Japan digital nomad visa: what travellers need to know

The six-month visa is expected to launch in March 2024

Travellers can’t get enough of Japan, voted the best country in the world in the 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards. But until now, remote workers looking to live and work on the alluring archipelago were limited to 90-day stays.

That could all change next month, according to the Japan Times. Last week, the newspaper reported that the Japan Immigration Services Agency (ISA) has announced plans to launch a six-month digital nomad visa in late March.

It isn’t coming a minute too soon. While the first wave of post-pandemic travel manifested in Southern Europe, East Asia is now taking centre stage – with Japan emerging as the standout star. This past December broke records for American travel to Japan, when 26.8 per cent more Americans travelled to the country than in December 2019.

The highly-anticipated visa will be open to remote workers who make at least ¥10 million (about £52,800) a year and are from one of 49 countries and territories including the United Kingdom, US, Australia, and Singapore. Self-employed digital nomads can apply, but they must have private health insurance, the Japan Times reports.

Japan’s digital nomad visa isn’t just for solo travellers – recipients can also bring along their spouse and children. Unlike some other programs, immediate extensions won’t be offered once the visa expires. However, digital nomads can reapply for the visa six months after leaving Japan.

As Japan’s tourism economy continues an impressive recovery approximately two years after removing COVID-19 travel restrictions, the visa would help facilitate longer-term stays and win over the economic contributions of some of the world’s millions of remote workers. Over 50 countries now offer digital nomad visas or similar alternatives, including popular destinations like Portugal, Costa Rica, and Norway.

The visa is just one more reason for full-time travellers and expats to put Japan on their radar. Offering everything from awe-inspiring natural scenery and artistry in the Seto Inland Sea to the exciting urban nightlife and culinary scene of Tokyo, there’s truly something for every type of traveller – remote worker or otherwise.

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