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I will be transferring between two international flights at Tokyo Narita airport. I'm scheduled to depart the same day I arrive. I am planning to stay within the airport during the layover. Does anyone know if I will require a transit visa at Narita?

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I have also the same question because im flying to Toronto with a stopover to NRT for 4 hours. Im confused if I will be needing a visa for the stopover. Thank you guys for the answer. – user3038 Aug 23 '12 at 13:27
up vote 12 down vote accepted

No visa is required for transiting in Japanese airports if you have immediate flight connections regardless of nationality.

Anyway, there is a Japanese transit visa which is intended for people who have longer layovers before transiting and want to go sightseeing or resting in Japan for few days (up to 15 days).

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Apparently, if you have an overnight layover, you will need a transit visa. See SSS's comment below. – Varun Vats Dec 29 '12 at 1:53
@VarunVats The OP is not having an over night layover so I answered according to that. He is having an immediate connection flight and he does not need visa for that. – Heidel Ber Gensis Dec 29 '12 at 3:32

I am an Indian passport holder working in the US on H1B. I was supposed to fly LAX-Narita-KL-Bangalore on 23rd December 2012 with a 14 hour overnight layover in Narita.

I received a call from the airline 2 days before my scheduled departure, stating that new rules at Narita dictate that travelers absolutely need a transit visa for overnight layovers in Narita, even if the arriving and departing flights are from the same terminal.

Because of the short notice, there was no time to apply for a Japanese transit visa (the Japanese consulate takes 3 working days to issue one). I had to cancel my ticket and book a flight with Cathay, transiting thru' Hong Kong which has no transit visa requirements.

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what is the definition of "overnight"? – user102008 Jul 24 '13 at 2:55
Narita is closed to flights between 11 PM and 6 AM. While officially 'closed' to passengers as well -- hence the overnight visa requirement -- in practice passengers are allowed to stay in the terminal though. – jpatokal Jul 11 '14 at 1:12

A stopover is typically a stay in one city of 24 hours or more. In your case, you actually have just a connection in Tokyo. Connections can even go across airports in the same metropolitan area, such as between London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

Very rarely are visas required for connections in the same airport, since you do not need to clear immigration and customs. One exception is in the USA, where all passengers must clear immigration and customs, so check with your travel agent or local Embassy/Consulate for more information.

From my experience, you will not need a visa for this connection, since you are probably flying Japan Airlines and American Airlines, which are located in the same terminal (T2) at Narita. (Even if you're on Air India, they fly into T2 as well.) You will be required to show your boarding pass for NRT-DFW and clear security upon arrival in Tokyo, but you will not clear immigration and customs.

As MeNoTalk mentioned, if you do have a stopover in Japan, you can get a Japanese Transit Visa.

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Related terminology question: In the context of air travel, are layovers different to stopovers? – hippietrail Aug 19 '12 at 18:48
+1 for the good notes. – Varun Vats Aug 31 '12 at 1:04
Another reason for needing a visa when connecting is if it's overnight, and the airside closes! Not normally a problem with bigger transit airports, but could bite you at a very small one... – Gagravarr Dec 24 '12 at 0:10

protected by Mark Mayo Jan 15 '14 at 23:41

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