Foreigner in Japan!
Since I’m going to Yale for a one week exchange, I need a US Visa. I had my appointment last December 22nd, and here’s my story.
1. Online application. Complete the DS form. I have an invitation letter from Yale School of Management, and thus the school official was my “US contact”, and Yale’s address was my “US address”. You’ll have to upload a photo in white background. There’s a cropping tool you can use. If the lighting is not good, it will reject your photo and tell you to prepare a new one for your appointment (at least that’s what it says in the prompt). What I did was close the window, and retrieve my application from the last save point, then upload a new photo. Easy peasy.
2. Schedule an appointment. Signed up as a new user. You’ll have to fill up some personal info (again), then pay. It’s USD160, but it has been translated at a fixed rate. So in my case i paid around JPY18,000 via credit card. After paying, wait for around 5 minutes for the system to refresh. Then you can select your schedule.
3. Print, print, print.
- Print the confirmation page and attach a clear 2×2 picture.
- Print the appointment page. Take note that I printed mine black and white and there’s no issue.
3. Prepare documents. I applied for tourist AND business visa (B1/B2). So I submitted:
- Passport (of course)
- Printed confirmation and appointment pages (the need the bar codes)
- Copy of Japanese Residence ID (front and back)
- Copy of Certificate of enrollment at Hitotsubashi
- Copy of Letter from Yale (with itinerary)
- Copy of Bank certificate AND photocopy of my bank book
4. Go to your appointment.
How to go there:
I GOT LOST. And I was LATE. IN Japan, for goodness sakes. So first things first – you CAN be late. In fact, the guide says you can be up to 30 minutes late.
- Using Ginza line, stop at Tameike-Sanno station, exit 13.
- Take a 180 degree turn at exit. The embassy is about two buildings away.
- In terms of electronics, you are allowed to bring one phone. If you take a pocket wifi, an iPad, a charger, a laptop, etc., you won’ be allowed to go in. You’ll be asked to go to the subway and use the coin locker. So bring a small bag, a small book, and leave everything else.
Inside the Embassy
After the long line at the security:
1. Go to the consular and show your documents. Basically they simply scan the bar code of your appointment, give you your queue number and you go through another scanner then pull the heavy door to get in.
2. Go to window one to submit documents. Don’t wait for your number to be called. Just go straight and submit your papers (unless there’s a line, in which case be polite and fall in line). Surprisingly, they never asked for original copies.
4. Wait some more. The numbers are called randomly. (Probably depending on the nature of your application)
5. Get fingerprinted. Simple. Four fingers left hand, four right, thumbs.
6. Go straight to the interviewer. Our conversation went like this:
- Him: so you’re going to yale?
- Me: yes
- Him: how long is the exchange?
- Me: one week.
- Him: why did you apply for two weeks?
- Me: oh, i want to explore new york a little bit.
- Him: who are you going with?
- Me: around 12 of my classmates
- Him: ok, your visa is approved. You’ll receive it via mail in 10 days.
- Me: really? Anything else i have to do?
- Him: wait for the mail.
- Me: uhm, ok, thanks
7. Go home. Haha
So join me in waiting for my visa!