VISA / Residing in Japan
Visas and Landing Permission
July 22, 2015
Based on the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, in principle a foreign national wishing to enter Japan is required to have a valid passport issued by the government of their own country with a visa issued by the head of the embassy or consulate-general of Japan.
The visa confirms the validity of a foreign national’s passport and also suggests that a bearer of visa would not pose any problem as long as he/she enters Japan in accordance with the conditions specified on the visa. Furthermore, holding a visa is only one of the requirements for a landing permission application at the port of entry of Japan and does not guarantee that the holder of the visa will be able to enter Japan.
Visas are issued in the Japanese embassy or consulate. Visas cannot be obtained at the port of entry in Japan.
The immigration officers check whether or not the foreign national wishing to enter Japan meets all the requirements for entering Japan stipulated in the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act when he/she applies for landing at the port of entry. The requirements include having a valid passport with a valid visa, the purpose of entering Japan, and the planned length of the stay. If the requirements are met, the immigration officer grants the foreign national "landing permission" ( by affixing the seal of verification for landing in the passport of the foreign national).
The "landing permission" seal displays the "status of residence" showing the activities, etc. that the foreign national can engage in while in Japan and the "period of stay" which is the length of time that the foreign national can stay in Japan.
The visa immediately becomes invalid once the foreign national applied for landing in Japan. (Note) The "landing permission" becomes the legal basis for the stay of the foreign national in Japan.
(Note) Multiple visas remain valid until the date of their expiration.
People commonly talk about "changing the type of visa" and "extending or renewing a visa" but in fact these actions cannot be done. (A "change of status of residence" and an "extension of period of stay" respectively can be done by the Ministry of Justice (the Regional Immigration Bureau)).