I applied last August 6, and this afternoon I received my visa with a personal note (in Japanese) saying “Enjoy!”.
So. Time to pass on the experience.
- Book your appointment online. In my case it was at least two weeks before I see the next open one. You can easily change it, so book it now! Oh, and print that out.
- Prepare requirements.
- Get your leave approved by the boss! Actually, since you are in Japan, I assume, better get that approval as step 1.
- If you are using the letter pack, take note of the tracking number so you can check if the post is on its way.
During the application
- See the post right before this one.
After the application
- A, the good old waiting game. Keep waiting sweetie.
- One week later, you can check the status of your visa (status as in whether it’s done processing, not whether it is approved or not). If it says that there’s no passport being processed with the details you key in, assume it’s still in progress.
The most I’ve ever had to prepare. Let’s get to it.
- Checklist. Just print it out, and tick what you’ve submitted. As there are items with options, what I did was underline what I prepared to meet that requirement. For example, I didn’t book a tour, just did my itinerary, so I just underlined “program of my visit” in number 8.a) 2.
- Visa application form. That’s easy.
- Photo. Again, easy.
- Passport. Probably the easiest. I submitted a barely stamped one as I got a new passport, so I offered the old one (with the old Schengen visa) They didn’t nope, they’re good with just the new one. Oh, I presented the original AND a copy.
- Cash. 60euros in local currency. Ouch.
- Resident card. Just provide a copy, and be ready to show the original.
- Employment Certificate. (comment if you want mine). Basically it should have the company header, date and signature (or stamp), with your name, hiring date and monthly salary. In the Philippines we need to be working with our company a year or so (at least that’s what we think), but here I’ve been with my company 10 months and there were no issues. They’re happy to keep just the original copy of this one.
- Purpose of stay. Just printed an itinerary (they ask you about it, so be ready), and underlined “other document showing the program of the visit”
- Proof of itinerary. I provided a return ticket. Now, here you have the option of getting a tour company to reserve one for you, or paying for it yourself. I decided to take the risk and just book it (and thus have the cheapest one. I got my tickets at around JPY77,000 yen. I’ve been checking lately, and the cheapest one at this point is more than JPY100,000 yen).
- Proof of accommodation. I book via booking.com, and make it a point to select no prepayments AND free cancellations.
- Money. Get a photocopy of your bank statement (or passbook), and make sure it’s updated. It’s 65 euro per day, multiplied by number of days and exchange rate. I wrote my calculation in this sheet. I think I needed around 80,000 yen. Then since they need 3 months, I also did the computation for them to show when’s the earliest date they need to check. The embassy girl praised me, so I think it worked. Bring your passbook too so they can check it. They’ll return it to you and just keep the photocopies.
- Insurance. I paid 15 euros for this. Just google Mawista. Yes, it is a German insurance, but I had no problems with it.
- Minors. meh.
- Self addressed envelope with an 82 yen stamp. Just buy it when you buy your letter pack.
- B. Letter Pack 510. Keep note of the tracking number!
And that’s it! Now I’m flying to France soon!