Getting Shore Pass (Temp Visa) for Japan

Many people transit flight in Tokyo, as it is one of the three international flight hub in my mind. If ou are interested, the other two are Hong Kong and Singapore. Shanghai is still far away from them, even not at the same level of Beijing yet, in terms of access of International fights. People in Shanghai still need to find a hub airport to transit to Seattle. It can be Tokyo (It is the Northwest Airlines’ hub in Asia), or San Francisco (hub of United Airlines). From this trip, I learnt ANA is a really nice airline with much better service and maybe in the next trip, I will choose ANA. It provide personal entertainment equipments that allow you to select the movie you want and play it from the beginning on demand on the Shanghai – Tokyo flight. It is available only in the first class of Tokyo – Seattle flight in UA.

Temp Visa

Japan joined many visa waiver program. People from U.S., Canada, and many other countries don’t need a visa to enter Japan and can stay there up to 3 months. China just started to join these programs. The recent APEC Business Travel Card is the first step. China joined the program in 2002 so it is easier to travel to the following economies:

  • Australia
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Chile
  • China
  • Hong Kong (China)
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Peru
  • The Philippines
  • Chinese Taipei
  • Thailand

I saw there is a special gate for APEC Business Travel Card holder at Pudong Airport. Only one person passed this gate while all the other 20+ gates are crowded with more than 20 people waiting in line.

This card seems like the Schengen visa, but only passport holder of participation economies can apply. I will consider applying one. I don’t understand how frequent does the criteria of “frequent traveler in Asia” mean yet.

OK. Back to main topic. According to the article 14/15 of Japan Immigration-Control and Refugee-Recognition Act, people who needs a visa can get a shore pass to stay in Japan for up to 72 hours.

Application by Captain of the Flight

When I enter the terminal of the Narita airport via the bridge, I saw two ways leading to two directions: One to immigration and one to international flight transition. I should take the transit way but I wanted to try my luck and turned right and go to immigration official. When I waited in line to see an immigration officer, the display board show that “For passengers for Visa required countries & regions (China, Taiwan, etc)…., you need to ask a staff of airline you came on to submit a shore pass application”. I followed the instruction to approach the staff at counter A. It doesn’t seem people who enter Japan using this kind of visa is rare, since the instruction is just above the immigration officers. People in counter A directed me to go to ANA counter, which is 50 meters away. Nice lady accepted my request. After checking my flight tickets and password, she wrote a small piece of paper and handed it over to me. It is smaller than my passport and the quality of the paper is not so good. It reads:

Application for Shore Pass H16/12/6

To Immigration Inspector at port of NRT

Under the provisions of Article 14/15 of the Immigration-Control and Refugee-Recognition Act, we hereby submit application for shore/transit pass for the personal mentioned below:

Name: WANG/JIA. Further, the schedule for departure is as follows: UA938 (flight) NRT (port of exit) SEA (destination) 6 Dec 04 (Date)

(Signature of Captain/Carrier)

ANA (Name of vessel/aircraft)

That’s it. She added: “What I can do is to write this application for you. It is the officer at the immigration gate who can grant you the shore pass.” Sure. I understand it.

The Shore Pass

Going back and waited in the line to see an immigration official. The well dressed young man asked me the reason to enter Japan. I told him frankly: “Just want to wander around during the 5 hour of transit.” I know it is dangerous to say so, but I am just curious about how they handle the situation like the one I have. The answer is very simple. He put a shore pass onto my passport.

38 thoughts on “Getting Shore Pass (Temp Visa) for Japan

  1. You did a good job at NRT! :) It sounds to me that the officers at Narita are well following the 72 hours visa on arrival regulation for Chinese citizens, while staffs of the airline at PVG pose tighter control to avoid potential troubles. I wonder if it can be different on your way back from US, if you still try to stay in Tokyo for a little longer.

  2. Just to let you know, countries like US, Canada, Japan etc do not need Visas to most of the countries in the world not because they joined any Visa Waiver Program (which they have in some instances) but because they are rich countries, their citizens spend money when they are touring and most importantly do not illegally stay back (like we chinese do).

    So it will take quite some time before Chinese citizens will be allowed on Visa Waiver programs especially to first world countries.

  3. That is the point. Now China still requires visa for people for most of the countries, including U.S. and European countries. Since the visa waiver program should be two way and I seldom see an one-way visa waiver, so most countries requires visa for Chinese citizen. It is rare that China granted visa waiver for people in Japan to enter China for up to 2 weeks without a visa.

  4. It’s shame that I still have to apply for visa each time I want to visit China, kinda stingy, really hope that China be more generous and allow foreign passport holders to enter without a visa. Then again, it reduces the income for the government, we are paying 40AUD for a single entry visa into China. :(

  5. James,

    It is something about face!, China would like to offer immunity to any country if she can receive the reciprocal treatment. Not like some countries who are hungry for tourist dollars and offer one side immunity.

    As matther of fact, I overheard the visa fee received by the consulate can almost support the operation overseas.


  6. JianShuo,

    Actually you are wrong in this instance, it is the other way. I think China would love to reciprocate, its the other western countries that dont. e.g. Now Japanese tourists are allowed to enter China for 2 weeks without visa and guess what, its not reciprocrated! Chinese citizens are still required to get Visas to enter japan. Its the case for many countries, e.g. US dont have visa waiver “program” with majority and yet their citizens can travel to many countries without visas and yet require visas for those countries when they enter usa, got it now? Also I know Chinese government want to save face and hence force other countries like usa to sign visas too, which I think is right.

    But from your comment jianshuo, it is sounds like its the other way around. Trust me we Chinese citizens and Indian citizens (sorry for being politically incorrect) are notorious for overstaying their visas and illegally immigrating to different countries, hence we wouldnt have visa waiver program for years. Its not that we dont want visa waiver its that they dont want it, got it, Jian Shuo? :)

  7. Brandon,

    Chinese citizen holding passport issued by Hong Kong SAR government can visit over 100 countries with immunity of visa including Japan.

    Have you see the problem now?


  8. huh? its “do you see the problem now?” and no if my post didnt answer your question then your post sure didnt.

  9. Visa or not, first of all the Chinese government want the possibility to check the political status of those who enters, as it has created it’s own internal and external enemies because of its internal and external policies.

    As long as some chinese students (whole classes do that!) and others simply disappear when they have entered other countries, most developed countries will claim a visa for chinese mainland citizens.

    Hongkong is to be considered a developed zone attached to China by a border, and will be so until it is no longer a SAR zone.

    Then the people there will be treated as mainland chinese when going abroad.

    I, as a foreigner, can go to Hongkong without any visa, just as most other countries.

  10. Carsten

    In spite of development of China in recent years to improve the living standard of the people, do you still see there is a desire by the majority to seek opportunity aborad by legal immigration or otherwise?

    By the way, any chance to contest my last comment to you should you feel comfortable to reply.


  11. To Stephen (and others)

    If I was a poor farmer’s son or daughter with virtually no future, I would grip any opportunity to get a better life – including immigration.

    But for most people this is an impossible solution.

    They can only go to big cities instead and try their luck there.

    If possible, it’s easier to go abroad for “studies” and then simply get lost and live by friends.

    Even as a unregistered citizen in developed countries, the income will mostly be far higher than in China, and some of the income can be sent to the home family to improve the family’s living standard and to pay for brothers and sisters education (which should be free, as a government matter in my mind, as education is the basic root to success for inividuals and for the country).

    As long as the chinese economy is capitalistic and there’s even much more gap between rich and poor than in the US, the economic escape will continue, and any “easy visa” continues to be a dream of the future.

    China is now a capitalist’s dream country !

    No unions to argue with, extremely low salaries to all employed,

    and “do-what-U-like” to the employed.

    The rich are just TOO rich, and the poor are just TOO poor in China.

    Higher taxes for the rich can be a way out of the problem.

    In my country the people with high income pay up to 59% tax.

    These tax money goes mostly to those who have less (social distribution),

    and the flow is controlled by the government, elected by the people.

    If there was an urge in the chinese government to really stop any corruption,

    then a great leap forward would be achieved !

    But this will not happen soon in China – figure out why by yourself.

  12. Carsten,

    Remember chairman Mao once said “poverty is caused by the exploitation of the capitalism”. Looks like history is reversing itself.


  13. Stephen, I guess you don’t get my point at all.

    But please do not remember me of the so-called “great leaders”. I simply hate Mao for what he did of damage to China ! Seeing him every day on the money notes is enough, he reminds me so much of Kim Jong Il in North Korea, killing his own people for own gains… 2 dictators of the worst kind !

    And when I go in the streets and trains i Shanghai, I meet beggars every day. I say to them ” please call your great leaders to provide you with the basics, so you do not have to beg !!!” Because they can not loose anything if they try to get some influence on the (great) “leaders”, can they ?

    What is your opinon ?

    Stephen, are you living in China ?

  14. Carsten,

    You ask me do I hate Mao? the answer is yes and no!

    He is a great leader before the liberation of China during ’49, but after that follows “the great leap forward” and “culture revolation” which rendered whole generation of Chinese become illiteracy, and the impact is profound. Nevertheless, during his era, the unfair distribution of resource and corruption are minimal.

    I share your sympathy when I see the rich and poor has polarlized in China, the situation is unspeakable when I visited the rural area. I don’t know the economic reform is actually doing good for China, but may be a small group by now.

    I visited Shanghai occasional just because my mother is living there. I myself live in Canada since childhood.

    At any rate, it is nice to have dialogue with you on some common subjects which helps me unstand better of the city and merry christmas to you both.

    Best Wishes


  15. im a colombian in shanghai and i need to go in biz trip to tokyo for a week. i cant apply here in shanghai to get visa, i should travel to colombia but is a 30 hours trip and more than 2000 dols. can i get the short pass at the airport….. any advice????

  16. Hi,

    I hope soembody could give me an advice on this problem. I have a Japanese fiance. We have been together for more than three years. I planned on traveling to Japan to see her parents before we got married here in china. But the silly Japanese Embassy refused me a Visa after I submitted Guarantee letter, Leave note from my employer, bank account statement, Invitation letter from Japan, My Fiance’s tax statement etc. I enquired about the reason for denial, the lady at Visa section said no reason was entered in their computer database. Probably reasons are not made public.

    If anyone has had similar experience, please share advice on how you overcame such an obstacle.

  17. being augandan,visa to japan is hard to get but i would like

    to recieve it via internet instead

  18. i want permanent visa for japan ,please give me visa ,

    it’s my request for Japniess.

  19. hello new pal

    is me malik and plz i want to take u as my best friend of pal.i hope u will cherish it the most.hope to here from u soon.goodbye have a nice day and take care

    yours new friend


  20. i want to find out if i can apply for that, and were can i get the application? Is there any criateria for the application letter.

  21. Dear sir/madam

    Wish to have a great time. I would like to introduce our company to you. Etebar cooperative company of Saderat Bank (SEPEHR BANG) has been established one month ago. Almost one thousand employees work under our control.

    We give every kind of services to our employees. We would like to have business relationship with Japanese companies and would like to import life necessities.

    Would you please tell us how can we get invitation to come to Japan.

    looking forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.

    Best regards

    Farhad Azizi

  22. hello i am filipina and i have a japanese fiance.Can you give me some advice?Is trial marriage is a valid reason thats why my fiance invite me in japan?

  23. Hello, sir/madam,

    Hope this email find you good cheer

    Iam an indian, i would love to work in japan in Big factories as a labour. so what are the terms and condition to apply.kindly reply.

    Awaiting for your soonest reply.



  24. Hello, sir/madam,

    Hope this email find you good cheer

    Iam pakistani i would love to work in japan in Big factories as a labour. so what are the terms and condition to apply.kindly reply.

    Awaiting for your soonest reply.

  25. I was not aware that you even get a visa when you have a china citizenship. In my old company we always had to fill out an invitation letter to our chinese customers. I think temporarily visas to Chinese are only granted if coming for a certain area of China. Am I wrong?

  26. What you said was true until recently. I’ve obtained this shore pass twice in previous years, but 2 days ago, I was in Narita again, and had about 8 hours till my next flight to Hawai’i, I called the Northwest Airlines and a lady refused my shore pass request, telling me that they’ve changed the rule, only staying overnight will be granted a shore pass. So, I had to wander in terminal for 8 hours.

  27. In a few weeks time I will have a 10 hour transit stop in Tokyo airport. What can I do to fill in the time? Is there a comfortable lounge to use for example?

  28. Dear Sir

    I am living in Sialkot(city) Pakistan(country).I want to apply with family visa.

    I have wife and two daughters ages are 3 years and one year.

    Both have completed Graduation.

    Please send complete information about visa,

    I can bear the charges of visa and your fee.

    Hoping your nice response


    Fouzal Kabeer

    Mehran street,Prem Nager,Sialkot,Pakistan

    Phone: 00924602662

    MObile: 00923338689820





  30. I am Saleem from Pakistan city Lahore. I want to work in europe/china/japan for any catagory. I am poor so any body give me a line of direction. We will be pay Inshahallah

    Please give me a right line for working visa



  31. Dear Sir,

    I am Pakistani and living in peshawar NWFP Pakistan.

    I want to get japani labour visa. Because I have confedence.

    I am a Junior Graphic Designer. I want to get Japani Labour Visa then I will Join job as graphic desinger in little printing press publishing forum….OR………..other company as lobour as there possible.

    Kindly Help Me……..Because I am very poor Boy……

    Hopping your nice responce


    Cell:. +92-345-9394139


  33. I have to go to USA via Tokyo Japan from India . I have awaiting time of 10 hrs in Tokyo to connect my flight to USA.

    Can I get a Transit Visa to go out of the airport for few hrs.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *