Cherry blossoms and a temple in Japan

Japan Is Rolling Out a New Digital Nomad Visa in March

Friendly locals. Incredible food scene. Cherry blossoms for days. What’s not to love?

If a long-stay in Asia is high on your bucket list, good news. Japan is set to become the latest country to introduce a digital nomad visa, joining the ranks of others in the region like Malaysia, the Philippines, and South Korea.

After tourism came to a screeching halt during the pandemic, Japan has rebounded 96% of its usual foot traffic. In 2023, two million foreign workers were brought into the fold, a 12% uptick from previous years. The new digital nomad visa is expected to boost the local economy even further, says Japan Today.

Eligibility requirements

The visa will be available to residents of 45 countries that have tax treaties and visa-free arrangements with Japan, including the United States. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan has a list here.

To be eligible for the visa, you must make $5,692 per month or $68,300 annually, the equivalent of 10 million yen per year.

You must also be able to prove that you have a contract with a company outside of Japan and carry your own private health insurance for the duration of your stay. If you’re traveling with your family, your spouse and children will be approved to come with you.

Duration of stay

The new policy will allow digital nomads to stay in the country for up to six months, a step up from the typical three-month allowance for visa-free travelers.

Though half a year may sound a bit short compared to other long-stay visas out there, the government polled digital nomads and found that six months was the sweet spot. Imaeda Soichiro, the Deputy Minister of Japan’s Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture & Science recently addressed this point in a post on X (formerly known as Twitter).

Soichiro stated:

“Regarding this period of six months, when we conducted a survey asking the question ‘How long do you want to stay in Japan as a digital nomad?’, the survey results showed that the majority of digital nomads wanted to stay for less than six months. Based on this, it can be said that the six-month period setting does not deviate greatly from the expectations of digital nomads.”

Is the visa renewable?

In his post on X, Soichiro said, “It is not possible to renew the card, but if you wish to use it again, you can do so after six months from departure.”

In other words, if you stay from April to September 2024, you’ll have to leave from October 2024 to March 2025 before you’re eligible to re-apply. If you’re approved, you can stay for another six months.

When will the visa be available?

The Japanese government has not released a firm date on when the digital nomad visa will be launched, as they are currently accepting comments from the public, per Japan Today

That said, it’s expected to be live by the end of March or early April. Currently, there is no information available on the website for the US Embassy & Consulates in Japan regarding fees or the application process, but we’ll update this story as soon as that changes.

Limitations of the visa

As a digital nomad, you will not be covered by Japan’s national health care system, notes Unseen Japan. You will also not be able to sign a lease on a long-term rental, like an apartment or house. Instead, you’ll be limited to short-term dwellings.

As well, you will not receive a resident card for government benefits, as you will not be considered a resident, says the Japan Times.

Quick summary

  • Digital nomads can stay for six months on the new digital nomad visa
  • You must make $68,300 per year (10 million yen) to qualify
  • Applications are expected to open up at the end of March
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