Q & A: Japanese Visas

Published: 01 November 2017 by the Consulate-General of Japan in Hong Kong


Welcome to our Q & A session about Japanese Visas! In this article, we will address some commonly asked questions that we receive at the Consulate-General of Japan in Hong Kong. Whether you’re a frequent traveler or planning your first trip to Japan, this informative Q & A will provide you with the essential information you need to know about Japanese visas.

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Q1: Can I enter Japan if the validity of my passport is less than 6 months? Can I board the aircraft (or cruise ship)?

If you hold a foreign passport and you are a citizen of a country or territory with visa exemption, such as Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport, Macau Special Administrative Region passport, or a British National Overseas passport with the right of residence in Hong Kong, you are required to present a valid passport when entering and departing from Japan. There is no “six months’ validity requirement” for foreign passports. However, please note that the Hong Kong Document of Identity (HKDI) or Macau Travel Permit must have at least 6 months’ validity at the time of submitting the visa application. Before your travel, we recommend confirming with the airline or cruise company whether they allow foreigners to check in and board.

Q2: Can I apply for a visa in Hong Kong if I am residing outside of Hong Kong or Macau?

The Consulate-General of Japan in Hong Kong only accepts visa applications from residents of Hong Kong or Macau who hold Hong Kong or Macau identity cards and residency visas. Temporary visitors are not eligible for visa applications.

Q3: Do I need to apply for a visa if I am going to travel to third countries from Hong Kong via an airport in Japan?

If you are going to stay in the “transit area” of the airport without leaving Japan, and you are taking a connecting flight to another country on the same day, you do not need a visa because you will not make an application for permission to land. However, if you plan to enter Japan, even if it’s just for a few hours during transit, you will need to obtain a “Transit Visa” in advance for Japanese Immigration inspection. Please note that all visas, including “Transit Visas,” cannot be issued at the airports/ports. However, nationals or citizens of countries and territories with visa exemption are not required to obtain visas for these situations.

Visa Application Procedures

Q4: How do I apply?

For all visa application procedures, except for cases involving diplomatic/official matters and humanitarian assistance, the Japan Visa Application Centre in Hong Kong handles all the processes. In general, applicants must submit their visa applications in person at the Japan Visa Application Centre. Please note that applications submitted by post, fax, or email will not be accepted.

Q5: Can the visa application be submitted by a proxy?

Only family members (excluding minors) residing at the same address as the applicant, or an accredited agency, are allowed to submit visa applications on behalf of the applicant to the Japan Visa Application Centre. However, even if applying by proxy, the application form must be signed by the applicant. Please confirm in advance whether accredited agencies can handle your nationality and visa type, as there may be limitations.

Q6: Why wasn’t my visa application accepted?

There are several reasons why your visa application may not be accepted. These include:

  1. Applications from persons holding Japanese nationality.
  2. Applications made to the Japanese Embassy/Consulate General outside of your country (region) of birth or residence (referring to Hong Kong or Macau).
  3. Holding a valid visa or re-entry permit.
  4. Reapplying for the same purpose of visit within six months after a previous visa application was rejected.
  5. The visa application is already being processed at a different Japanese Embassy/Consulate General.
  6. Submitted documents contain errors or omissions.
  7. The period of validity or visa attachment space in your passport is insufficient.
  8. The application is made by a person who does not have the qualifications to make a proxy application.
  9. An application for issuance of a Certificate of Eligibility is still pending.

Application Examination

Q7: How long is the application examination period?

The processing time for visa applications is usually around 1 week from the date of submission. However, the duration may vary if additional documents, an interview, or inquiries are required. For visa applications made for the purpose of a long-term stay without a Certificate of Eligibility, the examination may take longer (from several weeks to several months). It is highly recommended to apply well in advance of your scheduled departure.

Q8: Why was I asked to provide additional documents?

In some cases, we may require additional information or documents during the examination process. Each applicant’s situation is unique, and sometimes we may only become aware of specific requirements after the initial application has been accepted. Failure to submit the requested additional documents will result in the non-processing of your application, and your visa will not be issued.

Q9: My departure date is approaching, can the visa be issued as soon as possible?

We cannot make a decision on issuing or rejecting a visa application until the necessary examination has been completed. Applications are processed in the order they are received. Therefore, it is advisable to apply for your visa as soon as your travel plans are confirmed.

Issuance or Rejection of the Visa Application

Q10: Can the visa application be collected by a third party?

While the applicant is usually required to collect the visa application result in person, a third party may collect it on behalf of the applicant (except if specified otherwise). The third party must present the receipt issued by the Japan Visa Application Centre, their Hong Kong or Macau identity card, and the visa application fee.

Q11: Why was my visa application rejected?

Visa applications may be rejected if they do not meet the criteria for visa issuance. Some common reasons for rejection are:

  • The applicant’s passport is not authentic or valid.
  • The submitted documents contain false information.
  • The applicant has been sentenced to imprisonment for 1 year or more.
  • The applicant has been convicted and sentenced for a drug offense.
  • The applicant has been deported or removed from Japan before the required period has elapsed.
  • The purpose of the visit to Japan does not conform to the authorized activities under the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act.
  • The purpose of the visit to Japan does not conform to the criteria set by the Ministry of Justice.
  • There is a possibility that the applicant may commit acts detrimental to the interests or public security of Japan.

Q12: Is it possible for the submitted documents to be returned?

Please note that all submitted documents, except passports, will not be returned to the applicant. The Consulate General of Japan manages personal information in accordance with the Act on the Protection of Personal Information Held by Administrative Organs. The Japan Visa Application Centre and accredited agencies that handle visa applications must gain the approval of the Consulate General of Japan and agree to manage personal information appropriately based on the same criteria.


We hope this Q & A session has provided you with valuable information about Japanese visas. If you have any further questions or concerns, feel free to contact the Consulate-General of Japan in Hong Kong. Remember to plan your visa application well in advance to ensure a smooth travel experience to Japan. Happy travels!

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