Of pre-trip woes and trepidation.

Posted By: Creator of Zsup

I'm going to Japan on 1 March 2010.

I have been looking forward to it since 2008.

And I found out in 2009 that I had to apply for a Visa. So along with MX we looked up what we needed. So for PR's here's whats required:
1) Passport
2) Flight itinerary
3) Employment cert/Student letter from institute of education
4) Bank statements (Not required if employed)
5) Copy of I/C

Or so they said that all thats required was the above. (Which I will indulge in complaint later in the post)


So we went down in December 2009, and mind you this embassy was in the arse end of Nassim Road and attempted to apply for our Visa. To which we were told not to apply for it because the Visa only had 3 months validity which meant that if our flight on 1 March 2010 was delayed we were screwed (Which I felt was rather good information) and also we found out how much dislike the Japanese had for people holding a PRC passport. Apparently MX also had to fill up his DAILY ITINERARY which equated to 90 days of what-he-will-be-doing/staying. Terrible stuff to find out, because we did not intend to book our hotels or any sort of facilities until we were in Japan and he HAD to submit confirmations for lodging. So that ended our day at the embassy, with NIL result and and expected return at a later date.

2 months passed and we decided it was timely to return to our QUEST FOR JAPAN VISA. Equipped with our flight itinerary, hotel bookings, daily itinerary for MX, we felt fully equipped for the QUEST. Which started out well, the counter staff accepted our papers and ticked ticked away at the forms. ALAS our QUEST had a unexpected twist that is expected in all suspense thrillers! We were told we had to submit another flight itinerary as our stay duration was >90 days.


So we were faced with a couple of options.
1: Change all 3 flight dates, which amounted to $130 X 3 + unknown amounts of taxes.
2: Check if we could be placed on waiting list so that we could submit an itinerary without having to pay.

Obviously I attempted to secure the 2nd option because it was cheaper, and promptly failed because according to the travel agency "waiting list is closed for the flights". A WTF moment.

Then I tried asking whether we could move our return date 1 day earlier. And Reply was "No available seats for 30 May 2010". So I tried to ask whether we could move our departure 1 day later, reply was "No available seats for 02 March 2010."

That was about when I started having fits, seizures, and seeing psychedelic colors. I asked the ultimate question, "So when are the earliest available seats for Departure or the Latest available seats for return?"


"No seats available for May"


"No available seats for April"


"No available seats for March"

I nearly died. Figuratively speaking of course.

We finally figured a way around this thing though, after some scouring of forums, email me if you need assistance on this. :D

So we emailed our new flight itineraries to the embassy and thought "Cool, settled, we'll be getting our shiny golden ticket to Japan this friday."

Our day was not to be, when I received an email asking this:

"Why is your employment status blank? If you are unemployed you have to WRITE A LETTER TO EXPLAIN why, and submit bank statements. Also my office wants to know what are your plans after returning from Japan."

Anyone has any clue why an embassy would wanna know about my private life?

And here begins my splash of irritation.

Firstly, the embassy website did not state a need for an explanation for the lack of employment. FROM THE WEBSITE:

A foreigner currently working in Singapore must produce a certification of employment from the employer. Employment contracts should not be submitted unless the foreigner is in the midst of switching jobs. If the foreigner is a student (including Permanent Residents and Dependent Pass holders) currently studying in Singapore, a certification of student registration from the educational institution is required. For those who are self-employed and have a registered business in Singapore, please provide a photocopy of the Business Registration Profile from ACRA (Note: This is NOT the Business Registration Certificate). Foreigners who are neither employed nor studying may ignore this requirement. However, foreigners who are Singapore Permanent Residents (PR), please see further remarks under 'UPDATED BANK PASSBOOK or BANK STATEMENTS. <= See Bold GREEN Text UPDATED BANK PASSBOOK or BANK STATEMENTS (Photocopy)
A foreigner entering Japan for NON-OFFICIAL reasons (e.g. sightseeing) must submit their bank passbook(s) or bank statements of PERSONAL savings accounts showing the latest 1-month banking transactions. Internet-banking statements may be accepted on the condition that the account holder's name and account number are reflected on the same page. Otherwise, an official bank document carrying the account holder's name and account number must be submitted as proof of account ownership. Company/corporate accounts, insurance policies, investment accounts and accounts with credit facilities are not accepted.

Note: With effect from 1 April 2008, Singapore PRs are exempted from submitting personal bank statements if they can produce a valid Certification of Employment. However, the Embassy reserves the rights to request for it and other additional documents such as salary slips whenever it deems necessary. <= SEE GREEN TEXT I conclude that the processing officer was a right asshole. Because as you see according to the website all I had to submit were my bank statements as I was unemployed, and at no point of text did I read that I had to explain my lack of employment. Also, they asked about my future plans after I return from Japan. What's this? The ICA? The Interpol? The CIA? Some Secret Services? Why the heck would the embassy be interested in what I do after I return from Japan?!?! (If anyone has had a similar question posed to them by the embassy please do tell me because I have not seen anyone with a similar experience) I have no idea how these questions are relevant to the processing of my VISA. In fact I understand that MOST Malaysians who are Singapore PR's do not have even an MILLIMETER of difficulty when applying for the Visa, I read the application as a form of formality as there is no cost involved, and the website stated this: In the case of Malaysia, Peru and Colombia, it is recommended to obtain visa. What? So I don't actually need one?

So I emailed them asking an explanation as to why such information is needed as it is not stated under their requirements for Visa. And this was the reply I received:

Anyway, I have requested the ALL hotel bookings from your friend too. After your explanation letter, both you and your friend's applications will be put on pending til he has sent me the hotel reservations. As you are going over to Japan for a max of 90 days, my officer in charge has the right to ask for more documents before she decides to approve your visa application.I will inform you and your friend again if we need more documents.

Once again I conclude that the processing officer is a right asshole.

So I faxed in my letter stating 3 points.
1) I am unemployed because I have no time between my ORD and my trip to get one.
2) I am unemployed because I do not see the need for employment as I am financially capable of supporting myself with my funds.
3) I am coming back to study and I matriculate in August 2010 so it will not be affected by my trip

*Yes Mr./Ms. Right Asshole I actually planned my funds and studies properly so they won't affect my trip and vice versa.*

Also I concluded that the Japanese are REALLY REALLY wary of PRC tourists. Hence the extra 10 pages of papers that MX had to submit. Also I figured that they are really wary of people who travel WITH PRC tourists. Its a kind of correlation I guess. Not that I approve of it. Which is why they held back my VISA application along with MX's.

With that they replied that they would FINALLY^#@$@# get back to me once I can collect my Visa. With weird vibes gone and just a whole shitload of irritation directed at the embassy, I can safely say this is a GOOD LEARNING EXPERIENCE.


screw. they ask why i am unemployed. =.= apparently need explanation letter. this is starting to feel like an interogation." - Me, 03 Feb 2010, upon reading the email asking for an explanation on my employment status.

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