Many people transit flight in Tokyo, as it is one of the three international flight hub in my mind. If ou are interested, the other two are Hong Kong and Singapore. Shanghai is still far away from them, even not at the same level of Beijing yet, in terms of access of International fights. People in Shanghai still need to find a hub airport to transit to Seattle. It can be Tokyo (It is the Northwest Airlines’ hub in Asia), or San Francisco (hub of United Airlines). From this trip, I learnt ANA is a really nice airline with much better service and maybe in the next trip, I will choose ANA. It provide personal entertainment equipments that allow you to select the movie you want and play it from the beginning on demand on the Shanghai – Tokyo flight. It is available only in the first class of Tokyo – Seattle flight in UA.
Japan joined many visa waiver program. People from U.S., Canada, and many other countries don’t need a visa to enter Japan and can stay there up to 3 months. China just started to join these programs. The recent APEC Business Travel Card is the first step. China joined the program in 2002 so it is easier to travel to the following economies:
- Brunei Darussalam
- Hong Kong (China)
- Republic of Korea
- New Zealand
- The Philippines
- Chinese Taipei
I saw there is a special gate for APEC Business Travel Card holder at Pudong Airport. Only one person passed this gate while all the other 20+ gates are crowded with more than 20 people waiting in line.
This card seems like the Schengen visa, but only passport holder of participation economies can apply. I will consider applying one. I don’t understand how frequent does the criteria of “frequent traveler in Asia” mean yet.
Application by Captain of the Flight
When I enter the terminal of the Narita airport via the bridge, I saw two ways leading to two directions: One to immigration and one to international flight transition. I should take the transit way but I wanted to try my luck and turned right and go to immigration official. When I waited in line to see an immigration officer, the display board show that “For passengers for Visa required countries & regions (China, Taiwan, etc) ., you need to ask a staff of airline you came on to submit a shore pass application”. I followed the instruction to approach the staff at counter A. It doesn’t seem people who enter Japan using this kind of visa is rare, since the instruction is just above the immigration officers. People in counter A directed me to go to ANA counter, which is 50 meters away. Nice lady accepted my request. After checking my flight tickets and password, she wrote a small piece of paper and handed it over to me. It is smaller than my passport and the quality of the paper is not so good. It reads:
Application for Shore Pass H16/12/6
To Immigration Inspector at port of NRT
Under the provisions of Article 14/15 of the Immigration-Control and Refugee-Recognition Act, we hereby submit application for shore/transit pass for the personal mentioned below:
Name: WANG/JIA. Further, the schedule for departure is as follows: UA938 (flight) NRT (port of exit) SEA (destination) 6 Dec 04 (Date)
(Signature of Captain/Carrier)
ANA (Name of vessel/aircraft)
That’s it. She added: “What I can do is to write this application for you. It is the officer at the immigration gate who can grant you the shore pass.” Sure. I understand it.
The Shore Pass
Going back and waited in the line to see an immigration official. The well dressed young man asked me the reason to enter Japan. I told him frankly: “Just want to wander around during the 5 hour of transit.” I know it is dangerous to say so, but I am just curious about how they handle the situation like the one I have. The answer is very simple. He put a shore pass onto my passport.