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Immigration situation at Narita 2023/1/3 09:54
I've been hearing different experience about the immigration queue at Tokyo. Some can be as bad as 4 hours just for clearing the immigration, some said it's not as bad, amounting around 1 hr.

How was your experience at the time of your arrival?

I'll be entering through Narita at 6am arrival. The estimation of clearance time will be greatly helpful for me in arranging the transport and plan for the day.
by Moccy  

Re: Immigration situation at Narita 2023/1/3 18:43
Interested too, as I'll be there in 3 weeks time. It used to be from 1 minute to 5 minutes till 2020, so if now "1 hour is good" I am kind of worried.
by cochese rate this post as useful

Re: Immigration situation at Narita 2023/1/3 21:34
was just there a few days ago, didnt take too long, saturday afternoon, about 1 hour only, mostly koreans
by rickyv123 rate this post as useful

Re: Immigration situation at Narita 2023/1/4 11:09
I arrived in Japan on 12/22/22. Our (Me and tween) flight was delayed and arrived at the same time as a bunch of other flights because of that.

We did all of the forms on Visit Japan Web and have 4 vaccination doses with the most recent in November.

Quarantine was super fast, they looked at our blue quarantine QR codes and just gave us each a piece of paper.

We then waited about 30-40 minutes to get through Immigration. By the time we were done, our suitcases were out and we picked them up. We waited about 20 minutes for Customs to enter Japan. I should have filled out the paper form, because I think those lines actually moved faster, but I only had my QR code. I also had to wait in a 2nd line because for an additional 5 minutes. We then spent 40-45 minutes in line getting our JR Pass. It was one of the longest waits I have ever had. It felt like there was one couple up there for 20-30 minutes! We took about 5 total because we are old hat at passes.

In terms of New Year's travel, we had seats for our 1/1 trip from Tokyo to Shin-Hanamaki, but had to do non-reserved from Shin-Hanamaki back to Tokyo on 1/2. We went up to Morioka to where the Yamabikos start and easily got two non-reserved seats together. We could have boarded at Shin-Hanamaki and still gotten two non-reserved seats together, it wasn't until Ichinoseki things got full and it was really bad post Sendai (like so bad someone collapsed.)
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Immigration situation at Narita 2023/1/5 18:09
Thank you for sharing @Rkold and @rickyv123. That makes around 1 hr of overall queue.

@Rkold, if you dont mind sharing, what time was your arrival?
I'll take note to also fill up the paper form -- just in case. Do you have nay idea where to take the paper form?

For the JR Pass, I think that's quite fair enough, as everyone seems to enter Japan last December. I have 6 friends who went in December, 3 more in January. The queue for JR pass during peak season is kind of understandable, I was there in 2016 during peak sakura season and it's equally packed.
by Moccy rate this post as useful

Re: Immigration situation at Narita 2023/1/7 09:07
I and a friend went at end of Nov. Had timewise same experience as rkold, and we had been vaxxed and done everything on Welcome Japan web app. Yes, probs biggest wait was at JR East ticketing counter as the the usual JR East Travel Center is shutting earlier than before covid because of staffing issues. So if you're flight, like mine did, arrives into NRT at a time where are likely to be through into arrivals after 6pm, then you will only have the JR East Ticketing counter (Midori no madoguchi) to use if getting JR Pass, not the multi-counter and staff Travel Center which normally handles JR Pass customers.
by yasukiwi (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Immigration situation at Narita 2023/1/7 10:01
@Moccy, our flight was supposed to get in about 2:30 pm (ANA from Honolulu to NRT) but instead got in closer to 4ish. There are a ton of US West coast flights that get in between 3:00pm and 4:00pm like (the flight we would take from Seattle) and flights from CA and I think that is also when US East coast flights get in! Had I known our flight was going to be so delayed, I might have looked at the HNL to Haneda flight instead. It would have meant we didn't have to catch as early a flight from Maui, our actual starting point.

In terms of the paper forms, it's the same old lines they use to have pre-Covid. Once you get your suitcases there are a bunch of lines with a Customs Agent at the front and they just look over the form and there you go, just like pre-Covid. There was a separate line that twisted around and lead to a bank of machines (I want to say 9 of them?) that handled the QR codes. I must have done something wrong with my Passport with the machine since I got shunted back to an additional line to have my Passport re-checked. I handed out the papers on the plane like pre-Covid and I think there was somewhere else to get the paper, though honestly we were exhausted from all of our flights.

I've gotten passes before, but this was the worst. I did make it inside the Travel Center right before they cut off the line so they could close at 7:00 pm. There were maybe 3 people working, but there just seemed to be a lot of people who had no idea how a JR Pass worked. I have gotten passes multiple times before and this was definitely one of the slower ones, though I also could be misremembering because in February 2020, there was like no one in line and it was super fast. I was just frustrated because I really didn't want to miss the 18:48 NEX. They stop running NEX a lot earlier than they use and they stop running them every 30 minutes much sooner than I would have liked. I think it would have helped to have more people working.

When we left to catch our 18:48, the line at the regular ticket office was insane and at least 20+ people long. In general, because of when I was traveling I saw some long seat reservation lines. I did try using the machines to book seat reservations a few times, but if you try to book seats someone else is trying to book at the same time, they kick you out and you have to start all over again and it can take a while to scan in your rail pass and then enter your Passport #.

I am expecting everything to be a little easier when we go back over the Summer.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Immigration situation at Narita 2023/1/28 20:02
May I know whatfs the situation with Narita Airport Immigration. We will be landing at 3.40pm and then transfer to Haneda Airport to catch our connecting flight to Sapporo at 7pm. Thank you.
by Bngkh rate this post as useful

Re: Immigration situation at Narita 2023/1/28 21:30
I enter Japan through Narita on 1/25/2023 and it took me less than 30 mins to get out of airport. Here are some tips

1. Fill out the travel Japan page and upload the vaccination certificate. You will be approved before you flight departs. Make sure you connect to Wi-Fi as you get down the plane and open the page with approval. As you head towards immigration a bunch of folks with hand held device will check the approval and hand you a yellow paper and put you in line that takes you straight to immigration. If you donft have the page open you need to show vaccination record at separate window and it takes time
2. I used permanent resident line as I have PR and it took less than 5 mins to clear immigration. I know not all have a PR but if you are elderly or have kids, ask the attendant at the immigration if you can move into those lines. They donft refuse you if you are a tourist in PR lines when they are empty
3. If you plan to go city on Narita express, use the automated kiosk, it has English menu and skip the line. I donft think it works for JR pass but ordinary ticket to city is around 3500 yen and if you want to skip JR pass you can activate it later in the city
by KB (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Immigration situation at Narita 2023/1/28 23:13
@Bngkh
We will be landing at 3.40pm and then transfer to Haneda Airport to catch our connecting flight to Sapporo at 7pm.

I think thatfs a risky approach.

Narita to Haneda by public transport is between 1,5 - 2 hours.

So letfs say you arrive 15:40, get through customs, pick up your luggage all in good time youfll be looking at getting to the train / bus station around 16:40. Give it a 10 min wait for a train and its 16:50. Then 1,5-2 h until you are in Haneda and itfs around 18:20-18:50 before you even make it to Haneda, then you need to ckeckin, go through security, walk to your gate , be there letfs say 15 min before departure. But your connecting flight is at 19:00!!!!

Regardless of how long immigration in Narita takes your chances of making that flight are not good.

Rebook!
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Immigration situation at Narita 2023/2/6 21:44
My flight landed at 3.20pm managed to get on the 4.20pm bus to Haneda Airport. Immigration was quite fast. In fact, waiting for our luggage was longer than getting through the immigration. Suggest to fill up the paper custom form, itfs very much faster than using the qr. I used the paper custom form with no queue at all, even though I had registered for the qr. good luck.
by Bngkh rate this post as useful

Re: Immigration situation at Narita 2023/2/7 10:17
I've returned from Japan. I went in on 11 Jan, so this is an experience of almost a month ago.

I entered on a 6am flight, apparently we were the first flight to arrive on the day. We went straight to the immigration. Along the way, there were plenty of staffs helping to check vaccination certification and the Visit Japan Web vaccination status. We had the latter prepared but we weren't very prepared for the vaccination certificate. The staff handed a big card to bring all the way until immigration.

There were several counters open. The immigration process is fairly fast. We head down to the custom (we didn't have luggage) and here comes the issue.

As @rkold mentioned, there are 2 sections of custom check. The normal one (manned, need to fill up custom form distributed during the flight) and the automated one (to scan passport and scan the QR code from VJW). I took Rkold's advise and prepared a paper custom form, but still queue a the automated lane.

My boyfriend and his passport (Singapore) went smooth. My passport (Indonesia) had issue. The machine failed to detect even after several attempts. A staff tried to help me, in the end he asked me to come to the manual lane. I showed them my paper form, he accepted and allowed me to proceed.

I really recommend using the manual lane and get prepared with the form. There were other people also with similar scanning issues and this slows down.

I can't tell much about the queue for the express train (NEX/JR Pass/Keisei Skyliner). We took Keisei Rapid Line, purchasing ticket through vending machine with no queue.

We experienced worst queue when departing from KIX though. We arrived 2.5 hrs before our flight, with very long queue during check in and entering the security check. Immigration lane was alright.
by Moccy rate this post as useful

Re: Immigration situation at Narita 2023/2/7 12:03
Heading over in 2 weeks, these are good tips, cheers.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Immigration situation at Narita 2023/3/23 17:54
Currently here at 23rd March 2023, took me 1.5hrs currently still waiting, have multiple different lines to chop your passport, its ridiculous coming from Japan.
by Dumpotato (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Immigration situation at Narita 2023/3/23 18:57
Took us about 15 minutes to get through coming in to Japan (6.30PM), and maybe the same getting out (6.30PM), once through the check in. Narita terminal 3.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Immigration situation at Narita 2023/3/23 22:09
I arrived 4 pm and took 2.5 hours, totally insane at NRT. It's these huge long queues, from multiple gate areas and they converge. Your in one line and you finally get to the front to realize you get in to even larger line. Then at the end, it's the largest waiting line zig zag to the immigration officials. I went through HND month earlier about same time and barely 20 minutes. Next time I'm going through HND, no more NRT.
by Jk (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Immigration situation at Narita 2023/3/23 22:46
I have a somewhat related question before my trip next month.

I believe some places want to see your passport with your visa stamp for access to certain discounts, etc. If you use the QR machines, do you get a sticker or something to put in your passport? Or is there a separate line for a human to do that?
by Sue (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Immigration situation at Narita 2023/3/24 09:15
My last pick-up at Narita (a few weeks ago) was well under an hour from landing to greeting them outside customs.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Immigration situation at Narita 2023/3/24 10:03
I suspect it depends on timing. My arrival two weeks ago in the afternnon was a catastrophe. Endless lines, suitcases standing all over the luggage pick-up area because arriving tourists were held up hours in the immigration lanes. What a way to welcome tourists!
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Immigration situation at Narita 2023/3/24 18:09
I just arrived in Narita today and it took about 2 hours to clear customs! The line was so long & was deceptive because it snaked around. I used the Visit Japan web fast track & the QR codes, but the airport wi-fi is iffy in some spots, so Ifd suggest bringing paper forms just in case.

On the other hand, it only took me about an hour to clear customs 1 month ago. It must be busier now because of cherry-blossom season.
by Ann (guest) rate this post as useful

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