you come to our office.

Re-entry Permit Related Questions

Q What is a“Re-entry Permit”(再入国許可証)?
A A re-entry permit is a permit granted by an immigration office (the Ministry of Justice) before departure from Japan for foreign nationals living in Japan who wish to leave Japan temporarily and re-enter before the date of expiry of the period of stay. If you leave Japan without obtaining a re-entry permit, your status of residence and period of stay will cease at the time of departure, and you will be required to obtain a new visa at an Embassy/Consulate-General of Japan and undergo immigration inspection at a port of entry again as a new entrant. On the other hand, if you embark with a re-entry permit, you do not need to obtain a new visa before you re-enter Japan, and your original status of residence and period of stay is deemed to continue while you are abroad. There are two types of re-entry permits: single re-entry permit and multiple re-entry permit which can be used repeatedly up to the expiry date. You can apply for a re-entry permit at a regional immigration bureau
Q What is the "Special Re-entry Permit”(みなし再入国許可証)?
A Foreign nationals in possession of a valid passport and resident card who will be re-entering Japan within 1 year of their departure to continue their activities in Japan will, in principle, not be required to apply for a re-entry permit. (This is called a special re-entry permit.) When you leave Japan, be sure to present your residence card and tick the box on your embarkation card indicating for within one year in the intended period out of Japan column for the Special Re-entry Permit. Foreign nationals who have departed from Japan on a special re-entry permit will not be able to extend that permit while abroad. Please note that such foreign nationals will lose their resident status if they fail to re-enter Japan within 1 year of their departure or before their status expires.
Q I have a special re-entry permit(みなし再入国許可証) and it will expire soon, may I extend my special re-entry permit in your office?
A No, you must go back to Japan before your special re-entry permit or your status expires.
Q I have “Permanent Resident” status and am now staying in the U.S. with a re-entry permit. I cannot re-enter Japan by the expiry date of the re-entry permit. What should I do?
A We may extend the period of validity of your re-entry permit for a maximum of 1 year, and not exceeding 6 years from the issue date of your re-entry permit (7 years in the case of “Special Permanent Resident”), as long as you are judged to have a genuine reason why you are unable to re-enter Japan within the validity period of your re-entry permit. However, we cannot give you an extension beyond your original period of stay. Please note that if you wish to extend your re-entry permit, you should ensure that you apply within the period of validity of your original re-entry permit.
However, those persons leaving Japan on a "Special Re-entry Permit" cannot extend the period of validity outside Japan.
Q I am a US citizen with the status of “Permanent Resident” and have come back to the U.S. temporarily with a re-entry permit. Since my passport has expired, I have obtained a new US passport. Can I get the status of residence and re-entry permit stamps transferred to my new passport?
A Embassies/Consulates-General of Japan do not have the authority to transfer immigration status stamps, including re-entry permits, to another passport. You are advised to re-enter Japan with both passports, and then make an application to transfer the stamps at a regional immigration bureau
Q I lost my passport and/or resident card in the U.S. but I live in Japan with long term visa status. I need to go back to Japan. What should I do?
A For your passport, please contact the US State Department, your country's Consulate or Embassy office in USA. For your status or re-entry permit, please contact your relative or representative in Japan and ask them to obtain your “Certificate of the re-entry permit deadline”(再入国許可期限証明書)from the nearest immigration office – 5:15pm Japan). You can then go to Japan with your new passport and the original certificate which has been sent to you from Japan. Please download forms from here (Certificate of the re-entry permit deadline & proxy form)

Important Notes

Landing Permission at the Airport
Although a visa is one condition that allows you to land at an airport or seaport, you should note that a visa does not guarantee landing permission. You must obtain landing permission during immigration procedures.  

Criminal Record
An applicant with a criminal record must provide a copy of his/her court conviction or sentence, along with an English translation of those documents if they are in any language other than English. We would like to know about the charges, time served, fees paid, and probation (if any). If you have such a record, please call our office in advance.


Toll-Free & 24 Hour Hotline for Visa-related inquiries: 1-202-499-1468 (English only)

Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco (Visa Section)
For all visa related inquiries:
For all eVISA related inquiries: (English only)
*Please mention your nationality or citizenship and place of your residence in your email.

Tel: (415)780-6092 (Monday to Friday, 9:00a.m. to 12:00p.m., and 1:00p.m. to 5:00p.m.)
* Due to the high volume of applicants, we may not be able to answer your call.
* Our office cannot provide any updates on the status of your visa application.