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I am an Indian and I applied for a visa to Japan. We normally have to pay a visa fee of 440INR, but on my form, the person who took my documents circled "Gratis" and told me that I don't have to pay anything.

I didn't ask then but I got really curious later. Why was I exempted from visa fees?

Edit: I applied for the Short term stay visa for 90 days, with an invitation from a Japanese national

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    What type of visa did you apply for? – xuq01 Apr 4 '17 at 14:46
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    The "Visa fees" document at the Ministry of Foreign affairs indeed mentions Depending on the purpose of your visit and your nationality, fees may not be required or may be a different amount. but gives no further information. So what is the purpose of your visit? – Jan Doggen Apr 4 '17 at 14:55
  • I applied from the 90 days short term visa, with an invitation from a Japanese national – Prada Apr 4 '17 at 22:56
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    Do you hold an ordinary Indian passport (blue cover)? – RedBaron Apr 5 '17 at 1:37
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    @DavChana the word associated with the definition you describe is generally reciprocal. Gratis simply means free of charge. – phoog Apr 5 '17 at 10:24
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I see two options:

  1. You are planning to visit Japanese regions affected by the recent earthquake:

    As part of the reconstruction assistance connected with the Great East Japan Earthquake, visa fee for foreign visitors to any region of Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures has been waived provided they satisfy the conditions below.

  2. Since Japanese visa fees are already low ($7) for Indian citizens, the responsible person didn't want to bother with collecting it.

  3. You hold an Indian diplomatic/service/official passport.

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    @JonothanReez 1. also requires a separate form to be filled out. ph.emb-japan.go.jp/files/000229488.pdf – The Wandering Coder Apr 6 '17 at 1:58
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    @TheWandering consulate employees could easily ignore this rule and apply the gratis fee anyway – JonathanReez Apr 6 '17 at 5:22
  • Whilst true, your insistence that fees are waived so readily does not match up with previous experiences / information I have been privy too. That isn't to say it doesn't happen, just that you seem to be a little too ready to mark it off as waived. – The Wandering Coder Apr 6 '17 at 7:15
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    I think that's the reason. I'll be staying mostly in Sendai(part of the Miyagi prefecture) which is why I got the visa fees waived off. – Prada Apr 6 '17 at 15:05
  • @TheWanderingCoder see OPs comment above :) – JonathanReez Apr 6 '17 at 15:30
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"Gratis" means "free". So, you do not need to pay a visa fee. This happens because India and Japan have an International Agreement to facilitate the visas between their nationals, signed in 2010.

  • 1
    Hi, for this to be a potentially good answer, can you provide some reference to the said agreement? – B.Liu Nov 13 '18 at 12:54

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