Frequently Asked Questions

Japanese visas

Q1: I am a Canadian citizen holding an ordinary Canadian passport. Do I need a tourist visa to go to Japan?

A: No. A Canadian citizen holding a Canadian passport does not need a visa to enter Japan as a temporary visitor (that is, a person who will remain in Japan less than 90 days, either as a tourist, on business or to meet relatives or friends; the persone cannot earn money for the duration of the stay.)

Q2: I plan to travel to Japan for a week next month, but my Canadian passport will expire in six months. Do I need to renew my passport before I go to Japan?

A: It is not necessary. Your passport must be valid at the time of entry, but if it is clear that your passport will expire while you are in Japan, then you should renew it before your departure. Please note that airline company policies and restrictions may differ, so it would be best to confirm directly with them. If you hold a Canadian travel document other than an ordinary passport, however, it must be valid for longer than six months.

Q3: I am a permanent resident of Canada. Do I need a visa for a short-term stay?

A: Whether you need a visa or not depends on your nationality and the passport you hold. If you hold a passport of a country with a reciprocal visa exemption arrangement with Japan, you do not need a visa to enter Japan for a short-term stay. Otherwise, you need one. Please check our website for more information.

Q4: I am a citizen of a country whithout a visa exemption in Japan, and I am planning to travel to Japan, next year, so I need a temporary visitor’s visa to enter the country. When should I apply for the visa?

A: Generally speaking, a temporary visitor's visa expires three months after its date of issue, which means that you have to enter Japan before your visa expires. We recommend that you start the visa application process as soon as possible, while keeping in mind the expiration date of the visa you will acquire. (That is to say, if you apply too early, your visa will expire before you even get to enter Japan.) In addition, unless there is a problem with your application, we can usually communicate the results within about one week after the process has begun.

Q5: I am a Chinese citizen holding a Chinese passport. My travel agent told me that I do not need a visa to stay in Japan for less than 72 hours. Is this correct?

A: No, that is not correct. Chinese citizens have to apply for a visa before they enter Japan.

Q6: I am a Chinese citizen holding a Chinese passport, and I am planning to go back to China via Tokyo. I would like to stay in Tokyo for one week. Can I apply for a transit visa?

A: No. If you are planning to stay in Japan for 1 week, you need a temporary visitor's visa. A transit visa is required for people who, for example, have to spend the night at a hotel in order to board their connecting flight, or those who have to exit the airport briefly before their next flight.

Q7: I am a citizen of the Philippines living in Canada, and I am planning to make a brief stop in Tokyo0 on my way to my home country. I intend to transfer from Narita Airport to Haneda Airport during the same day, where I would depart Japan. I should not be in Japan more than 6 hours, so do I need a visa?

A1: In order to transfer from Narita Airport to Haneda Airport, you would need to exit the airport, so you would, in fact, require a transit visa.

A2: If you change airplanes at Narita Airport without ever exiting the airport, then you do not need a transit visa (because you aren’t actually entering the country.)

Q8: Can I enter Japan as a visitor without a visa, and then apply for a work visa while in Japan? Or, can I change my status of residence while I am in Japan?

A: No. A visa cannot be acquired after arriving in Japan. According to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, an application for the change of status from a temporary visitor to another status will only be accepted under extraordinary circumstances. (Should extraordinary circumstances happen while you are in Japan, please contact the nearest branch of the Immigration Bureau of Japan as soon as possible.)

* A visa is a recommendation, made by an embassy or consulate of Japan, that a foreigner should be allowed to enter Japan. When an immigration officer completes an examination for landing and grants landing permission at the port of entry, he/she will issue a permission to land. Once this Landing Permission Stamp has been affixed to the foreigner’s passport, the visa (obtained before departure) becomes irrelevant (except in the case of multiple-entry visas.)

Q9: I received a visa to work as a professor in Japan for three years, but the "Date of Expiry" on the visa is only three months from the "Date of Issue." Can I still remain in Japan for 3 years?

A: While it is necessary to enter Japan before the "Date of Expiry" indicated on the visa, once a permission to land has been granted the visa becomes irrelevant and a Resident’s Card (zairyū kādo) for the category “Professor, 3 years” will be issued; this allows you to remain 3 years in Japan from the date the landing permission was granted. Be aware, however, that the expiration date on a Certificate of Eligibility (3 months from the date of issue) trumps the "Date of Expiry" of a visa.

Q10: I am currently working in Japan on a 5-year "intra-company transferee" visa, but I temporarily returned to Canada without obtaining a re-entry permit. Can I obtain a re-entry permit from the Consulate or Embassy of Japan in Canada?

A: No. A re-entry permit is only issued by an immigration office upon application within Japan, meaning that you cannot apply at a diplomatic mission abroad. If you left Japan without obtaining a re-entry permit or a special re-entry permit, you have already lost your status of residence; should you wish to return to Japan, please apply for a new Certificate of Eligibility, and then re-apply for a visa.

Q11: I will renew my Canadian passport, while I am temporarily in Canada. However, I need the re-entry permit, which is in my current passport, to re-enter Japan. What should I do?

A: Bring your old and new passports with you to Japan. You will need to show both to immigration at the port of entry. If you have a multiple re-entry permit, you can have it transferred to your new passport at your local immigration office in Japan.

Q12: I am a Canadian citizen who would like to apply for a Working Holiday Visa, but I am over the age limit (30 years old). Can an exception be made to the age limit?

A: No exceptions can be made to the eligibility criteria. If you meet the criteria, you could apply for a Work Visa, so please contact the Immigration Bureau of Japan.

Q13: I went to Japan with a Working Holiday Visa, but came back to Canada within a few months. Can I re-apply for a Working Holiday Visa?

A: A Working Holiday Visa is only issued once for each person. There is no exception.

Q14: I am a French citizen currently studying in a Canadian university. Can I apply for a Working Holiday Visa for French citizens, while in Canada?

A: No. You can apply for a Working Holiday Visa only at an Embassy or Consulate General of Japan in your home country.

Q15: I was born in Canada and have dual citizenship, Canadian and Japanese. When I enter Japan, which passport should I use?

A1: According to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, Japanese citizens are required to use their Japanese passport to enter Japan.

A2: In some special cases, such as with the JET Programme or a Japanese government scholarship program, the sponsoring organization may limit participants to “foreigners” holding Canadian passports; you would thus have to renounce your Japanese citizenship. Please contact the sponsoring organization in Japan for details.

A3: Moreover, according to Japanese legislation, holders of dual citizenships have to choose one citizenship before they turn 22 years old. Upon renouncing their Japanese citizenship, they will not be able to use their Japanese passport. You will find more information in the Citizenship and Family Register Matters of our website.

Q16: Can I apply for a visa at the office of the honorary consul general of Japan in my province?

A: No, you cannot. The office of an honorary consul general does not process visa applications, so you have to apply at the Consulate-General of Japan in Montreal.

Q17: I live far away from Montreal. Can I send my visa application package to you by mail or courier?

A: No, you cannot. You must come to our office in Montreal. Canadian citizens living far away and who have already obtained a Certificate of Eligibility should contact the Consular Affairs section of the Consulate-General of Japan in Montreal.

Q18: What kind of activities are covered by the short-term business affairs visa?

A: Please refer to the page on Temporary Visits – Business Affairs of our website. This is the visa category for people who need to participate in meetings, in cultural, academic or sports exchanges, or to do a short-term, unpaid, internship in Japan.

Q19: I want to go to Japan as a tourist, but I will stay at my friend’s home. What is the correct visa category on the Consulate-General’s website?

A: The correct category is Temporary Visit – Visiting Relatives or Acquaintances. Your host will have to prepare many documents, but except for their passport, Residence Card (zairyu kaado) and Schedule of Stay, all other documents must be originals (that is to say, photocopies or scanned copies sent by email or fax will not be accepted.)

Q20: I am a Canadian citizen and I want to study 1 year in Japan. How should I proceed for the visa application?

A: First, you have to choose the school where you wish to go, and then have them apply in your name for a Certificate of Eligibility (also known as COE) at the Immigration Bureau of Japan. Then, have the school send you the original COE, which you will need when you apply for a student visa at the Consulate-General of Japan in Montreal.

Q21: I want to work in Japan, so what should I do?

A: You will have to obtain a work visa. As part of the visa application process, you will need a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Your future employer will have to apply in your name for a COE at the Immigration Bureau of Japan. Once you have the original COE in hand, you may apply for a work visa at the Consulate-General of Japan in Montreal. Of course, before you can work in Japan, you will first have to find a company or entity who will be willing to hire you.

Q22: I am a Canadian citizen and I want to live in Japan for 1 year. What should I do?

A: If you are over 18 years old and less than 31 years old, you may apply for a working holiday visa. You will find all the relevant information on the working holiday visa on our website. Other options are available for long-term stays in Japan; please contact the Information Center of the Immigration Bureau of Japan for details.

Q23: I am a Canadian citizen currently living in Australia on a working holiday visa. Next, I want to live in Japan on a working holiday visa; can I send you my application by mail?

A: No, you cannot. The only individuals who can apply for a working holiday visa through our office are Canadian citizens currently living in our area of jurisdiction (Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces); they absolutely have to apply in person at the Consulate-General of Japan in Montreal.

Q24: I heard that, upon entry into Japan on a 1-year work visa, I will have to obtain a residence card. What should I do to obtain it?

A: All the necessary information on obtaining the Residence Card can be found on the website of the Immigration Bureau of Japan.