GENERAL VISA INFORMATION
The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo is located at:
1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420 JAPAN.
The general telephone number is +81-3-3224-5000.
The general fax number is +81-3-3505-1862.
For inquiries on nonimmigrant visas and immigrant visas, the Visa Application Services Call Center provides free operator assisted immigrant and non-immigrant visa information to callers in Japanese or English. The service is available between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm Monday through Friday (except on American and Japanese holidays). The number for the Call Center is 646-259-0526 (from the U.S.); 03-6743-9732 (Tokyo); 06-6943-6700 (Osaka); and 098-854-7050 (Naha).
Alternatively, individual questions about the visa application process for nonimmigrant visas and immigrant visas may be made by e-mail for free: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Skype can be also used to chat with a customer service representative. A detailed instruction can be found at: http://japan.usembassy.gov/e/visa/tvisa-contact.html.
NOTE: Inquiries are restricted to U.S. visa matters at the application stage of the process, meaning that this method of inquiry may not be used to
ask questions regarding matters involving the USCIS (U.S. Immigration). Additionally, questions regarding ESTA cannot be answered. For information regarding ESTA, please access the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website: https://help.cbp.gov/.
APPLICATIONS FOR NONIMMIGRANT VISAS
A nonimmigrant visa is required by any individual seeking temporary admission into the United States who is not eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program or is not exempt from the visa requirement. Nonimmigrant visas cover visits to the United States for tourism, business, work or study.
As of July 1, 2004, most applicants need an in-person interview with a U.S. consular officer when applying for a visa.
For the following applicants, however, a personal appearance and interview are not required:
- Applicants seeking non-immigrant visas in the following classes: A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1, NATO-2, NATO-3, NATO-4, NATO-5, or NATO-6;
- Those 13 years of age or under; and
- Those 80 years of age or older, and:
- Applicants who renew visas if they meet the following qualifications:
- The last visa was issued on or after November 1, 2007;
- All ten fingerprints were captured at a prior interview;
- The previous visa is currently valid, or has expired within the last twelve months;
- The applicant is applying for the exact same type of visa;
- The applicant is applying to the same location where his/her last visa was issued. The previous visa will state the issuing post in the top left corner. (Note that if you applied in Sapporo your visa was issued in Tokyo, if you applied in Fukuoka, your visa was issued in Osaka/Kobe). You have to send applications to these posts; and
- The visa does not have “Clearance received” written on it.
For those who are exempt from the interview requirement, please apply for a visa by mail or through a travel agent.
NOTE: As of March 23, 2012, a return envelope is no longer required. Visa'ed passports will be sent to visa applicants at no cost.
The applicant should not make final travel arrangements until the nonimmigrant visa has been issued and the applicant is in possession of his visa’ed passport. Applicants who arrive at the U.S. Embassy more than thirty minutes after their scheduled visa appointment interview will not be seen by a consular officer. They will be required to reschedule a new appointment for another day. Please note that visa processing times may be considerably longer for an applicant who has indicated a past arrest or criminal conviction on their DS-160 visa application form.
Please visit the US Travel Docs website (http://www.ustraveldocs.com/jp/index.html) for details regarding visa types, application requirements, and application fees.
Complete the visa application (Form DS-160) online at http://ceac.state.gov/genniv/. Print the Confirmation Page when finished.
Please go to the website for the online applicant system (https://cgifederal.secure.force.com/?language=English&country=Japan), and create a profile. As you complete the profile, the online applicant system will display the proper amount of visa application fee you are required to pay. Please follow the instruction, and pay the visa application fee by Credit Card, or using the Pay Easy ATM or Online Banking. After the payment process is completed, you will be provided with a receipt number. It is very important to print the page and save your receipt number as you will need the number to schedule your appointment for an interview.
Please access to the above-mentioned website for the online applicant system to schedule your appointment. After you pay the visa application fee, you can schedule your appointment with your receipt number within 4 hours. You can also call the US Travel Docs Call Center to schedule your appointment.
Come to the Embassy/Consulate for your interview on the appointed day. Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early. In addition to your supporting documents for the visa application listed on each visa type page, you must bring your passport, DS-160 Confirmation Page, a printed copy of your appointment letter, and a passport-size photo. Non-Japanese applicants must also take their valid Japanese Re-Entry Permit, photocopy of both sides of their Japanese Alien Registration Card, if applicable, and their family members' passports, even if they are not traveling with you or applying for a visa.
Passports with visas will be returned to you at your home or business at no extra cost or you may pick them up at the nearest Post Office. You will specify the method and address when you make your appointment.
Why is there a fee?
The United States Congress requires American embassies and consulates to collect a Machine Readable Visa (MRV) application fee for each application processed. These fees are used to pay for security improvements to the United States visa and entry control system.
All non-immigrant visa applicants must pay a nonrefundable visa application fee, payable in Japanese Yen. The yen-dollar exchange rate used to calculate this fee changes monthly.
The only applicants exempt from this fee are those who are applying for A (diplomatic), G (International Organizations), C-3 (diplomatic/official transit) visas, and J-1 (exchange visitor program) applicants participating in the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs or USAID sponsored programs listed as G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-7 on the DS-2019.
- To prevent multiple bookings by the same person, the Embassy/Consulate reserves the right to cancel any appointments which do not appear to be valid reservations. Please spell your name correctly. Multiple name spellings with the same or similar passport numbers may be subject to cancellation.
- Your appointment time printed on the confirmation letter is when you will be allowed to queue up outside of the Embassy gate to gain admission to the Embassy. It is NOT the time when you will be interviewed. Your documents will be checked at the entrance to the visa section. Please make sure documents are placed in the specified order. Your interview will take place after the initial paperwork and processing are complete. You can expect to wait about an hour and a half to two hours at the Embassy. Reading material is permitted, but electronic devices (including mobile phones), food, beverages and large bags are not allowed into the Embassy. Electronic devices can be checked at the Embassy entrance.
- Applicants who do not arrive at their scheduled appointment time will be refused admission to the premises. Please do not arrive early for your appointment as you will not be allowed to queue up prior to your scheduled appointment time.
- Due to space limitations in our waiting room, the primary applicant will be the only person allowed into the building unless the applicant is a minor child (age 17 and under) accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or is disabled and requiring assistance. Other parties (including relatives, friends, co-workers, employers, lawyers, etc.) will not be allowed into the building unless requested to do so by a Consulate official.
ALL Nonimmigrant visa applicants, whether presented during an in-person interview or sent by mail, must include the following completed documentation:
- Current passport valid at least 6 months beyond the applicant’s stay in the U.S. (such six month requirement has been waived for Japanese nationals), and previous passports issued in the past 10 years.
- DS-160 Confirmation Page.
- Photograph. A 5cm x 5cm color photo with a white background, taken within the last six months. The head (measured from the top of the hair to the bottom of the chin) should measure between 25 to 35mm with the head centered in the frame facing straight ahead. Please staple or tape it to the DS-160 Confirmation Page.
- Court and/or Police Records (if applicable). Applicants with arrest or criminal records must include a copy of court and/or arrest record (including cases that ended with an acquittal or pardon), and a certified English translation, if applicable. In the event there was no trial, a detailed letter must be provided in English explaining the circumstances surrounding the arrest. Arrest or criminal records are not issued in Japan without a letter from the Embassy. At the time of the interview, the Embassy will provide the applicant with such a letter if it determines that such a letter is needed.
- Appointment Confirmation Letter. Please note that your appointment time printed on the confirmation letter is when you will be allowed to line up outside of the U.S. Embassy gate to enter to the Embassy. It is not the time when you will be interviewed.
ALL Non-Japanese applicants (third country nationals) must, in addition, include the following documentation:
- Valid Japanese Re-Entry Permit, which can be obtained at the Regional Immigration Bureau.
- Photocopy of both sides of the Japanese Alien Registration Card (if applicable).
- Family Members’ Passports. You must bring them with you and present them to the U.S. Consular officer even if they are not traveling with you or applying for a visa.
- Evidence of Marital Status, such as family register or marriage/divorce certificate.
ALL Applicants for Business Visas (B-1) or Tourist Visas (B-2) must also include:
- Proof of Employment or enrollment in school (if applicable).
- Proof of Finances; Proof that you can support yourself during your entire stay in the U.S. without working, e.g. pay statement that shows regular monthly salary and bank books with regular history of deposits and withdrawals, etc.
- Travel itinerary and/or other explanation about your planned trip.
- Invitation Letter; If you are invited to visit someone in the U.S., provide information about who is inviting you, purpose of travel, and planned itinerary or schedule. No invitation letter is needed if you are only sightseeing in the U.S.
- Non-Japanese applicants going to the U.S. to participate in a science or technology-related conference must bring a complete CV or resume, a complete list of publications (if applicable) and a letter of acceptance/invitation from the conference organizer.
ALL Applicants for Student Visas (F, M) or Exchange Visitor Visas (J) must also include:
- Form I-20 (SEVIS) for F and M student visas. Family members seeking F-2 and M-2 status must submit their own copies of Form I-20.
- If you are applying for Optional Practical Training, you should also bring the original Employment Authorization Card together with your endorsed I-20 Form.
- Form DS-2019 (SEVIS) for J exchange visitor visas. Family members seeking J-2 status must submit their own copies of Form DS-2019.
- Signed form DS-7002 for J exchange visitor visas (trainee/intern only) issued by the program sponsor.
- I-901 Fee Confirmation. Proof of payment of SEVIS fee must be included since it must be paid prior to visa interview.
- Proof of funds to cover all expenses. All F-1 visa applicants planning to study for more than one year must bring proof of funds to cover the first year’s expenses such as bank statements.
- School transcripts. Applicants who studied in the U.S. in the five years immediately prior to applying for a student visa must provide transcripts of their studies in the U.S. Applicants who have not yet studied in the U.S. must provide transcripts of the three years of study in either Japan or in a foreign country other than the U.S. immediately prior to applying for a student visa.
- Science and Technology-related programs or study. Those applicants who are going to the U.S. to follow a science and technology-related course of study must bring a complete CV or resume, a complete list of publications (if applicable), and a letter of acceptance/invitation to the school or program.
ALL Applicants for Temporary Work Visas (H, L) or Athletes and Artists Visa (O, P) must also include:
- Original I-797 Approval Notice.
- Photocopy of I-129 Petition submitted to the USCIS.
- Proof of Employment. Letter of job offer/contract and most recent pay statement from US company. For Blanket L applicants, they will be required to submit the following documentation:
- 1 original and 2 copies of form I-129S filled out with your position.
- 3 copies of I-797.
- 3 copies of the recommendation letter from your employer.
- 3 copies of the list of subsidiary and affiliated companies in the U.S. (if appropriate).
ALL Applicants for Treaty Trader/Investor Visas (E-1/E-2) must also include:
- Company letter describing the enterprise, the applicant’s qualifications and number of family members intending to travel. This letter must address all requirements for E visa eligibility.
- Corporate organizational chart of your U.S. company showing how your position fits into the organization. You must also describe your subordinate employee’s job titles and immigration statuses.
- Detailed resume including references with contact information.
- If your last submission of an annual report was more than 1 year ago, you also need to submit an updated DS-156E, Form 1120 and Financial Statements.
Please kindly note that as with all Embassies and Consulates, local procedures and policies often change. Attorneys should confirm the continuing accuracy of the information provided herein, and update said information as and when required.
The applicant should not make final travel arrangements until the nonimmigrant visa has been issued and the applicant is in possession of his visa'ed passport.
APPLICATIONS FOR IMMIGRANT VISAS
Individuals who wish to reside in the U.S. permanently require an immigrant visa. The three most common immigrant visa categories are family based (certain relatives of U.S. citizens or green card holders), employment based, and Diversity Visas for winners of the DV lottery.
Please note that because of security concerns, walk-in visitors seeking information on immigrant visas are no longer allowed. Only those with visa appointment interviews or those seeking to report a lost green card will be admitted to the Immigrant Visa Section of the U.S. Embassy.
There are two steps in applying for an Immigrant Visa:
Step 1: Filing An Immigrant Visa Petition
The first step in obtaining an immigrant visa is to file an I-130 petition.
Effective August 15, 2011, petitioners residing overseas who wish to file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, may do so as follows:
If the petitioner resides in a country such as Japan where USCIS does not have a public counter presence, the Form I-130 must be filed with the USCIS Chicago Lockbox at one of the addresses below:
USCIS Chicago Lockbox addresses for regular mail deliveries:
P.O. Box 804625
Chicago, IL 60680-4107
USCIS Chicago Lockbox address for express mail and courier deliveries:
131 South Dearborn-3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517
If the petitioner resides in a country such as Korea in which USCIS has a public counter presence, the Form I-130 may be filed directly with the USCIS field office or through the USCIS Chicago Lockbox at one of the above addresses.
Step 2: Apply for an Immigrant Visa
After the immigrant visa petition has been approved and (if applicable) the priority date is current, the second step is the submission of the immigrant visa application by the beneficiary of the petition.
If your I-130 petition was filed in Tokyo or Naha before August 15, 2011:
As soon as the petition is approved, or the priority date is current, the U.S. Embassy will ask you to prepare all of the necessary documents for your application. Read the instructions carefully and when all of the necessary documents have been gathered and forms completed, an appointment can be requested through the website (http://japan.usembassy.gov/e/visa/tvisa-ivinterviewcheck2.html). For the document checklist and an interview appointment in Tokyo or Naha, please go to the abovementioned website.
If the petition was filed in the U.S.:
If the petition was filed in the U.S. at Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the National Visa Center (NVC) will provide instructions directly to the petitioner and beneficiary. It is vital that NVC be provided with a correct mailing address and that all instructions be followed promptly. Failure to do so will result in delay in transferring the petition to the U.S. Embassy. Please see the Visa Processing at the National Visa Center page for more information (http://japan.usembassy.gov/e/visa/tvisa-ivnatlvisacenter.html).
If you filed a form DS-117 (returning resident) or I-360 (widow/ers) petition in Tokyo or Naha:
If returning resident status or widow/ers petition is approved, the U.S. Embassy will ask you to prepare all of the necessary documents for your application. Read the instructions carefully and when all of the necessary documents have been gathered and forms completed, an appointment can be requested through the website (http://japan.usembassy.gov/e/visa/tvisa-ivinterviewcheck2.html). For the document checklist and an interview appointment in Tokyo or Naha, please go to the abovementioned website.
AMERICAN CITIZEN SERVICES
The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo provides the following services to American citizens living in Japan:
- U.S. passport services
- Information on Driving in Japan (International and Japanese Drivers Licenses)
- Report of Birth of a baby, Baby’s first U.S. passport, and social security number
- Dual nationality issues for children born to one American and one Japanese parent
- Information on Notaries and Powers of Attorney
- Information on Adoption in Japan
- Information on procedures involving getting married or divorced in Japan
- U.S. military services
- IRS Taxpayer assistance, including current rates of exchange
- Information on obtaining visas to Japan
- Information on obtaining visas to China
- Providing service of locating vital records documents, such as Marriage Certificates, criminal record checks or police clearances, or other essential documentation from individual U.S. states (birth certificates, driver’s licenses) or from the U.S. State Department. Please note that the U.S. Embassy does not keep any record of any official documents, even if issued by the U.S. Embassy, and must apply for copies of them through the appropriate official channels.
- Judicial assistance (taking depositions in Japan, service of process, obtaining evidence, video services, visas for attorneys deposing in Japan).
- Voting abroad by absentee ballot
- Locating someone in Japan, whether an adult or child
- List of English-speaking doctors, lawyers, detectives, schools both in English and Japanese language schools categorized by prefecture
- List of English language newspapers available in Japan
- List of stenographers/court reporters, as well as interpreters and translators throughout Japan
- List of English speaking private detectives, English speaking realtors and churches providing English language services available in the Tokyo Metropolitan area
For a list of all of the services the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo provides in Japan for Americans, please visit the Embassy site at http://tokyo.usembassy.gov/e/acs/tacs-atoz.html.