Frequently Asked Questions
Japan's border is still closed for many categories of visitors. This page is only relevant for specific categories of cases that may apply for a visa.
BEFORE VISA APPLICATION
1. Do I need a visa to enter Japan?
Yes. Some countries including New Zealand had a visa waiver agreement with Japan, but that has been suspended.
See 4: https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page4e_001053.html
2. Can I apply for a visa at the Embassy of Japan?
Applicants must be New Zealand passport holders or hold a valid long-term New Zealand visa (e.g. resident, work, student etc.) and should be residing in these regions:
Taranaki, Gisborne, Manawatu-Wanganui (excluding Ruapehu District), Wellington, South Island (excluding Canterbury).
Residents in the top half of the North Island (Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty Regions and Ruapehu District of Manawatu-Wanganui Region) should apply at the Consulate-General of Japan in Auckland. If you live in Canterbury, you should apply at the Consular Office of Japan in Christchurch.
Applications from those in New Zealand on a short-term visitor visa will not be accepted.*
* Exceptions may apply for those applicants holding a Certificate of Eligibility. Contact the Consular Section of the Embassy of Japan.
3. When should I apply for a visa?
Most visas are valid for three months from the date of issue, meaning you must enter Japan within three months of the visa being issued. The length of stay in Japan will be decided on a case-by-case basis based on your intended schedule. Working Holiday visas are valid for one year from the date of issue with a length of stay of one year from your first entry into Japan.
See also Question 13
4. Do I need to make an appointment to apply? Can I post my application?
You do not have to make an appointment to apply. Simply bring in your application during our consular reception hours (Monday to Friday: 9:00-12:00 noon or 13:30-16:00 only).
Residents from within the jurisdiction of the Embassy but far from Wellington may apply by post. If you are not sure whether your courier company requires the physical address or the PO Box address, you should write both addresses on the envelope. **Please note that the passport will not be returned by post.
HOW TO APPLY
5. What supporting documents should I submit for my visa application?
Please see the navigation bar to select the relevant type of visa and see the list of required documentation.
6. How much does a visa cost?
Please see here for information about visa fees.
7. How long is the processing time for a visa?
Generally it takes at least 5 working days but may take longer in some cases.(May be significantly longer while border restrictions continue.)
Please see Q 13.
8. The visa application form asks for my "I.D. No. issued to you by your government". What is this?
The governments of some countries give their citizens individual I.D. numbers. However, many countries (including New Zealand) do not. It is okay to leave this section blank if your country does not have such I.D. numbers.
9. The visa application form asks for a guarantor/reference and inviter in Japan. What should I do if I do not have one?
If you are not being invited to Japan, you may leave this section on the form blank. It is not necessary to have a guarantor in every case.
10. I can’t complete and print the visa form online from the checklist. Is there another version I can print and handwrite offline?
You can download a different version of the visa application form here. Don’t forget to submit all documents from the relevant checklist.
11. What kind of photo should I use?
Please paste a standard passport photo on the application form. That photo can measure 35x45mm (as per a standard New Zealand passport-sized photo). You may also use a photo up to 45x45mm if you prefer. Please use a proper quality photo. Do not scan and print onto paper. Do not use staples.
AFTER VISA ISSUANCE
12. Do I have to come and pick up my passport in person when the visa is issued?
Your passport must be collected by someone during opening hours and the visa fee (if applicable) must be paid in cash at that time. It is recommended that you collect it yourself but you can nominate another person to collect it on your behalf. He/she must provide your authorisation form. Passports will not be returned by post.
13. When should I come to Wellington to collect my passport?
Processing for most temporary visas should be completed after 5 working days. However, cases which require further documents or require referral to Japan, will take longer. Please allow plenty of leeway. You should be notified if further items are required. Make sure you (or your agent) come to collect during visa operating hours and not in the weekend or an observed holiday.
Application with a Certificate of Eligibility and a pledge form: At least five working days (time unknown)
Working Holiday Visa: at least ten working days (This visa category not available in most cases - see Coronavirus Notice page)
All short term visas: (Temporary Visitor, Transit, etc): (This visa category not available except for compassionate cases, or business purposes) At least 5 working days (time unknown)
There is NO urgent visa service. Applications that require enquiries to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs may take longer than the processing times indicated above. Please allow plenty of leeway. Applications for most visa open three months before the intended date of arrival
14. The “Date of expiry” on my visa sticker is 3 JAN. I will arrive in Japan on 1 JAN and leave on 10 JAN. Can I use this visa for my proposed trip?
Yes. In the top right corner of the visa vignette there is a period of validity (“Date of Issue” and “Date of expiry”), usually 3 months. The visa holder can enter Japan at any time during this period. Once the holder has arrived in Japan they will be granted Landing Permission for the length of stay noted in,“For stay(s) of”. For temporary visitors this is 15, 30 or 90 days. As long as the holder arrives in Japan on or before the “Date of expiry”, they will be able to remain in Japan for the full period of stay.
COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT PASSPORTS AND VISAS
15. How long does my passport need to be valid in order to enter Japan?
Japan does not have any regulations relating to passport validity, so long as your passport will be valid until after you leave Japan.
16. Can I change my entry status once I am in Japan? For example, can I change from a tourist to a work visa?
No. Once you are in Japan, you cannot in principle change your visa. If you want to work in Japan, you must obtain a working visa from a Japanese diplomatic mission in New Zealand or a third country.
17. I have a criminal record. Can I visit Japan?
Not all crimes will affect entry into Japan. Crime types that are deemed serious enough to prevent entry into Japan can be found here. If your record includes these crimes, you can expect that your entry into Japan will likely be denied by Japanese Immigration.