The Ultimate Guide to the USA Visa Application for Japanese Citizens

Japan is renowned for its harmonious blend of tradition and innovation, and for many Japanese citizens, the allure of the United States is equally captivating. The US presents a tapestry woven with vibrant cultures, breathtaking landscapes ranging from lush forests to arid deserts, and cities that pulse with energy day and night. Whether it’s the neon-lit boulevards of Los Angeles, the historical avenues of Boston, or the jazzy streets of New Orleans, the United States offers an endless array of experiences for the adventurous traveler. Before booking your flight to this land of opportunity and diversity, let’s talk about the essential step you must take: applying for a visa to the United States, specifically through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) for those eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

Understanding the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)

For Japanese citizens along with nationals from other VWP countries, entering the United States for tourism, business, or while in transit does not require a traditional visa. Instead, you can seek authorization through the ESTA, which is a simpler and quicker process designed to pre-screen travelers before they embark on their journey. It’s crucial to understand that an approved ESTA is not a visa but a required travel authorization for visa waiver travelers visiting the United States for stays of 90 days or less.

The ESTA process involves providing detailed information on your travel plans and personal background through an online application form. While the application is straightforward, ensuring accuracy and completeness is critical to avoid delays or denials of your travel authorization.

How to Apply for a US Visa as a Japanese Citizen

If you find that your travel plans necessitate a different type of visa outside the scope of the ESTA or the Visa Waiver Program, you will need to follow the standard visa application process. However, for Japanese citizens looking to take advantage of the Visa Waiver Program, here’s how to apply for an ESTA:

  1. Fill out our easy-to-use online application form. The application takes about 10 minutes. Make sure to have your passport handy.
  2. Submit & Pay for your application. We accept all payment types. PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay & Credit Card.
  3. Get your ESTA emailed to you within 72hrs. We’ll email you your approved travel authorization and that’s it, you’re ready to go!

If you need your ESTA in a hurry, you can choose from our two expedited processing options. Simply select your add-on at checkout.

Eligibility for Applying for an ESTA

To be eligible for an ESTA, you must be a citizen of a country that is a member of the VWP. Fortunately, Japan is one of these VWP countries, making Japanese citizens eligible to apply for this more convenient and efficient process. Keep in mind that the purpose of your visit should align with what is permissible under the VWP, including business, tourism, or transit purposes.

Important Information for Japanese Travelers

Here are some crucial points Japanese citizens should know when applying for an ESTA:

  • Your passport must be an e-passport with a digital chip containing biometric information. It should also be valid for at least six months beyond your planned stay in the US.
  • If approved, your ESTA is valid for two years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. You can travel to the US multiple times within this period without reapplying for each trip.
  • The ESTA application fee is non-refundable, so ensure that you meet all the requirements before applying.
  • If your circumstances change, or if you receive a new passport, you need to apply for a new ESTA.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my ESTA application is denied?

If your ESTA is denied, you may still apply for a traditional visa to visit the United States. This will involve an interview at the nearest US embassy or consulate.

Can I extend my stay in the US beyond 90 days with an ESTA?

No, the ESTA does not allow you to stay beyond 90 days. To extend your stay, you must obtain the appropriate visa that fits your situation before your travel.

Is an ESTA required for travelers in transit through the US?

Yes, all visitors traveling to or transiting through the United States under the VWP are required to have an approved ESTA.


The trip of a lifetime is waiting for you across the Pacific, and the starting point is securing your travel authorization with an ESTA. For Japanese citizens keen to explore the boundless experiences offered by the United States, an ESTA provides a hassle-free gateway. Remember to begin your travel planning by completing your ESTA application well in advance of your trip. This ensures that any unexpected hiccups in the authorization process won’t interfere with your travel itinerary, allowing you to enjoy your American adventure to the fullest.

Feel free to reach out to us for any guidance or assistance you may need during your application process. Safe travels, and we hope to welcome you to the United States very soon!

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