Getting a US Visa for Foreigners Living in Japan

Living in Japan? Need a US visa?

It must sound silly, but one of my first questions when I decided to get a Visa was whether I need to apply in my home country or not (the answer is not!). I naturally did my research and eventually got the Visa I wanted! Here is how it went. :)

First of all, if you are a tourist in Japan, and just decided to get a US Visa while you are here, it will not work well for you. Sorry. :( One of the most important things your interviewer considers when deciding whether they will give you a Visa or not is whether you have strong ties to the country you are applying in.

Personally, I have been working in Japan for 4 years now. And last year, I got married to a Japanese national. Surely these two things worked in my favor. On the other hand, if you are a student here, it may be difficult for you to get a Visa, despite having traveled in the USA before, as they do not consider it a strong enough tie to return to Japan. (Take this with a grain of salt, there may be a chance you get it after all ;))

It was a fairly easy process. I came over prepared, but that is much better than the opposite. One of the things they recommend (not require!) you prepare before going to your interview is an evidence of your finances or capability to pay for your stay. Aside from my bank books, I also got my credit card statements with me. They asked for neither. But, like I said it's better you bring everything they may ask from you. I even had my marriage certificate with me. lol!

Ok, enough about my story, let's get down to the facts.

1. D-160 Form

Have your passport with you, and a digital photo with a white background. Then click this link, register an account and fill up the D-160 form fully and truthfully.

You can save your D-160 form and come back to it at a later time if you can not finish it in one sitting.

2. Pay the Visa/Interview Fee
Upon completion of your D-160 form, you will be allowed to schedule your interview at the embassy.

Note that the time you choose is the time the guards will allow you to enter the premises, not the time of your interview.

3. Your Interview
Come to the embassy a few minutes before the schedule you chose. Depending on the number of applicants, your wait can last for over an hour.

The website says do not bring bags bigger than 10x10 inches. I followed this closely, but I did see regular-sized purses bigger than 10x10 inches when I went there. I guess just don't bring a suitcase or something unnecessary, or you will be turned away.

Personally, I think it is always best to follow the rules so you avoid trouble.

The interview takes a few short minutes. Answer directly and concisely. You will be told whether you will get a visa or not right after the interview. :)

4. Wait for your Visa in the mail!
 Your passport will be returned to you within a week. You will then know whether you got a single-entry visa or a multiple entry visa.


I hope that this is somewhat helpful. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions for me. GOOD LUCK!


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