Japan begins visa waiver procedures for Qatari passport holders

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In a move to strengthen ties and promote tourism between Japan and the State of Qatar, the Japanese government has announced the initiation of visa waiver procedures for Qatari passport holders, stated an official of the Department of Consular Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The new visa waiver program came into effect on April 2, 2023, and allows Qatari citizens to visit Japan for up to 30 days without needing a pre-entry visa.

To benefit from the visa waiver program, Qatari passport holders must follow some simple procedures.

Submission of Passport and Registration Application. Applicants must submit their passport and the passport registration application form to any Japanese diplomatic mission. It is essential that the passport’s validity is more than six months. This can be done by the applicant themselves or through their representative.

Visa Waiver Registration Stamp. The Japanese diplomatic mission will return the passport with the visa waiver registration stamp on the next working day following the date of application submission.

Multiple Entry Privilege. Qatari citizens holding a passport with the visa waiver registration stamp can enter Japan multiple times during the registration validity period of three years or according to the passport validity period – if it is less than three years. Each stay in Japan must not exceed 30 consecutive days.

The visa waiver program does not cover those who plan to stay in Japan for more than 30 consecutive days or for business purposes. In such cases, a pre-entry visa must be obtained Additionally, if holders of previously registered passports obtain new passports or change their names, they will need to register the new passports.

In case an applicant’s passport registration is rejected, they are advised to apply for a regular visa.

The relationship between Qatar and Japan has flourished over several decades, with both nations enjoying strong economic, trade, and diplomatic ties. The recent introduction of the visa waiver program is set to further enhance the bond between these two countries, allowing for more accessible travel and trade opportunities.

Japan is one of Qatar’s most significant trading partners, and the two nations have collaborated on numerous projects in recent years. A prime example is the development of liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities in Qatar, which have become instrumental in supplying a large portion of Japan’s energy needs. Furthermore, Qatar has actively invested in Japanese companies, providing crucial support to the Japanese economy.

Alongside their economic ties, Qatar and Japan have maintained healthy diplomatic relations, with frequent exchanges of high-level visits between the two countries. In 2018, Qatar Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani visited Japan and met with the now late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. During this visit, both leaders discussed opportunities to further enhance the relationship between their countries.

The visa waiver program between Japan and the State of Qatar aims to foster stronger diplomatic and cultural relations, as well as boost tourism between the two nations.  This streamlined process will significantly ease travel for Qatari citizens, making it more convenient for them to explore Japan and its rich cultural heritage.

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