On July 26, local wards began accepting applications for Japan’s long-awaited Covid-19 vaccine passports. Japan’s vaccine passport, which is based on a similar certification system implemented by the European Union, is seen as the next step towards resuming international travel safely and widely.
Here’s everything you need to know about the newly launched vaccine passport and how to apply for one.
What is it?
The vaccine passport certifies that you have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before travelling overseas. Though border measures vary according to each country’s individual restrictions, travellers who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus may be exempted from certain entry measures, or be granted a shorter quarantine period than unvaccinated travellers.
Your vaccine passport will include general information including your name and date of birth, as well as the type of vaccine you received and dates of inoculation. On December 20, the government launched a digital vaccine passport in addition to the paper document. The digital vaccine passport is currently only available in Japanese and you can only register for a digital certificate via the app if you have a My Number card.
Note: All citizens and residents of Japan are automatically issued paper My Number cards, but the digital vaccine passport requires that you have a plastic credit-card-sized My Number card, which you can apply for at your local ward office. While the time it takes for the card to be issued will vary across municipalities, you should receive your card within a month after applying.
Where can I use it?
As of December 20 2021, the following 76 countries and regions have agreed to relax entry measures for vaccine passport holders travelling from Japan:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- Hong Kong
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- Republic of Kosovo
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Solomon Islands
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
- Vatican City
Note that entry measures vary between countries and regions, meaning you may still be subject to a quarantine period, so be sure to check the specific entry conditions of your destination before making travel arrangements.
How do I apply?
There are three main ways to apply for the paper vaccine passport: submitting your application via post, submitting your application online, or submitting your application in person at your local ward office. Additionally, if you have a plastic My Number card, you can apply for a digital version of the vaccine passport by downloading the Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate App.
For the paper version of the vaccine passport, the method of application available to you will depend on which ward you live in. Check the official website of your local ward to see which methods are available to you.
Whichever method you use, you’ll need to provide the following documents:
- a vaccine passport application form
- proof of vaccination
- a copy of your passport
- a copy of your vaccination coupon
The vaccine passport application form can be downloaded from the official website of your local ward. According to The Japan Times, if you have lost your vaccination coupon, you may use a copy of a document that includes proof of your address or My Number instead.
To apply by post, send all the documents above to your local ward office. The application for the passport is free, but you must include an addressed return envelope along with an ¥84 stamp so that the ward is able to send you your vaccine passport.
If your local ward is accepting in-person applications, you’ll need to bring the aforementioned documents to the corresponding service desk of your local ward office. In-person applications are usually processed within the same day they are submitted, but some wards require applicants to make a reservation in advance.
If your local ward is accepting electronic applications, you will be able to find a link to the online application process through the website of your ward. You’ll also need scanned copies of all those application documents, of course. Because priority is given to those with immediate travel plans, the online application will require you to disclose the country you are travelling to and your anticipated travel date.
How do I get a digital vaccine passport?
To apply for the digital version of the Covid-19 vaccine passport, you must first download the Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate App available for iPhone and Android. After downloading the app, use your smartphone to scan your My Number card. To use the app’s 2D barcode for international travel, you will then need to input your passport information.
According to Kyodo News, users must consent to sharing their personal data with the Vaccination Record System. Those who don’t give consent will not be able to use the digital passport.
Haven't booked your vaccine yet? Here's our guide on how to get your Covid-19 vaccine in Japan.
This article was originally published on July 28 and updated on December 20.
More from Time Out
Want to be the first to know what’s cool in Tokyo? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest updates from Tokyo and Japan.