Renew My Visa

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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.


  • You are in Japan
  • You have never had an application for ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) be denied.
  • You have NOT traveled to Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen on or after March 1, 2011.
  • You are NOT a national of Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria.
  • You have NOT been arrested in Japan, the United States, or any other country
  • Your previous visa was NOT annotated “Clearance Received” or “Waiver Granted”.
  • The visa you are renewing is still valid, or has been expired for less than 12 months.
  • Your previous visa was issued after you reached 14 years of age.
  • You are applying for your visa at the same location where your previous visa was issued. The previous visa states the issuing post in the top left corner. 
    Note: If you previously applied in Sapporo, please send your application to Tokyo. If you previously applied in Fukuoka, please send your application to Osaka.
  • You are renewing one of the following visas AND meet each of the requirements:
    • - B1/B2 visas: Temporary Visitor for Business & Pleasure
    • - C1/D visas: Crewmember
    • - I visas: Journalist and Media
    • - J visas: Exchange Visitor (Continue participation in the same exchange visitor program, with the same SEVIS number from the previously issued visa)
    • - E1/E2 visas: Treaty Traders / Treaty Investor
    • - O visas: Foreign national with extraordinary ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics
    • - P visas: Performing athlete, artist, entertainer
    • - Q visas: International cultural exchange visitor
    • - H visas: Specialty Occupation or Temporary Worker
    • - L visas: Intra-company transferee *Blanket L-1 visa applicants are unable to renew visas by mail.

Please Note: Using the Interview Waiver does not guarantee visa issuance. In some cases, you may be required to appear for a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy. If you submit an incomplete and/or inaccurate application, or if you do not meet the criteria listed above, you will be called for an interview or your application package may be returned to you via courier.  You should submit your application well in advance of your planned travel, due to the possibility of a visa interview. Average processing time for general cases will be 10 business days in Tokyo and 2-3 weeks in Osaka.

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.”

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 on the upper left corner of DS-160 confirmation page). This web page has information about the required photo format. *Please note applicants are not permitted to wear eyeglasses in 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.
  • Average processing time for mail-in visa applications generally take 10 business days in Tokyo and Osaka, however, depending on the case, it may take additional time for processing.

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.
  • 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.