Posted by: jrhorse | July 21, 2009

Japan Tips: Passports

Congratulations for making the decision – or at least contemplating the decision – to make a trip to Japan. Ah yes, a country filled with rich history, beautiful landscapes, fine cuisine and a proud people. Not to mention that it’s also the heart beat of Anime and the latest in electronics and gadgets.

So of course, when traveling from one country to the other, you need a passport, which is a legal document that certifies your identity and nationality for travel abroad.

The trouble, at least for me, is that I’ve been to a couple of discussions about travel to Japan at some conventions. At least in both of the ones that I’ve attended, the panelists spoke for over half an hour regarding passports. They broke down passports, how to obtain one, what is necessary for one, fees, etc. etc. But then the audience broke in on their own – with questions. Such as, “What if I need to get it in a hurry?” or “Do I need a visa to go here?”, et cetera. The discussion on passports was so lengthy in both cases, that the panelists had an average of only 20 minutes to talk about everything else – yes, they only had one hour in total. What a shame.

So in light of what I have personally experienced, I would like to offer you my own, brief lesson on obtaining a passport for Japan.

Welcome to Jose’s Japan Tips, Lesson 1: Passports.

And here we go:

You need a Passport to travel to Japan.

That concludes Jose’s Japan Tips, Lesson 1.

That’s right, simple as that. There’s really no need to break it down a lot. This goes not just for Japan, but for any country outside of the one that you live in. Get a passport, and to avoid headaches later, get it NOW. Seriously, as soon as you are finished reading this, go to your country’s website for passports, download the forms and follow the instructions to obtain your passport. Or you can stop reading now and pick up here once you have finished the process.

The point that I’m getting at is that you should get your passport worries out of the way, right away. If you need any other documents for travel such as a visa (which is not required for travel to Japan from many countries), you can take care of that later. Passports generally last for a long period of time – in the United States, for example, a standard passport for an adult lasts up to 10 years before it needs replacement.

Getting your passport now is one very effective step that you can take as you start to plan your trip to Japan.

And now here are some links to government websites for major countries that you can access for passport information.

UNITED STATES: http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html

CANADA: http://www.passportcanada.gc.ca/index.aspx?lang=eng

MEXICO: http://www.sre.gob.mx/pasaportes/

UNITED KINGDOM: http://www.direct.gov.uk/passports

FRANCE: http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/particuliers/N360.xhtml

GERMANY: http://www.bmi.bund.de

ITALY: http://poliziastato.it/articolo/1087-Passaporto

AUSTRALIA: https://www.passports.gov.au

NEW ZEALAND: http://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/wpg_URL/Services-Passports-Index

If your country is not listed here, then simply perform a search using Google.

One last caveat – for most passports you can optionally do a quick search on Wikipedia to see what the visa requirements are for entry into Japan. For example if you look at Wikipedia’s United States Passport article, you’ll see that the limit for your stay is 90 days, and the visa is waived. Of course you’ll want to check the official website for your government to ensure that the information is correct.

So, get your passport, keep it with you at all times, and start roaming Japan! (And many other places, too!)

(This information is made available pursuant to the Jose’s Japan Tips Disclaimer)

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