Long time no see. I have something to share with you guys! I finally got my visa to Japan last week!! It’s been over half a year since I first applied for my visa back in April. It was very stressful having to wait for news regarding travel restrictions being loosened up, but it’s good to have seen progress at last. In this article, i’ll talk about what it was like getting my visa.
1. Information Gathering
In order to stay up-to-date with the latest information regarding immigration, I regularly checked the following sites:
- Twitter pages of reporters
- Rochelle Kopp
- Magdalena Osumi
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Japanese Embassy
- Googling the news using keywords like 入国緩和(Lifting of entry restrictions)・入国制限(Entry restrictions)・水際対策(Border control)
2. Contacting the Consulate General
After the entry ban was lifted, I called the Consulate General responsible for the state I live in regarding scheduling an appointment. They asked me to scan and email them the following documents:
- Request to extend the validity of the Certificate of Eligibility
- Written Pledge
- Certificate of Eligibility
- Front page of passport
After sending them the scanned documents, the Consulate General emailed me the soonest available opening to come in to submit my visa application.
3. Organizing my application
The site for the Consulate General had a PDF document for all the documents i’ll need to submit in order to apply for my work visa. I carefully read through the list, made sure everything was done as written, and finished preparing my application for submission.
Since the Consulate General was in a different state, I booked a same-day round-trip flight to apply for my visa. At the airport, there weren’t any temperature checks, but I when checking in I had to confirm that I had no symptoms of COVID-19. Also, I had to wear a mask at all times, and just to be safe I wore two masks the whole time!
When I reached the airport in Atlanta, I called in an Uber to get my to the Consulate General. The ride wasn’t very long, and it probably took less than 25 minutes. I had to keep wearing a mask during the ride as well.
Once I got to the building where the Consulate General was in, I had to ask the front receptionist where the Consulate General was, and they guided me to the nearby elevator. Once I got to the Consulate General, I had to take a temperature test, walk through a scanner, and have my items scanned. I got there about 30 minutes early so I asked the staff if I can wait for my appointment. They said that’s ok, and they took my documents.
After about 40 minutes from when I got there, the visa officer issued my visa, told me about getting a COVID-19 test to enter Japan, told me about quarantine requirements, and gave me some documents with instructions on storing my data. The reason I got my visa so quickly was because I had applied at the Consulate General in Houston back in April. After 5 days of processing, my visa application was suspended because of the travel ban.
I took an Uber to get back to the airport. Once I arrived, there was a very long line of people waiting to get through security, and I was surprised by how crowded the airport was. After around 20 minutes of waiting in line, I got through security, and headed for my gate.
On my way to the gate, I saw a PF Changs so I dropped in for lunch. I had the chicken lettuce wraps, which I highly recommend!
Once I got to my gate, I sat down to wait for boarding to start. After some waiting, I saw the flight announcer go to the podium to talk about incoming and outgoing flights. He was very cheerful, and happy about the weather. He kept saying “it’s a beautiful day,” “let’s have fun,” “let’s enjoy this year as much as we can,” and he was very positive and cheerful! I felt really inspired by his words!
I hope this article was helpful!