Jane Doe

Over the weekend, I have completed the last bits of my visa application, and I have just heard back from my lawyer that they will submit all the documents tomorrow afternoon, if possible.

Now, all I can do is wait… The procedure to change the visa can take up to two months, but the good thing is that I can stay in Japan even if my current visa expires during this time. How fast I would have to leave the country in case the new visa is not granted, I do not know – and I am certainly not keen on finding that out.

But that does not really worry me, I’ll take care of that problem when it arises. I am much more worried about the following: For my lawyer to be able to submit the paperwork on my behalf, I had to give him both my passport and my zairyu card, and he will keep them throughout the application procedure, however long this may take. (*) You know that those two are the only two documents proving that I am who I am, here in Japan…

I find this quite scary, to be honest. Although I have received a “certificate of deposit” that states that both my IDs are with my lawyer and even include photos, stamps, and his mobile number, this is not quite the same. I will try not to run into the police of course, but what if there is some sort of emergency? Besides, not wanting to leave the country is one thing; not being able to, is a completely different thing…Certificate of Deposit(*) Added one day later: Just to clarify: It is not strictly necessary that my lawyer keeps my IDs throughout the screening procedure. He needs them only twice: in the beginning when he is filing the application (proof of application is stapled into the passport, by the way) and in the end when the visa has been approved and he goes to exchange the old zairyu card for the new one. The reason why he wants to keep them is to simplify and speed up the whole procedure, and, yes indeed, I have agreed to this (after some agonising back and forth…).