Application Process For Japan’s New Trusted Traveler Program Already Backlogged

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In January we reported that the The Government of Japan has opened the Online Registration Portal for their Trusted Traveler Program which appears to be severely backlogged in dealing with the applications.

Automated Entry was so far reserved for Japanese Passports and foreign nationals with Permanent Residence, Work Permit or other long term stay arrangement so this change was welcome news. 

Just before writing that last article about the new Trusted Traveler Program on January19th (access here) I enrolled myself and was wondering why nothing is moving in the application process.

You can periodically check your application status in the online account.

Since nothing was happening for over 5 weeks I decided to drop the help desk an email to ask what the issue is with the delay.

Thank you for your inquiry.
This is Trusted Traveler Program Information System help desk, Immigration Bureau of Japan.
Please find the answer to your inquiry.

<Inquiry>
Dear sir / madam,

I’d like to request an update in the processing of my application for the Trusted Traveler Program.

My application has been entered more than a month ago and until now nothing has been updated from the administrators side.

<Answer>
We regret to inform you but we cannot verify the status or content of the application at this helpdesk.

Since this is a new system and we are receiving much more applications than expected the inspection process is taking a lot longer.
We apologize for the inconvenience, however we kindly ask for your patience while the applications are verified in order.

Let’s see how long it will take to actually reach the stage of preliminary inspection for this new system. I’m planning to visit Japan for Sakura again at the end of this month but I’m not holding my breath anymore that anything is going to happen in the next 2-3 weeks.

Conclusion

When I applied I received an application number in the high 4000s. I’m not sure that has any specific meaning and neither does it give me any indication about my place in the queue but it sounds pretty high. I wouldn’t have expected Japanese authorities to take this long with the processing considering they are usually quite efficient.

We will keep you updated if anything is happening with this application and how it will progress. Did you sign up for the Japanese Trusted Traveler Program following our article?

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  • KorBorNor

    FYI, my application number was in high 2300s and I got a notification of completion of preliminary inspection after 50 days I have applied. Good luck!

  • Roger Wilco

    I’m sub-5000 and stuck – if it comes thru, great, but I mentally gave up on the whole thing.

    Now compare it to the way HK handles their similar programme – 10 minutes, tops.

    • There was three people lining up when I switched the HKG entry from one passport to another. Took perhaps 20 minutes. It really speeds up getting to/from Hong Kong not only at the airport but at the land border too.

  • Kevin T

    4300 (submitted in late Dec) and got preliminary inspection on 24 Feb

  • Gaijinsan

    As a Japan resident, it doesn’t hurt my feelings at all that the implementation of this is getting dragged out. Automated entry for foreigners as of now is only 1 lane at each airport out of 4-5 total, the remainder are reserved for Japanese passports only. The TTP is only going to add to the wait for foreign residents who use the gates.

    The whole program has been flawed since day 1 (Automated entry for foreign residents). They (Japanese immigration) still insist that foreigners using the automated gate go through the full photo and fingerprint process each time (the fingerprint readers are absolute crap and rarely work on the first try), then stop at an immigration agent at a desk that is very rarely ever manned, I’ve waited up to 5 minutes for someone to arrive at times. It’s hardly “automated”, the only reason I use it is because entry and exit stamps aren’t used and my passport fills up quickly enough as it is. Hong Kong truly has the best automated system (that foreign residents/visitors can use) that I’ve encountered, wish Japan went more like that.

    • Lee Solstad

      I go thru Haneda frequently and never see anyone using the automated gate. This wait is worse than CBP processing global entry.