Japan Tourist VISA Guide and Tips
When I was but a small kid, my brothers and I never miss watching Japanese anime and sentai TV series together. I always remember those feel-good Saturday mornings and the 3PM weekday after classes anime marathon. Voltes V, DragonBall, Ghost Fighter, Slam Dunk, Shaider, Ultraman, Mask Rider Black are just some of our favorites. I knew then that someday I’ll visit Japan and experience their culture no matter what. I now made the first step.
Last week, together with my family, we secured our Japan Tourist VISAs. Though there was a bit of delay due to additional documents they require from my mother, my wife and from me… everything went smoothly.
Securing a VISA for us Filipinos can be a tough nut to crack sometimes but thanks to the internet, there are blogs and websites to help us guide our way for free! To give back, I wrote this step-by-step guide on how to apply for a Japan Tourist VISA and some tips for increasing your chance of having one based on our experience.
First of all, this guide is only for securing a Japan TOURIST Visa and nothing more. If you’re looking for a VISA other than a tourist visa, then kindly do a further google search for other blogs and sites. Also, we only secured a Single entry Tourist VISA. Guide on how to get a Multiple entry VISA is not included here.
Me – Employee, first time in Japan, with S. Korea (multiple) and US VISA (multiple)
Wife – Housewife, first time in Japan, with S. Korea (multiple) and US VISA (multiple)
Mother – Employee, first time in Japan and out of country since 1987
Father – Self-employed, first time in Japan, with expired US VISA
Brother – Employee, first time in Japan and out of the country
Step 1 – Prepare your documents
1. Philippine Passport – With signature and has 2 available blank pages. Also fill up the emergency contact person.
2. Application form – Fill out the form with no erasures! Don’t leave anything blank. If it is not applicable, then put N/A. You can download the form here.
In our case, even when I printed out the form in our company printer in A4 format, the travel agency didn’t accept it since the picture doesn’t fit well. So we filled out the form again in the agency using the form they gave us. I suggest you to download the form and fill it out but don’t paste the picture just yet (We also didn’t paste our pictures too and we let the agent paste it in the form). Show the filled out form to the agent and ask if it is ok.
Some fields that you might need help at:
- ID No. issued to you by your government – Any ID issued by the government. If you don’t have any besides your passport, then passport number is OK.
- Name and addresses of hotels or persons with whom applicant intends to stay:
This can be your hotel/hostel/airbnb or your friend/relatives that you’ll be visiting in Japan. Just make sure that what you put here is the same on what you put in the Schedule of stay form.
- Guarantor or reference in Japan – Fill this out only if your guarantor is IN Japan. This is not your guarantor here in the Philippines if there is any.
Other fields not mentioned, I think are self-explanatory. But if you have any questions with these fields, please leave your questions in the comments section of this blog post.
Note: You can fill out the form in your computer or handwritten.
- Photo should be 4.5cm x 4.5cm with white background.
- It must be taken within 6 months.
- Write your name and birthdate on the backside of the photo.
I suggest that you wear something with collar or better yet, have your picture taken on reputable shops like Great Image and they will take care of the editing like copy-pasting a coat and tie in your photo.
4. Birth Certificate
It must be issued within one year from NSO. You can order your certificates here or in SM Business Centers and pick it up directly there.
Also take note of the ff:
- If you think your birth certificate is unreadable or has incomplete information, then I suggest you bring a photocopy of your birth certificate issued by your Local Civil Registrar.
- If your birth certificate is “late registration”, you have to submit original copies of your baptismal certificate and School record (Form 137) from high school or elementary. I didn’t know my mom was late registered so she secured the additional documents from her hometown in Laguna. Take it from me, it’s good to know every detail before applying.
- If there is no record in NSO, please submit a “Certificate of Non-Record” from NSO together with a birth certificate from the Local Civil Registrar.
5. Marriage Certificate
If you’re married, get one from NSO and it must be issued within a year. In case you and your spouse are both traveling, you only need to present one certificate.
6. Daily Schedule in Japan
Download the form and sample here. This is your itinerary in Japan but instead of a detailed one, keep it simple. The accommodation doesn’t have to booked in advance. It can be any decent accommodation in the part of Japan you’ll be visiting. Obviously, don’t put an accommodation in Tokyo if you will only be exploring Osaka or Kyoto.
7. Bank Certificate
Bank certificate must be original and valid 3 months from the date of issue. No need for average daily balance. Just tell the bank you need it for Japan VISA application. Take note of the embassy’s address, you may need it to put that in the request for certificate form.
Ideal amount in your savings account? I’ve no idea but to be sure, put at least 50k in your account. Double it if you are guaranteeing your spouse or a relative who’s traveling with you in Japan. This also depends on your length of stay. If you just put 50k there and your length of stay is 14 days, the consul might think twice of approving your visa since they would think you won’t afford to stay for 14 days with just 50k.
8. Income Tax Return (Form 2316)
Submit a photocopy of your latest ITR. You don’t need to submit the original. If you can’t produce any, then write a letter of explanation of no ITR (e.g., you’re a fresh grad and just new in your work). Make sure it is a valid explanation.
If Guarantor lives in the Philippines and will shoulder your travel expenses, then you need to submit:
Download the guarantee letter form here. Here is a sample guarantee letter I found on the net.
I also filled one for my wife since I’m guaranteeing her travel expenses.
Proof of relationship between applicant and guarantor
Birth certificate (For Parents and children), Marriage Certificate (for couples)
Bank certificate (original) and photocopy of ITR of guarantor
If you are previously issued a Japan VISA, you are exempted from submitting a birth certificate and marriage certificate (if married). Just submit your passport (old or new) that has the used Japan Visa.
What other documents can I submit?
If you feel that you need to submit supporting documents to increase your chances of a visa grant, then you can freely do so. Personally, I submitted a Certificate of Employment (indicating my salary and company name, address, contact no.) and my COL Financial Stock Certificate (click here to download the request form if COL financial is your stock broker – ) as supporting documents.
Other documents can be a business registration, medical certificate, wedding invitation… any document that can prove your socio-economic ties with the Philippines and/or for urgent reasons to visit.
You can also visit the embassy’s site for the requirements for VISA For tourism here.
Step 2 – Find an accredited Travel Agency
Application of Japan VISA can only be coursed through any of their accredited agencies. You can find the list here. In my opinion, just find one nearest to you so that if there are other documents you need to submit, it won’t be too much of a hassle to go back.
We applied through Reli Tours in SM Megamall. Processing Fee is P950 for single entry visa application. Experience is quite ok since their agents are helpful and meticulous on the documents submitted. We went there on a Saturday for our 1st and 2nd visits (follow-up documents) and there were lots of people applying on those days both morning and afternoon. We picked up our passport on a Sunday afternoon and there were only a few applicants. So I think it’s either you go on a weekday or on a Sunday afternoon to avoid the crowd.
Step 3 – Hope for the best
As per Reli tours, you’ll get your passport after 7 to 10 business days but if there are no problems whatsoever, it can take as quick as 2 to 3 days. We got ours after 2 business days. Reli tours texted us that the passports are now available for pick-up. Just don’t forget to bring your receipt upon pick-up.
I’d suggest that you apply a month before your flight to Japan so you’d have ample time to re-submit or correct your documents if ever.
- If it’s your first time abroad, it’s much better if you’re traveling with your family especially if you’re a student or fairly new to your job. My brother who has never been outside the country was approved a VISA. I just don’t know if he will be granted one if he chose to travel solo even if he has socio-economic ties with the Philippines.
- It’s ok to book your flights in advance to take advantage of the seat sales but it is not required to submit your flight itinerary to the embassy.
- I suggest you book your accommodation only after your visa is granted. Again, it is not required to present your hotel/hostel voucher/booking to the embassy though they require you to put your target accommodation in the Schedule of Stay form.
- As mentioned in this post, I presented my COL Stock Certificate as supporting document. If your money is heavily invested in stocks, mutual funds, insurance, real estate then you can submit the documentation of those investments to the embassy. That’s proof of your economic ties to the Philippines and further proof of your capability to travel.
- If you’re an employee, ideally, you should submit a COE.
- If you have a guarantor, make sure your guarantor has enough money to show as proof to cover your estimated expenses.
- It definitely helps if you have previous travels outside the country but it is not required. Make sure to bring your old passport (if any) with stamps as proof of previous travels.
If you got questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and I’ll update the post if need be. Goodluck to all applicants and I hope this Japan tourist visa guide helped you!
For more info, check the embassy’s website here.
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