Europe’s Travel Authorization For The Japanese

In mid-2025, a new system for international travelers is coming: the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). ETIAS is not a visa, but rather a visa waiver, or electronic travel authorization. It is similar to the United States ESTA.

This movement will help improve Schengen border management and security for European countries such as France, Germany, and Italy. It will make international travel to European countries much safer for Japanese citizens and global travelers. 

ETIAS will soon become a standard entry requirement for all global visa-free travelers, regardless of how long you are staying in the Schengen area. This includes Japanese citizens and other visa-waiver nationalities traveling from Japan. In anticipation of this new system, here’s what you need to know and do to avoid any trouble when traveling.

What Japanese Citizens Need To Know About ETIAS

Japanese citizens do not need a visa to visit the Schengen Area short term. Travelers from Japan can stay for up to 90 days for every 180-day period without applying for a visa. Visa-free entry to Europe covers visits for tourism, business, and transit purposes.

However, starting in mid-2025, Japanese citizens will need an ETIAS to travel to these areas. Japanese passport holders can apply for ETIAS to enjoy visa-free travel to Europe. If you are a Japanese national who does not meet the ETIAS requirements, or if you wish to stay for longer than 3 months, you will need a visa.

The European ETIAS for citizens of Japan will be valid for:

  • Stays of up to 90 days per 180-day period
  • Multiple trips to the Schengen Area
  • 3 years, or until the passport expires (whichever is sooner)
  • Tourism, business trips, and transit

Japanese nationals will need ETIAS to cross an external Schengen border. Once inside the area, you can visit any of the Schengen countries for up to 90 days. You do NOT need a separate ETIAS for each country you will go to in the Schengen area. The same visa waiver is valid for up to three years across the entire travel zone. This means you can go on one trip to the area in 2023, then another in 2024, with the same ETIAS waiver.

ETIAS Required

This includes all EU member states in the Schengen agreement which are:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Germany
  • France
  • Spain
  • Portugal
  • Sweden
  • Finland
  • Denmark
  • Lithuania
  • Latvia
  • Estonia
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Hungary
  • Slovenia
  • Italy
  • Greece
  • Czech Republic
  • Malta

ETIAS Required (Non-EU Member States)

  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Switzerland

Micro-States de facto part of Schengen Area:

  • Monaco
  • San Marino
  • Vatican City

ETIAS Required (Non-Schengen EU States)

  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Romania

How Can Japanese Citizens Apply For ETIAS To Visit Europe?

To apply for an ETIAS visa waiver from Japan, you will need a:

  • Valid Japanese passport
  • Credit or debit card
  • Email address

Japanese citizens and nationals must apply for ETIAS and travel to Europe using the same passport. If your associated passport expires, you must apply for a new ETIAS waiver. This is the protocol even if you received your ETIAS less than 3 years ago.

The credit or debit card will pay for the ETIAS processing fees securely online from Japan. Applicants will receive status updates and notification of ETIAS approval by email, so you are up to date on the process.

ETIAS Application Form For Citizens Of Japan

The ETIAS application form for Japanese nationals can only be completed online. However, the process will be easy. Japanese applicants must provide basic personal information and passport details for the waiver. This includes:

  • Full name and surname
  • Gender
  • Nationality

For security and immigration purposes, Japanese citizens may also need to answer questions related to:

  • Employment status
  • Criminal records
  • Travel to conflict areas
  • Other travel histories

ETIAS Processing Times For Japanese Nationals

In the new ETIAS system, submitted applications from Japanese citizens will have quick process times. Once approved, the related Japanese passport will receive a link to an electronic travel authorization. The applicant will receive an email notification, so they know their request was successful, and so they can access the electronic authorization link.

If the ETIAS application is rejected, the applicant will also receive an email informing them of the rejection. They will also have the opportunity to appeal the decision.

Traveling To Europe From Japan With ETIAS

To verify the ETIAS waiver, you must scan your Japanese passport at an external Schengen border. However, an approved travel authorization does not guarantee entry. Immigration authorities at the border of the country you seek to enter will make the final decision. Border guards may ask Japanese citizens for proof of sufficient funds or onward travel.

Before you travel, be aware that every individual country in the Schengen area has its own restrictions and regulations for travelers from Japan to Europe. This could include rules about firearms, importing and exporting tobacco, alcohol, perfume, or currency. Make sure to check the latest entry requirements and restrictions before heading to your European destination.

Bilateral Agreements Between Japan And EU Member States

Thanks to reciprocal arrangements established between Japan and certain EU Member States, Japanese citizens might be able to extend their stay in some European countries beyond the 90-day Schengen limit.

The current Schengen Area countries have existing visa waiver arrangements with Japan. The maximum number of days permitted under the agreement are:

  • Belgium (3 months)
  • Bulgaria (90 days)*
  • Denmark (3 months)
  • Germany (3 months)
  • Denmark (3 months)
  • Greece (90 days)
  • Spain (90 days)**
  • France (90 days)*
  • Italy (180*/90** days)
  • Latvia (90 days)**
  • Lithuania (90 days)**
  • Hungary (90 days)*
  • Netherlands (90 days)
  • Austria (6 months)**
  • Slovakia (90 days)*
  • Sweden (3 months)*

These Schengen-associated countries also have bilateral agreements with Japan:

  • Iceland (3 months)
  • Liechtenstein (90 days)
  • Norway (90 days)
  • Switzerland (90 days)

( * ) Ordinary passports ( ** ) Ordinary, diplomatic and service/official passports

However, Japanese travelers must remain in the EU country they apply to for the entire extension period as part of the bilateral agreement. You cannot move freely around Europe beyond the 90-day limit. For this reason, when Japanese citizens leave the country they spent their extension in, they should fly directly from that specific EU country to a third country. They should not enter any other country in the Schengen area through any means of transportation.

If Japanese citizens need a visa waiver so they can visit several EU countries at once, nationals of Japan should obtain an ETIAS.

Remember that bilateral arrangements between Japan and EU Member States are subject to change at any time.

Applying For A European National Visa From Japan

ETIAS will be operational starting mid-2025. Japanese passport holders can stay in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days per 180-day period. For longer stays, or purposes other than those covered by ETIAS, citizens of Japan need to apply for a visa. There are different types of visas for European nationals also available.

Visa applicants should make an appointment with the nearest embassy or consulate in Japan of the Schengen country they wish to visit. You will need certain documents for a visa application, including these:

  • Valid Japanese passport
  • Completed visa application form
  • Recent passport-sized photo taken against a white background
  • Proof of sufficient finances to stay in the Schengen Area
  • Health insurance for inside the Schengen Area
  • Round trip or onwards flight tickets
  • Accommodation reservation

Japanese nationals also need to check the specific requirements for the visa they require. You must submit visa applications several weeks before your travel dates.

Information on the ETIAS Application