Narita airport
Photo: Bazta/DreamstimeStock image of Narita Airport

Foreign residents are now allowed to re-enter Japan with new guidelines

From September 1, foreign residents are allowed to enter Japan provided they pass a PCR test and self-isolate

Kasey Furutani
Written by
Kasey Furutani

At the end of August, there was a plethora of re-entry and travel bubble news. To reduce the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus, only Japanese citizens and travellers from an ever-shrinking number of destinations have been allowed into the country. Recently, things have been looking up for Japan’s foreign residents and prospective tourists as travel corridors with Malaysia and Singapore are reported to be in the works. In the meantime, entry restrictions for foreign students could also be relaxed soon. Prior to his resignation announcement on August 28, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the entry ban for all foreign residents will be lifted on September 1. 

Previously, foreign residents could only enter Japan if they could prove ‘exceptional circumstances’ or if they had left Japan before the country or region they travelled to was added to the entry ban list. It’s a big step forward to allow all foreign residents back into Japan, although the announcement comes with a new list of guidelines to follow. Whether you’re planning on re-entering Japan, or temporarily leaving, here’s a summary of what you’ll need to do.

If you left Japan on or before August 31 and are seeking re-entry, you’ll need to provide:

A re-entry Confirmation Letter from your country or region’s Japanese embassy. 

A certificate of a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result conducted within 72 hours of your flight’s departure time.

Additionally, returning residents will have to self-quarantine for 14 days and not use public transport.

For more information on documents and accepted coronavirus test methods, see here

If you plan to leave Japan on September 1 or later with the intention of returning, you’ll need to: 

Submit a detailed itinerary of your planned trip, along with an application for a ‘request of intention to re-enter Japan’, to the Immigration Services Agency (ISA). Once you receive a document confirming your request has been approved, you will be allowed to travel.

Upon departure, you’ll submit a document receipt to an immigration officer. 

Residents can apply via the email address on the ISA’s official website. It’s possible the request will be denied due to the large number of people applying. 

All returning residents will be required to take new PCR tests upon returning to Japan. They will also have to self-quarantine for 14 days and not use public transport. 

For more information, see the Ministry of Foreign Affairs official website. For information specific to re-entry, see here.

Follow live updates on the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in Tokyo and Japan here

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