Vicky, a good friend and former colleague from Thailand is coming to visit on 20th Dec. It's very exiting. In the time I have been here I have had friends and family visit - Mum and Dad, Tony & and Jo, E&P, Madeline, Nicki, Robert, Kate O'B, Tristan, Greg, Scott coming through Narita. I am much luckier than many foreigners I know here in that regard. It's always exciting. Vicky coming is no exception. She, Irina (another Russian colleague) and I would periodically go out in BKK. It was a welcome relief from some of the admin idioscyncracies at the school.
Being Russian though and coming to Japan... what a nightmare.
It appears easier for people from the 'terrorist hotspots' of Somalia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In order to come a Russian needs a local guarantor who supplies
- proof of residence from the local govt.
- a photocopy of each page of his/her passport
- a certificate of employment (from company HR dept)
- a statement from the company HR dept to say how much tax he/she paid in the last financial year
- a letter explaining the purpose of the visit
- a letter guaranteeing the expenses of the visitor
- proof that they visitor is known to the invitee - emails, photos, cards, letters etc
- an itinery itemised for each day in Japan
For the Russian visitor
- bank details proving they have means
- proof of employment
- a return plane ticket
not sure what else....
Talk about a pariah state....
I think China, Philippines and the ex Soviet Union have similar conditions - perhaps other countries too - but these stand out on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. The concern probably has more to do with prostitution... or perhaps the fact that Russia and Japan have terrority conflicts and have not satisfactorily resolved WWII issues....
The documents are in BKK now, lets hope they are processed quickly....
At least she's not North Korean...