Monday, 2 May 2011

Visa Renewal

I have this theory that when you wake up feeling depressed it's because you had a sad dream, or you realize you have to go to Immigration because your visa is almost expired.

My Visa is up for renewal by the end of this month. You can renew it up to two months before, but this year I was putting it off for as long as possible. I REALLY hate going there.

I don't think I explained what you have to do, so here you go -

There is a 200 yen bus that goes from Shinagawa Station to the Immigration Office, but like the other times, I walked there. It was a nice day and it's a pleasant walk.

Once inside there is an AMPM convenience store to get revenue stamps. 4,000 yen for your renewal, 3,000 yen for a single re-entry, and 6,000 yen for a multiple. NB: YOU DON'T NEED TO BUY THESE UNTIL YOU ACTUALLY COME BACK IN ABOUT TWO WEEKS AFTER APPROVAL.

You go up the escalator to the second floor and on the left side you'll see counters and a seating area. You go to Counter (B) to get your documents looked at (about 30 minute wait here), and there you'll be given a paper slip with a ticket number.

What you need is your passport, gaijin card, proof of employment and enrolment in National Health Insurance, and filled in application forms for visa renewal, and it's a good idea to do the form for re-entry to save you having to make an EXTRA unnecessary trip back to this place.

Once I got my number I waited about an hour to hand my forms in. YMMV depending on what time you get there, and how busy it is. Once forms are in, they'll get you to fill in a postcard with your address that will be sent when you come back in approximately two weeks to get those visa extension stamps pasted in your passport. I asked if 5 years was possible. After checking the guy said max was three years. Usually you get a approved a 1 or 3 year extension, but I heard a rumour that five years may be available in the future.

Walking back I could see that we weren't that far away from the Rainbow Bridge, so since it wasn't that late we decided to walk to Odaiba. Getting to the bridge took about 30 minutes. I'm sure people are sick of hearing me rave about going across the bridge on foot, but there are many great photo ops. This is my panorama "miniatures" version of the "island" you can see on the southside footpath looking across into Odaiba.

At the moment they are doing a trial of letting you take a bike along the bridge.

Unfortunately you can't ride it across, as they'll put a bike "skateboard" on your rear wheel. Still it's a great idea. Odaiba would be ideal to ride around.

This is a good place to take a date. We sat in a grassy area near the beach and had some onigiri (riceballs). I brought my 105 yen badminton set for a bit of exercise. They have quite a few mall shops to browse around too.

Being the big kid I am, we went to Toys R Us. We saw some really cute "Singamajig" talking plushies that we regretfully didn't end up buying. Who'd have thought in less than a few days we'd be making our way back here JUST to buy these?