Japan quietly this year relaunched and expanded its Trusted Traveler Program (TTP), which allows select travelers to use automated gates when entering and exiting the country.
We have previously covered our application and the airport inspection and TTP card issuance experiences (read more here and here). I yesterday used the program for the first time to enter the country at Haneda.
You can access Japan’s page for the TTP here.
Our Recent TTP Coverage:
Experience Report: Japan’s Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) Is Now Open For New Applications & Entry Via Automated Gates
Japan’s Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) Application Experience
Japan Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) Streamlined Guide
Japan’s Trusted Traveler Program
Japan’s TTP program is not merely registering your passport information in advance and then using these automated gates, but you need to fill out an application online, upload your passport image, and wait several weeks for the preliminary inspection to complete.
Then, on your next trip to Japan, you need to buy revenue stamps and complete the final inspection at the airport or some other locations, and this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. You will be issued a TTP card on the spot that you can then use to enter and exit the country.
You can enter using the TTP card up to 15 times during its validity period.
Haneda TTP Entry Experience
You need to fill out the disembarkation card before you travel to use the gates and do it on the same TTP website.
The online form essentially asks for the same questions as the paper one. It would not accept the hotel’s address (could not proceed), but using the hotel’s name was enough.
You should soon receive an email confirmation that the information has been completed.
The arrivals hall yesterday morning wasn’t super busy (I didn’t take a photo – as it is prohibited), and the foreigner line was not long.
As this was my first time using the TTP card, I wasn’t sure where these (it turned out that it is just ONE machine) gates were, and I asked for advice.
The TTP gate area is furthest to the left at the Haneda Terminal 3, past the automated gates for Japanese passport holders. It was not apparent at all.
Only one of the five gates was designated for the TTP entrants, but nobody was using any of them.
The screen gives you the order of steps which you should follow. I made the mistake of inserting my TTP card first, making it stuck to the reader, and I needed help to release it.
1. Scanner reads your passport
2. You insert the TTP card
5. The machine updates your TTP card
The machine takes its time in some of these steps, and I thought there might have been an issue, but it was all good at the end, and the port opened.
I decided not to do the electronic customs form this time but filled out the paper one.
Japan could easily open the normal passport e-gates to visa-free nationals because the TTP secondary inspection process is rather time-consuming, and the preliminary one also takes weeks. I don’t think this product makes much sense for anyone other than those visiting Japan several times yearly.
As I have said previously, I consider this an “insurance” in case several long-haul planes arrive roughly at the same time, and there is congestion at the immigration (several reports earlier this year about excess wait times). My arrivals since October last year, when I first entered Japan after the pandemic on a “tour” visa, have been all smooth.
This, however, makes me more confident to book forward flights without excess transit time on separate tickets, like I did yesterday.
I was arriving from New Delhi on a JAL flight (the last segment of my Oneworld RTW ticket) around 6 AM and was continuing to Kagoshima. If I had not had this TTP card, I would have probably booked a 10 AM flight but decided to go with an 8:05 AM one instead (AA award at 7,500 miles and $0). There was a slight delay on arrival, but I still had plenty of time to visit the lounge at Terminal 1.
What have been your experiences using the TTP card? Please leave your comments below.