Apply By Mail

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Overview

Some applicants may not require an in-person interview to receive a visa. This process allows qualifying applicants to submit their application via mail to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or the U.S. Consulate General in Osaka if they meet the following qualifications.

Renew My Visa

Repeat travelers to the United States may qualify to renew their visas without appearing for an interview.

Qualifications

  • You are in Japan
  • You are a citizen or resident of Japan
  • You have never had an application for ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) be denied.
  • You are not a national of Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria.
  • You have never 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 the same visa category as the previous visa, which is still valid, or has been expired for less than 48 months.
  • Your name, date of birth and nationality in your current passport match those in your previous visa.
  • Your previous visa was issued after you reached 14 years of age.
  • You are renewing one of the following visas AND meet each of the requirements:
    • B1/B2
    • C1/D
    • I
    • J
    • E
    • O
    • P
    • Q
    • H
    • L (Blanket L-1 visa applicants may not renew visas by mail)

Please Note: Using the mail-in renewal process does not guarantee visa issuance. In some cases, you may be required to appear for a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. 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.  You should submit your application well in advance of your planned travel due to the possibility of a visa interview. Average processing time is 10 business days.

Visas for Children and the Elderly

In general, applicants who are less than 14 years old more than 80 years old do not require an appointment or personal appearance at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Japan.  

Applicants in the following categories, however, cannot apply for visas by mail and must appear for an interview in person.  

  • Applicants not currently in Japan  
  • Applicants who have been denied an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) application for Visa Waiver Program travel.
  • Applicants who have traveled to Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011
  • Nationals of Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan or Syria.
  • Applicants who have been arrested in Japan, the United States, or any other country.

All immigrant visa applicants and fiancé(e) visa applicants are required to have an interview with a consular official regardless of age or nationality. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Japan also reserve the right to call in any applicant for a visa interview based on the individual circumstances of the visa application.  

Note for Children’s Applications  

Parents may apply on behalf of children who are less than 14-years old by submitting the child’s application at the time of the parent's visa interview. The child must be physically present in Japan at the time. To do so, add the child’s information as a “Dependent” on the parent’s profile when scheduling an appointment. For visa application procedures, please follow the instructions here.

If one or both of the parents have already obtained their visas, they may send their child’s applications to the Consulate or Embassy by mail. Please follow the steps below.

Japanese Citizens Applying for Student Visas (F/M), and accademic J Visas

Effective immediately until December 31, 2022, citizens of Japan applying for F, M, or academic J (secondary and university students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, and specialists only) visas, may apply for a visa by mail without an in-person interview. First-time and returning applicants are eligible if they meet the following requirements.

  • You are a Japanese citizen and are currently in Japan.
  • are applying for an F, M, or academic J visa (includes secondary and university students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, and specialists).
  • You have not been arrested in Japan, the United States, or any other country.
  • At least one of the following is true:
    • You have previously traveled to the United States on ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization)  and have never had an application for ESTA be denied, or
    • You have previously been issued a U.S. visa of any type, and it was issued after your 14th birthday.

How to Apply by Mail

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, please log in to your profile, click “New Application / Schedule Appointment” then answer the questions to determine if you are eligible to apply for a visa by mail. Finally, select you're a document delivery option for return of your passport/document. 

Step 3 
Please read the instructions here and pay your visa application fee. Be sure to keep your receipt number. 

Step 4 
Log in to your profile with the same credentials you used to pay your visa fee. Once you are in the system, you will see your Interview Waiver Confirmation Letter on your dashboard. Please print the confirmation letter. 

Step 5 
Mail the documents shown below to the Embassy or Consulate using Japan Post LetterPack so that you may track the delivery status. Please refer to your specific visa category page for required and supporting documents.

Addresses
U.S. Embassy in Tokyo
Attn: Nonimmigrant Visa Service
1-10-5 Akasaka
Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420 Japan
U.S. Consulate General Osaka
Attn: Visa Service
2-11-5, Nishitenma,
Kita-ku, Osaka 530-8543

Note: Please put all family member's visa applications in one envelope, including:

  1. Your DS-160 confirmation page
  2. One color photograph 2"x2" (5cmx5cm) taken against a white background within the last 6 monthsMore information about the required photo format here. *Please note that eyeglasses are not allowed in photos.
  3.  Your current passports and any passport that was valid within the past 10 years (You must mail in passports containing a previous U.S. visa.)

  4. Required supporting documents for the type of your visa (See here  for details)

Please Note:

  • Using the mail-in renewal process does not guarantee visa issuance. In some cases, you may be required to appear for a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. 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.  You should submit your application well in advance of your planned travel due to the possibility of a visa interview. Average processing time is five business days.
  • All applicants must be physically present in Japan. An application cannot be sent by international mail. Applicants who entered Japan using facial or fingerprints recognition automated gates are required to submit proof that they are physically present in Japan. If the evidence is not sufficient, applicants may be required to appear for an interview.
  • If reciprocity fees are required, please do not pay the fee until you are notified by the Embassy or Consulate. We will contact you when you need to pay.

Track Documents

To track documents you mailed to the Embassy or Consulate, please keep the peel-off tracking sticker (Sender to Retain) provided on the LetterPack and use the Trach & Trace Service.