The government of Japan announced that all foreign nationals with residence status regardless of visa types, who have left or will leave Japan with a valid re-entry permit or special re-entry permit are eligible to re-enter Japan from 1 September. The procedures differ for those who left by 31 August and those who left on or after 01 September. Any foreign residents who wish to return Japan must complete the appropriate procedures imposed by the government.
The government of Japan announced on 28 August that all foreign nationals with residence status regardless of visa types, who have left or will leave Japan with a valid re-entry permit or special re-entry permit are eligible to re-enter Japan from 1 September 2020.1
The procedures differ for those who left by 31 August and those who left on or after 1 September.2 Any foreign residents who wish to return to Japan must complete the appropriate procedures imposed by the government. Failure to meet the requirements will lead to the refusal of re-entry.
For prior coverage, see GMS Flash Alert 2020-341 (6 August 2020).
Until August, foreign residents could only return to Japan if they left Japan before the entry ban was imposed on their countries of destination, were holding a special permanent resident, or were granted permission from immigration authorities for leaving under special circumstances, such as urgent family or medical matters. The lifting of the re-entry restriction for foreign residents who have been unable to travel to their home countries or did so and had been stuck outside of Japan, will provide relief to them and their multinational employers doing business in Japan.
Under the new policy, around 2.6 million long-term foreign residents in Japan can now leave Japan and be allowed to return without fear of being denied re-entry.3 The additional measures described below will apply to all foreign residents in these categories: permanent resident, spouse or child of a Japanese national, spouse or child of a permanent resident, long-term resident, and those who are considered to have special exceptional circumstances.
Eligible persons are those foreign nationals residing in Japan who have a valid residence card and who plan to travel to a country/region designated as subject to denial of landing. They must obtain either a valid re-entry permit or special re-entry permission for their travel schedule prior to the departure.
A special re-entry permit is for those who will be re-entering Japan within one year of their departure to continue their activities in Japan. This permit can be granted at the border control at the Japanese airport upon departure. A re-entry permit on the other hand is for those who leave Japan for more than one year. The foreign resident must apply for a re-entry permit to the competent Immigration Services Agency prior to departure.
Prior to their departure, foreign residents who wish to leave and return to Japan must submit a request regarding their intention to re-enter Japan along with all required information to the Immigration Service Agency of Japan at the email address below:
1. Residents of the Tokyo Metropolitan area, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Yamanashi, Nagano or Niigata Prefectures: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Residents of areas other than listed above: email@example.com
Required information for the request: (1) residence card number, (2) country/region, (3) name, (4) sex, (5) date of birth, (6) destination, (7) departure date, (8) departure port, (9) re-entry date, (10) re-entry port.4
Requests cannot be submitted without travel plans or more than one month in advance of the expected departure date from Japan. If the request is accepted, foreign residents will receive an email confirmation from the Immigration Services Agency. This email is a “Receipt” for request of re-entry and they must make sure they save the data and/or print the email as the traveller must be able to present a Receipt to the immigration officer at the border control of departure for the proof. It is important to note that those who are planning to leave Japan between 1 - 6 September 2020, must declare their travel schedule directly to the immigration officer at the border control.
Those who already left Japan by 31 August are not eligible to submit such request but must contact the competent Japanese embassy or consulate before leaving the country for Japan, and request the Letter of Confirmation of Submitting Required Documentation for Re-entry into Japan (“Re-Entry Confirmation Letter”).5
All travellers returning Japan are required to take a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test within 72 hours before departing for Japan and must obtain a Certificate of Testing for COVID-19 from a medical facility in the country/region of stay providing proof of a negative test. The entry will be denied if the test result indicates positive.
Upon arrival in Japan, all travellers must undergo inspection for COVID-19 at the quarantine station at the arrival airport. Once completed, they will be asked to present either the Receipt received from the Immigration Services Agency or Re-Entry Confirmation Letter issued by the Japanese embassy/consulate and they must also submit the Certificate of Testing at the border control.
All arrivals are required to undergo 14 days self-isolation. Please see the “Enhanced Quarantine” and “Travellers Check-List” sections of GMS Flash Alert 2020-259, “COVID-19: Border Controls and Travel Restrictions Being Extended” (29 May 2020).
While lifting the re-entry ban for foreign residents, Japan added 13 more nations to its “denied entry” list, bringing the total number to 159 countries and regions. Visa applications at the Japanese embassy or consulate in those “entry ban” countries and regions are still not being accepted until further notice.6
1 See the Ministry of Justice (in Japanese) at: http://www.moj.go.jp/nyuukokukanri/kouhou/nyuukokukanri07_00245.html.
2 See the Ministry of Foreign Affairs webpage (in Japanese) at: https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page4e_001074.html.
3 See the Ministry of Justice webpage (in Japanese) at: http://www.moj.go.jp/nyuukokukanri/kouhou/nyuukokukanri04_00003.html.
4 See the Ministry of Justice webpage (in Japanese) at: http://www.moj.go.jp/nyuukokukanri/kouhou/nyuukokukanri07_00245.html.
5 See the Ministry of Foreign Affairs webpage (in English): https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page25e_000334.html.
6 See the Ministry of Foreign Affairs webpage (in English) at: https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page4e_001053.html.
* Please note the KPMG International member firm in the United States does not provide immigration or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Japan.
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