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Fingerprinting & Re-Entry

Japan With Kids - Forums: Immigration/visas/re-entry permits/naturalization: Fingerprinting & Re-Entry
By Judith on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 - 1:40 pm:

Today I spent 3 hours trying to register my fingerprints & photo to avoid long lines during the holiday season. I was only one of 30 people in line but it took 75 minutes for 10 people to finish. The fingerprinting machine didn't work properly, sometimes not at all, and several people came with expired passports or no pages left in their passports. To add to the confusion, most of the foreigners who were waiting couldn't understand any Japanese and the immigration officials didn't speak any English, and most of them began to quarrel. I was under the impression that this complicated system was design to "protect us from terrorists" but that doesn't seem to be the case. After the long wait, I realized my registration is good only until next February--2 months--so I have to go to immigration again early next year to re-register. I submitted to this painful procedure because of my son but next time, I'm not too sure if I can stand to sit and wait without screaming "THIS IS BLATANT DISCRIMIINATION AND I DEMAND PROTECTION FROM THE FINGERPRINTING TERRORISTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

By Lorigmnp on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 - 4:54 pm:

Hi I was wondering where to go and register my prints since we are leaving for korea on the 10th of dec and we live here in zama city? My kids are 5 and 7 so I am not sure if they will need to do it but can you tell me where to get more info on what to do and where to do it. Also is the printing something you can do in advance or do you have to wait untill we try to re enter and do it then?

Your Partner In Success
Lori Johnson
080 540 94472

By Judith on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 - 5:34 pm:

I don't know if this will help but here is some info I received from a visa agent we work with at our company. As I understand, the system is not designed for children. I doubt if you can register near Zama and might have to come to the Immigration Office near Shingawa, Tokyo. I understand there is an office to register in Narita Airport. Is anyone out there more knowledgeable than I am about the procedure? Thanks.

Please be advised that the automated gate for Re-entry permit holder and Japanese national has been also launched as of 20th November. Please find further information from the below link and follow the instruction of pre-registration if an individual would like to use the automated gate. If you could advise this new information to each assignee in your company, that would be appreciated.

For Re-entry permit holder <> <> <>

By Fraupenguin on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 - 5:35 pm:

Do those who have the "alien registration" and re-entry permits also have to do this? Anyone can point out a link to the relevant information?

I've tried to look for the information but i'm either looking at the wrong places or everything's in Japanese. The only information i've found is that this fingerprinting thing was implemented in November 2007.

Need to know cos my family and i will be going on a long holiday in January 2008.

By Edlyn on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 - 6:00 pm:

Yes, you need to comply. There is a lot of information all over the web and even this forum although I don't have all the links. If you go to this page (the official protest) they have links to most of the major sites, including the official government site. If you are coming back through Narita it isn't a problem but if you are flying into any of the other airports I understand that there are not dedicated lines for returnees/permanent residents/long-term visa holders.

By Fraupenguin on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 - 6:06 pm:

Ok, i found this link:

It lists those who will be affected by the new fingerprinting law:

"All foreign nationals entering Japan will be subject to the new provisions, apart from the following:

(1) Special permanent residents
(2) Persons under 16 years of age
(3) Those persons performing activities which fall under the status of residence for
eDiplomatf or eOfficialf
(4) Those persons who have been invited by the head of any national administrative
(5) Those persons who are prescribed by the Ministry of Justice ordinance as equivalent to
either (3) or (4)"

However, with reference to (1), it doesnt spell out who are "special permanent residents".

By Obm on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 - 6:13 pm:

Special Permanent Residents refers to ethnic Koreans, others, brought here during wwII and their offspring that cant get japanese passports etc etc. All of us bog standard permanent residents are subject to the new procedure.

By Lenemaia on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 - 7:16 pm:

Does anyone know if Tokyo Immigration and Narita airport, are the only places to pre-register??

I'm leaving for the christmas holiday mid-December and live in Yokohama. I really don't want to travel to Tokyo for this, if I can help it...
But if I have to, can anyone give me directions ("bended in neon"), as I am totally lost in Tokyo?

Also, Has any of you tried it yet?
I am travelling with a 1 year old and I am close to freaking out, not only having a looooong flight time, but also this fingerprinting stuff...
How long do you think we would have to wait in line?
Any thoughts will be appreciated!

By Edlyn on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 - 10:26 pm:

You don't have to pre-register. We came back December 1 and it took us all of 10 minutes. I posted this information earlier but it seemed to have been lost in cyberspace. I would not preregister. There is a special line for reentry permit holders. I have a 3 and 5 year old and it wasn't a problem. There was a long line in with all the poor Chinese tourists but my line was the same as the Japanese nationals and special permit holders. My experience is that the fear was way worse than the procedure.

By Rebecca_s on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 - 10:29 pm:

Hi, I just wanted to address this comment posted above:

"If you are coming back through Narita it isn't a problem but if you are flying into any of the other airports I understand that there are not dedicated lines for returnees/permanent residents/long-term visa holders."

Yesterday we came back into Japan from holiday in australia via Kansai and there *was* a special line for reentry and residents. There was only one sign pointing for "foreign" passports, but when we got to it there was a seperate branch for reentry permit holders. And we were the only ones in the line... so it went very fast.

I didn't even know you could preregister your prints. Interesting. Anyway, just wanted to give a little reassurance that we had a very easy time coming back with very little waiting.

By Edlyn on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 - 10:34 pm:

I should point out that we didn't preregister. It seemed like it was more of a hassle than it was worth. We just took our chances that they would have a dedicated line for reentry permit holders and they did. There was nobody in front of us so they took a couple of Chinese tourists from the regular line and when they were done they took us and there was one woman behind us. The actual picture/finger print for my husband and I took about 4 or 5 minutes. My particular flight was all Japanese nationals so it wasn't a problem. If you are on a flight with mostly reentry permit holders it could take a bit longer but I wouldn't worry about it.

However I understand that the special lanes are only at Narita.

By Fraupenguin on Wednesday, December 5, 2007 - 8:35 am:

Thanks Obm for the clarification regarding "special permanent residents".

As for the fear of long queues at the checkpoints because of the new law, my husband's colleague just came back a few days ago and he confirmed that it was a breeze getting through customs. The fingerprinting/photo taking took only 5mins.

Looks like it's more a hassle to pre-register.

By Soniajash on Wednesday, December 5, 2007 - 11:15 am:

The following site might help.
Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau:
5-5-30 Konan, Minato-ku, Tokyo Pref. 108-0075
TEL 03-5796-7111

By Sandy on Wednesday, December 5, 2007 - 9:32 pm:

If you don't have a re-entry permit, i.e. you are coming in as a regular tourist, you may indeed have a long wait. A friend in on business Sunday night had a long wait, at Narita, because there were just too many planes arriving nearly at the same time.

I heard that you can pre-register at Narita Airport, but I haven't been able to confirm that. I thought I might try going to the airport early on the way out.

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