So you’ve been living in Japan for a while, enjoying all the sights and flavors of your new life. You’ve been enjoying it so much that you’ve forgotten about the status of your passport. Oh no, it’s expired!
Don’t worry, the secret police coming to arrest you, so long as your visa is still valid. If your passport has expired (or is going to be expiring soon) then you’ll need to get it renewed. The process is a little complicated, like any kind of bureaucratic work, but it can be done without setting foot inside the US embassy. For those living in 田舎 (Inaka, the country side), this is a relief.
What you’ll need
- Valid or expired passport (undamaged and issued within the past 15 years)
- Form DS-82
- A Passport photo (5cm x 5cm)
- Kokusai Yubin Kawase
- 2 Letter Pack Envelopes
What you’ll do
First, fill out the DS-82 form, and attach your photo to the front, stapling it on the guides provided.
Next, you will need to pay for the whole process, $110 in total, so you will need to prepare what is called a 国際郵便為替 (Kokusai Yubin Kawase) addressed to:
“U.S. Embassy Tokyo”
Unit 9800, Box 114 APO AP 96303-0114, USA
You can get this payment made at any large Japanese post office. The paperwork takes time, but hopefully you’ll have some friendly post office staff to help out. It took me about 45 minutes to complete the payment, but I made a mistake on one of the forms and had to rewrite it.
Finally, before mailing everything off, you’ll want to make a photocopy of your current passport, just in case. This will come in handy if you need to show proof of your citizenship or visa status (even though in most cases your resident card will be a better choice).
Put everything into one of your LetterPack 500 envelopes and address it to your local embassy office, then address the other to yourself. Fold the self-addressed envelope and place it inside the envelope address to the embassy. The embassy will use this to send your new passport to you.
In a few weeks your new passport should arrive. It took 4 weeks for me, but I’ve heard stories of it taking longer for some people.