Some UAE residents dreaming of a Japan holiday are encountering difficulties securing a visa due to the recent suspension of Japan's e-visa system, introduced in 2023 to simplify the process for UAE residents. While Emiratis enjoy visa-free access, expats must obtain a visa before traveling. Currently, applicants must email the Japanese consulate in Dubai for an appointment, a process described as 'almost impossible' by travelers and agencies interviewed by Khaleej Times, with many requests being rejected.

Rafeez Ahmed, a Dubai-based travel vlogger, is among those struggling to secure a visa. He plans to visit Japan for two weeks in September but has faced multiple rejections from the consulate after working with an agency for weeks. He is now hoping for an appointment in July through another agency.

The e-visa system allowed applicants to apply online by submitting requirements and paying fees (Dh80 for most nationalities, Dh20 for Indians). However, this system was suspended in Dubai on April 27, according to a call center executive at the Japanese Consulate-General. Applicants must now email the consulate between 8am and 10am on weekdays, following guidelines published on their website. If an appointment is confirmed, the consulate will respond by 4pm the same day.

Travel agencies in Dubai, such as MPQ Travel and Tourism and Akbar Travels UAE, have faced challenges with the new system, leading some to stop offering Japan visa services. Despite these difficulties, some agencies have managed to secure visas, highlighting the inconsistent response from the consulate. These visa issues coincide with concerns about overtourism in Japan, which has seen over three million visitors for three consecutive months in May, driven by a weak yen.

Amid these visa challenges, some agencies like MPQ Travel and Tourism have found alternative solutions, such as advising Filipino clients to apply in Manila. They also encourage customers to apply for multiple-entry visas, noting that it becomes easier to obtain a five-year multi-entry visa after a successful single-entry visit.