Thursday, June 08, 2006

Visa: Don't Leave Home Without It

A few weeks ago, I had to make a trip out to Tomakomai to apply for an extension on my visa.

It expires on July 16.

The only problem with that is that on July 16th, I won't be in Japan.

I'll be back home in Cove.

And, since the paperwork and background checks and phone taps and whatever else spying on me the Japanese government has to do takes a while, I had to get out there and get it done.

The application process is actually pretty entertaining. You need your passport, your foreigner's card, proof of employment, and a copy of your income report from the previous year. Done, done, done, and done. You give all those to the office worker and move on to filling out the extension application. Here's where it gets to be entertaining.

You can choose the length of your visa. "One year, or three years?" Let's see, pay four thousand yen this year, four thousand yen again next year when I have to reapply again, and so on and so on...


I can pay four thousand yen every three years. Hmmm...let me see...yep, the three year visa, if you please.

For some reason, that choice just strikes me as funny.

So I filled out all the paperwork and cruised back to Muroran.

Last week, I got a phone call from the office in Tomakomai. "Your visa extension application has been accepted, sir. Please come out to the office to pick it up as soon as possible."

Okay. So today was the day.

Even though I only have one class on Thursdays, for some reason I was busy busy busy all morning long and didn't get out of Muroran until around 2. I had to be out there by 4, but I had to pay for gas and for some stamps.

These stamps are called "shuunyuu inshi", and they are proof of payment or something along those lines. I don't really understand their purpose or function. But I DO understand that I need them. Apparently you can't just pay the guy at the counter the money for your visa; you have to go to a post office and buy a stamp that you affix to your payment form. Strange stuff.

I made it out to the office a little after 3 and slapped that four thousand yen stamp down on the payment form.

So now I'm okay to stay in Japan for another three years.

I just can't leave.

Let me explain.

Your visa is basically the government's permission to stay in the country for whatever reason, be it tourism, education, entertainment, etc. However, with only a visa in your passport, once you leave the country, it is no longer valid. Sorry. Tough luck. Buh-bye now.

So if you want to leave the country and be allowed to come back in on the same status as which you left, you have to apply for a re-entry permit as well. Three thousand yen for a one-shot permit, or six thousand yen for a multiple (as many times as you like) permit.

Again, the math points to the correct decision. Since the re-entry permit is good as long as your visa is valid, if you plan on leaving Japan more than two times during your visa's period of validity, it's better to go with the more expensive re-entry permit.

So I slapped a six thousand yen stamp on THAT form.

And now I'm okay to be here for three more years and leave and come back as many times as I want.

Sorry, Mom and Dad. It looks like I'm staying for a while longer.


Anonymous NAOMI said...

こないだ(土)はお疲れぃ( ^∇^)bb

↑↑↑見る?眺める??理解する。( ̄▽ ̄O)☆

Thursday, June 15, 2006 6:56:00 PM  
Blogger Sizzlean said...

1) I'll be back home in Cove and driving from Beantown to Texas my friend Rocksaw in early August

2) I'll be back home in Cove while stopping by in Beantown for a day or two to eat new england clam chowder...even though I'm lactose intolerant.

Thursday, June 15, 2006 10:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless,for some strange reason,you are kidnapped and held without your permission. Who would want to do such a terrible thing?

Friday, June 16, 2006 12:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't that Kidd napped?

Friday, June 16, 2006 12:02:00 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

You're coming home?? I want to meet you!

Friday, June 16, 2006 3:59:00 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

You're coming home?? I want to meet you!

Friday, June 16, 2006 3:59:00 AM  
Blogger Sizzlean said...

I want to meet the real you.

Friday, June 16, 2006 10:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So it finally worked. You have become a real life Yen pincher.

Friday, June 16, 2006 11:35:00 PM  

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