ROSCon VISA support (JTB) experiences and difficulties

Hi all,

I’m struggling heavily with the task of getting a VISA for Japan. My understanding is that many others are struggling as well, especially those from IROS’ side so I thought I’d post my experience in here and ask for help.

After reading through ROSCon 2022 Schedule & Visa Information I went ahead and trusted the recommendation of hiring of JTB services. I got their e-mail the 2nd of August and answered the same day with all the information filled in, so that they continued with the process. I had to ping JTB several times and only then, the 29th of August I received documents from their side. I submitted the same documents to the japanese embassy in Spain the same day and have been waiting every since. I’ve called the embassy several times to try and check if they received everything successfully and/or to see whether there was something I could do to speed up the process. I received no answer from the embasy so I reached out to JTB again hoping the could help. No answer neither.

I understand that there might be little JTB can do with national embassies but still, my experience is being somewhat difficult with them. They are not responsive and don’t seem to be supporting the process (which I thought was the whole purpose of their “visa support” service). I thought first my struggle could be related to the japanese embassy in Spain and I had to be patient, but it seems that’s really not the case. Latest news I’ve received from IROS inform with the following:

We have recently received the following news about VISA.

  1. The local Japanese embassies or consulates in certain
    countries require in-person interviews, and the schedule is
    pretty much filled with them.

  2. The Japanese government has begun discussions to remove
    restrictions on the number of people entering Japan and
    restart individual tourism. We have called the Japanese
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) but have not received a
    clear answer as to whether this will happen in time for
    IROS in October.

Thus, we encourage you to check with the Japanese embassies
or consulate in your country as soon as possible. If you
need assistance applying for a business visa to enter
Japan, don’t hesitate to contact the designated JTB
representative.

With this, at this point I’m starting to grow concerned. Relying on restrictions being removed is too risky so I will continue trying to reach out the spanish embassy. Can someone else share success/experiences on their own that could help in here? Has someone been successful getting a VISA to Japan from the embassy located in Spain?

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For what it’s worth, JTB only started actually processing the applications on the 15th.

JTB cannot help you once the documents have been provided to you. They have no control over embassies overseas, and the embassy will never contact JTB. If you are experiencing problems, please contact the address provided when you registered for ROSCon. Please do not contact the JTB office by phone or email directly, as they will not be able to help you.

This is based on comments made by a government official in a TV news programme on Sunday this week, and officially was nothing more than that official’s opinion. However, the rumours (“reports from anonymous officials”) are saying that something is likely to be announced by the end of this week, and that it will be the removal of the need to apply for a visa starting from October. These “reports” have been accurate in the past so I’m hopeful.

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Yeah, that was clear to me but I was hoping that as a travel agency, JTB would be able to assist in some way, they’re probably exposed to lots of people facing difficulties.

I’ll reach out Kate as you suggest, but what should be the expectation in here and from Kate?

Thanks for this.

I am having exactly the same problems and concerns :worried:

The process has worked for me in the USA. Here’s my timeline:

2022-08-19 Registered for ROSCon
2022-08-23 Initial email from JTB with form and instructions
2022-08-29 My response to JTB with filled out form
2022-09-02 Document packet received from JTB, applied online for visa
2022-09-08 Notified that eVISA has been issued.

I realize I’m lucky to be able to apply online for a VISA and I don’t need to visit a consulate in person.
I hope it works out for you. Good luck!

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Realistically, I don’t think there is anything she can do about your problem. This is an issue with the Japanese embassy in your country. Some countries, like the USA, appear to be fast, but others appear to take their time. Nothing will hurry them along, unfortunately.

Hi @vmayoral and @fmrico ,

I sent my documents (the ones recieved from JTB + the first page of my passport + the form filled) to this email (visado@md.mofa.go.jp) which corresponds to the Japanese Embassy in Spain, and I recieved an answer the same day. In this response I got an appoinment to go in person to the embassy the 4th of October to give them my passport and the 7th of October another one to get it back.

Did you reach this email ? In my case the were very fast and diligent.

I’ve mostly been frustrated that we paid them to deal with the visa stuff for us, to find out after the fact that they didn’t fill in the Visa Application (or tell us that any other paperwork may exist), didn’t send us country specific information about how to actually find all the rest of the paperwork required, didn’t tell us how to actually submit all those documents, etc.

When I found the visa application, it basically mimics all of the paperwork they provided that I’m now manually filling in – what exactly did we pay for? Seems like ROSCon could have just told ROSCon participants the inviter’s information and a generic form letter and been done with it… They’ve been quite unhelpful and non-specific, even when I ask for clarification.

I didn’t even know that was a thing… I was going to mail a bunch of documents to the San Francisco Consulate like some instructions I found (on a website designed in 1980) mentioned. Do you have a link to that?

Edit: found it here: JAPAN eVISA, that didn’t pop up on my radar before (would have been nice for JTB to mention…)

Yeap, that’s the one I used while following Visado para estancias cortas por Negocios, Intercambios u otros | Embajada del Japón en España (JTB asked me to request this type of VISA). Sent everything 29th of August but still no answer nor dates on my side. It’s good to hear nevertheless you got dates already. That gives me hope.

Japan might drop all VISA restrictions for individual travel to the country in October. I wonder how this will affect the folks going to the con?
https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Japan-set-to-announce-restart-of-visa-free-tourist-travel

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Hello @rolker

Can you please share which supporting documents did you upload on the last page of the evisa ?
I noticed that the evisa portal only allows the uploading of 4 supporting documents (including certification or registration to the ERFS system).
However, the JTB agency issues 6 documents.

  • Certificate for Completion of Registration to the ERFS system
  • Letter of Guarantee
  • Letter of Reason for Invitation
  • Schedule of Stay
  • Details of Company, Organization
  • Written pledge

I would like to know which documents are the most important to include in this application in order to guarantee that the evisa gets approved.
Thanks,

Thanks much @smac for sharing the eVISA link. I got a serious case of glassy eyes after reading the unnecessarily verbose, and yet still unhelpful, email from JTB’s visa support “service” containing my generated documentation, including the ERFS completion certificate. It’s my understanding now that the fee assessed was to copy-paste user data to generate an ERFS entry from a template. Considering I had to fill out all of the information myself into an excel file first (after having to reach out directly to the visa_support email address because they didn’t send me anything for over a month after I registered initially), I find the expense incurred was certainly not worth it.

Just curious: did anyone go it alone and not use the JTB visa support service? Is/was this even possible?

Unfortunately, I don’t remeber exactly which documents I chose to send. I certainly sent the ERFS one. I probably sent the top 4 on your list?

I decided to drop the last two myself. Seemed like the least important.

  • Details of Company, Organization
  • Written pledge

Unfortunately, this is not possible. JTB is making an application to the Japanese government using the details you provide. This is the registration into the ERFS system, and it is not possible for someone outside of Japan to do.

An update from my side on this topic, might be especially useful for those of you in Spain:

After insisting (many) many times, over multiple days in a row with the public contact details ([1] seems to be completely saturated and didn’t work for me, [2] however got me to reach out to someone after insisting repeatedly) of the embassy in Madrid, I managed to speak with them over the phone. They explained to me that they did receive my application but never answered due to the workload that they’re under. They also clarified that they’re not attending applications by order-of-arrival, which justifies why some are getting answered, and some don’t. They seemed to be doing the best they can.

After exposing my situation and insisting, they agreed to provide me with a next-day urgent date and I made a trip to their location in Madrid. The embassy seemed terribly saturated, with long queues of people waiting. I can confirm they are low on staff. Having made the application before, I delivered my passport and some extra documents required[3] (face-to-face) during the morning and picked up my VISA in the afternoon and received some additional information to speed up quarantine procedures and reduce waiting times at the airport[4].

A few tips for those trying it in Spain:

  • submit your application as stated in [1:1] immediately and then
  • (don’t wait for the e-mail response) use [2:1] (and/or [1:2], though never worked for me) and speak with someone over the phone to request a date
  • make the trip to Madrid (yes, this is terribly annoying, but seems to be the only effective way) and expect to spend a day there
  • before making the trip, make sure to follow additional information to speed up quarantine procedures and reduce waiting times at the airport [4:1]

  1. Visado para estancias cortas por Negocios, Intercambios u otros | Embajada del Japón en España ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

  2. EMBAJADA DE JAPÓN EN ESPAÑA | Embajada del Japón en España ↩︎ ↩︎

  3. On top of the e-mail application they ask you to bring a) a recent photo for the VISAs, b) the application form printed and signed, c) your passport ↩︎

  4. japan_fasttrack_quarantine.pdf (2.2 MB) ↩︎ ↩︎

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While that’s a good news, nothing seems to be set in stone as of today 9/18. And some sources read that whether you’d need visa or not after the visa requirement is lifted depends on your nationality. Since both the prospective visa lift and ROSCon 2022 will be in October, you must not count on the visa waiver IMO.

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Another update coming from JTB’s IROS support service:

Starting from 7th September 2022, Japan NO longer requires a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test for boosted travelers who have had three vaccine shots. Please check more details about this at the IROS2022 Health and Safety page: Health and Safety – IROS 2022.

Due to a recent change in the Japanese government policy, installation of the COCOA (Covid close-contact tracing) application is not requested by the IROS2022 SC2 Committee anymore. For further details, please check: For attention of IROS2022 onsite participants – IROS 2022.

Visa experience for people in UK

I am in UK and sharing my experience. I am attending both IROS and ROSCon. I opted for visa support for IROS and later ROSCon said if you have already opted then you do not need to opt again for ROSCon. I got the documents from the IROS JBT (I assumed that they would be the same team in JBT, but apparently its not the case). I received the documents from them over the email after filling out an initial excel form but that only specified attending IROS and also the invitation letter was just for IROS. I contacted both ROSCon organisers and JBT if they could provide me with an invitation letter for ROSCon as I provided them with the registration receipt for ROSCon.

ROSCon organisers replied that JBT will be the ones who should provide it. JBT said that they are only providing it for IROS (at least the contact I had for JBT). I was a little sceptic but, JBT people suggested that it shouldn’t be a problem as I would get the visa for a 90-day period so it should cover the ROSCon dates as well.

Here in the UK, I booked an appointment in August (currently it’s only possible to book 30 days in advance), So my appointment was on 2 September 2022 and I got the visa on 9 September 2022.

I am happy to advise anyone from my experience of the visit to the consulate in London if needed.

Footnote-
I couldn’t find any easy medium to interact with the on-site attendees of the ROSCon’22 or IROS2022 for the purposes of socialising, so I made one. Join and spread the word if you are attending on-site. PS: #unofficial #justforfun ( WhatsApp Group Invite )

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Just short update for the Germany.

Since we didn’t get any answer from the embassy we have called multiple times and finally came through. The short answer: “They expect that visa will be dropped on the Oct. 1st and they don’t let us make appointment. If restrictions are not dropped, we have to be there from 7:45 AM and wait for an appointment”.

This could be fun. Nevertheless, I am sleeping with my lucky coin every night with the hope that restrictions we be dropped. So don’t have to go on camping to Munich to get visa…

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