I haven’t written anything since Thursday, October 15th, because I visited immigration the next day, Friday, October 16th, and found out that my Japan visa will expire without renewal. I need to leave Japan by Tuesday, October 27th, the person at immigration told me with no empathy whatsoever. My wife and I have been waiting for her visa, but the pandemic has delayed the process.
After going through a few stages of grief, I was shocked that immigration is kicking me out of Japan a few days before submitting a dependent visa and staying in the country. I resolved myself to finding a place to live while the visa situation works itself out. It looks like the Japanese government is thinking of spring 2021 before allowing tourists to enter Japan.
I think that date will be too late for the Olympics but what do I know. If all the athletes, the Olympics committee, spectators, paid and volunteer workers show up at the last minute, I wonder how everything will come together.
But back to my issue.
I decided to spend my time outside of Japan, visiting my in-laws in the Philippines. Little did I know that there would be a few hectic days filled with paperwork, fees, and a lot of walking.
The Phillippines government changed visa requirements when the pandemic hit. I usually have a free 30-day visa when I enter the Phillippines. The Philippines government imposed a lockdown and required anyone entering the country to get a paid visa from the Philippines Embassy in their current country before entering the Phillippines.
I found that each visa requires an appointment at the Phillippines embassy in Tokyo, Japan. After going online to request an appointment, I found that the closest position was in December. My wife pleaded my case to the Philippines embassy, and they changed my appointment date to the following week. I was ecstatic upon hearing the news.
I was required to purchase the plane ticket and hotel before applying for a visa. The ticket price was $575, and the hotel was $200 for three nights. I needed to stay in a government certified hotel until my Covid test results were complete. Usually, two days but I booked three days in case the results came late.
My wife and I arrived at 9 AM and went through Covid screening that consisted of temperature check, hand sanitizer, and shoe sanitizer, then entered the building. We filled out a Covid association paper that asked several questions about close contact with anyone who might have Covid.
We received our appointment number (501) and took a seat near window 1, the visa window. We had all the paperwork they asked for filled out as per their email, but we found that incorrect information was in the email when they called our number.
We filled out the correct form, but the additional paperwork was incorrect. We have not submitted our marriage to the Philippines, and if we filled it now, it would take three months to receive approval. We needed to get around this for my visa, so they told us to have our Japan marriage certificate translated into English and notarized.
The window clerk also asked qualifying questions to ensure I met the requirements for traveling to the Philippines. The question asked more than once is are you traveling alone. I told the window clerk, yes, I am traveling alone. She asked my wife the same question later on in Tagalog, and my wife told the window clerk that my husband would be traveling alone, and she will remain in Japan.
Ongoing Appointment and Paperwork
After two days of collecting and finalizing paperwork, I returned to the Philippines Embassy and submitted everything to the window clerk, including my passport.
The notary cost ¥11,500, and the visa cost ¥5,200. With trains, buses, and eating expenses, the total came to over ¥30,000 or around $300. The walking total was 27 miles.
On Monday, October 26th, I returned the day before my flight to pick up my passport with a visa.
I took the regular train because my flight wasn’t until 1:25 PM. When I arrived at the airport, it was a ghost town. I walked to terminal 2, and besides two security guards and money exchange, the terminal was empty.
I looked at the flight board and found that my ticket counter was section A. I walked to section A and got in line. There were very few passengers, and I found that I was last in line. When I arrived at the counter, I displayed my visa.
The person called over a manager who asked me some questions.
Do you have any supporting paperwork? I answered yes and showed them my notary marriage translation. The Philippines Embassy told me to show my visa and marriage translation to get on the plane.
The second question, “Is your wife with you or already in the Philippines?” I answered no, she is here in Japan.
Their answer was, sorry, but you cannot board the flight.
I couldn’t believe their answer because the Philippines Embassy assured me that I had everything I needed.
The manager confirmed this with another manager, and the answer was still the same.
You cannot go to the Philippines unless your wife accompanies you or is already in the Philippines.
How did the Philippines Embassy not know this? No one had the answer. So I spent a lot of money and time for nothing. Better still, they wouldn’t give me anything in writing, so I was on my own.
I walked away, shaking my head. In just a few hours, my Japan visa will expire, and I will be an overstay. I wondered how the food in Jail tasted in Japan.
Fast Trip to Japan Immigration
Time was quickly running out, and I needed to get to Tokyo Immigration fast. I bought a SKYLINER ticket, which would get me to Nippori in less than an hour. From Nippori, it was 25 minutes to Shinagawa, and then a bus would take me to Immigration.
I showed up in time for a 3:00 PM entry into the building. Immigration closes at 4:00 PM, so I felt lucky.
Japan switched the temporary visa personal before my last visit to trainees, which is why I have a problem in the first place. The trainees don’t seem to know what their doing and are only making decisions on the law instead of rational thought.
I decided to use complete English to review the issue with them since I thought it would give me an advantage. They had no idea what I was talking about, but I continued to use simple English until they gave me a 90-day extension. Perhaps they just gave up because they wanted to go home.for the day.
I received a refund for my hotel stay but not for my flight. PAL stated that I didn’t have the correct visa, an official letter from the Department of Foreign Affairs, and my wife was not traveling with me or already in the Philippines.
Also, all the travel, visa, notary, and other expenses are a total waste.
How did the Philippines Embassy not know the requirements to board an aircraft and fly to the Philippines? The lockdown has been going on for months, and I’m sure they got the memo several times. In the end, the only logical deduction was that this was a scam to generate more money for the Philippines government.
It seems that all I can do is turn this information over to the fraud division of the United States FBI and see what happens. I hope that they review the information and issue a travel advisory for the Philippines.
Have you had a good experience with the Philippines Embassy in Tokyo, Japan? Let me know in the comment section below.
Have questions about the process of obtaining a visa for the Philippines? Please leave a comment in the section below.