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Is it true that we can obtain Shore pass at Narita Airport only once in lifetime?

I am an Indian citizen who recently visited Tokyo, by obtaining shore pass at Narita Airport, Immigration officer present at Airport told me that be cautious you can Only obtain this pass once in your lifetime so be prepared for next time.

Can anybody confirm?

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  • 1
    Japan Airlines told me 3 times, and when asking the immigration bureau they didn't know of any such restriction (!!!)
    – Crazydre
    Aug 25 '16 at 19:03
  • Did the officer tell you that you can only obtain this pass once in your lifetime literally? What is the exact phrase the officer used?
    – Blaszard
    Jun 19 '17 at 10:54
  • Current info: Indian Nationals that can comply with the below regulations can receive a "shorepass" upon arrival in Tokyo: "Passengers with a passport and a confirmed onward ticket to a third country within 72 hours can obtain a Shore Pass They must: - have documents required for the next destination; and - have proof of sufficient funds to cover their stay; and - arrive at and depart from an airport or seaport located within the same group below. - Group A: Airports: Narita (NRT), Haneda (HND), Nagoya (NGO), Niigata (KIJ), Komatsu (KMQ) and Yokota (OKO)."
    – Rahul
    Jan 10 '20 at 22:43
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There is little that is publicly known about this "shore pass" and how it works. The legislative text behind it is here, but its implementation details are internal Immigration Bureau policies, which are not public and which this particular official may intentionally or not have misrepresented.

If you are feeling lucky, you can try asking the Immigration Bureau directly using the e-mail form here, but my experience is that they often decline to answer questions they consider too specific.

To play it safe, get a visa.

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I was in transit through Narita airport in June 2016. Obtained shore pass easily both times during the ongoing trip and the return.

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I managed to get a confirmation from the Japanese head of immigration. The Shore Pass only being obtainable once in a lifetime is not true.

It is apparently a widely abused system though, which is why some officials may try to tell travellers that there's a limited amount of times one can obtain it, which, according to the official, is actually misconduct on their part.

However, if relying on a Shore Pass frequently, much like with the US Visa Waiver Program, you may want to prepare extra proof that you will not abuse the system, including ties to your home country, to present on request.

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  • We don't know exactly what was said, but "Once in a lifetime" is a also common idiom meaning "extremely rare" -- maybe it wasn't intended literally. Jan 26 '19 at 13:12
  • @DavidRicherby "Extremely rare" wouldn't be accurate either
    – Crazydre
    Jan 26 '19 at 14:44

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