Ok, so as promised, I’m gonna post a little about all this lovely paperwork that you need to get into Japan – of course if you’re going for less than 90 days you needn’t bother with any of this, a temporary visa will do! However, if you’re there on a long term basis there are 3 main things you’ll will face on your quest to get a visa.
Certificate or Eligibility
So when it comes (and the waiting is hellish, let me tell you – 5 to 6 weeks), this is what you’re Certificate of Eligibility and it’s basically the University saying ‘yeah, we’ll vouch for you, it’s on us mate’. That being said, don’t forget that since the University is vouching for you, anything you do is on them! You have been warned! Anyways, you’ll be needing this vital piece of paperwork to get your visa and to get into the country at immigration. My advice? Don’t loose it! You’ll need a photocopy of it for getting your visa, so keep another copy for yourself.
This form is gonna seem a bit daunting at first but worry ye not. It’s quite simple to fill in. I’m gonna give you a few tips on the bits that the Japanese Embassy website doesn’t give you many details/help on.
I must note: all the names, addresses, dates, numbers, etc. are made up! None of them are real or meant to cause offense to anyone.
1. Don’t forget to put your last name in capital letters.
2. If you do need to fill this in, for whatever reason, I’d advise you bring the deed poll (or whatever legalises your name change) and your birth certificate (or something to prove your original name). I brought mine to the Embassy and didn’t need them, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
3. It’s a good idea to put the year in full form, i.e. 1985, not 85
4. The nationality section is a drop down list, so if you are British this will be shown as ‘United Kingdom’ (even though it’s in the ‘B’ section).
5. At the moment, British people don’t have ID numbers (that I know of, I didn’t fill it in and there weren’t any problems).
6. This will be labelled in your passport (in the information section)
7. As a student, this will be the University your are studying at in Japan, since it is unlikely at this point that you will have a fixed address in Japan.
8. Unless you are in full-time work just put student and leave the employment bit blank.
9. This would be whoever you have been in contact with through the University (someone within the International Office). For the address, just put the University again.
10. It’s unlikely you’ll know this, so just leave it blank.
11. Just leave this blank as well since there is no relationship.
12. This is whatever the person refers to them self as (usually on the email they send you).
13. Unless you know otherwise (or it is apparent), just put Japanese National.
14. Tick these honestly, although you are going to have issues if the answer to any of these is ‘Yes’.
15. Leave this blank when you are filling this out on the computer as they prefer the date to be the day you are applying for the visa. This can be crossed out if you have already printed the form, but it’s best to either write it in or type in the future date on which you’re applying for the visa.
Finally, a passport sized photo should be alright for your picture. Just glue it to the top corner (in the handily marked box).
This bit might also seem a bit daunting, but it’s fine once you get it over with!
If you’re in the North of Englandshire or Scotland, you may want to head for the Edinburgh Japanese Consulate:
2 Melville Crescent, Edinburgh, EH3 7HW
Otherwise, you’re heading for the London Embassy:
101-104 Piccadilly, London, W1J 7JT
Now, what you’re going to need to go and get this pesky visa is:
1. a handy sword
2. a questionable sidekick
1. A passport that doesn’t go out of date at least 6 months after you return.
2. Certificate of Eligibility
3. Colour copy of your Certificate of Eligibility
4. Completed Visa Form
5. Passport photo less than 6 months old (glued to the Visa Form)
6. Visa Fee in cash (£23 for a Single Entry Visa, £43 for a Multiple Entry Visa)*
7. Postage Fee in cash (this is a Special Next Day Delivery so check on the post office website to see what the current fee is)
*With the choice between Single/Multiple Entry Visas – if you know you’re definitely going to leave Japan during your stay, get a Multiple Entry Visa; if you’re not sure, get a Single Entry Visa, then apply for a re-entry permit before you do leave, if you decide to go for an unplanned adventure!
I guess that’s it for now on the visa’s front. If anyone needs a hand, feel free to give me a PM, a comment, or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Next time: Packing lists, or how to pack the kitchen sink