Rules and processes on entering and exiting Japan amidst COVID19 pandemic

Rules and processes on entering and exiting Japan amidst COVID19 pandemic

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Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, many things such as working-styles, travel-related bans being put into place, and even our perspectives on how we live or how we interact with people, have changed. However, as the numbers of infected people gradually decrease, Japan has decided to allow cross-border travel as of September 2020 - meaning that of course, there have been special procedures put into place that those who wish to either enter or exit Japan, must follow.

If you’re someone who has been curious about those procedures, then feel free to stay and check out our simplified version of what’s written in the Ministry of Justice’s framework.


ENTRY INTO JAPAN
 

Before going into more detail, please note that the entry procedures will differ from country to country, meaning that you should also check out your government’s official website and carefully check the procedures they require you to follow.

Please also keep in mind that there is an extensive list of countries wherein ENTRY WILL BE DENIED and countries wherein ENTRY WILL BE ALLOWED. The only exception to this are those foreign nationals with special circumstances, or “all foreign nationals with the status of residence who have left and will leave Japan before 31st August 2020 with a valid re-entry permit” since the 1st of September, 2020.

To start off, there are 2 frameworks of entry into Japan - business track and residence track. They are, as directly stated from the Ministry of Justice website:

 

【Business Track】 This framework allows cross-border travelers to enter, exceptionally, Japan or its counterpart country/region. Furthermore, this framework enables limited business activities during the 14-day stay at home period (partially relaxes restrictions on such activities), immediately after arrival at those countries/regions or Japan, on condition that travelers accept additional quarantine measures such as submission of “Schedule of Activities in Japan”(Note). This framework is intended mainly for short-term business travelers. (Note: Business activities must be limited to the necessary minimum, such as round-trip travel between home and the office, not using public transportation and avoiding contact with random people or crowds.)
 

【Residence Track】 This framework allows cross border travelers to enter, exceptionally, Japan or the other country/region, but requires them to stay at home for 14 days or designated locations. This framework is intended mainly for long-term residents by dispatch or rotation within business personnel.

 

Below is a conceptual diagram made by the Ministry of Justice - but if it’s a bit hard to understand, we’ll break it down a little more for you and add some helpful links to what kind of documents you’ll be needing below.

For both the Business track and Residence track, entry procedures will differ, but these main points will remain the same:

  • Before departure, application/retrieval of visa or re-entry confirmation letter at your local Japanese embassy is necessary
  • Before departure, you will need to quarantine yourself for 2 weeks
  • Before departure, you must obtain a negative PCR pre-entry test result and submit it at the airport
  • Upon entry into Japan, you will be required to test for COVID-19 at the airport
  • Upon entry into Japan, you must do another 2 weeks of self-quarantine
  • Upon entry into Japan, you must install the official COVID-19 tracking application
  • After entry, you must quarantine for at least 2 weeks and avoid using public transportation, including taxis, buses and trains

While the “before exit” and “upon entry” processes are generally the same, a difference to be noted is on the ‘business track’, wherein those who will temporarily stay in Japan must submit a “Schedule of Activities in Japan”. In addition, while those on the business track should quarantine for at least 14 days, they are allowed to do the minimum necessary actions required to complete their business or whatever they had scheduled for their stay in Japan, as long as they do not travel using public transport and avoid contact with random people and crowds. 

 

Documents required for those entering Japan on BUSINESS TRACK:

Written Pledge (for business track only)
Schedule of Activities
・Visa application form (with photo attached)
・Passport

*Please note that as of the date of publication of this article, the Business Track procedures differ for people who are travelling to/from Singapore. Please refer to [this link] for more information.

Documents required for those entering Japan on RESIDENCE TRACK:
[On short term stay for business]

Written Pledge (for residence track only)
・Visa application form (with photo attached)
・Passport
・Certificate of Employment of the applicant
Invitation Letter
Letter of Guarantee

[On mid to long term stay e.g for exchange]

Written Pledge (for residence track only)
・Visa application form (with photo attached)
・Passport
・Certificate of Eligibility

 

HOWEVER, for those who left Japan with a valid re-entry permit, procedures will be a little different. It might include submitting:
・Passport with valid re-entry permit including special re-entry permit
・Residence card issued by the Japanese authority
Application form
The above documents will be used in order to apply for a “Re-entry Confirmation Letter”, which you will present to airport security before departure. Note that it will take time for your application to be processed, and will not be issued on the same day of application. In addition, this process is free of charge.

If you’re still unsure of procedures as a foreign national who has a re-entry permit, please check the Ministry of Justice website at [this link] and [this link]<span style='""font-size:11pt; font-variant:normal; white-space:pre-"