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As a dual citizen of both France and Japan, would it be possible to travel on a direct flight from Japan to France, and from France to Japan without owning any passport?

The traveler would use a French national ID card as evidence of French citizenship and a Japanese mynumber card or a koseki touhon as evidence of Japanese nationality.

It is for a kid travelling with both parents (one french, one japanese) if that matters.

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  • How old is the child?
    – jcaron
    Jul 3, 2023 at 8:50

3 Answers 3

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would it be possible to travel on a direct flight from Japan to France, and from France to Japan without owning any passport ?

No, you can't


For France, TIMATIC (document database for airlines)

France - Destination Passport

Passport required.

Document Validity

Nationals of France are allowed to enter with an expired passport. The passport is accepted when expired for a maximum of 5 years.

You could enter on a French ID Card (easier to get than a passport), but I don't know if Japanese exit immigration would be cool with that


For Japan, you need a passport either way

What I'd recommmend is getting a Japanese passport and doing that whole trip on it. Since they're a French citizen, they can't be denied entry and there are no worries of overstay, even on a Japanese passport, especially as there is a French parent that can attest of the child's French citizenship by descent by holding their French passport.

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    How can a passport be required? Clearly it isn't under French law, why would airline enforce that? Indeed, as you note, you can definitely enter with a French ID card so this TIMATIC data is very surprising.
    – Relaxed
    Jul 3, 2023 at 8:48
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    @Relaxed You could enter France on ID Card, definitely... But Japanese Immigration might very well take issue with that Jul 3, 2023 at 8:52
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    @Relaxed Can you explain what the TIMATIC data "Passport required" means, given that you also say "You could enter France on ID Card, definitely"? It seems that those two things contradict each other. As for Japanese immigration taking isue with it: the OP is not proposing to enter Japan on a French ID card - rather, on a "japanese mynumber card" or a "koseki touhon". Jul 3, 2023 at 12:30
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    @JamesMartin Timatic essentially always says "passport required" and then lists a bunch of exceptions. It does the same with visas in most cases. Since we don't have the entire output here, we can't see whether it says "exemptions: nationals of France with a valid national ID card" -- an exemption that applies to all EU, EEA, ans Swiss citizens, in fact, so it might instead say "exemptions: nationals of [a list of several countries] with a valid national ID card or passport card" or something else similar.
    – phoog
    Jul 3, 2023 at 12:36
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    @JamesMartin This is a TimaticWeb output, it is restricted to the document you claim to hold (like a passport, ID card), if you choose an ID card the exception will appear. This is a limitation of TimaticWeb, a real ground agent or an ExpertFlyer subscriber would have access to all the relevant exceptions at once. But the issue here is that you don't know if Immigration will let them leave with an ID Card, and that they need a passport to reenter Japan... so a passport will solve all issues here Jul 3, 2023 at 12:54
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In addition to the answer for France, Japan also requires a passport. Here's a translation of the relevant articles:

Article 60

(1) Any Japanese national (except for crew members) who departs from Japan with the intention of proceeding to an area outside of Japan shall possess a valid passport and shall receive confirmation of departure from Japan from an immigration inspector in accordance with the procedures provided for by a Ministry of Justice ordinance, at the port of entry or departure from which such person departs.

(2) The Japanese national set forth in the preceding paragraph shall not depart from Japan unless he/she has received confirmation of departure from Japan.

Article 61

Any Japanese national (except for crew members) who returns to Japan from an area outside of Japan shall possess a valid passport (a document that certifies Japanese nationality if he/she is unable to possess a valid passport) and shall receive confirmation of return to Japan by an immigration inspector in accordance with the procedures provided for by a Ministry of Justice ordinance, at the port of entry or departure at which such person lands.

Source: https://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/ja/laws/view/173/en

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  • How exactly would one depart Japan without the intention of proceeding to an area outside Japan? Unless we start playing silly word games with what ‘intention’ means (perhaps you’re leaving randomly, with no premeditation?), that seems entirely superfluous to me. As soon as you depart from Japan, you are by definition in “an area outside of Japan”, so it basically means, ‘any Japanese national who departs from Japan with the intention of departing from Japan’. Jul 4, 2023 at 12:59
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    @JanusBahsJacquet there are many edge cases where you depart a country without intending too. Perhaps you're sailing around Japan and accidentally sail into international waters, or another country's waters. Or you're on a domestic flight that gets redirected to a foreign airport for safety reasons. In these kinds of cases it would seem unfair to be guilty of a crime. :) Jul 4, 2023 at 16:11
  • @James That’s a fair point. Still seems like an odd phrasing, though; they could have just written, “who intentionally departs from Japan”. Jul 4, 2023 at 16:50
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Other answers have covered requirements under Japanese law better than I can, but there seems to be some confusion about the requirements under French law. A French passport is not required; a French national ID card is also acceptable.

Source:

https://www.united.com/en/us/timatic?i=TIMATIC

Input:

  • Origin=Japan

  • Destination=France

  • Travel Date=2023-07-27

  • Return/Onward ticket held=No return/onward ticket held

  • Nationality=France

  • Passenger Type=Normal passport

  • Resident country/region=France

Output:

France

Passport

Passport required.

Passport Exemptions:

  • Nationals of France with a document proving nationality.
  • Nationals of France with a national ID card.
  • Nationals of France with an emergency or a temporary passport.

Document Validity:

Nationals of France are allowed to enter with an expired passport. The passport is accepted when expired for a maximum of 5 years.

Nationals of France are allowed to enter with an expired national ID card when:

  • it is expired for a maximum of 5 years, and
  • the date of issue is between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2013, and
  • the passenger was 18 years or older on the date of issue.

Nationals of France traveling without a passport must have a document accepted for entry, valid on arrival.

You may think it incorrect to choose "normal passport" for a traveler traveling without a passport, but if you do choose it, you're told not only that a passport is required but also that a visa is required, even though you've entered the passenger's nationality as French. That's certainly incorrect, and it suggests that the words "passenger type" and/or "normal passport" are poorly chosen by the designers of the system to cover some other circumstance (though I cannot imagine what it might be).

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  • But you can't leave Japan without a passport according to the above rules Jul 3, 2023 at 14:02
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    @NicolasFormichella that's correct. This is a partial answer. Presumably a Japanese/French dual citizen could make the trip with a Japanese passport and a French national ID card. I posted this answer to correct the misperception that a French passport is required and to point out that one gets incorrect results if one chooses "other" for a French citizen's "passenger type" on the United site. I've edited the answer in the hope of making this clearer.
    – phoog
    Jul 3, 2023 at 14:43

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