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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Managing the Legalities: Do You Need a Visa?

Visa-Free Traveling
For folks from the US, you can stay in the country without a visa a maximum of 90 days(as in 90 calendar days, not 3 months), which is more than enough time for most folks to get their kicks before they return to the reality waiting for them back home. As for the rest of the world...

You need a passport if you're from...
Brazil, China, India, Russia, South Africa or South Korea*(plus others not mentioned)
*if part of a school group, you can stay up to a month

You can stay 14 days if you're from...

You can stay 90 days if you're from...
Andorra, Australia, Barbados, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hong Kong, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Monaco, New Zealand, Poland or Slovakia

You can stay 3 months if you're from...
Argentina, the Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus(the country), Denmark, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Finland, France, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Lesotho, Luxumbourg, Macedonia, Malta, Maritius, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal*, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Surinam, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey or Uruguay
*exception if originally attained in either former or current colonies of the country

You can stay 6 months if you're from...
Austria, Germany, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Switzerland or the UK*
*only for UK citizens

Why Would I Need a Visa?
Short answer: the authorities can kick you out immediately, if they catch you after your visa-free time is up, and you don't have one. Long Answer: If you're going as an exchange student, worker, teacher, are visiting a relative long term(e.g. A year, or so) or otherwise need to be there for something other then tourism, you'll need to visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan's long term visa section of the site and look up the one you need.
     Afterward, look up a local Consulate-General of Japan and call them up for anything you may need to do concerning getting the needed visa. Should the country's charm stay with you after you visit, definitely give this stuff a moment of serious thought if you ever want to do something long term over there. While we're on the subject, let's take a look at the next phase of going to Japan: Where you want to visit for your vacation. 

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