Japan's immigration authorities resume processing of visa applications
Japan Times -- Jul 02
Immigration authorities have resumed processing of visa applications, in a move expected to speed up entry clearance for foreign nationals with applications stuck in pending.

But the change will only benefit a limited number of visa applicants, as the nation’s strict travel restrictions continue to keep foreign nationals waiting.

Last Friday, the Immigration Services Agency (ISA) resumed issuing certificates of eligibility for resident status that are delivered to foreign nationals before they travel to Japan and used in exchange for newly issued visas. The procedure had been halted since the coronavirus outbreak, and had remained in that state alongside Japan’s gradually imposed, strict entry restrictions on foreign travelers.

The new measure will enable foreign nationals who were set to move to and begin lives in Japan, for work or study, to obtain their visas once they land.

“Until now, applicants had to wait until Japan relaxed its entry restrictions for procedures to resume,” said Hitoshi Kobayashi, deputy director of ISA’s Residency Management Division. “But following Friday’s change, with certificates at hand, they won’t face further delays due to their applications not having been dealt with.”

Given that 627,085 people applied for such certificates in 2018, according to ISA’s most recent data, slower screenings could result in drastic delays.

News source: Japan Times
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