Japan’s Immigration Agency Eases Entertainment Visa Rules; Application Process Streamlined, Maximum Stay Increased

Japan News file photo
Sam Smith concert held at K-Arena Yokohama in Yokohama, October 13, 2023.

The government has begun easing conditions for foreign professional singers and other entertainers to obtain visas to enter Japan to perform at concerts, music festivals and other events.

In December last year, the government started taking measures to shorten the period for issuing a Certificate of Eligibility — a document needed to apply for such a visa — by up to about two months. By speeding up the immigration procedures, the governments intends to encourage foreign artists’ entertainment activities in Japan, promote international cultural exchanges and invigorate the economy.

The Immigration Services Agency has revised the administration of Justice Ministry ordinances regarding visa status. This is the second time the agency has eased entertainment visa conditions since August last year when some other relevant conditions were relaxed, such as the number of days a foreign entertainer can stay in Japan, their activity history and the size of the venue where they are to perform in the country.

According to the agency, the new measures are targeted at foreign artists coming to Japan to perform at concerts, music festivals and other events. If their applications for Certificates of Eligibility are submitted by agents who have a certain track record, such as not having been in arrears in payments to artists in the past three years, the agency will issue the certificate in two to three weeks rather than the one to three months it previously advised applicants to expect.

The application procedures have become simpler than before as well. Applicants will no longer need to submit some of the documents they used to be required to prepare, such as a floor map and photos of the event venue.

Doubling the maximum stay to 30 days from 15 is one of the visa conditions that was changed when the ministry ordinances were revised last August.

It has been often said that many foreign artists find it difficult to enter Japan because the conditions for obtaining an entertainment visa have been very strict. One of the benefits they will receive from relaxation of the conditions is that they can plan their events more easily.