When it comes to visiting Japan, I know that a lot of people dread one thing — obtaining a visa to enter Japan. The application of the visa itself doesn’t cost a thing, but to go through the 7-step process can be more than a little time consuming.
When Shinzo Abe was elected as Prime Minister of Japan once more, he’d vowed to fix Japan’s derailing economy. Among other things, Abe’s administration had planned to boost Japan’s tourism industry (which received a shock post recent tsunami incident) and one way to do this, is to provide some leeway for tourists from South Asian countries. It’s news that many of us have been waiting for — from the 1st of July 2013, Malaysians are exempted from obtaining a visa for a short visit to Japan!
Visa application made easy for those eligible for the exemption
This exemption does not apply to everyone though. You’re exempted only if (1) you’re a holder of the “biometric passport with embedded microchip” which complies with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards and (2) you’re planning to stay in Japan for less than three months.
So if you’ve got the biometric passport with embedded microchip, you don’t need to apply for a visa! When you feel like it, an impromptu trip to Japan over the weekend is now doable.
Read more about the visa requirement exemption from the press release by the Embassy of Japan in Malaysia here.
Visa application made simpler for those not eligible for the exemption
If you’re still using an ordinary passport or planning to stay in Japan longer than three months, you’ll still need to apply for a visa. However, they’ve made it a lot simpler than previously. All you need are:
- Original passport
- The visa application form (download here)
- A photo measuring 4.5 x 4.5 inches, with white background, taken within 6 months of application date
You can submit the the three documents to:
The Japanese Embassy
Off Jalan Tun Razak
8.30 a.m. – 12.00p.m
2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m.
The embassy will call and request for additional details, should they require so. If your application is complete, passport will be ready for collection within two working days.
Read more about the new visa application requirement here.