Is a Visa required for a 15 hour layover in Narita Airport, flying in from South Africa? Ticket included departure from SA, with a 3hour stopover in Doha, 15 hour stopover in Narita Airport, with final destination to Dalian. However Customs prevented boarding. Ticket had to be changed to following day, with astronomical additional costs, hotel changes, new PCR tests etc. The trauma experienced was inexplicable.

  • What is your citizenship, are all flights in a single ticket or were they booked separately, what are the airlines involved, what are the times and terminals of arrival/departure in NRT? I doubt customs had anything to do with visa requirements of other countries.
    – jcaron
    Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 21:03
  • 2
    It is clearly mentioned on the website of Narita ajrport that it closes between 12 AM and 6 AM, and everyone present has to pass through passport control. It is not 15 hour layover which matters, but "which15 hours?". If your layover was this period, you were correctly denied boarding (and obviously not by customs, because their job is to deal with the stuff which is brought into the country). If the layover was, say, from 7 AM to 10 PM, which is also 15 hours, and a single PNR ticket, then you shouldn't have been denied boarding for this reason. narita-airport.jp/en/connect/inter Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 21:40

1 Answer 1


Sounds like you've answered your own question, it's required, so they wouldn't let you board.

If you're not from one of the list of countries here, you will need a transit visa.

Based on your post I'm assuming South Africa, so yes, you'd need one.

It's possible if transiting the same calendar day, as per the above link as well.


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