Disclaimer: ESTA.us provides information about the Electronic System for Travel Authorization. This website is privately-owned and not affiliated with the U.S. Government. We link out to third-party websites that process ESTA applications for an additional processing fee. Visitors can choose between using a private company or the official government portal to submit their travel authorization: esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta

ESTA Visa Application for Japanese Citizens

This page is available in the following languages: ENGLISH | JAPANESE

Country: Japan

Capital: Tokyo

ESTA Required: Yes

On December 16, 1988, Japan became the second country in the world to join the United States of America’s Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This helped to streamline traveling between the two countries since many Japanese citizens no longer had to apply for a visa to visit the U.S. And in 2009, traveling became even easier when the Electronic System of Travel Authorization (ESTA) was introduced. It meant that all Japanese travelers could apply for the ESTA Travel Authorization that permits to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days for the purpose of business, tourism (including medical purposes), and to participate in non-credit study programs.

The ESTA is not the same a visa which means that many Japanese travelers may still need visa. It is therefore important to know the reason for visiting the U.S. in good time before traveling. If the reason for traveling does not match the purposes already mentioned above, then a tourist visa (B1/2) must be applied for.

U.S. Immigration statistics for Japanese visitors (2017):

  • The total amount of visitors from Japan: 3 975 012
  • Approved ESTA applications: 3 672 493
  • Students and exchange visitors: 66 006
  • Temporary workers and family-related applications: 189 707
  • Diplomats and other official representatives: 15 578
  • Other types of visitor categories: 5 545

Traveling to the U.S. From Tokyo, Japan

The three busiest airports in Japan with solid connections to the U.S. are Haneda Airport (HND) - Tokyo, Narita International Airport (NRT) - Tokyo, and Kansai International Airport (KIX) - Osaka.

Nonstop flights from Haneda Airport the United States:

HND – Honolulu:

Flight time: 7h 20m
Popular Carriers: Hawaiian, Ana

HND – Los Angeles:

Flight time: 10h
Popular Carriers: Delta, American, and ANA

HND – New York:

Flight time: 12h 55m
Popular Carriers: Ana and JAL

HND – Chicago:

Flight time: 11h 50m
Popular Carriers: Ana


Nonstop flights from Narita International Airport the United States:

NRT – Honolulu:

Flight time: 7h 10m
Popular Carriers: Korean Air, United, and Hawaiian

NRT – Atlanta:

Flight time: 12h 20m
Popular Carriers: Delta

NRT – Los Angles:

Flight time: 10h
Popular Carriers: United, American, and JAL

NRT – Chicago:

Flight time: 11h 45m
Popular Carriers: JAL, ANA, and United

NRT – Denver:

Flight time: 10h 35m
Popular Carriers: United

NRT – New York:

Flight time: 12h 55m
Popular Carriers: ANA, United, and Jal

NRT – Dallas:

Flight time: 11h 40m
Popular Carriers: American and JAL


Nonstop flights from Kansai International Airport the United States:

KIX – Honolulu:

Flight time: 8h 30m
Popular Carriers: Scoot, Hawaiian, and Delta

KIX – San Francisco:

Flight time: 9h 50m
Popular Carriers: United

KIX – Seattle:

Flight time: 9h 40m
Popular Carriers: Delta

KIX – Los Angeles:

Flight time: 10h 20m
Popular Carriers: JAL

*We did not add flights to Guam in this overview, but you can reach the Island of Guam in less than 4 hours from many airports in Japan.


When should Japanese citizens apply for the ESTA?

In 2018, it became mandatory for all ESTA-travelers to apply for an ESTA at least 72 hours before boarding the aircraft. Japanese citizens are recommended to apply in good time to make sure that their travel authorization (ESTA) is approved. Getting denied means that applicants must apply for a tourist visa at the nearest U.S. Embassy, which can take a long time to complete. If you have plans to visit the United States soon, then apply as soon as you can. Read more about the ESTA application here.

Japanese travelers with an approved ESTA can check its status or make updates. Visit this page for more information: verify/update ESTA.


Quick facts

Japanese travelers can apply for ESTA online

The ESTA is valid for 2 years for visitors from Japan

Japanese citizens can stay in the U.S. for up to 90 days with an approved ESTA

Japan’s overstay rate is only: 0.16%