Hello, this is Matsui of IMS. The Beijing Olympic Games have begun--it's a strange feeling because the Tokyo Olympics ended only recently. I can only cheer for the athletes, but I hope they will be safe from the virus!

In Japan, the number of people infected with it has been increasing dramatically as the Omicron variant has become more prevalent, but at the same time, the quarantine period after entering or returning to Japan from overseas has been shortened to 7 days. This is probably because data has indicated that this variant is not as severe. This is half the original quarantine period of 14 days, so it may be easier to go on business trips and travel overseas. Even so, quarantine is still long in Japan, compared to the U.S. which requires no quarantine after entering the country (however, foreigners who are not permanent residents are required to be completely vaccinated), and compared to Vietnam, for example, where quarantine can be reduced to 3 days if one has completed their vaccinations.

It has already been about two years since the pandemic began, and while gradual, it seems that people have resumed coming and going again. We have also been receiving an increasing number of inquiries about US and Vietnam visas. For U.S. visas, we are receiving many inquiries from companies regarding E and L visas, etc. As for B visas, we are receiving an increasing number of inquiries from individual clients who experienced refusal of entry or deportation.

In both Japan and the U.S., "refusal of entry" and "deportation" are two different concepts. Since there are many people who seem to confuse the two, I would like to explain them today.

Refusal of Entry

When a foreigner is refused permission to enter Japan at the port of entry of the country and is returned to their home country or place of departure.

Japan: As an island nation, the term "denial of landing" is used instead of "refusal of entry" because "entry" means entering Japan's territorial waters, while "landing" means setting foot on Japanese territory. Japan's Immigration Services Agency examines people at air and sea ports to determine whether or not people are allowed to land, not whether they are allowed to enter Japan. Article 5 of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act lists the various grounds for denial of landing.

U.S.: Section 212 of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act defines "Classes of Aliens Ineligible for Visas or Admission". The list is as follows: those that have committed crimes, are ill, or have an intention to immigrate, and lack of proper documentation (visa, etc.). In addition, if the reason for refusal of entry is malicious, such as falsification or misrepresentation, then it may result in an Expedited Removal Order under Section 235(b)(1) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, which prohibits entry into the U.S. for five years and may result in cancellation of the visa.


Forced removal of a foreigner from the country where they are staying.

Japan: The official term is "deportation," which is a punishment based on the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act. Article 24 of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act lists the grounds for deportation. If you are deported, you cannot return to Japan for five years, and in some cases, for ten years. In Japan, if a foreigner who has overstayed in Japan wishes to return to their country and willingly turns themself into the Immigration Bureau, they can use the "Departure Order System" to leave the country. However, the offense must be illegal residency only, not other crimes. In the case of a departure order, the alien will not be detained and will not be allowed to enter Japan again for only one year.

U.S.: Section 237 of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act defines the "General Classes of Deportable Aliens" and states that "any alien (including an alien crewman) in and admitted to the United States shall, upon the order of the Attorney General, be removed if the alien is within one or more of the following classes of deportable aliens". As you can probably tell, this is clearly not the same as refusal of entry. This is a punishment for a foreigner who has already entered the U.S. and is currently in the country.

Therefore, if you travel to the U.S. and you're taken to a separate room from the immigration check office, and then refused entry into the U.S. and returned to Japan, this is a refusal of entry. If you are refused entry even once, you will not be able to use ESTA again under current law, so please be careful when traveling to the U.S., regardless of whether you are traveling under ESTA or with a visa.

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