October 11, 2020

Re-entry into Japan During Covid-19 Period

LA Sunset during stopover on the way back to Japan

LA Sunset during stopover on the way back to Japan

I recently left Japan and came back by following the new immigration rules established on 8/28/2020.

I was glad to be able to visit my American family and then come back to my Japanese family safely and smoothly.

The new rules allow foreign nationals residing in Japan to re-enter as long as they have residence status, have a re-entry permit, and follow the new procedures.

Before these new rules, foreign nationals residing in Japan could not re-enter Japan if they visited a country on the entry-blocking list.

The Country I went to was my home country of America, and it is on the list of blocked nations currently.

Summary of new Procedures

  1. Agree to comply with quarantine measures and additional epidemic prevention control measures
  2. Send an email request of intention to re-enter Japan to the Immigration Services Agency of Japan.
  3. Get an email receipt from the Immigration Services Agency of Japan that approves your re-entry
  4. Present your email receipt to Immigration officers when you depart Japan
  5. Take a Covid-19 test in the destination country 72 hours before returning to Japan and get a doctor’s signature on a Japan Immigration supplied test result form.
  6. Present the email receipt and negative test Covid-19 test results to the immigration agent when returning to Japan.

The above is a summary of the official process that can be found here:

The original Japanese version is here:

#Note: the above is only my summary to act as an overview and cannot be used as the official process. Follow the information in the above two links for the official process.

Experience of following the Procedures

I prepared the email required to request the re-entry, and I got a response in less than 24 hours. The instructions say that responses may take up to 3 days or so, so I was lucky to get a quick response. I added a note in my email request that my travel was for the purpose of a serious family issue back in the United States, and it is possible they may have helped me by expediting the response after seeing my purpose for travel.

After getting tickets, on the day of travel to the US, I needed to show my email-receipt and non-filled in Covid-19 test form to the airline agent before they let me board the plane in Japan.

Back in the States, it was a challenge to find a place to get tested that would fill in my Covid-19 test form with a Doctor’s signature, and also get tested with results in the 72 hours window.

I made many phone calls, and went to one place that said the rapid antigen test that they offered was probably not the kind of antigen test that Japan Immigration required, so they referred me to another place that did Rapid PCR testing. This place also filled in my form, signed it and it was free. In case you are an Expat from Texas that wants to go there and come back to Japan, I can recommend They tested efficiently in time, and a doctor personally took care of me by filling-in the form and sending it to me in time. Also, they are a free service.

On my way back to Japan, I was surprised to find out that I needed to go through Covid-19 testing again upon arrival. I thought that only Japanese nationals had to do that since they are not required to get the test overseas. But I took the saliva Covid-19 test in Haneda airport along with everyone else.

The flight I took to Japan wasn’t crowded at all, so I got results in about 40 minutes compared to the 2 or 3 hours they said it might take. The testing in Haneda was very organized and efficient, so that part was good.

Only after getting a negative result on the Saliva test could we go to immigration, where I showed them my immigration approval card (from the saliva test) along with my re-entry email, and filled-in US side Covid-19 test results.

After showing them all of these documents, the immigration officer unlocked the inspection both exit door (this was new) and let me in.

So in the end, I could smoothly travel to the US and back again following the newest procedure. I am thankful that the Japanese government made these new rules so that I could see my US family in a timely manner.

Filed under: Travel — Brad @ 7:54 am