As pressure to ease travel restrictions continues to grow worldwide amid the gathering pace of vaccination campaigns, Japan has expanded its list of countries and regions that recognize its so-called vaccine passports, with new additions including Slovakia and Sri Lanka.

The official document confirms that a resident of Japan has been fully inoculated in the country, and it can be used as proof of vaccination for overseas travel, enabling holders to benefit from eased entry restrictions.

The following countries were newly added to the list Wednesday:

  • Belize: Holders will be exempt from submitting negative results for COVID-19 upon entry. Nevertheless, all travelers are required to download an app for health checks within 72 hours prior to arrival.
  • Papua New Guinea: Those with the document will be allowed to enter the country, as all entrants are required to be fully vaccinated. However, travelers must still comply with strict entry procedures, including the need for written permission to enter Papua New Guinea and a negative PCR test result within seven days prior to departure. Additionally, travelers will also be required to observe a 21-day quarantine at designated hotels and undergo periodic tests for the coronavirus.
  • Slovakia: Holders who received their shots more than two weeks prior to their arrival will be exempt from a voluntary 14-day isolation period.
  • Sri Lanka: Those who received their second shot at least two weeks before their trip will be exempted from a 14-day quarantine period. However, they will still need to undergo tests for COVID-19 upon arrival at government-run quarantine centers or other designated facilities. Additionally, children between 2 and 18 years old who are accompanied by a fully vaccinated person must take a PCR test on the seventh day after entry if they are unvaccinated.
A foreign resident receives a vaccine passport in Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward on July 29. | KYODO
A foreign resident receives a vaccine passport in Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward on July 29. | KYODO

Other countries and regions that have recently begun to recognize Japan’s vaccine passports are: Germany, Honduras, Hong Kong, Lithuania, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Thailand’s islands of Phuket, Samui, Ko Pha-Ngan and Ko Tao. The documents can also be used in Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, Turkey and Poland.

Estonia has also been added to the list of countries, as it does not currently require travelers to self-isolate upon entry.

Meanwhile, vaccinated travelers to South Korea will be exempt from a 14-day quarantine if they have proof of vaccination, such as the passport, and are visiting for specific business, academic or humanitarian reasons.

The details given on a vaccination passport include name, date of birth, passport number, type of vaccine, dates of inoculation and the municipality where it was issued.

Local governments began accepting applications for the vaccine passports on July 26. Applicants can apply for vaccine passports in person or by mail depending on their municipality. At present, the documents are issued on paper, but the government is considering introducing a digital version at a later date.

A vaccine passport issued in Tokyo's Minato Ward on July 26 | KYODO
A vaccine passport issued in Tokyo’s Minato Ward on July 26 | KYODO

People who apply for vaccine passports are required to submit the following:

  • Vaccine passport application form
  • Passport
  • Vaccination voucher (if the applicant has lost their voucher, a document that shows an individual’s My Number or their address can be submitted instead)
  • Proof of vaccination

As talks with other countries are continuing, the list of territories recognizing the official document is expected to expand.

However, all people entering Japan, regardless of whether they have received two doses of vaccines against COVID-19 in Japan or abroad, are still required to self-isolate for 14 days upon entry to Japan, undergo tests for COVID-19 on arrival and avoid using public transport. Depending on the region where someone arrives from, additional measures such as a mandatory stay in a government-designated facility may be required as part of the two-week quarantine.

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