Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Goodbye Alien Status

Japan has recently changed a few of its immigration rules and requirements for permanent residents etc.  For the past 17 years I have been considered an "Alien" and have had an Alien Registration card to carry around to prove my Alien status.  However, I recently renewed my New Zealand passport and was informed that I had to get a new Residence Card before I could transfer my visa stamps etc. over to my new passport.  
For anyone who doesn't know, Japan has a history of being the most frustrating country when it comes to paperwork and trying to do anything official.  I had to make a special trip to the immigration department in Oita City to get my new card and I set aside the whole morning, took a book and resigned myself to the fact that even though I had taken the correct sized photo etc. it would be a long, frustrating process.  I arrived just after they opened at 9am and was out of there by about 9:20am... it was almost disappointing!  I didn't even need to have my passport stamps transferred over.  They didn't ask any questions, they didn't require any more than for me to write my name and very limited information on a piece of paper, they didn't require me to go outside to some tiny shop and buy some stamps to pay for the new card - in fact they didn't require any money.  It was almost disappointing.... all finished within less than 20 minutes and out of the office 40 minutes before any shops opened!  Perhaps things are slowly getting easier for those of us living here permanently.  Now if they would just recognize duel citizenship for our children after they turn 20, I might be even happier.....

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