ESTA for Japanese Citizens -

ESTA for Japanese Citizens

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Japanese citizens are eligible to apply for an ESTA to visit the US under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Japan has been a member of the VWP since 1988 and therefore able to apply for an ESTA as travel authorization.

ESTA Requirements and Important Information

  • ESTA is for short term visits for business, tourism, medical and transit
  • Electronically links to biometric passports
  • For trips to US of no more than 90 days
  • Children, infants and all travellers require their own ESTA
  • ESTA is issued for two years, or until passport expires
  • Can be used for multiple visits to the US
  • ESTA is required whether travelling by air or sea
Application for Japanese Citizens

Benefits of ESTA for Japanese Citizens

Japanese citizens who wish to visit the United States for business or tourism purposes can benefit from the easier process of applying for an ESTA instead of a US visa. One of the key benefits of obtaining an ESTA is that is allows the holder to make multiple trips to the US, as long as the ESTA is valid and the passport it was issued for is also valid.

Instead of waiting for the longer processing that is typical with visa applications, an ESTA can be issues on the same day that the application is submitted. Many applicants receive their confirmation within just a few hours, although it is recommended that the application is submitted at least 72 hours in advance of the intended travel to the US.

Once an ESTA has been granted, the holder is able to travel to any part of the US as long as they do not stay for longer than 90 days in one trip. The ESTA application fee is cheaper than the application for a US visa, so that is another big advantage, as well as saving time.

Once an ESTA has been granted, the holder is able to travel to any part of the US as long as they do not stay for longer than 90 days in one trip. The ESTA application fee is cheaper than the application for a US visa, so that is another big advantage, as well as saving time.

How Japanese Citizens Can Apply for ESTA

Instead of attending an interview at the US Embassy, the applicant for an ESTA simply needs to complete an online form that takes less than 20 minutes to finish. The form requires information such as passport details, personal information and details related to criminal convictions and health. The information is then used as part of the pre-screening process by the US Department of Homeland Security as they determine whether the application is to be approved.

To apply for ESTA, you must be a Japanese citizen (or citizen of another VWP country) and must have a valid passport. If approved, the ESTA will be electronically linked to the applicant’s passport. Applications will also require a valid email address for correspondence regarding the application and a method of payment for the application fee i.e. credit or debit card.

How Long Can Japanese Nationals Stay in the US With an ESTA?

Although an ESTA is good for two years from the date it was issued, Japanese nationals can stay in the US for up to 90 days per entry. It is important to know that ESTA supports multiple entries.

How Soon Should You Apply for an ESTA?

You can apply at any time before boarding your plane. However, the US Customs and Border Patrol's recommendation is that you do so at least 72 hours before your journey. Generally speaking, you should think about requesting an ESTA while organizing your trip and prior to buying airline tickets.

How Long Does It Take to Get the ESTA Approval?

For the majority of travelers, the application is evaluated and approved in under twenty minutes. However, in some cases, additional processing time may be necessary. You should receive a response within 72 hours after submitting your request.

When To Submit a Renewed ESTA Form?

A Japanese traveler will need to submit a new ESTA application under the following circumstances:

1. The existing ESTA has expired: The ESTA is only valid for two years after approval or until the expiration of the passport, whichever occurs first. Hence, users must apply for an updated one immediately before visiting the US if their current document is no longer active.

2. Replaced Passport: After procuring a new passport since registering with their last ESTA, the application must be submitted again in order to corroborate the information present on both documents and available upon arrival in America.

3. Personal Details Modified: If someone goes through a legal name change or personal details undergo verifiable adjustments, then it is necessary to acquire a new ESTA.

4. Amended Travel Itinerary: As ESTAs are specific to each itinerary, re-applying may be necessary if there have been any changes since the original application submission.

Important Advice for ESTA Application

It is quite common for people to make errors on their ESTA application, which can mean the application is declined or delayed. Therefore, it is advised that you take as much time as possible to check over the details, paying particular attention to key information such as passport number. If your ESTA is declined and you have no other form of travel authorization such as a visa, you will not be allowed to enter the US.

What to do if ESTA is Declined

If you receive an email to say that your application for US ESTA has been declined, there may still be another option to still go on your trip to the US. If your application has been declined because you made a mistake on the application, you should be able to re-apply but this could delay your trip.

The other option you have if your visa is declined is to apply for a tourism or business visa if relevant. To apply for a visa, you must complete a DS-160 form and pay the application fee and then arrange an interview at the Japanese US Embassy.

The address for the US Embassy in Japan:

US Embassy Tokyo 1-10-5
Akasaka Minato-ku
Tokyo 1078420

Do Dual Citizens of the United States or Canada Have to Acquire ESTA?

Dual citizens of the United States or Canada are exempt from acquiring ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) when traveling to America through the Visa Waiver Program. This is because this passport requirement only applies to inhabitants of countries belonging to the Visa Waiver Program but not having U.S. citizenship and double citizenship in either the US or Canada.

However, it should be a priority to fly with their US or Canadian identity proof and to be prepared to provide evidence that proves their dual status if demanded.

Do Children Also Need to Apply for the ESTA?

For the same reasons as adults, children must get their ESTA permission when they want to enter the United States through the Visa Waiver Program. Each traveler, including kids, has to have their own ESTA approval. A legal guardian can file ESTA applications for minors, following similar procedures as those for grown-ups.

In What Circumstances Will Japanese Travelers Need to Get a US Visa Instead of an ESTA?

There are instances when Japanese travelers should secure a US visa rather than an ESTA. These include trips lasting longer than 90 days, holidays whose essence is not included in the Visa Waiver Program, and rejections of previous visa requests. Crucially, ESTA applications can only be submitted by persons with no former rejections regarding US visa applications.

Benefits of ESTA for Japanese citizens:
  • Benefits of ESTA for Japanese citizens:
  • Quick processing
  • Use for visits to US for tourism, business, medical or transit
  • Can be used on visits of up to 90 days in US
  • Application form is quick and easy to fill in
  • Complete the form using either mobile or desktop
  • Use for multiple visits to US

Written by Abisola Fikayomi

Abisola is an accomplished writer interested in US Travel, immigration, passports and visas. She’s passionate about exploring new places and cultures and willing to share her experiences, expertize and findings with others. That is her primary drive for specialising in this industry.


Indeed, all Japanese residents must acquire an ESTA to enter the United States as part of the Visa Waiver Program, which permits stays up to 90 days for business, leisure or medical endeavors. Conversely, if the devotion of their voyage does not meet the requirements of the Visa Waiver Program or if they plan to stay over a time target of 90 days, then authorisation for US visas is required.
Depending upon one's program and length of stay, a Japanese national has to get either an ESTA or visa earlier to entering the United States. Those going for a maximum of 90 days for work or pleasure can make use of ESTA; those intending other intentions or extending beyond the abovementioned timeframe have to file an application for a visa.
If a Japanese traveler has been deprived of a US visa in the past, such individuals are unfit for submitting an ESTA. Consequently, it is obligatory for them to apply for a US visa instead.