Residents of some countries cannot only stay the usual 90 days in Japan but can prolong the tourist visa for another 90 days. Switzerland is one of those countries. However, to get these additional 90 days, you need to apply for them.
This must be done at the Regional Immigration Office in Tokyo.Some weeks ago, J and I went there. After we finally found out which floor and which counter was right for our request, we learned that we were too early. But I got the forms to fill in and was asked to come back in December.
I filled in the forms – about my person, my reasons to stay in Japan, what I’ve already seen of Japan and what I was still planning to see – and went there again today. I went straight to the same counter on the first floor as last time. There was a small queue but not too bad. After maybe 10 or 15 minutes it was my turn. I handed in the forms and my passport and was told to wait for 10 or 15 minutes.
I used the waiting time to go downstairs to the convenience store within the immigration building to get something to drink. In front of me was a man from India. When it was his turn in the queue he went to the cashier with a form in his hand and – of course – was sent away. I found that quite funny. There are so many counters in the immigration building and this man queued in the convenience store….
When I arrived back upstairs, I was looking for a place to sit. I didn’t have to wait long and my name was called. A woman gave me another form and told me to go downstairs to buy a stamp for 4000 yen and come back again. So downstairs again. I didn’t find the cashier counter and had to ask at the information. Luckily no queue there… And here it comes. I was told to go to the convenience store to buy a stamp! I could hardly believe it. Paying for a public service in a public building at a convenience store!
Well, I went back to the shop where I bought my drink – aware now why this guy from India was queuing there with a form in his hand. He just happened to stand in the wrong queue. I got the stamp, stuck it on the form and went upstairs again straight to the counter where I handed in the proof of payment and in return received the 90-day-sticker in my passport.
Easy peasy, but quite an experience of Japanese bureaucracy!
And here some photos:
Once you know which train station to get out for the Immigration Office – Shinagawa – everything is indicated perfectly.
On the bus to the Immigration Office.
The counter in the very back is where I got my additional 90 days.
Sign of the “official” FamilyMart Convenience Store :-)