It sounds a bit strange or illogical, but now that the second wave – or should I say tsunami – is hitting Switzerland, Japan has changed its rules and the Embassy in Switzerland is allowed to issue a new entry visa for me.
The process to get the visa is simple enough and the people at the Embassy are extremely kind and helpful. They only asked for my passport, the Certificate of Eligibility which has expired but is luckily still valid and a photo. Additionally, I needed to fill in a short questionnaire and a simple application form. Easy. But now comes the but…. In addition to all of this above, James’ employer needs to sign a so called “written pledge”. And well, it’s now almost a month that we are waiting for them to sign this pledge.
First, they got back to us and asked if they received the correct pledge form. There exists a business track form and a residence track form. As my visa is linked to the visa of James and is even called a “dependent visa”, I assumed the business track form we got from the Embassy was the correct one. However, J’s company was right, it was the wrong form. No problem, we immediately received the correct form and forwarded it to the company. Then, after studying the official form, the company itself created two new forms which I had to fill out. They want to know more than the Immigration Office, but hey, I just want this visa and filled everything in. Then they realised that there was a translation error on the form and they don’t need my flight number but my passport number. No problem, I corrected and sent it again. Then, they realised that the name of the applicant needs to be James not me. At one point they also asked for a copy of my visa which of course I couldn’t give them as I don’t get the visa without them signing the pledge…. Currently, they want to be sure that I have sufficient health insurance coverage. It’s now three weeks of back and forth and I really hope that they will soon sign the pledge!
After that it will take 2-3 days and I receive my entry visa from the Embassy. But of course travelling in Corona-times is a bit different than it used to be. During the two weeks before my departure I need to measure my temperature every day. 72 hours before departure I will need to take a PCR test. If it’s positive, I cannot fly. If it’s negative, I’m allowed to fly. Arriving in Japan, I will be tested again and need to go into quarantine.
I will not be allowed to use public transport. Fair enough. Thus, James will rent a car to pick me up at the airport and drive me to the quarantine location. I will have to stay in quarantine for 14 days from when the test result is known. Additionally, I need to install a tracking app on a phone to proof that I’m staying in quarantine and the Japanese COVID-app and continue to measure my temperature. And finally, apparently, the car which was used to drive me will also need to undergo a 14 day quarantine :-)
And then, finally, the real adventure can begin…
PS: If you want to read a bit about Japanese immigration procedures, I recommend the following pages: