Traveling Out of Japan? Here’s What You Need to Know

With Covid-19 infection numbers down in Japan, many international residents are looking to travel abroad to see loved ones or simply take a long-awaited vacation. You may have seen headlines claiming that the quarantine period has been shortened or that restrictions have started to relax. While those things are true and travel abroad is beginning to look feasible again, here are some things to consider if you plan on making a trip overseas.

Departing from Japan

The first step to traveling abroad would be your departure from Japan. Until recently, preparation for your departure might have meant packing your luggage and adjusting your itinerary. Recently, for anyone who plans to eventually return to Japan, the amount of preparation and thinking ahead required has definitely increased.

Along with your usual belongings, passport, and necessary identification, you will also need to provide a vaccination passport. You can find out more about how to get your vaccine passport in our GoConnect article here. Unfortunately, there are no set rules for any one person. The conditions of your entry will be contingent on your citizenship, but also more importantly from where you are traveling from. Travel or airline websites, such as ANA, are good resources to use in order to find out what sort of restrictions you will encounter. One thing you can count on for most countries is either a vaccination passport requirement or negative PCR test result from anytime in the 72 hours prior to your departure.

While You’re Abroad

Once you have arrived abroad, you will likely be subject to a quarantine period, with most countries adopting a policy of 14 days. During that time, there are a couple things that you can prepare now to help your arrival go smoothly.

The first would be making sure that your nationality and previous residence do not disqualify you from entry. Additionally, you will want to account for the quarantine period of your country and make sure that the entirety of your trip will not be spent in an isolated quarantine zone.

Another point that is important to research are the Covid-19 prevention protocols. For example, while all countries will require masks, Germany requires OP masks. These are surgical, non-woven masks—such as the N95 medical mask. Failure to wear the appropriate mask could result in a fine, so save yourself the headache and head to the embassy or foreign affairs page of your destination country and find out what restrictions you will need to adhere to.

Before you return to Japan, you will again need to take a PCR test. Make sure that the test you take gives you a clear positive or negative result. Any test that simply tells you if you are high or low risk for COVID-19 may not be accepted. This disqualifies antigen tests, rapid antigen tests, and antibody tests. The PCR test result document will also need to be approved and written by hand from a physician.

Returning to Japan

Although other countries have different rules that you will need to look up independently, leaving Japan and going abroad will be the easy part. Returning to Japan will be the difficult part

Coming back to Japan, you can expect the check-in process at immigration to last from three hours at the very least and more than six hours at most. During that time, you will be expected to present proof of a negative PCR test and take an additional test once you have landed. You will then need to have your visa reviewed by immigration. As the issuing of new visas has been limited due to the pandemic, it is best to return to Japan before your visa expires.

After processing at immigration is done, the next step you must figure out is how to get home. Public transportation will not be available to anyone just re-entering the country, so you must arrange for a friend or family member to pick you up from the airport.

While many have been led to believe that quarantine is now only three days, the official period is still 14 days. You will be required to sign a written pledge and agree to all the terms of quarantine. Depending on which country you are re-entering from as well as additional negative PCR tests taken on the third and sixth day from your return date, you will be able to spend the remainder of your quarantine at home.

At home, you will be required to register on two apps. One is an app that notifies surrounding smartphones when someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 is nearby. This app is required for all who have tested positive as well as anyone they have been in contact with. The other app is for video calls—through the app, you will be contacted throughout your quarantine at various times of the day in order to confirm your health status and location.

Once all of the aforementioned measures have been taken, you will be able to return to normal life in Japan. While there are numerous rules to follow and a lot of paperwork to complete, it’s important to have these guidelines to further decrease the amount of infections in the country. It may seem intimidating, but there are various resources available in English such as the homepages of embassies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs homepage that you can start with. If you can plan ahead, there is no reason you can’t have a smooth and painless journey abroad and back. Safe travels!


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