Schengen Tourist Visa from Tokyo: France

August 6, 2019

My arms laden with a pile of documents to apply for a Schengen Visa, I faced my interviewer at the French Embassy in Tokyo and shared my plans – including my plan to stay at a treehouse (she asked! Well, she saw my reservation). But while the preparation was painful, the actual application was easy.

What you need to prepare

  • Book your appointment online. In my case it was at least two weeks before I see the next open one. They have around 10 people/slot; 5 slots per day, so it CAN be limited. You can easily change it, so book it asap! Oh, and print that out.
  • Prepare requirements – they are on the website. As the list is quite extensive, I even cross referenced the checklist requirement number and written the number in the requirements (in pencil). 
    1. Checklist. Just print it out, and tick what you’ve submitted. As there are items with options, what I did was underline what I prepared to meet that requirement. For example, I didn’t book a tour, just did my itinerary, so I just underlined “program of my visit” in number 8.a) 2.
    2. Visa application form. That’s easy.
    3. Photo. Again, easy.
    4. Passport. Original and a copy. Probably the easiest. I submitted a barely stamped one as I got a new passport, so I offered the old one (with the old Schengen visa) They didn’t take it, they’re good with just the new one. 
    5. Cash. 60 euros that they will translate to the local currency, exchange rate varies.
    6. Resident card. Just provide a copy, and be ready to show the original.
    7. Employment Certificate. (comment if you want mine). Basically it should  have the company header, date and signature (or stamp), with your name, hiring date and monthly salary. In the Philippines we need to be working with our company a year or so (at least that’s what we think), but here I’ve been with my company 10 months and there were no issues. They’re happy to keep just the original copy of this one.
    8. Purpose of stay. Just printed an itinerary (they ask you about it, so be ready), and underlined “other document showing the program of the visit”
    9. Proof of itinerary. I provided a return ticket. Now, here you have the option of getting a tour company to reserve one for you, or paying for it yourself. I decided to take the risk and just book it (and thus have the cheapest one. I got my tickets at around JPY77,000 yen. I’ve been checking lately, and the cheapest one at this point is more than JPY100,000 yen).
    10. Proof of accommodation. I book via booking.com, and make it a point to select no prepayments AND free cancellations.
    11. Show Money. Get a photocopy of your bank statement (or passbook), and make sure it’s updated. It’s 65 euro per day, multiplied by number of days and exchange rate. I wrote my calculation in this sheet. I think I needed around 80,000 yen. Then since they need 3 months history in my passbook, I also did the computation for them to show when’s the earliest date they need to check. The embassy girl praised me, so I think it worked. Bring your original passbook too so they can check it. They’ll return it to you and just keep the photocopies.
    12. Insurance. I paid 15 euros for this. Just google Mawista. Yes, it is a German insurance, but I had no problems with it.
    13. For Minors. I’m not a minor haha.
    14. Self addressed envelope with an 82 yen stamp. Just buy it when you buy your letter pack.
    15. B. Letter Pack 510. Keep note of the tracking number!

Getting There

It’s a bit of a walk from the station, but not too bad. Just put this in your google maps

At the Embassy

  • Pass through a rather stringent security. They have a list of all people who have a schedule.
  • Wait for your name, not number, to be called (like a real human), then have the interview while submitting your requirements. You get to choose the language. I assume it is either French, English or Japanese.
    • She asks for my requirements, I pass them to her. I asked if she needed my old passport with my old Schengen visa, she said no. While looking at my papers, she asks if I’m going as a tourist (yes), and what places I’m planning to visit. So I recited my itinerary, which is basically land in Paris, then Versailles, then Mont Blanc, then tree house in Estretat (where we both laughed), then back to Paris. She complimented how organized things were, and asked me if I know how much the visa fee will be. I said EUR60, and she gave me the JPY amount (7802yen). She tells me go and wait for my name to be called again so I can pay.
  • Within five minutes my name was called to pay the visa fee. She took my fingerprints and picture. She then confirmed if I want my passport delivered by post or if I want to pick it up, I said I want it delivered.
  • I came in around 9:25 (at a 9:30 appointment), and was done at 9:50am.

Special Notes

  • There’s no consular in Nagoya, despite what google says. It is ONLY in Tokyo.
  • If you are using the letter pack, take note of the tracking number so you can check if the post is on its way.
  • Is your visa ready? is a website available to check the status of your application before it is mailed. After that, just use the tracking number in your letter pack. 

Quick update – I got my visa with a post on it saying “enjoy!”. That I think is the most personal (and only) note I received in all my visa applications.

Comments

  1. Hi! Thanks for this well organized post! May I ask, how long did it take you to get your visa after submitting the requirements in the embassy?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, thanks for the detailed blog. I’m wondering whether you included train ticket or something similar in your travel itinerary.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi thanks for your informative post! Do you need to go through the online application for your first time? https://france-visas.gouv.fr/en/web/france-visas/online-application
    As it describes:
    "Is this your first visa application?
    Take a few minutes to read through all the steps of the visa application before starting."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, there's probably a new thing then. I went in 2019, years and years back. >.<

      Delete

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