Looking to book an alternative flight that will require two one ways with a 3 hour "stopover" at the NRT airport before the connecting flight. Since I will need to check in my bags and pick it up at baggage claim, will I need to get a visa in NRT? I assume this will require me to go through customs since I am in a sense "leaving the airport".

Can I avoid going through customs if I forgo check-in bags? The flight would require a transfer from T1 to T2 and would then not require a visa?

Trying to figure somethings out here.


  • Which airline(s) are the flights with?
    – Doc
    Feb 10, 2020 at 2:42

1 Answer 1


Based on your question, it seems these are separate bookings.

Per TIMATIC, the database used by airlines:

Visa required, except for Passengers with a passport and a confirmed onward ticket to a third country within 72 hours can obtain a Shore Pass on arrival if there are no connecting flights on the same calendar day

For logical reasons, I suspect this information is incomplete and that your scenario would qualify for this visa exemption. Nevertheless, based on the above you're not getting on the flight to NRT without a visa with separate bookings (even if not checking a bag, the problem is you won't be considered a transit passenger).

So yes, you'll need a transit visa with separate bookings. If it's a single booking, then any bags will be checked through, and you won't need a visa.

  • Depends on the airlines. If they are the same airline, or an alliance, then it's possible the bags will be checked through
    – Doc
    Feb 10, 2020 at 6:09
  • @Doc Still, most handling agents would consider the transit point to be the final destination, luggage or not. Been told this very clearly by most of the ones I've asked.
    – Crazydre
    Feb 10, 2020 at 9:28

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