02 July 2008

Documents for the government

One of the biggest perks of living in a country where you are a citizen is being able to live and work without having to prove with a flurry of documents that you are who you claim to be and you pay your taxes. I am now starting the process of getting all my documents together to make yet another application for an extension of my Japanese visa as it will run out before we run out. I also have to get the UK visa. It helps if I think about it in steps:
  1. Last week, I decided to get a new passport (to assure that I would be able to get long term visas in Britain and Japan), so I sent in my old one and an application for a new one to the US embassy. Given the new world order we live in, now passports have to be printed in the States, so mine should be coming back sometime in the next two weeks.
  2. After I get my new passport, I have to go to Japanese immigration and get my old visa moved to my new passport and, hopefully, apply for my new visa all at the same time. I have had to renew my marriage visa every year, bringing in the same documents for the last three years and paying about 100USD.
  3. After making that application, I will go down first to the US embassy to have our Japanese marriage certificate certified. Then we will go over to the British embassy with this certified document and with my new passport and old Japanese visa and apply for a student visa for myself and student dependent visas for the ladies. We have to have our fingerprints taken and give the embassy our passports and about 600USD.
  4. Three weeks later or so our passports should return to Shibata with our British visas and then I will be able to go to the Japanese immigration office and get my new Japanese visa added to my new passport.
  5. After all that, I have to to the city office in Shibata and update all my information and then back again to inform them that I am leaving the country.
  6. Then I die.
At the end of the day, we will have paid about $1000 to make everyone legal in two countries and I should be able to travel without any problems. One day, if we ever decide to return to the States, this will be even more complicated as we would likely apply for Yoko from the UK. I don't even want to think about it.