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We have covered the Trusted Traveler Program for Japan in the past, though it was always relatively obscure who was actually able to enroll and get approved, but now it has been expanded to a broader range of eligible applicants.
Officially revamped in March 2020 (and we all knew what started just that month) the program was basically paused for over two years as Japan was closed to the vast majority of foreigners anyway but they recently started to take applications again under the new scheme.
A reader from Korea contacted us in March that the Japan TTP is back in business and attracted quite a bit of attention among frequent travelers from Korea.
You have to visit Japan at least twice in the last year in order to be approved in the final step (including the visit during which you get approved so one previous visit and then one current visit where you get approved in the secondary inspection when you leave).
This TTP scheme wasn’t even on our radar, so this email from our reader was excellent news (you’re always welcome to contact us with anything travel related that might be interesting to the broad audience) and I decided to lodge an application the same day.
Here are the most important resources:
This is the official application page for the TTP Program.
And a general information page by the Japanese Immigration Bureau.
As far as eligibility for participation in the program is concerned, most travelers will be able to enroll based on either Category A or Category D:
U.S. citizens who are registered for GEP (Global Entry Program).
Those who have a credit card of platinum rank or higher with an international brand license.
I applied under category D and submitted my Amex Platinum as the basis for eligibility, but it can be any card really that says Platinum on it. It’s a bit obscure what would be considered a “higher level”. Isn’t it the credit limit that should determine the value of a card?
Either way, in the application form, you only write what card you have, and then they take a copy of it at the actual enrolment.
These are the countries whose citizens are eligible to participate in the TTP Program:
You fill in the application online under the link I referenced above, and then it will take several weeks:
After you lodge the application it will change the inspection status short after
Then it takes 6-8 weeks for the Preliminary Inspection to be completed by the Immigration Bureau
You will receive an email when the Preliminary Inspection has been completed
You then purchase 2,200 Yen in Revenue Stamps for the card fee and proceed to the Inspection point at the airport (you could also do this at certain immigration offices but these places are always super busy, avoid that!).
At the airport, you go through security to immigration and consult the officers behind the service window where registrations for the program are taken. Budget some time for this and arrive an extra hour before your flight just in case.
You can purchase the revenue stamps at any Post Office as well as at Lawson / Family Mart:
Make sure you purchase the right ones because there are different types of stamps for various government services in Japan. Some are for municipal services only, others for federal services such as immigration. You will need to buy 2200 Yen of 収入印紙 [shuunyuu inshi] stamps, and I got mine at the Post Office.
The Immigration Office next to the exit counters (here: in Narita) will process your enrolment:
The TTP Card will be printed on the spot and has a validity of three years:
Every visit will be recorded in print on the back of the card, and up to twelve visits can be recorded. When it’s full, I guess a new card has to be printed for another 2200 Yen fee.
I’m extremely curious how shops will now handle a tax refund and if they’re familiar with this new system if you can’t present a passport with the entry sticker anymore. I have used the Japan tax-free shopping system extensively ever since I gave up my Japanese resident card a few years ago.
In any case, this will now serve as insurance for me against the chaos that is going on at Japanese Airports upon arrival, especially in Haneda. I had a pretty good experience over the decades with Narita Airport, but Haneda has gotten so busy with international flights that you can now get stuck there for hours (we reported about this a few times already here on LoyaltyLobby).
We first covered the TTP Program in 2017, but even though it allowed me to apply I was eventually told my application was not eligible as the entire application process was very unclear back then.
Update: Japan Trusted Traveler Program Not Available For Regular Travelers (Non-U.S. Citizens With Global Entry)
I have a friend who was able to successfully enroll as a U.S. citizen participating in Global Entry, though. Either way, I was able to register for the Automated Gates with my JP Resident Card at the time and all was good for the time being.
Those eligible for the APEC Business Travel Card can also apply for that one and use the designated APEC counters at immigration, which can save quite a bit of time. It’s very easy to apply for that card in the U.S. and Canada, but other countries have tough requirements.
It’s good that Japan has reopened this program, as it’ll help to ease the flow of arriving foreign nationals who are frequently visiting Japan and have undergone a background check. Japanese citizens and residents who register can already use the electronic gates, I’m curious how the flow will be once the program gains more traction.
Japan has revamped its Trusted Traveler Program (TTP), and a range of countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Scheme with Japan are eligible to enroll in the program.
I have outlined the entire process above, essentially it’ll take about two months time to complete, and you’re required to have visited Japan at least twice, including the visit when you obtain your card.
Two things are important to consider; for one, you won’t be able to complete your enrolment unless you have received your email that the preliminary inspection has been completed. Second, you will need the 2200 Yen revenue stamps, and I suggest buying those at a post office in the city. Sometimes convenience stores sell them, but you don’t want to rely on them being available at the airport, especially because you need the stamps for immigration services, not the municipal ones.
It requires a bit of patience to complete, but I’m glad I did this now and that I have insurance should I once again arrive at the airport in Japan and the lines are out of control.
This was published by LoyaltyLobby, to read the complete post please visit https://loyaltylobby.com/2023/05/26/experience-report-japans-trusted-traveler-program-ttp-is-now-open-for-new-applications-entry-via-automated-gates/?omhide=true.