Friday, 27 November 2009

Immigration in Japan

As many of you may know, now Woody is a fully approved foreigner in Japan.   Although it turned out to be a very quick process, applying visa is always a little nerve racking business.

At first, I was slightly worried about applying spouse visa without any income in Japan though we have some savings in UK account.   However immigration officers were so helpful, and it ended up as the easiest application I have ever done & was certainly a lot easier than dog importation, and much cheaper too.

All I needed to do was;

- filling one sheet of application form

- writing additional information about how we met

- submitting a couple of photos of two of us together

- submitting a copy of bank statements (in fact it was only a screen dump of online banking)

- submitting a copy of UK marriage certificate and the Japanese translation

- submitting a certified original of family registration certificate in Japan which includes Woody’s name

- submitting a certified orignal of address registration in Japan

- writing an additional statement that I am his guarantor and am currently looking for a job, in case of emergency,  my family in Japan will look after him.

That’s it. Within a couple of days, we received an approval letter from the immigration office whereas 3 weeks as we were originally informed.  Then his passport was stamped the following week.  Mission accomplished!  And it only cost us 4000 yen (approx £25), too.

I am sure the fact we have married for 11 years helped accelerating the process, but it was so quick!!

When I visited the immigration office in Sapporo for the fist time to pick up an application form, there was a very friendly man at the information desk. As I asked few questions, he soon said,

“Don’t worry, it should be fine. I am sure you’ve got lots of money in your bank account too”

Then he showed his cheeky smile. The atomospher in the office is so relaxed.  There is no tension like Home Office in Croydon.

On the day of submission, hardly any questions were asked. Woody did not even need to show up!

Having said that, I can imagine it will be a completely different story if we were in Tokyo It could be a lot tougher examinations and could take more time too.

Well, all in all, it’s a good start. Sapporo seems to be welcoming us.

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