(L-R: Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Fushimi Inari, Dotonbori, Universal Studios Japan)
Credits to owner of photos: @resferber09
Otaku-mode ON! I was 10 when I came across Yuyu Hakusho televised to what was then IBC-13. My amazement on animes and mangas grew as I aged. Through their literature and media, I was constantly exposed to the Japanese way of doing things — their culture and tradition, arts and food, people and nature.
I love Japanese food! My mouth waters when thinking about katsudon, sushi, sashimi, maki rolls and lots of wasabi! I have the utmost respect for the Japanese people — that unwavering nationalism, politeness, discipline and spot-on punctuality. I dream of visiting temples and shrines, the Tokyo Tower which I frequently hear, experience hanami and see the autumn foliage. I want to cross the ever-famous Shibuya or take a picture of Hachiko.
I procrastinated a lot when deciding to visit Japan since I thought the Visa process was strict and tedious for third-world passport holders like me. Fortunately, being granted a multiple-entry Korean visa, I gained the confidence and applied for a Japan visa.
So, let me share our visa application experience and some tips to help you with your visa application. It’s actually pretty easy! We’ve submitted the requirements to an accredited travel agency and received our approved visa two (2) days after.
Note: This blog only discusses visa application for “tourism” purposes only.
Gather all the documentary requirements.
If you’re an employee like me, just complete the following requirements:
- Your Philippine Passport — Broken passport is not accepted. Passports must be signed and must have at least two (2) blank visa pages. Your passport must be valid for more than 6 months from the time of your travel. I know how much you adore your cute passport cover, but remove it when you submit it to the travel agency.
- Visa Application Form — Print it in a clean bond paper, A4 size. You can download the template here. See FAQs below on how to fill-up the form.
- 1 piece passport-size colored picture in white background (45mm x 45mm) — If you’re having your photo in a studio, just advise them that your ID picture is for a Japan Visa application. Write your name and birthday at the back of the photo. Do not staple it to the form. Instead, glue it to the space provided.
- Original PSA Birth Certificate — It must be issued within one (1) year from PSA Main Office/Serbilis Outlet Center (nationwide).
- Original PSA Marriage Certificate (if married) — It must be issued within one (1) year from PSA Main Office/Serbilis Outlet Center (nationwide).
- Daily schedule in Japan (Taizai Yoteihyo) — You can download the template here.
If you’re going to shoulder all of your expenses, you must provide the following documents:
- Original Bank Certificate — You must request this from your bank. The bank certificate must include the following: account type, current balance, account opening date, average daily balance (ADB). BDO charged me Php 100.00 for a copy.
- Income Tax Return – Submit your recent ITR.
If a Guarantor who lives in the Philippines will shoulder part or all of your expenses, you must provide the following documents:
- Guarantee Letter — You can download the template here.
- Proof of Relationship between applicant and guarantor — Sample documents would be birth certificates.
- Original Bank Certificate and Income Tax Return of Guarantor — You need to prove that your Guarantor can actually pay for your expenses.
The following are optional but it is encouraged to submit supporting documents:
- Certificate of Employment (CoE) — You must request this from your Human Resource Department. The following details must be included: Applicant’s Position, Date Hired, Compensation, Office Address, HR landline number (mobile number is not allowed), HR email address. Your HR’s contact information will be used if the embassy needs to verify some information.
- Flight Tickets and Hotel Accommodation — Since I booked our flight and hotel accommodation way ahead of our visa application, I included the confirmation notices as supporting documents.
Also note the following:
- Size of document for application should be A4 size only. If document is other size, please submit a copy that is already adjusted in A4 size from its original and without staples or pasting pages.
- Applicants are exempted from submitting birth and marriage certificates if they can submit old/valid passports with used Japan visa.
- It is applicant’s responsibility to ensure that he/shee meet the requirements for the grant of a visa. Submission of any supporting documents not listed above is encouraged.
For other visa categories and requirements, you can refer to the official website of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines.
Submit your documents to accredited travel agencies.
Once you’ve completed all the requirements, submit them to any of the accredited travel agencies:
- Universal Holidays – Php 1,200
- Discovery Tour, Inc. – Php 800
- Rajah Travel Corporation – Php 1,500
- Reli Tours and Travel Agency – Php 1,200
- Attic Tours Phils. Inc. – Php 1,500
- Friendship Tours and Resorts Corporation – Php 1,200
Remember to check the operating hours of your preferred travel agency before visiting them. For our recent visa application, we submitted our documents to Friendship Tours since this is the nearest and most accessible. Ensure that your documents are complete though this does not guarantee that your visa will be approved. I read that a red sticker indicates that your visa request has been denied, a white sticker means it was approved. Got ours with white stickers at the back of our passports! Yay!
Wait and claim your passport/visa.
The hardest part was the waiting game. I read a lot of blogs about visas getting denied. I kept on wondering what may possibly go wrong with our application. So remember to pray, it’s the only thing you can do aside from worrying.
They would advise you that the standard days for processing is between 5-7 days. We were notified thru SMS to claim our visas just two (2) days after submission of documents. Quite fast, right?
How long is the processing of visa?
5-7 days. But ours were released after 2 days.
How do I fill up the form?
Tips: Strictly no erasures. Write in BLOCK letters using black ink. If you’re not confident with your penmanship, you can submit a computerized form instead. If the question is not applicable, write “Not Applicable” or “N/A”.
Personal Information: Fill up your Surname (as shown in passport), Given and middle names, Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Sex, Marital Status, Nationality or Citizenship
- Proof of Identification: ID No. issued to you by your government (i.e. UMID, Driver’s License, TIN), Passport No., Place of Issue, Date of Issue, Date of Expiry, Issuing Authority (I usually put DFA NCR East as shown in my passport).
- Trip Information: Purpose of visit to Japan, intended length of stay, date of arrival, port of entry and name of ship or airline. You will also be asked to write the names and addresses of the hotels you intend to stay.
- Employment Information: Profession, name of employer, address and contact number. If you’re married, you’ll also need to provide the employment information of your spouse.
- Guarantor Provide the information of your guarantor or sponsor.
- Questions about compliance to laws: Mark either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. If you answered ‘Yes’, you need to provide relevant details.
- Date of Application and Signature of Applicant: Put the date you intend to submit the requirements and sign the form..
How much do I need to pay?
The visa is gratis. However, the travel agency will charge you with a processing fee.
Do I need to book my flight or accommodation before applying?
No. But in our case, I’ve booked our flight tickets and hotel accommodations because of an earlier promo. Some people book their flights way long before their visa application date because it’s relatively cheaper. Especially if there’s a piso-fare promo !
Do I need to stay at the hotel I wrote in my application?
No. Once your visa is approved, you can stay anywhere you want.
How can I get a multiple-entry visa?
You can apply for multiple-entry visa given these requirements. In some cases, people are granted ME visas even if they’re not requesting for it.
How early should I apply for a Japan visa?
Do not apply earlier than 60 days before your target travel dates. It is also not recommended to apply a week before your travel dates. Consider the processing time so you can smartly schedule your visa application.
How much should I have in my bank account?
Your balance should be reasonable and believable. It should be proportional to your earnings. The embassy may validate the ADB so do not suddenly deposit a large amount of money before you request for a bank certificate or statement. It will just make you suspicious if you do this.
Do I have to personally submit my application or claim my passport/visa?
As long as the requirements are complete, you can have other people submit your documents. You can also mail it to the travel agency.
As for the claiming, just hand-over the claim stub/receipt to the person you asked to claim your documents. I recommend though that you personally process/claim your visa.
If my application is denied, can I re-apply?
Yes, but only after 6 months.
I was issued a Japan visa before. Do I have to go through the entire application process?
Yes. You need to submit the requirements again. For re-issuance of visa, you’re not required to submit birth and marriage certificates as long as you can submit a copy of your passport with previously issued visa.
Yay! My visa request was approved. How long is it valid?
My single entry visa is valid for 90 days upon issuance with maximum of 15 days stay. Multiple entry visas will allow you to stay in Japan for 15 or 30 days, and are usually valid until 5 years.
As of August 1, 2018, Japan has relaxed the visa requirement for Filipinos. The scope of applicants eligible for multiple entry visas for short-term stay with business purposes and for cultural and intellectual figures will be expanded. The validity period of the visas will be extended from 5 years to 10 years maximum.
So that’s it! I’m hoping that all will be well for you.
Read our 11D/10N Japan trip here: SOON!