September 30, 2003
Visa renewals

visaextension.jpgAny foreigner who’s lived here a while knows the nail-biting tension of having a visa renewed. We are all here by the good grace of the Japanese government and once every three years we must submit ourselves for inspection and a new seal of approval. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!

So what’s it like?

After collecting reference letters, employment contracts, tax documents, marriage certificates, and university diplomas, a trip to the Immigration office and several thousand yen worth of revenue stamps get the application in the queue. It vanishes into the fog of Japanese bureaucracy.

There is no way of knowing what is going on behind the scenes; only a sketch of the rules is written down for applicants. Do they check all those letters and contracts? Do they consider you by nationality, income, criminal record, age, or some sort of karmic merit system?

Who knows?

We sailed through the process this time. Whatever mysterious tests were applied to us, we passed. Our visa applications were filed on September 10 and we received the renewals yesterday. We’ve been granted another three years’ stay in Japan. Our life continues, uninterrupted by any immediate international moves.

Posted by kuri at September 30, 2003 12:37 PM


I go trough the same rituals in US … it is not different from what it is in many countries …

Posted by: Jordi Bunster on October 1, 2003 08:36 PM

Well I, for one, am glad to hear that you won’t be leaving. Although a sudden international move would have made for some really interesting posts.

Posted by: Greg on October 1, 2003 09:10 PM

Been there. I do this once a year here in Switzerland. Nothing like a little reminder every year about both how lucky we are and how quickly things could change!

Posted by: Jenn on October 1, 2003 09:43 PM

Is there any way to obtain the renewal forms without having to schlep out to the Immigration office, collect forms, schlep back with completed forms etc, get renewal notice, schlep out there a third time??

When the Shibuya office was open this wasn’t an issue.. but now that it is out in the boon-docks…

Posted by: Tracey on October 2, 2003 03:57 PM

Yes!!! Glad you’ll still be there when Fran & I come next fall!!

Posted by: Jean on October 5, 2003 12:45 AM

Just came back from handing in my documents. Since I last went, their office has moved, I have got married, and I have changed jobs. I need to send them proof that I quit my last job, then I should be through safely for another 3 years. As you wrote, a very nerve-wracking experience, even though you know you have done NOTHING wrong.

Posted by: Gary on October 10, 2003 12:21 PM
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