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Thread: Applying for 2014

  1. #1
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    Default Applying for 2014

    Hey everyone,

    I'm planning on applying this October as an ALT, and I have a few questions that I can't find answers for in the forums/FAQs:


    1. I'm hoping to bring my fiance with me, but he doesn't have a degree so he would just be tagging along. I know that Japan won't recognize us as anything legally because we aren't married yet, so will this hurt my chances of getting in? Would it be better if he had TESOL certification so at least he's more likely to get a job tutoring somewhere? He knows a bit of Japanese from a couple of college courses he took (don't know if that makes a difference or not.)
    2. I have very little knowledge of Japan. My sister in-law-to-be is Japanese and so I've learned about some cultural customs and geography from her and I LOVE Japanese food, but I don't know Japanese or anything else really. Would this hurt my chances of getting in? I'm a fast learner and I'd love to take a Japanese course but unfortunately with school and work I'm too busy right now.
    3. Are interview dates flexible at all? (If I'm lucky enough to get an interview!) I'm starting my 9 week teaching practicum for my degree in February (I think the second or third week) and wouldn't be allowed to miss any days :s


    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    chill yo coop52's Avatar
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    Default Re: Applying for 2014

    1. Your fiance won't affect whether or not you get in, but it'll be extremely difficult for them to find a company willing to sponsor a work visa without a college degree or years and years of experience in some sort of skilled work. Self-sponsoring is possible, but only if you can prove that you can earn a minimum income on your own. Having a TESOL probably wouldn't do much to help; people with both TESOL certificates and 4 year degrees are a dime-a-dozen here, so why would someone hire a person with only a certificate? It might be easier to just get married before you come, provided you get past the interview of course.

    2. Not really a problem. As long as you seem interested in learning and seem ok with handling the stress of adapting to living in a different country, you should be fine.

    3. Depends on your consulate. I was given a range of days and times during the week of Valentine's Day back when I interviewed (Atlanta consulate). The interview itself isn't that long, so if you live close, you wouldn't have to miss a whole day for it.

  3. #3
    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Applying for 2014

    When I was told about my interview I was given a specific time and day. Depending on the consulate they might be able to change it for something important, but I wouldn't count on it. Is there any way you can let the school know in advance that you'll have to have an important appointment that you can't miss in mid-to-late February?
    Last edited by therealwindycity; September 3rd, 2013 at 08:46.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Applying for 2014

    To be brutally honest your fiance won't be able to get a work visa without a college degree and without a work visa he can't live here. "Just tagging along" is not actually possible.

    If you were married it would be different but in that case you would run into the problems that this previous poster had: http://www.ithinkimlost.com/applying...me-around.html

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Applying for 2014

    Thanks guys, I need brutal honesty right now! I have no clue about anything haha

    My consulate is a 3 hour drive away so I will have to take the day. That would be amazing if they gave me a range of days... as for the school, I think you're allowed to miss a couple of days but it really depends on your coordinator/supervising teacher.

    And Jiggit, is the only way to live in Japan really to have a work visa? Yikes. He has a college diploma and a few years experience shipping and recieving for a couple companies... his brother is a JET alum and he was saying significant others of JETs were able to get jobs at stores doing things that didn't involve too much customer interaction (ie: shipping and receiving), but maybe that's changed?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Applying for 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Libellule View Post
    And Jiggit, is the only way to live in Japan really to have a work visa? Yikes. He has a college diploma and a few years experience shipping and recieving for a couple companies... his brother is a JET alum and he was saying significant others of JETs were able to get jobs at stores doing things that didn't involve too much customer interaction (ie: shipping and receiving), but maybe that's changed?
    I can't believe you haven't checked the MOFA information about this yet: MOFA: If your objective is work or a long-term stay [Guide to Japanese Visas]
    It's not the "only way", but it's not like you can just fly into the country and kick around for as long as you like. I can't really see any other kinds of visas on that page that would allow him to stay here long term anyway.

    "Significant other" sounds like it means a spouse to me. Otherwise they'd have had to come here on a tourist visa and started applying for those jobs after getting here, which is actually illegal.

  7. #7
    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Applying for 2014

    He might be able to get a working holiday visa. These are the eligible countries:

    MOFA: The Working Holiday Programmes in Japan

    A cultural visa might also be possible, though he wouldn't be allowed to earn money and it would be trickier.

    MOFA: General visa: Cultural activities [Guide to Japanese Visas]
    Last edited by therealwindycity; September 3rd, 2013 at 09:39.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Applying for 2014

    Might have to just say you are engaged and that might work. I know a couple here who were in your shoes. Once the husband got here he did find a job picking oranges, stuff like this though will mostly depend on how you get a long with the local community.

  9. #9
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: Applying for 2014

    If you are from the US and come over here on a "temporary visitor pass" (commonly but incorrectly referred to as a "tourist visa"), it will be a gigantic pain in the arse for you to have it changed to a work visa (or any other kind of visa for that matter). Japanese law actually specifically forbids doing this except in "extraordinary circumstances"--a vague loophole that can be exploited, but not without a tremendous amount of paperwork and several trips to Tokyo. I absolutely do not recommend doing this. It would be significantly easier to get married (even if you just do it on paper and don't tell anyone) back home and apply for a dependent visa for you husband. He can always get that changed to a work visa later, generally without too much trouble.

    If you try the temporary visitor pass thing, you've got three months, then it's either start the horrible bureaucratic process of trying to slip through that loophole, or cross your fingers and hope you can get away with a few "Korea runs."

    If you're from the UK or Canada or Australia or something, you have a few more options.

    I know a great deal about this, unfortunately, because MG and I did things the hard way. We were stupid, and I highly recommend that you avoid making the same mistakes.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Applying for 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Libellule View Post

    And Jiggit, is the only way to live in Japan really to have a work visa? Yikes. He has a college diploma and a few years experience shipping and recieving for a couple companies... his brother is a JET alum and he was saying significant others of JETs were able to get jobs at stores doing things that didn't involve too much customer interaction (ie: shipping and receiving), but maybe that's changed?
    You can't just up and move to a country without some sort of visa if you aren't married. You don't just show up and start working odd jobs. There are time limits on visitor visas. He could stay 3 months or you can get married. Not many other choices.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Applying for 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    it's not like you can just fly into the country and kick around for as long as you like
    Thanks for that.

    I definitely haven't checked out that website, so that's helpful. We obviously need to do a lot more research but I (naively) didn't realize you couldn't go in with the travel visa and switch to a work visa if you found a job. Looks like getting married would be our best option! hah a lot sooner than anticipated.

  12. #12
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Applying for 2014

    just being married won't automatically allow him to get a job. a spouse visa isn't a work visa
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Applying for 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by word View Post
    It would be significantly easier to get married (even if you just do it on paper and don't tell anyone) back home and apply for a dependent visa for you husband. He can always get that changed to a work visa later, generally without too much trouble.
    I have a good friend who got married this year on paper because it was much more convenient to be married, and had her ceremony months later, and I couldn't have seen myself doing it, until now... but the dependent -> work visa really makes the most sense.

    And I'm from Canada, but I seem to be pointed in the right direction to be checking out what our options are. So far the second best choice to getting married would probably be a working holiday program.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    just being married won't automatically allow him to get a job. a spouse visa isn't a work visa
    Yes I understand that, but it does seem like it would make it a lot more likely that it would happen. I'll have to investigate the MOFA site more but I think that you can go from a dependent visa to a work visa if you find a job?
    Last edited by Libellule; September 3rd, 2013 at 14:03.

  14. #14
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Applying for 2014

    no, you can apply for your dependants visa to been extended to allow you to work 28 hours a week and then you can go look for a job that meets that criteria.

    at this point it'll just be easier for him to become a published author and come in on an artists visa. write a tween story about gay vampire wizards or something, they are always popular
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Applying for 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post

    at this point it'll just be easier for him to become a published author and come in on an artists visa. write a tween story about gay vampire wizards or something, they are always popular
    I laughed.

  16. #16
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Applying for 2014

    Keep in mind the Canadian Working Holiday Visa is a 6 month visa, not a year. My friend was denied his extension to 1 year because he wasn't "holidaying" enough while he was here, as he basically just stayed in the Kansai area the entire time. It all depends on who you get at immigration and if they think you're being useful or not.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Applying for 2014

    Thanks so much for all the info guys! I finally feel like I'm starting to wrap my head around all this visa stuff. Thank you Gizmotech for pointing that out! Also, word, if you feel like sharing more about your experiences with MG, or point me in the direction of where you've shared them already, it would be greatly appreciated! It sounds like you have some valuable experience.

    Now I'm starting to wonder about reference letters and have more questions (I do apologize if they've been asked before!) I realize that because I'm graduating in April 2014 that I need a professional reference and a reference from a professor, but I don't know who to ask. All that I've gathered from other threads is that the reference letters need to be amazing if you're going to get an interview.

    1. For my professional reference I could ask the executive director of the company I work for, or a parent of a child that I worked with directly - which would be better? Both are well written and would write glowing letters.
    2.Would a teaching practicum supervisor count as a professional reference or a professor? Or neither? It would make sense to me to use this as one of my references because of how relevant it is, and it would be convenient for me to use it as a professor because...
    3. I've never developed a relationship with a professor that I could ask for a reference letter. The majority of my classes have 100+ people in them so that in itself makes it hard for me to develop any kind of relationship with them, and asking for a reference a month into classes just seems wrong, but potentially my only option. Any advice?
    Last edited by Libellule; September 5th, 2013 at 02:41.

  18. #18
    chill yo coop52's Avatar
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    Default Re: Applying for 2014

    Your teaching practicum supervisor would probably count as an academic reference. As for the professional one, go with the executive director since they'd be more able to give a reference of your working ability.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Applying for 2014

    Will be applying - lets do this shizzle!

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Applying for 2014

    Anyone willing spare a few minutes to look over my SoP? I have a draft done based on what I've gathered you're supposed to write about. Thanks in advance!

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