How Long Does Japan Visa Processing Take

By Tiara

Recent news stories have brought attention to how difficult it can be for some people to get a visa to visit Japan. This is not only annoying, but also frustrating as you start planning your trip and realize that there are many unnecessary steps in the process.

Many of these issues come down to timing. It seems like every week we read about another person who was unable to enter the country due to a recent change in visa regulations.

This article will talk more specifically about what types of visas take longer than expected to process and why this happens. There are several reasons why this occurs, so let’s look at them one by one!

1) The Immigration Office Closes Early

This happens most frequently during national holidays or when an employee takes vacation. Since they don’t have anyone working under their supervision, things may slow down while someone else has to handle additional workload.

2) Productivity Drops During A Workday

Just because an employee goes home doesn’t mean that everything comes to a halt. Many offices have a different policy regarding overtime. Some require employees to work through lunch, which cuts into time spent doing other things (like applying for visas!).

3) More Employees Mean Additional Chances For Errors To Occur

Visiting a foreign country requires lots of documents, resources and vigilance.

Reasons why Japan visa processing time is so long

The main reason that Japan’s visa process can take up to eight months is because of their reliance on paper documents as evidence. As mentioned before, Japan requires several copies of your passport, proof of residence, and sometimes even a copy of your job offer.

These additional documents must be verified and approved by immigration officials in both Japan and your home country before you are allowed entry into the country.

Once again, there are no quick fixes for this. You will have to live with the fact that it may take weeks (or even months) until you are able to visit Japan.

The U.S. and U.K. have similar visa processing times

how long does japan visa processing take

Another thing that can affect how fast or slow your visit will go is where you apply for your visa. Countries that are closer to each other typically take less time than countries that are farther apart. Since most Japanese cities are spread out, it can add more time to process visas if you need to travel between airports.

There’s also an additional layer of bureaucracy in place in some parts of the country, which adds time to the overall process. For example, every consulate must be assigned certain amounts of money to control as part of their budget so they don’t overspend, which could potentially cause delays when those budgets aren’t approved early enough.

Japanese immigration officials are strict

how long does japan visa processing take

Recent events have made it clear that just because something has been done before does not make it right. In recent months, there have been many reports of Japanese Immigration Officers (IOs) taking strong measures against non-Japanese passport holders.

Many of these stories begin with an Iranian national being denied entry into Japan due to their nationality. This happened back in February when Iran’s then Minister for Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Tokyo as part of his tour promoting peace throughout the Middle East.

While Mr. Zarif was allowed into Japan, he had to go through very rigorous checks at the airport. He even needed a special visa to enter the country while most foreigners do not.

This sparked outrage among Iranians both inside and outside of the nation. Many pointed out how unfair this process is for foreign nationals and said it should be changed.

Since then, more cases like this have occurred where similar experiences occur for other countries’ citizens. An American citizen was also rejected from entering Japan over a comment she made about the Japanese military during a talk in Beijing.

All of these examples show that Japanese immigration officials take pride in being extremely thorough and careful when deciding who can visit the country. They will go beyond what is required by law to ensure that no one enters unjustly.

These practices are unnecessary since international tourism has gone down recently.

Anticipate delays

how long does japan visa processing take

When you have to wait for an item or service, it can get frustrating! Luckily, like most things in life, visa processing times are not fixed – they change frequently!

Visas can take anywhere from a few days to several months depending on many different factors. There are multiple departments within the State Department that work together to process visas.

State Departments such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) play important roles in visa processing. Both of these offices have field agents stationed at embassies and consulates around the world to help with paperwork.

Agents working for ICE and USCIS must coordinate their workloads so one does not overtake the other. This could cause a delay in processing time if one agent is very busy when another is idle.

There are also cases where an agent may need to be transferred to another department or even headquarters due to personal reasons. This could happen because someone needs to go on vacation, suffer medical issues, or be promoted.

When this happens, your documents will have to be re-routed which can add extra time to the process. Although unlikely, something tragic might occur as well. A staff member could die during business hours, causing significant interruptions in operations.

This article will talk about some tips to minimize waiting times for visa processing.

Follow the Japanese government updates

how long does japan visa processing take

Recent developments concerning visa processing for foreign tourists have most people quite stressed out. Updates are frequent, but what is fact vs. rumor can be hard to tell until it is officially announced.

The best source for accurate information is the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in Tokyo. They publish regular updates about how long it will take to process your visa and when you should expect to receive it.

Their latest update was published on March 18th and can be found here. It includes everything from “Visas that cannot be issued within 30 days” to “General guidelines.” You may notice that there are two different timeframes mentioned under each topic!

If your visit is longer than one month, then you do not need a work visa unless your job requires one. If this is the case, then you already have one and do not need to apply for an additional one. Your employer must also confirm that they will cover part or all of the cost of your stay abroad while you are traveling as a representative of their company.

You do not need to live in Japan during your trip (although staying at a hotel or eating food locally helps our internationalization) so long as you spend at least five nights here.

Know your visa requirements

how long does japan visa processing take

Visas for business in Japan are quite complicated, even for experienced travellers! There are several types of visas that depend on your purpose for being there and length you will be staying.

Visiting as a tourist does not require a visa, but it is best to know what documents you will need depending on your plans.

Business visits can take anywhere from one day to weeks, so it is important to know how long major businesses have taken to process them.

Some Businesses may ask you to start planning early to ensure proper visa processing, which could mean postponing your trip or finding an alternative destination.

A warning about visa overstays

Many countries deny entry to those who overstay their visit. Overstaying your visa means going beyond the amount allowed for within it, either by more than 30 days or longer than the 90-day limit.

This can very seriously affect your travel plan because most employers run background checks before giving you job opportunities.

Apply for your visa as early as possible

how long does japan visa processing take

It’s always best to apply as soon as you have confirmation that you will be traveling, so that you don’t have to wait until later to begin planning your trip.

When it comes down to it, there are two main reasons why processing time can take longer than expected.

One is if there has been a spike in demand due to an upcoming event or season (like winter Olympics coverage this year). The other is because our bureau staff are busy with other projects, so they have to allocate their limited resources proportionally depending on how much work there is.

In either case we cannot guarantee when your application will be processed since this depends on many factors.

Be proactive in managing your visa application

how long does japan visa processing take

It is very difficult to get a clear picture of how long it takes to process a visa due to various reasons. Visas are not issued or denied in one day, so being prepared for the next stage of processing can help you feel more relaxed.

Some of the things that can influence visa processing time include where your apply, the embassy or consulate staff members’ workload, national holidays, season (winter vs summer), and whether there have been similar applications recently.

It is also important to remember that some days may seem longer than others depending on the number of applicants at the location – even if there are only few!

We recommend staying organized and aware of what steps they are at with each element of your visa. This way you will know when to expect updates and progress, and you will be able to monitor the situation more efficiently.