Renew My Visa

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Overview

Repeat travelers to the United States may qualify to renew their visas without appearing for an interview. This process allows qualifying applicants to submit their application via mail (except for those who apply at the U.S. Consulate in Naha) if they meet the following qualifications.

Qualifications

  • You must be physically present in Japan. An application cannot be sent by international mail to be processed.
  • The name, date of birth, and nationality on your passport are the same as the ones on your previous visa.
  • All 10 fingerprints were captured at a previous interview.
    Note: The U.S. Embassy and Consulates did not start collecting 10 fingerprints until November 1, 2007. If your previous visa was issued before this date you may not have submitted 10 fingerprints, and are not eligible for this program. If your previous visa was issued before age 14, 10 fingerprints have not been submitted and you are not eligible to apply for a visa by mail.
  • The applicant is applying for the exact same type of visa.

-For F and M renewals, applicants must either a)continue participation in the same program which you were enrolled in when applying for the previous visa, even if at a different institution; or b)attend the same institution which appeared on the previous visa even if in a different program.

-For J renewals, SEVIS number has not changed from the previously issued visa.

  • The applicant is applying to the same location where his/her last visa was issued. The previous visa will state the issuing post in the top left corner. Note: If you applied in Sapporo, your visa was issued in Tokyo; and if you applied in Fukuoka, your visa was issued in Osaka/Kobe. You must send applications to these issuing posts.
  • The visa does not have "Clearance Received" or “Waiver granted” written on it.
  • Your previous passport and visa were not lost or stolen. (You must send the passport with the previous visa in it).
  • Your previous visa is currently valid or has expired within the last 12 months.

If the above conditions are not met, the applicant should make an appointment for an interview.

Also, please note incomplete applications such as inaccurate answers on the DS-160 form or unacceptable photo which was taken more than six months ago will cause delay in processing your visa application. *Starting November 1, 2016, eye glasses is no longer allowed in visa photos.

Note: Applicants in the following categories cannot apply for a visa by mail and must appear for an interview in person.

  • Nationals of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Sudan

     or

  • Individuals who are no longer eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program or their ESTA application has been denied

How to Apply

Step 1
Be sure to read the Guidelines for Completing the DS-160 Form carefully and complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form. All information must be correct and accurate. Once the form is submitted, you cannot make any changes. The call center cannot help you complete your DS-160. You will need your DS-160 number to book your appointment.

Step 2
Once you have determined the correct visa type and completed the DS-160, you must pay the visa fee. The visa fee page lists the visa types and correlating visa fee in US dollars and native currency.

To pay your visa fee, read the Bank and Payment Options page. This page explains how to make your visa fee payment.

You will create a profile and must keep your receipt number to submit their application via mail. If you already had your profile for your previous visa, login to your profile and click “New Application/Schedule Appointment.”

Note: Student and Exchange Visitor visa (F/M/J) applicants may be required to pay a SEVIS fee. Information here: http://japan2.usembassy.gov/pdfs/wwwf-visa-sevis-fee.pdf

Step 3
Now you will need to login to your profile with the same credentials you used to pay your visa fee. Once you are in the system, you will see your dashboard.  Choose “Continue” and at the end of the steps, print out the “Mail-in/Renewal Confirmation Letter”.

Step 4
Please refer to your specific visa category page for additional required documents.

Step 5
Japan Post sends you a pre-addressed (to the Embassy or Consulate) envelope to submit your documentation. You should receive the envelope in a few days. Please contact here if you do not receive the envelope in a few days.

Step 6
Mail the documents shown below and this slip in the sealed, pre-addressed LetterPack 350 envelope to a Japan Post office.

Note: Although each family member will receive a separate letter-pack envelope, please put all family members’ visa applications in one envelope and enclose the unused letter-pack envelopes.

  1. Your DS-160 confirmation page
  2. One color photograph 2"x2" (5cmx5cm) taken within 6 months against a white background (Please attach your photo upside down on the upper left corner of DS-160 confirmation page). This web page has information about the required photo format. *Starting November 1, 2016, eye glasses is no longer allowed in visa photos.
  3. Your current and prior passports issued within the past 10 years (You must send the passport with the previous visa in it.)
  4. Required supporting documents for the type of your visa (See here for the Visa Types) 

Step 7
Japan Post will deliver your documents to the Embassy or Consulate.

Step 8
Japan Post will return your documents and your passport to you at your chosen document delivery address. If issued, your passport will contain your visa.

Important Note:

  • The use of the mail-in service does not guarantee visa issuance.
  • In some cases, applicants may still be required to appear for a visa interview at the Embassy or Consulate. Examples of this include incomplete or inaccurate applications. When additional documents are necessary or personal interview is required, you may be contacted by email or phone. Please check your email regularly after you mail the application.
  • Below are the average processing times; however, depending on the case, it may take additional time for processing.
    U.S. Embassy Tokyo: 7-10 business days
    Consulate General Osaka: 2-3 weeks

Requirements for Submission

Please refer to your specific visa category page for required and supporting documents. Please also note the following points:

  • All applicants must send the passport with the prior visa in it with their application.
  • Fees for Blanket L visas, can be submitted with an international postal money order, which can be issued by a Japanese post office. It should be made payable to "American Embassy, Tokyo, Unit 9800, Box 114, APO AP 96303-0114."
  • If reciprocity fees are required, please do not pay the fee until you are notified by the Embassy or Consulate. You will be contacted when your visa is approved.
  • All applicants must be physically present in Japan. An application cannot be sent by international mail to be processed. Applicants who have a stamp of “User of Automated Gate” on their passports are required to submit a proof that they are physically present in Japan (i.e. entry stamp to Japan). If the evidence is not sufficient, applicants may be required an interview.

Track Visa Renewal Documents

To track your document to the Embassy or Consulate, you must peel off a tracking sticker (Sender to Retain) on a pre-addressed envelope before mailing in your documents and keep it for your record.

You may track the location of Visa Renewal Documents with the Track & Trace Service which can be found here.