Japan is the home country of Godzilla, Hachiko, Maria Ozawa, Doraemon, and Son Goku. It's also a great gastronomic destination. No wonder why Japan is one of the most sought after destinations among Asians, particularly Filipinos. Apparently, there's one thing that keeps us from visiting this country. Unlike our neighbors in Southeast Asia who only require a valid Philippine passport, Japan requires Filipinos to have a valid visa before entering their territory.
Here are the steps and a few reminders on how to successfully obtain a Japanese tourist visa.
Just a little background about me: I was born and raised here in the Philippines. I am single and currently working as an Air Traffic Controller (I work for the government) in Tacloban City. I applied for a tourist visa through my travel agent and they processed my visa application in Manila. The visa processing took around 7 days.
Here are the basic requirements that you need to comply:
- Philippine passport. Must have at least two blank pages. Don't forget to sign your passport!
- Two 2x2 (4.5cm x 4.5cm) ID picture. White background and show your neutral face. No exaggerated facial expressions, please!
- A duly accomplished application form. Don't leave blanks. Write n/a if not applicable. You can download the application form here.
- Birth Certificate from NSO. The Japanese embassy is very particular on this. If you applied for a tourist visa this year, then your birth certificate must be also issued from NSO the same year. They will deny your visa if you obtained your birth certificate from NSO last year.
- Marriage Certificate from NSO. If you're single like me, disregard this item.
Here are some documents that you need to submit to support your application:
- If you're applying for a tourist visa (like me), you should also provide an itinerary of your trip. You can download the form here. Your itinerary shouldn't be really detailed however, you have to indicate the places that you're going to visit during your stay.
- Income Tax Return (ITR Form 2316). Form 2307 can also suffice.
- Bank Certificate with Statement of Account for the past six months. Japan doesn't indicate a minimum show money however your bank account should be a bit fatter (but realistic) if you're planning to stay longer in Japan. I'm staying in Tokyo for only four days and three nights and I didn't encounter any problem with my visa application. But in case you're wondering, my bank account is over a hundred thousand grand. That's actually more than enough if you ask me. If you're a credit card holder, you can also submit the last three months of your credit card bill just to prove that you're able to finance your trip.
- Provide a printout of your airline ticket and your hotel accommodation. These two aren't required but it doesn't hurt if you send these to them.
- Letter of Authorization. This is to inform the embassy that you authorize a representative to submit the required documents and claim your passport with Japanese visa on their behalf.
If you have insufficient funds or if you're unable to provide an ITR, you can still declare that you're going to visit a distance relative or a friend.
Here are the requirements:
- Invitation from your guarantor. This shall include reasons why you are visiting them and must be issued within three months prior your trip. The letter must have a signature of the guarantor. You can download the template here.
- Guarantee letter (you). The letter must be issued within three months before your trip. Download the template here.
- If your guarantor's a Japanese citizen, you must obtain their residence certificate or a foreign registration certificate if they're foreigners working in Japan. These documents must be issued within three months.
- Bank Certificate, Income Tax Return, and/or Income Certificate of your guarantor. It would be better if they can provide all three of them.
Take note that if they're not going to sponsor your trip, you have to provide your OWN bank certificate.
The processing fee costs Php 1500, shipping fee to and from Manila included. Obviously, it's cheaper if you're applying in Manila. It took them seven working days to process my application. Two weeks before my trip I received my passport from the Japan embassy with an approved single entry visa valid for 15 days.
Some tips to increase the chances of your approval:
- If you have stamps from your previous trips, you'll get a higher chance of getting your visa approved. It doesn't only show that you're able to finance your own trips, but your stamps indicate that you had returned back to the country after your travels. Don't fret if you don't have stamps. You'll need prayers and a few ounce of luck.
- Same story goes if you have visas from other countries.
- Just because you have a fat bank account doesn't mean they'll automatically grant you a visa. Remember that your bank certificate shows your monthly average balance, so putting an immediate hefty amount to your bank account is a terrible idea. Be realistic with your bank account. The embassy will be suspicious if you have over half a million in your bank account yet you are only a regular employee of a company.
There you go! I do hope this blog post helped.
Big thanks to Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours for the fast and hassle-free transaction.