So I almost got deported back to my hometown as soon as I landed on Singapore for vacation last November. The immigration officer told me that since my passport would expire in less than six months, he ought to deny my entrance to the country. I did know that my passport was about to expire, but I didn’t know this rule of minimum six months passport validity to enter a foreign country. Fortunately, I tried to persuade the officer and he was kind enough to let me enter his country after I had explained the length and nature of my visit. Phew… I got lucky this time..
Upon having this experience, I didn’t waste time to renew my passport after returning to Surabaya. I had been planning to change my original passport into the new e-passport anyway. However, I didn’t know what to do or what documents should I bring to renew my passport. I got my passport five years ago in Jakarta through a middleman (or commonly known as calo ^.^’) that I overpaid so I could go through the administration procedure with breeze. This time, I was eager to do it myself.
Thanks to the wonders of internet, I was able to access Immigration Office website to collect some information easily. Turned out, it wasn’t that hard to renew a passport after all. The documents needed to obtain a new passport also aren’t that many. All I needed to bring for my new passport were:
- My old passport (obviously… d’oh?)
- Copy of valid ID card and family registration
- Any official documents that state my parents name (this could be elementary/secondary school diploma or marriage certificate)
- Proof of payment for my new passport administration
I also found that there is an option to register and do the pre-application procedure through internet. This is really convenient as by registering online, I could skip several processes in the Immigration Office and go straight to the interview process. They have implemented such convenient means anyway, so why not use it?
Registering online was a breeze. I only needed to fill several forms and provide my e-mail address. After completing and submitting the forms, I received a confirmation e-mail telling me that I had to pay the administration fee through BNI. I did so by transferring the payment through one of their ATM machines. I received the payment code on the payment slip which I had to fill again on the link provided in the e-mail.
It didn’t take long before the system validated my payment. I was offered several dates afterwards for my visit to the immigration office. Selecting one date and confirming it prompted another e-mail sent to my inbox that included an invitation to come to the Immigration Office on the selected date. I had to bring this invitation and show it to the officer there.
Fast forward to my visit date, I arrived at Juanda Immigration Office Surabaya at around half past seven in the morning. To my surprise, the office was already packed with people who were trying to secure various immigration documents. I was surprised that all queueing tickets for immigration service had already picked out by other visitors, even before the service counter got opened!
Panicked, I tried to approach an officer to seek advice. I showed him my invitation e-mail and to my surprise, he told me that online registrants have different queue system from the regular ones. All I had to do was to scan the barcode on my invitation letter on a terminal then the machine would dish out my queueing ticket. How convenient!
After that, I only had to wait until my name got called for interview. It took about two hours before the officer called my name. I was then asked to hand over my documents so the officer could validate once more and enter the necessary information into their system. I was asked to wait again until my queue number was called for interview session.
Luckily it only took half an hour before I finally entered the interview room. The officer asked me several questions, took a picture of myself and scanned my fingerprints for the passport. The whole process took only five to ten minutes or so, it was very quick.
After I had finished all the process, I was told that my new passport would be ready by exactly a week after. I was given back the invitation letter and the officer scribbled some notes about how and when I should pick my new passport, then my business there was done.
One week later, I got back to the Immigration Office to pick the passport myself. The counter to pick new passport and other immigration documents was located separately from the application counter. No need to pick any queue number this time, all I had to do was just to present the scribbled invitation letter to any of the officer in the counter. I gave mine and the officer helped me pick my new passport. Now I have my new e-passport! Next step is to register it on Japanese Embassy so I’d be free from visa requirements the next time I visit the land of rising sun!