visa-free travel, valid vaccines, PCR tests and more

At long last, we can soon welcome you back to Japan as the country is reopening fully for international tourism. Starting October 11, Japan will resume visa-free entry and independent travel after two-plus years of tight border restrictions. The daily entry cap will also be scrapped along with the red-yellow-blue country classification scheme.

Some details are still being finalized by the government at the time of publication, but we will keep you updated as more information is released. In the meantime, here’s what we know so far about the new entry protocols.

No more quarantine

This is a big one. Until October 10, which of the three entry protocols travelers need to follow will depend on whether the country they are arriving from falls into the ‘red’, ‘yellow’ or ‘blue’ category. According to Nikkeihowever, Japan will ditch this red-yellow-blue country classification system along with the last of its quarantine requirements upon reopening.

Tourists coming from countries that were previously deemed to be ‘high-risk’ for Covid-19 will no longer be required to quarantine. Only travelers who are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms will be administered a PCR test on arrival. More information here (in Japanese only).

Tourists will no longer be required to book their trips via travel agencies

Spontaneous travel is back on as tourists won’t be required to book their accommodation and flight tickets through travel agencies starting October 11. This also means tourists will no longer have to obtain a certificate through the Entrants, Returnees Follow-up System (ERFS) .

Visa-free travel is back on

While Japan suspended its visa exemption agreements for the majority of the pandemic, the government will allow for visa-free travel again starting October 11. This means that passport holders from any of these 68 countries and regions designated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will no longer be required to apply for a tourist visa.

No pre-arrival PCR tests for triple-vaccinated travelers

In September, Japan changed the entry rules to exempt fully-vaccinated (booster dose included) travelers from pre-arrival PCR tests. Non-vaccinated travelers will be required to submit a negative PCR test 72 hours before departing for Japan.

Accepted Covid-19 vaccines

Japan is also expanding its list of valid Covid-19 vaccinations to be in line with those approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization. So on top of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen, Bharat Biotech and Novavax vaccines, Japan will accept Sinopharm, Sinovac and Convidecia vaccines from October 11. More information here (in Japanese only).

For the latest border rules, check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

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