Passport and Visa
If you don’t have a passport yet, apply for one right away. Your post office has passport applications. A student visa is not required for U.S. citizens planning to stay just one semester (or summer short-term) in Japan. Due to the Japan–U.S. visa treaty, U.S. citizens can stay in Japan for 90 days as temporary visitors without a visa (called an exemption). Non-U.S. students are encouraged to check with their local Japanese Consulate about application and eligibility. If you are from a country that does not have a visa treaty with Japan, you will be entirely responsible for acquiring your own visa.
For more about visas and exemptions, click here.
Applying for a Visa
A visa is simply a stamp in your passport allowing you to enter another country. If you plan to study longer than one semester, you need a long-term visa. If you sign up for a KCP extended or full-year program, KCP staff assists you by checking your visa application for completeness, translating (Documents printed in non-English language need to have official English translation prepared in advance), serving as the sponsor institution, and providing other crucial aid.
When arranging airfare as a temporary visitor, be sure to plan for a round-trip ticket. If you buy a one-way airfare ticket, your temporary visitor status will be much more difficult to obtain upon your arrival to Japan.
Japanese Immigration is extremely rigorous in its criteria for correct, complete, perfect (no mistakes or evidence of corrections) information when considering visa applications. The most common reasons for visas not being granted are: (1) incomplete information, (2) lack of financial support, (3) inaccurate information, (4) failing a visa screening in the past based on the immigration’s criteria, and (5) long time periods not accounted for by school, work, or other valid activity. Plan plenty of time (at least 6 months) to apply for a visa. DO NOT leave your student visa application for the last minute.
To protect yourself if your passport is lost or stolen, make two photocopies of your passport (including all pages with stamps). Leave one copy, with some extra ID photos, with a responsible person in the U.S., and bring one copy plus photo ID with you. It’s much easier to replace your passport if you’ve done this.
Airline Ticket Dates
If you plan to attend KCP with a 90-day temporary visitor status and you also plan to take a trip before or after the term, make sure to schedule your travel time carefully to avoid staying longer than your 90-day allowance.
Make sure to be at Narita Airport by 3:30 pm on the program arrival day so we can pick you up. If you come to Japan earlier and are staying in Tokyo, contact KCP well in advance of your arrival to let them know where you will be staying and to determine the best meeting point.
If you will be leaving Tokyo during a weekend, or extended holiday, please inform your student coordinators ahead of time with any contact information and itineraries.