In order to obtain a work visa in Japan, a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) needs to be completed and approved. The COE is completed by the employer based on the employee’s information. It usually takes 2-3 weeks for the COE to be completed. The COE then goes to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their preliminary approval. The document then goes back to the employee, where it needs to be turned in along with passports to the local Japanese Consulate. These are the steps that I wish we knew back in June when we started this process! When I first contacted the Japanese Consulate in Seattle, I was told that “under no circumstances are you allowed to be in Japan while the COE is being processed, or it will be rejected.” Which meant we needed to stay stateside until we received the COE. So we canceled our June/July plans to join the school trip to Japan. Looking back, had we known it would take so long just to start the initial process of gathering documents and filling out paperwork, we would have gone with the group. Oh well, lesson learned. If anyone has specific questions about this process, I’m an expert now.
Fast forward to today, we received an email saying that our COE is complete and it’s on its way to our address in Hawaii! It is being sent via DHL courier, which I thought was an international overnight dealio, which would mean we’d be in Japan by September 9th! But once we clicked on the tracking number link, we found out that it isn’t an overnight service. Not even 3 day service. Not even 5 day service. Yep, it’s a week. But at least it is on its way and we can start planning. Whoa. I’ve got knots in my stomach.