Making my America Visa in US Embassy in Tokyo, Japan

February 10, 2019

So I just suddenly have an idea to make an American Visa while I am in Japan. I've just renewed my passport in January 2018 and it's been a year, while Indonesia's passport is only valid for 5 years (which makes mine valid until 2019). And I have been traveling but nowhere besides Japan because ever since that, I have been living in Tokyo

However, things have calmed down and I really wish to travel somewhere. Indonesia passport is not really in a strong side. It's enough to visit South East Asia countries but to visit China, Korea, Japan, you would need a visa. Let alone to visit European countries and even worse America

I have heard countless stories ever since I was young about how difficult it is to obtain American Visa, which I partially understand because a lot of Indonesian are trying to be illegal workers over there since they pay more. And having tons of money in your saving doesn't mean that you're guaranteed with the visa. I have one rich friend whose sister is studying in the states, and he was even rejected once when making US Visa

I myself have never been really eager to visit America. Maybe because I like Japan more, and second, I love historical places. That's the reason why I still want to visit Europe because they have tons of amazing architectures and museums. However, America is more about "futuristic cities" and probably, Disney? But I'm not going to make all that efforts just to visit Disney in Florida

Moving forward, I live in Tokyo now, and though I had pushed myself to make visa to certain countries so I can just travel whenever I want to, anyway the passport is just stored inside my wardrobe, so why not just put it in the embassy right?

There are a few types of visa that I wish to have it granted
Schengen - I have obtained it in the past but it's in my old passport, so I'm thinking to renew it again
Russia - Russia Visa is different than Schengen, and I want to visit Moscow one day

Also, there are a few visas that make it
UK Visa - I am not really eager to visit UK but since it's valid for years, why not make it?
US Visa - Last option, I don't have to but might as well too?

My first option was Schengen. And I was dreaming of summer in Italy. But when I asked my friend to join me in Italy, no one can take a leave. Either it's for work, or they've just recently got married, or they just had kids. Basically, adult stuff. So I looked to the east instead of west, and I found America. Which is pretty close to Japan compared to Indonesia. And I saw Hawaii. Tons of Japanese go to Hawaii, and it's 7 hours away like Bali

Being an Indonesian, going to Hawaii is not something that I pursued. Maybe because Indonesia has 16.000 islands or more, and Bali is the paradise of the earth. Why should I travel all the way there just to visit Hawaii? People who visit America would go to LA, SF, or NY

But well, going to Hawaii would mean it's another part of Japan, but I need a visa. Whether I go to Hawaii or LA, US Visa is needed

Hence on 31st January 2019 (Thursday), I visited Japanese US Embassy Website and filled my Non-Immigrant Visa, DS-160. It took me around 1-2 hours to fully finish the form, pay my visa fee (160$ converted to JPY 17.600 and converted again to my Indonesia Card to Rp 2.306.841)

I got my appointment day on Tuesday morning right away, and I chose 10.30 am because I didn't want to come to early. I printed some of the stuffs needed and that's all

Forms that I have to bring to the embassy = 
- DS-160 Confirmation Page
- Interview Appointment Confirmation Letter
- My current passport
- Old passports that were issued within 10 years (I got 2 passports)
- One Color photograph taken within 6 months against a white background, 5cm x 5cm

Because I am a foreigner, I have to bring =
- Photocopy of my Zairyu (Residence Card) front and back side

And because I am making Tourist Visa B-2, I have to bring these =
- Invitation Letter (in case I was invited by someone, but I don't, so I don't bring this)
- Proof of Finance (I printed out my latest 3 months Indonesia bank account)

And that's all. No flight ticket, no hotel reservation, no itinerary etc!
My friend who knew that I was applying for a visa, told me another horror story that it's so difficult to make it in Indonesia at the moment, but I was pretty confident that mine would be approved because I live in Japan! However, even if it's rejected, that only means I have to change my holiday destination, BUT what's bad is I will not get back the visa money :( 

So I went to the US Embassy is Akasaka. I reached the embassy at 10.20, did some inspection and scanning, before giving the forms to the counter exactly at 10.30 sharp. I was asked to wait until my number got called. And it was pretty full on that day. There were a lot of Japanese too which I assumed it's for working visa or long-term related visa since if it's just for tourism, they won't need to make one. At 11.18 I was called to the counter to have my fingerprints taken, and asked to queue for the interview. The line was pretty long but there were 3 counters opened, so it took me 30 mins to have my interview

The guy who interviewed me is an American, and he's sitting behind the counter with glass window separated us. And it's not at separate places, it's in public area, the same area where I delivered my forms. I don't remember the exact words but the conversation went out like this =

OFFICER = So, why do you wanna go to Hawaii?

STELLA = Well since I live in Tokyo now and everyone seems to go there? If I were in Jakarta, I would go to Bali, but it's cheaper to visit Hawaii from Tokyo, so might as well go there?

OFFICER = How are you able to afford all of these travels?

STELLA = Well... I have been working for 5 years? And I have been working as a blogger, that generates income

OFFICER = I dont see how come you're able to afford it just by blogging

STELLA = ... I earned good amount in Indonesia. (I didnt say it out loud but I was thinking, 'because I earned money hence I can live in Tokyo no????')

OFFICER = What are you doing in Japan?

STELLA = I'm studying the language here

OFFICER = Why Japan?

STELLA = Well, I have always loved Japan ever since I was young, so Japan has always been my dream. And I always want to live here. Before that I have been coming back and forth to Japan for years before decided to live and study here

OFFICER = *checks my passports* Where else have you been to?

STELLA = Hmm... Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Europe?

OFFICER = Where did you go to Europe?

STELLA = *thinks for a while*... Umm... Paris. Spain. Prague. Austria. Oh and I also went to Morocco?

OFFICER = Who did you with to Europe?

STELLA = My friend

OFFICER = Is it a man or a woman?

STELLA = *cries internally, does he think someone pays for my trip lol* a woman...

OFFICER = What's her name?

STELLA = *thinks for 1-2 secs* it's XXX XXXX

OFFICER = Well okay, your visa is approved. Please wait for 7 days

STELLA = (O___O)

It happened in 2 mins and I didn't even prepare. I didn't do any research either about what kind of questions would come up. So some of the questions surprised me. And even more when the officer told me, in the end, my visa was approved

I wasn't surprised my visa would be approved but what surprised me was he mentioned it at the end of the interview which never happened in years of visa procedure. With other visas, I don't know whether I get it approved or rejected until the time I receive my passport back. So this kind of thing surprised me since I didn't have to be praying for weeks lol

On Friday morning I received that my passport had been sent to my place, which means I only need to wait for 3 working days to receive it! Too fast!

Oh hello US Passport. Now shall we truly go to Hawaii?

So that's my experience making my America Visa in Tokyo. Which went out to be much much easier than what I heard. It wasn't scary at all. And probably I got it lucky because I made it in Tokyo compared to Jakarta? Maybe it would be more difficult if it was in Jakarta, but who knows

But for any of you Indonesians or fellow weak-passport holders who are in Japan, I would like to tell you that it's not that difficult to make one. Just be sure, to be honest, and fill your paper well
I come from a freelance background so I dont have my monthly income from a fixed company every month, and I still have it approved. I am pretty sure if you're supported with a company, that would make it even better!

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  1. I love how you take your picture, it's so vibrant yet calming. Maybe you can make a post about how you edit your photos because they are all amazing!!

  2. stop bragging around