Japanese citizens interested in traveling to Europe will soon be required to apply for the new European Travel Information Authorization System (ETIAS). This electronic visa waiver will be fully implemented in 2021 and will be required for Japanese citizens wishing to visit an EU Schengen country from that date onwards.
The ETIAS visa waiver is being developed to combat terrorism and illegal immigration within the Schengen zone’s borders. Whilst at present Japanese visitors to Europe do not require a visa or travel authorization for short stays of up to three months, from January 2021 an ETIAS will be absolutely necessary for Japanese citizens visiting many EU countries.
What Authorization Do Japanese Citizens Need to Enter Europe?
There is presently no EU visa waiver for Japanese citizens for stays of less than 90 days. After 2021, though, Japanese citizens traveling to Europe from Japan will need an ETIAS visa waiver, that will be valid for 3 years.
During those 3 years of validity, Japanese passport holders will be able to spend 90 days in the Schengen area during any 180 day period for business, tourism or transit purposes. For longer stays or for trips for other purposes, a Schengen visa for Japanese citizens, or an appropriate national visa will be necessary.
With a valid ETIAS visa waiver for Japanese travelers, it is possible to enter any European Schengen country that this visa waiver applies to. The ETIAS visa waiver for Japanese citizens aims to reduce restrictions, while still maintaining a high level of international security.
As the ETIAS travel authorization for Japanese citizens applies to the entirety of the Schengen area you will able to travel to any of the 26 member states. You will be required to register a specified country of entry, however, once you have arrived in Europe, you will then be able to visit any country that participates in the agreement.
This includes all EU member states in the Schengen agreement which are:
How Can Japanese Citizens Apply for ETIAS to Visit Europe?
To obtain an ETIAS visa waiver for Japan, Japanese citizens will need:
- A valid Japanese passport with over 3 months remaining from the date of intended arrival to Europe
- A credit or debit card
- An email address
These are the main ETIAS requirements for Japanese citizens that each applicant must provide during the application process. Please note that without these documents, applicants can be denied an ETIAS visa waiver. Additionally, users should also be aware that once an ETIAS has been approved it is then linked directly to the Japanese citizen’s passport number. If their passport expires (or is lost or stolen) before the expiration of the ETIAS, it will be necessary to apply for a new ETIAS before traveling to Europe with a new passport.
When applying for a Europe visa waiver, passports must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the intended period of stay. This is due to EU rules on EU visas needing to last a minimum of 3 months. For this reason, passports that are more than 10 years old may not be acceptable travel documents.
Japanese citizens can apply online for an ETIAS by completing an online ETIAS registration. The enrolment process will be quick and simple and very similar to the ESTA for travelers to the U.S. Much like that travel authorization, applicants will need to fill out an online form and answer some security questions.
During the application process, Japanese registrants will be required to submit their personal information. They will need to provide their:
- Full name and surname
- Date of birth
- Country of birth
- Current address
- A working contact telephone number
For security and immigration purposes, the applicant will also need to answer a few questions on their employment status and any criminal record details. They will need to respond to questions on the subject of:
- The applicant’s educational background
- Their current employment status
- Any criminal record held in Japan
- Any convictions related to human trafficking
- Travel to conflict areas
- Whether they have overstayed a visa or been deported from a country before
This approval process will allow European immigration officials to prescreen travelers before they even board their flight to Europe. Visitor data will be checked across numerous informational and criminal databases including:
- EUROPOL DATA
- SLTD (INTERPOL)
- TDAWN (INTERPOL)
These will check to see if tourists applying for an ETIAS have any records of misdemeanors on the Europe-wide databases. This is intended to ensure that terrorism and criminal activity can be effectively prevented in the free travel area of Europe.
Furthermore, to complete an ETIAS the user must pay a nominal fee. Once this is paid, the process is complete and the applicant need only wait for their approved ETIAS visa waiver. The ETIAS visa waiver for Europe must be paid in advance by making a secure payment via credit or debit card.
Once the ETIAS application for a Japanese citizen has been fully completed and submitted, approval will be given within approximately 96 hours. The approved ETIAS will then be sent to the user’s registered email address where it can be utilized immediately.
Traveling to Europe from Japan with ETIAS
Once an ETIAS visa waiver for Japanese citizens has been approved, prospective travelers need then only print off and present their valid travel authorization at the border to their country of arrival. It is important to be aware, however, that an ETIAS is not a guarantee of entry into Europe.
National border guards at your airport or port of arrival will have final say over whether you can be granted entry into the Schengen area. If the border authorities suspect or find evidence that you are planning to overstay, seek work in Europe, import contraband or otherwise contravene the terms of your ETIAS then you could be rejected from entering the country in question.
There will also be other restrictions and regulations to keep in mind when traveling to Europe from Japan which is similar to those currently in place. These include a ban on firearms, importing and exporting tobacco, alcohol, perfume, or currency. Bringing any of these into the Schengen area could lead to denial of entry or the revocation of the ETIAS.
Border guards may additionally ask Japanese citizens for evidence of the following before permitting entry into the Schengen zone:
- Proof of sufficient funds for their trip
- Sufficient travel health insurance coverage
- Return tickets to Japan or proof of onward travel
Please note that only Japanese citizens 18 years of age and older are required to obtain an ETIAS visa waiver to travel to Europe. All minors can travel with the usual passport and will have to apply for an ETIAS authorization.
Applying for a Longer Stay Schengen Visa from Japan
An ETIAS only permits a trip or stay in the Schengen zone of 90 days at a time. For longer stays or for purposes other than those allowed by an ETIAS, it will be necessary for the applicant to register for a Schengen visa. This type of visa is permitted either as a single entry, double-entry or multiple-entry authorization.
To register for this type of visa, applicants will need to make an appointment with the nearest embassy or consulate in Japan of the Schengen country they wish to visit. At the Schengen visa appointment, they will need to present the following documents
- A valid Japanese passport
- A completed Schengen visa application form
- Copies of any Schengen visas previously held by the applicant
- A recent passport-sized photo of the applicant taken against a white background
- Proof of sufficient finances to stay in the Schengen area
- Health insurance for inside the Schengen area
- Round trip flight ticket information
- Any accommodation arrangements made by the traveler
The length of the Schengen visa granted by the embassy or consulate is decided on an individual basis. This ultimately depends on the personal circumstances of the applicant.
Can Japanese citizens Study in Europe with an ETIAS?
Unfortunately Japanese citizens are not permitted to undergo further education in a Schengen country with ETIAS. The visa-waiver is only permitted for limited trips for business or tourism, or to transit through the Schengen area to another destination. Instead Japanese citizens wishing to study in the EU should apply for an appropriate national visa or study visa depending on the country in question.
Is the ETIAS for Japanese Citizens a Visa?
No, ETIAS is not a visa. It is in fact an electronic visa waiver, which can be used by citizens of over 60 eligible countries, in order to enter the Schengen area. It can be applied for online prior to travelling to Europe and streamlines the process of passing through EU immigration border checkpoints on arrival.
How Can I Get a Schengen Visa from Japan
Depending on the length of your stay and purpose of your trip you can travel to Europe either with a Schengen visa or with ETIAS. The Schengen visa must be applied for at an embassy or consulate belonging to your destination country before departing Japan. Alternatively, you can travel to Europe and across all 26 EU Schengen countries with an ETIAS visa waiver, which can be obtained online.