If you’re planning a trip outside Japan for the holiday season, you probably know that you’ll need more than just an airline ticket and a hotel booking – the pandemic is still making international travel tricky, to say the least. Even if you aren’t going overseas for the holidays, it’s good to keep up-to-date on what you’ll need for any future trips.
Travelling during the pandemic is smoother than it used to be, but there’s still a lot of paperwork to sort out. So we’ve put together this checklist of all the required documents you’ll need when leaving – and returning to – Japan. Do note that rules and restrictions are subject to sudden change, so you should still confirm all the requirements of your airline and your destination to make sure you have everything you need.
Negative Covid-19 test certificate
Many airlines and countries require travellers to show valid certification of a negative Covid-19 test from up to 72 hours prior to departure and/or arrival at your destination. These medical centres in Tokyo and Osaka offer PCR tests and negative test certificates. Although some centres allow walk-ins, it’s best to book an appointment ahead of time to make sure you get a test within that 72-hour window.
You’ll also want to check to see if your destination requires the original copy of the negative test certificate or if a digital copy (aka an e-copy) will suffice, as some medical centres will provide the travel certificate via email. Be sure to make extra copies of your documents for safekeeping.
Proof of vaccination, vaccine passport or proof of recovery
Depending on your destination, proof of vaccination may be required for entry, or to avoid quarantine. Japan’s vaccine passport is currently accepted in 68 countries and regions and allows for relaxed entry measures for vaccine passport holders travelling from Japan. However, entry restrictions vary between countries and regions, so you could still be subject to a quarantine period. You’ll have to check with the embassy or consulate of your destination to find out what to expect. For more information on how to apply for Japan’s vaccine passport, visit here.
If you have recently contracted Covid-19, some countries or regions may require you to show documentation to prove you have recovered from Covid-19, along with a negative test certificate before your departure.
Wearing an appropriate face mask is required for boarding aircraft and entering most airports, so make sure you bring enough for your travels.
Returning to Japan
Japan is still closed to tourists and only allows residents, Japanese nationals, vaccinated business travellers, foreign students and technical trainees to enter the country. So make sure your visa is valid before you leave, and that you have a valid re-entry permit.
Upon your return to Japan, you must provide a negative Covid-19 test certificate from up to 72 hours prior to your arrival into Japan in a valid format. You'll also be asked to install necessary apps on your phone to report your quarantine location and health condition. You’ll have to fill in an online questionnaire upon your arrival as well as submit a written pledge at the airport quarantine station, promising to follow quarantine rules.
For more details about entering Japan, visit the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
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