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72 (Visa Woes | ビザ難)

December 1, 2010
tags: ,

Tourist Visa for Israel | イスラエルの観光ビザ

Can you believe it’s December already? The days seem to slip away before I know it. Speaking of which, nearly 6 months have passed since I arrived here in Israel and it was time to go extend my tourist visa once again.

This was my second extension, having successfully extended it for the first time 3 months ago.
Back then I submitted:

  • An official letter from the ulpan proving my enrollment
  • A rent contract with my name on it along with Yuval’s
  • A letter stating my reason of extension (because I wanted to study in the ulpan and also spend time with my partner Yuval)

We figured since they had already given me an extension before and had all my information, this time should be fairly easy. But easy and bureaucracy in the same sentence? Not! Especially here in Israel.



  • ウルパンから在学を証明する正式なレター
  • ユバルと連名のアパートの契約書のコピー
  • ビザ延長を希望する理由を表記したレター(理由はウルパンで勉強したいのと、ユバルと一緒にいたいため)



More than 10 days before my visa’s expiration date, Yuval and I found ourselves in the office of the Ministry of the Interior early in the morning, patiently waiting for our number to be called. I could not help notice that the man sitting at the booth right in front of us seemed very distressed, talking rapidly to the clerk, while also speaking to someone on his cellphone, which he eventually handed over to the clerk. But after a few minutes the clerk hung up the man’s cellphone, exchanged a few words with the distressed man, and the man got up from the booth shaking his head.

Then that same clerk called our number.

Still a bit taken back from the little scene played out in front of us, we sat down in the booth and Yuval explained in Hebrew that we were there to extend my tourist visa. He told her that I was planning to take a trip back to Japan within the next month or so, but the date was still to be determined. After a few exchanges Yuval turned to me and said,

“She says we have to come back 2, 3 days before your visa expires. She will not help us today.”

I just stared back at him for a moment, waiting for an additional explanation. But instead he just shrugged. I turned to the clerk and asked, “La ma (why)?”
She shrugged. And smiled faintly.

As I sat there slightly dumbfounded she proceeded to tell Yuval that when we come back we should have an exact date for my trip to Japan and that they would only extend the tourist visa until that date.

“But I thought tourist visas can be extended for up to a year,” I told Yuval as we walked out of the building. And how dare that clerk not give me an extension today “just because”! The anger started to boil up inside me.

“Maybe she was just having a bad day,” Yuval said, explaining what the distressed man before us was all about. He was from Romania and had been married to an Israeli, but was now going through a divorce. As a result he is getting kicked out of the country and was trying to prevent it.

We witnessed him failing.

“We probably just caught her (the clerk) at a bad time, after dealing with a guy like him,” suggested Yuval.

This was not the first time I felt my fate was at the mercy of some government worker and what kind of mood they were in. I was told something similar by my lawyer when I was applying for a work visa in the United States many years ago. My case wasn’t a strong one since it was my first job out of college and I didn’t have specialized skills or experience. It all came down to luck really, and my lawyer had said, let’s hope your papers end up on the desk of a happy person.

For cases like the Romanian man, there doesn’t seem to be much room for that kind of randomness. It’s pretty black and white, unfortunately for the man. Then there are cases like mine where it can be more gray, with plenty of room for bad moods or bad days to make an influence.

We returned to the office the following week, and luckily ended up at the desk of a the clerk who gave me my extension 3 months ago. No questions were asked and we were out of there in less than 10 minutes. I hope she was having one of the best days of her life!






私は数秒ぽかんとユバルをみつめました。何故「今日は何もしてくれない」理由を待っていたからです。でもユバルは首をかしげるだけなので私は担当者に向かって「La ma(何故)?」と聞きました。でも彼女も肩をすくめながらひそかに微笑むだけ。








Much love,

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2010 3:27 pm

    Congratulations on getting the extension! My appointment is next week, finally — they also wouldn’t agree to see me until the day before my current visa is set to expire. Fingers crossed!

    • December 3, 2010 6:16 pm

      Thanks Katie! Just read up on your immigration journey… wow! I feel very lucky now that the Japanese embassy does the police record (or background checks) for us. Good luck next week – I am keeping my fingers crossed for you!!

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