Tips for a Hassle-Free Japanese Visa Application
From my dealings with Japanese visa application, I can now officially give you a few tips to ensure you of getting a hassle-free Japanese visa application. Bear in mind, no guarantee is either expressed nor implied. The success of your visa application rests solely on the Embassy of Japan’s goodwill. By the way, you can also apply some of the tips below for applying visas from other countries as well. I think the basic principles are the same.
- Know the enemy’s territory. You’ll be inside their turf, so prepare yourself well. Google your way to the embassy’s official website to obtain information on visa applications. Get the information on the fundamentals:
- Phone numbers.
- Business hours. This includes the embassy’s own national holidays, if any.
- How long it will take to process the visa
- Documents needed.
- Application forms. These may be available as download links.
- Visa processing fees.
- Dress-codes, if any. It would be a big let down to have yourself denied of entry just because you’re wearing that miniskirt, right? Especially when you’re a man. :P
- Apply for the visa sufficiently before your departure date. Spare some time for a sufficient margin of errors. About 3 or 4 weeks from your departure date is ideal.
- Have all needed documents ready in both originals and copies. Hell, bring two copies just to feel safe.
- All signatures on the application forms must be originals. No xeroxes, no facsimiles, no printed signatures. I learned this the hard way, having to delay my application just to wait for my sister to send her signed application form from Surabaya.
- Bring exact change for the visa processing fee. For the Japanese visa, you’ll need IDR 231,000 for each single-entry visa. The staff denied an applicant’s goodwill of waiving his IDR 4,000 change. They’re that strict, so be prepared.
- State your intentions of traveling clearly. There is only a line on the application form for this purpose. If you don’t feel that’s enough, write on a separate piece of paper. Attach photos, documents, or anything that will corroborate your intentions.
- Be honest with your data. There’s no point of making up stories just to have it be used against yourself.
- Take notes. Take note of the staffs’ names, get the document receipt xeroxed, jot down dates. You’ll thank yourself later.
- Be nice to everyone. Not quite an original tip, but you’ll be lucky you smiled to that security guard when you need to borrow his pen. You’ll never know. Even other fellow applicants can be a good source of information when you get lost.