** UPDATED [10/2015- Multiple Entry Visa Application]
Visiting the Land of the Rising Sun has always been a dream of mine. I even remember giving Japan as my answer when a professor asked us which country we would like to visit someday. That dream became a reality just a few weeks ago. Yes, I finally was able to fly to my dream destination!
Anyone who loves anime/manga, cherry blossoms, cultural/historical things or simply traveling would have Japan on their list. Unfortunately for Philippine passport holders, to be able to go to Japan there is one important requirement you need before being able to step foot in the country: the Japan visa.
So in my part it was just a test whether I would be granted a Visa or not. I say it’s a test because believe it or not, Japan would be the FIRST country I would be visiting outside of the Philippines. Ever. Meaning no stamps on my passport, no other proof that I have visited other countries and returned to my beloved Philippines.
Japan is one of the strictest countries when it comes to foreigners entering their country. So in order to go there you have to first apply for a visa.
In the Philippines to apply for a Japan visa you have to go through an agency. Here is a list of accredited agencies with location and contact information.
I chose Friendship Tours (link for their site) located in Makati.
Here are the requirements for a TOURIST VISA:
1. Philippine Passport
*Broken lamination of the photo part is not accepted. Must have signature and have at least two (2) blank pages.
2. Visa Application Form
* Also available at the entrance of Embassy or through accredited agency.
*Specs: 4.5cm x 4.5cm with white background
*Photo must be pasted on the application form.
4. Birth Certificate of applicant
5. Marriage Contract (if the applicant is married)
*(4 and 5 must be from NSO Main Office/Serbilis Outlet Center (Nationwide) issued within one (1) year.) In case of non-record, you must submit certificate of non-record together with the one from Local Civil Registrar.)
**EXEMPTION OF BIRTH CERTIFICATES & MARRIAGE CONTRACT
If the applicant has his/her passport (old or valid) with a used Japanese visa
6. Daily Schedule in Japan (TAIZAI NITTEIHYO ）
Click here for a printable copy of the schedule of stay.
7. Bank Certificate
You can request it from your bank. Got mine from Unionbank of the Philippines. Paid 150 for it. I had six digits in my account by the way. This is proof that you can support/afford your stay while in Japan.
8. Income Tax Return (Form 2316) original and photocopy
*I am a freelancer so I had to get a 1700 form also. They will return the original upon submitting your requirements to the agency.
*Did not submit any other (supporting) documents.
We were at the agency a little before 8 AM and they were kind enough to let us in and rest while waiting for their office hours to start. Finally submitted the requirements and paid 1,200 as a handling fee. (Handling fee depends on which agency you choose. Applying for a visa is gratis.)
After this all you can do is pray and wait for their call.
Then the call came. Out of excitement I really was not sure whether the agent said that my passport was ready for pick up “WITH or WITHOUT” the visa. Only way to check was to travel back to Manila and get my passport. Tada! I was granted single entry to Japan! I submitted my requirements on a Wednesday and was told that it would take 5-7 working days but visa was granted on a Thursday and got the call on a Friday. It was that fast!
UPDATE: Multiple Entry Tourist Visa Application*****
I have been planning to visit Japan during the autumn season for quite some time already. So, I decided to try applying for a multiple entry visa because who wouldn’t want to return to such a beautiful place.
What requirements did I submit?
- I submitted the same requirements listed above minus the birth certificate since you are no longer required to provide one once you already have an old Japan visa.
- Philippine Passport
- Visa Application form with photo
- Daily Itinerary
- Bank Certificate/s
- Income Tax Return (I submitted a 1701 form for self-employed) – photocopy and original, include receipt.
- Employment Certificate. This time I included an EC. I am a freelancer/independent contractor so I requested a verification from my client/employer abroad. The verification included my name, my position and date I was employed. CFO was kind enough to include his contact information in case the embassy needed additional information.
- Letter of explanation for requesting Multiple-entry visa. I have read from other bloggers that they did not include this in the requirements they submitted but decided to make one still, thought it would help me in my chance to get a multiple entry visa.
- Proof of previous travel to Japan (existing or old passport with Japan visa, landing permit and entry stamps).
Click here to see who are eligible, conditions for issuance and documents needed for short-term stay multiple-entry visa. Scroll down, don’t click the Multiple Entry Visa link.
I lodged my application at the same travel agency, Friendship Tours and Resorts. Their handling fee for multiple entry visa is different from single entry and the most expensive among all agencies I think at 2,000 pesos. Applied for a visa on a Monday, passport arrived four days later (had it shipped). Have I not called the agency they wouldn’t have sent my passport back to me, I even paid for the shipping fee already! Anyway, visa was granted the following day, Tuesday, and it’s valid for 5 years! Yey!
- How much should be in my bank certificate?
- I submitted two bank certificates just to be sure but after reading numerous blog posts about this there are some who have P100,000 or more and some less in their bank accounts. I think it could depend on how long you will be staying in Japan and your activities planned during your stay. You have to pay for entrance fees in most places and food is quite expensive. This will show if you can afford your stay.
- Should I purchase airline tickets and book my hotels before applying for a visa?
- I did not purchase airline tickets beforehand because there is a chance that my application will be denied. It would be a waste of money if so. I booked hotels prior to applying though because I was planning to go on a peak season, just make sure that they don’t have cancellation fees. But if you have airline tickets/hotel bookings on hand you can submit a copy as well. At least the embassy will be sure that your purpose is for tourism only and that you will be coming back to the Philippines.
- I have visas/stamps to other countries but why did my visa get denied?
- Unfortunately, if your visa is denied the embassy will not disclose the reason why. Having visa from another country or a good travel history will not guarantee an approved Japan visa. You can try applying for a visa again after 6 months.
Have any questions or need help with regards to a Japan tourist Visa? Feel free to comment and I’ll try to help the best I can!
Anyone else off to Japan for the autumn season? Happy travels!!
>Check my other post on planning a trip to Japan here.
Never say ‘no’ to adventures. Always say ‘yes,’ otherwise you’ll lead a very dull life. – Ian Fleming