Monday, 7 June 2010

the Value of a Passport

EDIT: Apparently my problem is that I can't understand the Canadian Enbassy website as the 4700 yen is only if you need them to sign your form - which they can do when you walk in to hand in the forms, no appointment neccessary. Sigh! Well at least I saved 4700 yen, right? And when its ready they'll mail it to me, so all I have to do is take it to Immigration and my ward office! Yay!


I'm a proud Canadian (born and raised, and although I'm also proud of the dual British citizenship I inherited from my mum I've never really thought of myself as anything but - and I'll save for another time my worries for what that means about any kids I might have in Japan)

Anyways, proud Canadian that I am I've recently been questioning the value of a Canadian passport - not its moral or symbolic worth, but its actual monetary worth. Don't worry, I'm not about to try and sell mine on the black market - not that it would get me much as it expires in mid-July.

That's the problem, I need a new passport and renewing my Canadian passport has proved MUCH more expensive than I had expected.

- passport fee 9300 yen- photographs (the extra-spiffy-with-all-the-bells-and-whistles-including-cd set so I could get the required full white backdrop not offered anywhere else) 3000 yen
- guarantor proxy form (since I don't know any doctors or lawyers or mayors in Japan) 4700 yen
- notarization of the proxy form (on the mistaken assumption that it'd be cheaper and easier than taking the day of to have it done at the embassy - it was most definitely NEITHER!) 11500 yen
- morning off work to submit the forms in person 3600 yen
- day off work to pick up my new passport, take it to immigration to transfer my visa and get a reentry permit, and update my info at the ward office 10800 yen
plus about 3000 yen for all the train fares to get me everywhere and home again

Although to be fair I should minus the 800 yen I would have spent on lunch but for the notary's need to check everything three times and the fact I was already 10 minutes over my lunch hour.

Just for comparison - renewing my British passport was a breeze (walked in the office, took 700 yen photos at the machine, filled out what I could on the form, gave them my old passport, and paid my fee. Oh, and the real kicker? My British passport is good for 10 years but I'll have to go through all the fun for my Canadian passport in just 5 years! (I've put the word out I'm looking for official friends, one of the guys at work has promised to take me drinking with a bunch of lawyers he knows, and my sempai has agreed to go for coffee with me and her high school friend who became a dentist, so hopefully I'll have plenty of people to sign my form 5 years from now.)


  1. To save you most of the photo fee - when I renewed last year I was able to use photos taken in a booth here. I think I have traversed this with friends (and can't remember the outcome), but are you allowed to use a doctor or lawyer from Canada or does it have to be country of residence?

  2. $$$$ Soon adds up doesn't it! I love the idea of all those knew friends, great reason to party and they can help you out in the long run!!

    The Aust gov is always changing the rules on their passports so goodness knows what they will be next time. Last time my photos were rejected 3 times, thankfully the lady at the photo shop took pity on me and reprinted for free so now I take all my camera stuff to her.

    I heard that all passports are going to be 5 years, Aust will be soon. I have to get two new passports this month. A trip to the embassy-20 000 and that is just the start...

  3. That's crazy! Your poor bank balance :( Good luck with finding people to vouch for you next time round!

  4. GEG - You were able to use photo booth photos? Really? The form I had insisted on professionally taken photos stamped on the back with the store's address. Unfortunately the person signing your forms etc has to be in Japan. I have a bunch of people who could do it for me in Canada but no go, must be country of residence.

    Achan - The first photos the store took for me were too small, but I noticed right on the spot and they redid them for me for free. You've had yours turned down THREE times? Eeeks. What a nightmare! I guess I should be relieved that it ended up costing me under 500 yen to get to the Embassy - 20000 yen is a lot! You can't mail your applications in?

    Umebossy - thanks! After all this I am definitely looking forward to pay day (especially as it is my first payday since my raise)!

  5. Oh - and apparently somebody from the Notary office decided to drop by the museum to check it out after work yesterday. Since we also close at 5pm, however, and are actually (along with just about every museum in Japan) closed on Mondays, they weren't able to get in, but did give a message to one of the guys in the office (I'm still not sure quite how) that got VERY garbled before it got to me today.

  6. Yes to the photo thing. I wish I could remember how I discovered this. They allowed me to write my name and DOB on the back where the guarantor signs. They can't really have such stringent guidelines if there are no places that take photos with CDN passport specifications. Maybe give them a call before you go through the hassle of visiting the one place in Tokyo that has the official stamp?

  7. GEG - Thanks for the suggestion, I'll be sure to look into it next time. Its too late this time, however, as I've already paid the 3000 yen for super duper set with Camera no Kitamura and then submitted the whole thing last week.