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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Visa applications

Wow! For anyone planning to go to Japan and stay past the exemption period (90 days max for US citizens) definitely make sure you begin the process of getting your visa early. It's not difficult, per se, but it does require a lot of information that takes time to gather no matter what you do. Japanese Immigration is very strict in their review of the applications, so even the smallest mistake or misrepresentation of information can get your app rejected :( Given that it can take about a couple months to complete the whole process and receive your Certificate of Eligibility that you then take to a consulate with which to get your Visa , it's definitely worth it to start gathering things like:
  • Proof of enrollment if you're a student
  • Proof of graduation from a high school
  • Documentation of finances from banks, investment accounts etc (Most recent statements at time of submission)
  • Name, addresses and dates for your elementary, junior high, and high schools (You must have had 12 years of the normal mandatory education for Japan to think about letting you in, it seems)
  • Copy of your passport
  • Documentation of your parent's finances from banks etc, if you're listing them as financial supporters (Most recent statements at time of submission)
And the list goes on :P It's definitely not something you want to scramble for at the last minute. And then you've gotta account for if you have to send the materials to Japan... that can take about a week depending on shipping method.