Do Japanese citizens need a visa for Europe?
Beginning in 2022, Japanese passport holders travelling to Europe will be required to apply for and receive a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) visa waiver. ETIAS is not a visa, its intention is to pre-screen important data of travellers from around 60 countries (including Japan) to help strengthen border security of the Schengen Area.
Tourists from Japan who hold an ETIAS and are granted access into the Schengen Area will be able to stay for up to 90 days within a period of 180 days, exiting and re-entering Europe as they please within this time frame. As the Schengen Area was designed to allow for borderless travel once within, travellers will be able to enjoy unrestricted movement within the zone.
Japanese nationals holding a valid ETIAS will not be required to apply for a new ETIAS should they exit, then wish to re-enter, the Schengen Area. They would simply produce their original ETIAS when asked to do so by European border officials.
Like many visa waivers, the ETIAS will not require applicants to apply in person at a consulate or embassy. Instead, Japanese nationals will apply entirely online, completing the application by providing various data points and paying a fee. This means that it will not be necessary to apply from within Japan, providing an added layer of flexibility.
ETIAS requirements for Japanese citizens
Japanese citizens are eligible to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver for travel to the Schengen Area. Below, prospective travellers can find a list of requirements that the European authorities stipulate each applicant must have:
- A valid Japanese (or other ETIAS approved country) passport.
- A credit or debit card, which will be used to pay for the ETIAS application fee for Japanese citizens.
- An active email address so that the decision on whether the waiver has been granted can be communicated.
Each traveller must complete the ETIAS application form accurately and truthfully. If there are errors found in the application, even something as seemingly innocuous as an errant keyboard strike, European authorities have the grounds to delay or deny the application.
The ETIAS application process for Japanese citizens
In addition to paying the ETIAS fee by credit or debit card, ETIAS applications will need to provide the following:
- Personal information including the traveller’s full name, their place of birth, their date of birth, and their gender.
- Contact details such as their current address, email address, and phone number.
- Passport details including the passport number, the country of issue, the date of issue, and the date of expiration.
- Travel plans, most notably which country travellers intend to enter the Schengen Area.
In addition to the above information, visitors will also be required to provide answers to questions about health and criminal record.
If the ETIAS application is accepted, the applicant will receive an email, which they must print out and take with them while travelling as they may be required to show the valid ETIAS to the transportation authorities at their port of departure. They will be required to show the printed out ETIAS to border authorities upon arrival in the Schengen Area.
Although European authorities anticipate an ETIAS waiver acceptance rate of around 95%, the possibility remains that an application may be denied. In the case of a rejected application, the applicant will receive an explanation for the rejection via email. They will then have the right to appeal the decision. Any appeal will be made directly to the individual country that the traveller stated they intended to enter, and will be handled according to the individual laws of that country.
Why the need for ETIAS?
Following a spike in the number of terrorist attacks in Europe in 2016, the proposal for the adoption of the ETIAS system was passed by the European Commission. The stated goal of the program is to maintain the ease with which travellers access and move within the Schengen Area while making for a safer, more secure Europe, not just for its citizens, but for its visitors as well.