Hi guys, this is D. I’m back again.
I have officially received my Certificate of Eligibility (COE) around 1 – 2 weeks back and I have also gone down to the Embassy of Japan at Nassim Road to submit the documents in order to get the visa for JP.
Just a quick recap, Gaba express mailed me the COE package upon approval of my visa application by immigration bureau in JP and I received the package within 3 days. Yeap, really fast. Now, Gaba has been amazing so far, being super meticulous and detailed with every step since my application to them until now. For every form they send over, it would include detailed instructions on what to fill in for each category in the form. So in Gaba’s COE package, I was advised to bring 4 items to the embassy: COE, Passport, this letter from Gaba, as well as the application form. I was told to head down to the embassy within 3 working days, which I did promptly.
Happily, I brought the 4 items mentioned, along with my IC photocopy as well just in case, because I thought, well, this is SG and everything requires IC. When I reached the embassy, it was around 1130am. Now, you might want to take note of the hours of the embassy because you can only submit application for visa from 830am to 12pm (collection, likewise, is fixed at 130pm to 4pm). It was quite crowded (but almost no Singaporeans) and I had to wait for around 20 people ahead of me before it was my turn. After waiting for approximately 30min or so, it was my turn.
And guess what, I failed in my submission and was told to go back again. Guess why?
Because who knew that the JP embassy in SG had their own set of requirements for documents required? Okay fine, maybe the whole world except me, who was too excited and missed things out
and happily followed Gaba’s instructions without reading the fine prints that said local embassy might have their own set of requirements.
What made it terrible, though, was that I only missed ONE thing out. ONE. One very simple thing that the embassy could easily and I mean, EASILY, help me with.
Now you see, upon receiving my document, the counter staff simply reached to her right for this paper, took a red colored crayon/pencil, circled this ‘photocopy of COE’ on the paper (of course, it is a checklist for visa application) and handed the whole set of documents back to me, absolutely expressionless, and said, “you can come back again when you have a photocopy of the COE” with her hands clasped in front of her and a slight bow.
I was of course, caught off guard because I did not know a photocopy was required. But since it was just a photocopy, I asked her if there was a way to get a photocopy around the area (obviously, looking out for a printer behind her) and she told me no (of course, why am I surprised).
Oh Lord, save me, I can see the Canon or Kyocera or whatever brand printer behind her.
So obviously, I’m making another trip, great. And it was so near lunch time, the queue number was jumping so fast, I obviously had to scram before they threw me out, lol.
When I shared it with GJH, he said this is their way of giving you a taste of JP before you even get there.
So yes, don’t be like me. Follow this damn list, or you’ll be paying 2 more cab rides (the embassy is super ulu and at that hour, unless you aren’t working, you wouldn’t have the time to jalan-jalan there, really, especially with the recent wet, humid and terribly hot weather). And no, they do not take applications mailed as well, even if you are willing to spend on mailing.
If you are lazy to refer to the link and you are applying for visa based on COE, like me, I compiled the documents you will need below:
- COE: original AND photocopy
- IC: photocopy
- Passport: original
- Application form with passport photo glued: original (handwritten or typed will both work, but seriously the PDF form has space restriction, so don’t bother typing unless your answers are all short and fit within the space given)
So well, at least now I know, and hopefully, I helped prevent you from suffering the merciless blow of JP rigidity right here in sunny island SG, the land of entitlement and convenience. Why I say this, is because while I do acknowledge that it was my own careless oversight that led to this unfortunate scenario, as a SGporean in SG, I kinda am in a SGporean mood, which means I expect more efficiency and sense in the way things work, you know. Like, availing a photocopier that charges people unreasonably or simply charge a ridiculous service fee to help me photocopy my document, so we get our convenience and you get to earn. Yeah, the SG way.
And this is how I know, I’ll always be a SGporean.
Hope I have no more stories to share because I definitely don’t want another wait-what moment for visa collection! Hah.
Update (31 May 2018)
I went down yesterday, on a Wednesday, and the embassy was practically empty. So if I were you, I wouldn’t head down on a Monday. Really.
They directly gave me a date for the collection of my visa and it will be ready next Tuesday, so it will take approximately 4 working days. They expect exact change for $38 too, so, yeah. I already have a taste of how rigid things are, so I’m gonna be prepared. Don’t want to have to go back to the embassy for the 4th time. No way.
This is totally random but seeing how there are so many embassies around that area, perhaps someone should go start a photocopier-van business. Just drive around with a photocopy machine and help poor souls like me out. Charge them $2/photocopy or something. Who knows, it might just be the most lucrative business ever, lol.