The European travel information authorization system (ETIAS) will officially launch at the beginning of 2022, after which it will require all the Japanese to apply for the visa waiver. 

This system will help strengthen Schengen borders, ensure security against terror attacks and illegal immigrants. Currently, the Japanese visiting are free to stay in the European countries for up to 3 months without a visa. However, all visitors from Japan need to apply for the visa after the launch of the ETIAS.

WHAT AUTHORISATION DOES JAPANESE NEED TO ENTER EUROPE?

Presently, the Japanese do not need a visa to spend less than 90-days in any European country. However, after 2022 they will need an ETIAS visa waiver. This visa will have a 3-year validity from the date of issuance of passport expiry, whichever comes first.

The ETIAS waiver will allow all the Japanese passport holders to stay 90-days at most in the Schengen region during a 180-day duration. 

The 3-year visa validity will also permit them to travel multiple times to any European country without needing reapplication for every visit. Visitors coming on short trips can stay for business, transit, and tourism purposes. However, if they wish to stay longer, they should either have an appropriate national visa or apply for a Schengen visa.

A valid ETIAS visa waiver grants access to any eligible European or Schengen country. Though the waiver has a goal to reduce restrictions for its visitors, it also aims to maintain high border security.

The Japanese can travel throughout the Schengen region with the ETIAS travel authorization and stay in any of the 26-Member states. They will require to register the arrival country; after which they can visit any participating country.

TRAVEL TO EUROPE FROM JAPAN WITH ETIAS

Once approved, the potential Japanese visitors have to keep a print copy of the travel authorization to present on arrival at the border control. However, the ETIAS visa does not guarantee entry into Europe. The officials at border control will have the right to decide if a visitor can enter the Schengen region or not. A visitor may be refused entry based on proof of overstay, working in the EU without an appropriate visa, or infringement of ETIAS terms and conditions.

Some regulations, like those already applicable, should be kept in mind before traveling to Europe. These include the export and import of banned items such as tobacco, perfume, firearms, alcohol, or money. Bringing any of these may be considered a violation and could lead to the cancellation of ETIAS or denied entry.

The Japanese visitors may have to present proof of the following before the officials grant them access to the Schengen region.

  • Health insurance coverage amounting to euro-30,000.
  • Proof of sufficient funds to travel.
  • Return tickets to the home country or onward travel (in terms of transit).

Only the visitors who are 18 or above need to have an ETIAS visa waiver for Europe. All others younger than this can travel with their regular passports.

HOW CAN JAPANESE CITIZEN APPLY FOR ETIAS TO VISIT EUROPE?

For an approved ETIAS visa, the Japanese travelers will need the following documents;

  • At least a 3-month valid national passport from the date of arrival.
  • A credit or debit card for payment of service charges.
  • A valid email address to receive a visa approval

The Japanese visitors have to provide all these details for the successful application of ETIAS. In case of non-submission, the system may deny the application. Once approved, the authorization will connect directly to the passport number. If a passport expires, gets lost, or stolen before the expiry of ETIAS, he should reapply for a new one before his departure.

When a potential visitor is applying for an ETIAS visa waiver, he must have an additional 3-month passport validity left from his arrival date in the country. This requirement is in line with the European Commission rules, and a passport with a 10-year life or more will deem as unacceptable for travel.

The Japanese visitors can apply for the ETIAS through an online application. The registration procedure is simple and will take a maximum of 10 minutes to complete. It is similar to the USA’s electronic travel authorization system. The applicants have to fill out an online form and answer the required details, including a few health and security-related questions for successful completion.

The application will require personal information from the Japanese including, Full name, contact number, current address, gender, nationality, and EURODAC. The applicants need to answer about their employment status and criminal activity (if any) for immigration and security. Furthermore, the following details may be required.

  • Education of the applicant.
  • Details of any criminal record in the home country.
  • Travel history
  • Employment status.
  • Any trafficking convictions.
  • History of deportation/staying over limit in any country.

All travelers coming to the Schengen area have to pass through this approval process to board their flights. It will allow the immigration officials to prescreen travelers, and determine potential risks and deny their entry into Europe. They will verify the individually collected information across various databases, including Interpol, SIS, Europol, and Eurodac.

This screening process will ease it for the officials to pinpoint fraud immigrants and terrorists and secure the border control further.

For successful submission of the ETIAS, the applicant should pay a nominal service charge of 7-euros. This fee does not apply to minors or travelers below 18 years of age. Visitors should pay before departure to give enough time for processing. Once paid, the applicant has to wait for the approval email, which he will receive within 96 hours if the information provided was authentic. However, if the system is unable to verify the details, it will deny approval. In this case, the applicant will have to reapply, this time manually through an embassy.

JAPAN AND EU MEMBER STATES BILATERAL RELATIONS

Japan has bilateral relations with few European Union member states, which allows the Japanese visitors to stay in the Schengen region beyond the 90-day approved stay limit.

The Schengen member states that have mutual stay agreements with Japan and the permitted stay duration are listed below.

9-day stay:

  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria*
  • Greece
  • Latvia**
  • Lithuania**
  • Netherland
  • Slovakia*
  • Sweden*
  • Hungary*
  • Iceland
  • Netherlands
  • Spain**
  • France*
  • Switzerland
  • Norway
  • Liechtenstein

Only Austria grants a 180-day stay to Japanese visitors.

(*) = Ordinary passports.

(**) = diplomatic, ordinary, and official passport.

To fully benefit from this bilateral agreement, the Japanese visitors have to stay in the country for the entire period specified. However, they cannot travel within Europe once the stay limit expires.

This limit obligates the Japanese visitors to leave the country after their 90-day stay and fly to a third world country without transit in a Schengen Member state. They may require an ETIAS visa waiver that will allow them to visit several European countries without needing transit to a non-EU country. However, these conditions between the Japanese and the EU countries are subject to change.

HOW TO APPLY FOR A LONGER STAY SCHENGEN VISA FROM JAPAN?

An ETIAS allows visitors with a visa waiver to travel and stay only for 90-day consecutively in the Schengen area for 180 days. If they wish to stay longer than the specified duration, the visitors will have to apply for a Schengen visa. It, however, is only applicable for single, double, or multiple-entry authorizations. 

The Japanese visitor should apply for a Schengen visa at the embassy of the destination country in Japan. For ETIAS approval, they will need to provide these documents:

  • A Japanese passport with sufficient validity.
  • A completed visa application.
  • Previous copies of Schengen visa, if any.
  • A recent passport photo with a white background.
  • Funds to travel and stay in the Schengen region for the specified number of days.
  • A travel health insurance around 30,000-euros in case of repatriation, death, or accident.
  • A round trip ticket.
  • Proof of Hotel reservation.

The Embassy officials have the right to decide the Schengen visa validity duration on an individual basis. It, however, is subject to each applicant’s circumstances.

ETIAS FOR JAPANESE – FAQ

CAN A JAPANESE CITIZEN STUDY IN EUROPE WITH ETIAS?

Unfortunately, the ETIAS visa does not permit a Japanese citizen to visit any Schengen area for education purposes. This visa waiver only allows traveling for tourism, business, or transit purposes to another country via the Schengen borders. Instead, the Japanese wishing to study in the European countries should apply for a student visa or an appropriate national visa, depending on the desired country.

IS THE ETIAS A VISA?

No, the ETIAS is not a visa. It is an electronic authorization or a visa waiver that allows citizens of over 60-eligible countries to travel to European countries. To access the Schengen region, the Japanese visitors need to submit it through the online application at least 96 hours before departure. It allows maximum time for visa processing and streamlines the immigration process on arrival. In case of denial, travelers can reapply for a full visitor visa.

HOW TO APPLY FOR A SCHENGEN VISA FROM JAPAN?

Based on the duration and nature, the Japanese can fly to European countries with either a Schengen visa or an ETIAS. The visitors must apply for a Schengen visa at the consulate of the destination country before leaving Japan. However, they can also travel throughout Europe and Schengen member states with an approved ETIAS visa waiver.