I kept refreshing the Philippine news website for information about the travel ban. It’s January 15th, and today in the Philippines, the government will decide about extending the travel ban. Will I be able to go home, or will I stay in Japan for another three months.
Travel Ban Extended
It’s 12:30 PM Japan time, and I just found out that the Philippines government extended the travel ban for another two weeks. I’m on my way to immigration to see if I can stay in Japan for another 90 days.
Read about the Philippines travel ban here.
Read about my previous immigration visit here.
The train is partly full, so I have enough room to sit today. The weather is cold, so hopefully, I won’t have a long wait at immigration. I assume several people of the Philippines will also be going to immigration.
After the transfer, the train from Nishi Nippori was about as full. I was lucky to get a seat. In the morning and evening, the JR Yamanote line is full of people.
I’ll arrive at Shinagawa just after 2:00 PM and take the bus to immigration.
At 2:18, I was on the bus, and it was filling up fast. I was shocked that no Filipinos are on the bus, but perhaps they are not in a hurry.
It was 2:30 when I arrived at immigration. I went to the desk at the front of the building and was assigned a ticket. People enter immigration every 15 minutes, but today I was lucky and was told to go in immediately.
I was even lucky enough to walk right up to the temporary visa counter and speak with a representative. The person must have been having a bad day because they rejected my request without assigning a number. I showed them all the paperwork, but they had no idea about the travel ban extension.
I asked for someone who can speak the English language, but they didn’t seem to understand.
After a few minutes, I gave up and took a different approach. The person wouldn’t let me speak with anyone else, so I went to customer service on the first floor. They spoke a little English and told me to file a complaint on the fourth floor.
Once on the fourth floor, I quickly found out there was no complaint department. I stopped an immigration officer, but they just sent me back to the second floor’s temporary visa section. I am going in circles, so I again returned to customer service. By this time, there was someone there who spoke English but told me they couldn’t leave the customer service area.
I thought that this is getting me nowhere, so I decided to leave. My efforts would be better spent reviewing my mistakes and attacking the problem from a different angle.
I will come up with another plan of attack over the weekend and return on Monday.
The first thing I did was enlist the help of a native speaker. A person who would know if the immigration office was acting confused to get rid of me can counter-argue my case. I had just such a person on my friend’s list.
Second, after reviewing my paperwork, I went into greater detail describing my situation so that there was a complete understanding of why I needed to stay in Japan. I also reviewed my paperwork for a work visa and made sure it was perfect. Luckily they had the day off on Monday. I admit I let out a chuckle, and a big grin came across my face, knowing what this person was capable of doing.
Last, I printed out several different articles about the travel ban extension. I made sure to use the print screen function on my laptop, so the article link was displayed. On a MAC, it’s Comm, shift, and number 3. On a Windows computer, use the print screen button and paste the article into the paint program.
I was ready for Monday’s immigration visit, and this time I would turn a no into a yes.
Unlike Friday, Monday’s visit was one long line after another. The train is full, and the Shinagawa terminal has thousands of people waiting. The bus had body parts everywhere because it was so packed, and outside immigration, you would have thought I was at a rock concert.
Having excessive patience comes in handy at times like this. I met my friend and reviewed the paperwork while waiting in line. I was hoping for a smooth question and answer session with a visa at the end.
My friend would do all the talking, and I would only know English. Interacting this way is less complicated, and I don’t want to draw the attention away from my friend who spoke fluent Japanese.
Immigration is excellent at attacking reasons to stay in Japan, but I brought all the Kung-Fu I needed. For every attack immigration sent at us, my friend had a counter, and I provided the Chi (paperwork) to make all the counter-attacks land. It was like watching Chuck Norris in the 1970’s win another title.
Though my visit on Friday didn’t sound like a success, I could get enough information to return on Monday and quickly get my visa. So never give up until you’re in the air. Get some help and think things through. If you feel you’re in the right, then show immigration why you’re right.
Another 90 Days
When the dust settled, I walked away with another 90-day visa with a work visa attached to it. Of course, I needed to buy another ¥4,000 stamp, one of many over the last year. It’s a small price to pay to live where you want and stay safe from Covid as well.
Have you visited immigration in Japan? Please leave your story in the comment section below.
Have a question about immigration in Japan? Leave your question below in the comment section. I will do my best to answer your question or find an answer.