SYL Japan Announces New Crew Regulations
SYL Japan (part of SYL worldwide which also includes SYL Florida, SYL Australia & SYL Monaco) has announced that the Japanese government has made an amendment to the Crew Pass (CP) system in Japan. Prior to 2023 a CP was issued for only 14 days and could sometimes, in certain circumstances, be extended for a further 14 days.
This was highly restrictive for some crew that were non-visa waiver nationalities aboard foreign superyachts; especially as foreign vessels can stay and cruise in Japan indefinitely. SYL Japan has been working hard over the last few years advising the Japanese government to make changes to these CP rules and under the new program introduced in January 2023, a CP is issued to crew members as a photo identity card which is valid for 1 full year.
This new rule comes on the back of another SYL Japan led regulation change in 2022, which allows superyachts to receive a “NAIKOSEN”, effectively a cruising permit for Japan, on entry to the country. The Naikosen cuts out a large proportion of paperwork required for foreign vessels for each movement cruising inside Japan and allowing superyachts to cruise more freely within Japan’s almost 7,000 islands.
In addition to the new CP rules for yacht crews, the visa waiver option also remains in place for crew that are nationals of visa waiver countries (such as UK, USA, Canada, many European countries, Australia, and New Zealand, etc.) to obtain a regular tourist visa waiver on entry.
For crew that are nationals of non-visa waiver countries, like South Africa, the new annual CP is excellent news. Previously these crew would have either had to return to their home countries to get a full tourist visa for Japan or be restricted to stay only 14 days on the old CP. SYL Japan continues to work with the Japanese government and many other stakeholders in Japan to push for more amendments and deregulation in line with other countries. SYL Japan reports that 5 superyachts are now signed up to cruise Japan in 2023, with other enquiries ongoing.