Applying for a visa can be nerve-wracking. I remember a few years ago, an airline offered me a roundtrip ticket to Japan, but I never got to use it. The next year, another airline invited me to an all-expense paid trip to Nagoya in Japan, but I wasn’t available. I delayed my dream to travel to Japan because I was scared to apply for a Japan visa. In fact, when I applied for the first time, I was super anxious. So, imagine my excitement when I finally got a Japan visa, it’s like being a given a doll for the first time. I wanted to scream, but there were too many people in the room.
In my experience, applying for a visa in Japan is not as hard as it looks, the Japanese Embassy seems quite lenient recently. I applied 3 times for the past 2 years, and on my third time, I was finally granted a multiple-entry visa. Many factors can be taken into consideration: travel history, financial stability, strong social and economic ties in the Philippines, etc. But then again, no one knows the formula, except the Japanese Consul, and no one can assure you that you will be granted a visa, not even the accredited travel agencies. So best to be prepared, know the Japan visa requirements, obtain them and submit the complete documents.
I finally wrote a Japan visa application blog. I think I explained almost everything you want to know below, so hopefully this will help you. I told myself I will only blog this once I get a Japan multiple-entry visa, and finally, my dream came true. So, without further ado, here’s the list of Japan Visa requirements and visa application process for Filipinos /Philippine Passport holders residing in the Philippines.
JAPAN VISA REQUIREMENTS
Whatever form or documents (Japan visa application floor, Japan itinerary, cover letter, etc.) that you need to submit for your Japan visa application, it needs to be printed on an A4 size paper. Some travel agencies will just provide you with a Japan visa application form.
All documents must be ORIGINAL unless otherwise stated.
Here’s the list of Japan Visa requirements
1. Valid Philippine Passport
Philippine passport must have at least 6 months validity and with at least 2 blank pages. Check your passport’s expiration date on the bio page.
Passport must be SIGNED, if you have the latest Philippine Passport with 10 years validity, there’s a space on Page 3 (after your bio page) where you need to sign.
Passport must NOT be broken. Broken passports will not be accepted.
2. A duly accomplished Japan Visa Form
Download the Japan visa application form HERE
Print the Japan visa application form in A4 size paper. Fill out the form completely. Do not leave anything blank. Write N/A if not applicable. Avoid erasures. Ensure the Japan Visa application form is signed and it has a date.
For your reference, see the SAMPLE completed form HERE.
Japan Embassy may deny Japan visa application that is filled out incorrectly or with wrong information.
You are NOT required to book your flight or hotel yet. You can do that once your Japan visa is approved. To get the flight number, search for flights (e.g. Jetstar, Cebu Pacific, Scoot, Philippine Airlines, etc.) via the airline’s website. For the address in Japan, you can search for a hotel in Japan and write down the name, address and contact number of the hotel.
Now if you have a guarantor, or you intend to stay in your sponsors house, just write down the name, address and contact number of your guarantor. Make sure you ask permission from them.
3. Photo ID
Prepare a 4.5 cm x 4.5 cm photo with white background. Your photo must be taken within the last 6 months. Write your name and birthdate at the back of the photo and paste it properly on the Japan visa application form.
4. Birth certificate from PSA
Submit a birth certificate that is issued within 1 year from PSA Main Office/Serbilis Outlet Center (Nationwide). Now if the birth certificate from Philippine Statistics Office (PSO) is unreadable, or has INCOMPLETE information, you need to submit the birth certificate issued by PSA with a birth certificate issued by the Local Civil Registrar.
If your PSA birth certificate indicates “late registration”, submit a baptismal certificate + school record (Form 137) from high school or elementary and School Yearbook (if possible).
If there is no record of your birth certificate in PSA, submit a “Certificate of Non-Record” from PSA with a birth certificate from the Local Civil Registrar.
If you NEVER HAD a Japan visa before, then you need to submit a birth certificate from PSA. If you HAVE an expired/used Japan visa, no need to submit this, but you need to submit your old passport with your expired/used Japan visa.
5. Marriage certificate from PSA
If you are married, then you need to submit a marriage certificate from PSA Main Office/Serbilis Outlet Center (Nationwide) issued within 1 year. If there’s no record of your marriage certificate in PSA, submit a “Certificate of Non-Record” from PSA together with the Marriage Certificate from the Local Civil Registrar.
IMPORTANT: If you NEVER HAD a Japan visa before, then you need to submit a marriage certificate from PSA. If you HAVE an expired/used Japan visa, no need to submit this, but you need to submit your old passport with your expired/used Japan visa.
6. Daily schedule in Japan
Now this is really important, so make sure you prepare this properly. You can DOWNLOAD THIS SAMPLE and just follow the format, don’t make your itinerary too complicated.
If you have no idea where to go, I have detailed Japan itineraries here (don’t follow my format there because that’s too detailed already, just follow the sample format on the link above): sample Nara itinerary, Tokyo itinerary, Nagoya Itinerary and Osaka Kyoto Nara sample itinerary.
ADDITIONAL JAPAN VISA REQUIREMENTS:
If you don’t have a guarantor/sponsor for your Japan trip, you need to prove to the Japanese Consul that you can shoulder your trip expenses. You need to submit the following Japan visa requirements.
1.Bank Certificate – The bank certificate must be issued within the last 3 months. You can include the receipt if you want. Now if you ask me how much should be on your bank account. I have no concrete idea but check my suggestion on the Frequently Asked Questions below.
2.Applicant’s Income Tax Return (Form 2316) – Submit a clear PHOTOCOPY of your latest Income Tax Return (Form 2316).
A stable job or business in the Philippines is very important, as this indicates that you have strong ties in the Philippines and you will be returning to the Philippines because well, you have a stable job or business here. So how do you prove that? You need to submit a proof of income, and the ITR (Form 2316) is one proof. This also means that you are paying your taxes properly. You don’t want the consul to think that you are a tax-evading citizen.
If you have a job but don’t have an ITR, for example your new to your job or business, or you are a freelancer and you are being taxed in another country, etc. You can write a cover letter explaining why you can’t submit the specific document and attach other proof of income, for example, if you are a freelancer, talk to your employer and ask them to send you a certificate of employer explaining what you do for their company. Then attach copies of receipts of your income or their payments. But then again, as a freelancer, you are still required to pay your taxes in the Philippines.
If you are a new business owner and you don’t have an ITR yet, you can write a cover letter and explain your situation. Attach a copy of your Business Registration issued by DTI/SEC, if you have BIR receipts, include a clear photocopy of that.
What if you are unemployed, a minor or a student? Then, I suggest you apply for a Japan Visa with a Guarantor/Sponsor, who can provide an ITR or proof of income. See Japan visa requirements visa with sponsor/guarantor below.
If you are a student, submit a certificate of enrollment along with a the Japan Visa requirements with sponsor /guarantor below.
1. Guarantee letter
If your sponsor is living in the Philippines, and s/he will shoulder your expenses, you need to submit a guarantee letter explaining your relationship with the guarantor and include their contact details (e.g. address, contact number). See the sample template HERE
2. Proof of relationship with guarantor
You need to provide a proof of relationship with your guarantor and this is crucial. If your sponsor/guarantor is a family member (e.g. parents, siblings, wife/husband), submit documents like PSA birth certificate and marriage certificate (if applicable).
If sponsor/guarantor is a friend. Submit photos of you and your friend together, screenshots of e-mails and chat conversations, etc.
3. Bank Certificate and Income Tax Return (ITR Form 2316) of sponsor/guarantor.
Yes, you need to prove to the Japanese Consul that your sponsor/guarantor can shoulder your expenses. Submit the ORIGINAL bank certificate and clear PHOTOCOPY of ITR Form 2316 of your sponsor/guarantor.
HOW TO APPLY FOR A JAPAN VISA
1. DETERMINE THE TYPE OF VISA THAT YOU NEED
First, you need to know the type of visa that you need. This Japan visa blog is only intended for applicants for a JAPAN TOURIST VISA for FILIPINOS/PHILIPPINE PASSPORT HOLDER residing in the Philippines. Meaning, you only intend to go to Japan FOR TOURISM and NOT to go to Japan to find a job.
Now, once you’ve made up your mind and you are applying for a Japan tourist visa, you need to decide whether you will apply for a Japan tourist visa WITH a sponsor/guarantor or Japan tourist visa WITHOUT a sponsor/guarantor, see the Japan visa requirements above.
2. OBTAIN AND PREPARE THE JAPAN VISA REQUIREMENTS
It’s important to complete the Japan visa requirements before you lodge your Japan Visa application. Otherwise, the travel agency may not accept your application or they may accept it, but your chance of getting approved is slim.
3. CHOOSE AN ACCREDITED TRAVEL AGENCY FOR JAPAN VISA PROCESSING
The Japan Embassy DOES NOT accept direct applications unless it’s a special case.
You can only apply for Japan Visa via an accredited travel agency. You can find the accredit travel agencies for Japan Visa application HERE.
4. SUBMIT YOUR JAPAN VISA REQUIREMENTS AND PAY THE PROCESSING FEE
Now once you’ve picked an accredited travel agency to process you visa, go to their office. Submit your COMPLETE Japan visa requirements. I suggest you go there early as line can be quite long in some travel agencies.
Service fee will be collected by the travel agency processes, the fee depends on the travel agency, could range from PHP 900 – PHP 1,600. The fee is NON-REFUNDABLE regardless of the granting/withdrawal/denial of your Japan visa application.
Don’t leave without the receipt, you need that to claim your passport.
All original documents submitted will not be returned by Japan Embassy. So, for documents like SEC/DTI, ITR, DSWD Clearance, Parental Consent and Certificate of Eligibility, you are allowed to submit a clear photocopy. Bring the original copy for verification purposes.
WAIT FOR YOUR JAPAN VISA
Once you’ve made your payment and the travel agency accepts your Japan Visa application you will have to wait for their SMS/text message whether your passport is already ready for collection. Take note that they will not tell you whether you were approved for a Japan Visa or denied. You need to claim your passport. So, don’t lose your payment receipt.
Japan Visa processing period depends on the type of visa. Usually, it takes 7 to 10 business days, but during may last Japan visa application this year, it only took 2 business days. It may take longer in some cases especially if there’s a need to verify some documents. That’s why I suggest applying at least a month before your planned travel date.
A white sticker at the back of your passport indicates that your Japan visa is approved. A red sticker means your Japan visa was denied.
JAPAN VISA FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
WHAT’S THE EARLIEST DATE I CAN APPLY FOR A JAPAN TOURIST VISA?
About 2 months before your intended travel date.
IS THERE AN INTERVIEW FOR THE JAPAN VISA?
WHAT’S THE ADDRESS OF JAPAN EMBASSY IN MANILA?
2627, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines 1300
SHOULD I APPLY FOR A SINGLE OR MULTIPLE-ENTRY JAPAN VISA?
It’s really up to you. But I suggest that if it’s your first time to apply for a Japan visa and you don’t have an established travel history yet, go for the Japan single-entry visa. If your Japan visa is approved and you want to return to Japan to travel again, then you can try to apply for the Japan multiple-entry visa.
I also suggest that if it’s your first time applying for a Japan Visa, you keep it down to 15 days. Requesting for a 30-day single-entry Japan visa when it’s your first time to apply may look suspicious. This may be seen as an indication that you will be staying that long in Japan to look for a job. Unless of course you can explain it well and back up your explanation with proper documents.
Now if you already have a Japan visa before (and you returned to the country without overstaying in Japan), you have complete documents and you think your bank account has enough funds to prove your financial capacity to fund your Japan trip, try to request for a Japan multiple-entry visa. I will write a separate blog for Japan multiple-entry visa application soon.
HOW LONG IS THE JAPAN VISA VALID?
The Japanese Embassy can grant 15, 30 and 90 days of stay. So ensure you won’t make an itinerary for over 90 days.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR THE JAPAN VISA TO BE RELEASED?
The Japan visa application processing time really depends because sometimes the Japan Embassy may need to verify some documents. The travel agency told me though that normally, the process takes about 7-10 business days. But for my latest Japan Visa, it was processed within 2 business days, and I got the text message to claim my passport after 3 business days. I strongly advise to apply for a Japan visa at least a month before your travel date to avoid any hassle.
WHAT DOES THE JAPAN VISA LOOK LIKE?
CAN I SUBMIT OTHER JAPAN REQUIREMENTS OTHER THAN THE DOCUMENTS MENTIONED ABOVE?
Yes. For example, you want to further prove that you have strong economic ties in the Philippines and you will submit proof of your properties, cars, land, etc. You can do that, anyway, the travel agency will just return it if not needed.
For my recent application, I submitted proof of payments from clients. I was applying for a multiple-entry Japan visa. The staff at the travel agency returned some of them. I asked why when those he returned where much bigger payments. I told him what if I get declined and I asked him why? He said, “Just trust me. This is enough”. I asked him why, he didn’t answer. He just smiled. When I claimed my passport, I got approved for a multiple-entry Japan visa.
SHOULD I BOOK FLIGHTS AND HOTELS ALREADY? WHAT IF MY APPLICATION GETS DENIED?
No, you’re not required to do that. You can book your flight and your hotel once your Japan Visa is approved. You need to write down the flight number and the address and contact number of your hotel. For the Flight number, go to the website of the airline, search for flights and copy the flight number.
SHOULD I STAY IN THE HOTEL OR FLY WITH THE AIRLINE I MENTIONED IN THE APPLICATION FORM?
No, not necessarily. You can book a different flight and stay in a different hotel
HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD I HAVE IN THE BANK?
I have no concrete idea, I am not a Japan visa expert. But based on my personal experience, here’s how I usually calculate it:
Estimated LOW budget daily expenses in Japan for a single traveler is roughly JPY 7,000/PHP 3,384. With this budget, you need to stay in an inexpensive dorm room, eat in convenience store and fast food restaurants and visit FREE attractions (e.g. FREE temples, shrines and parks).
Estimated MEDIUM budget daily expenses in Japan for a single traveler is about JPY 10,000/PHP 4,834– JPY 15,000/PHP 7,252. With this budget, you can stay in a dorm room or single room in a budget hotel, eat at restaurants near the shopping areas and visit some attractions with admissions of around JPY 100/PHP 48- JPY 500/PHP 241.
Estimated HIGH budget daily expenses in Japan for a single traveler is around JPY 15,500/JPY 7,493 above. Meaning, you can stay in mid-range hotel, eat at restaurants near shopping areas and visit attractions with entrance fees of JPY 100/JPY 48– JPY 1000/ PHP 483.
*Now take note that transportation is not yet included in these estimated budgets.
So, based on the approximate Japan budget daily expenses for a solo traveler above, you can multiply the daily expenses by the number of your intended stay in Japan. For example, you intend to travel in Japan for 5 days. Aim for at least the estimated medium daily budget in Japan, which is as I mentioned above is roughly JPY 10,000/PHP 4,834– JPY 15,000/PHP 7,252. So, if that’s the case, for a 5 day stay in Japan, your estimated expenses is roughly JPY 75,000/PHP 36,248.
Again, this sample budget does not include the transportation cost. So, if you haven’t booked your airline ticket yet, consider that in your calculation too. Also, this is just based on my experience, to give you an idea of you the cost of travel in Japan, may experience may be different from your experience. Do not treat this as a bible.
Once you’ve calculated your estimated expenses for the duration of your Japan trip, add more to it, just enough, not too much. Because sometimes, if you have way too much money on your bank account, especially if you are just a regular employee and your ITR doesn’t match or can’t explain why you were able to obtain that much funds on your bank account, it can be suspicious and you might get declined. It may be seen as a reason for you to overstay in Japan.
The money in your bank account is just 1 of the many factors for determining if you will be granted a Japan visa. You can have a large amount of money in your bank account, but still be declined. See my discussion below on Possible Reasons for a Denied Japan Visa.
I DON’T HAVE AN ITR, what will I do?
Maybe you are new to your job or your business, you are a freelancer (freelancers need to pay taxes by the way) but you haven’t processed your ITR yet so you can’t submit it. You can write a letter explaining this. However, I would strongly recommend you to attach additional proof of income if that’s the case. For example, business registration, receipts for payments from clients/employer, certificate of employment, etc. If you are a freelancer, try to request for a certificate of employment from your client/employer, include the name and contact details of your employer and make sure it is signed. Basically, you need to prove your strong ties in the Philippines so that the Japanese consul will be convinced that you will be returning back to the Philippines.
CAN I SUBMIT A COVER LETTER SO I CAN EXPLAIN SOMETHING (E.G MISSING DOCUMENTS)?
Yes, you can write a cover letter. I’ve done this before because I’m missing an ITR since my business is new. But then again, I attached copies of receipts from payments from clients as supporting document.
CAN SOMEONE SUBMIT THE JAPAN VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR ME?
Yes. I’ve done this twice because my first 2 Japan visas where processed by the PR for airlines because our trip was sponsored. I submitted a signed authorization letter, ID and photocopy of my ID.
I WILL BE TRAVELING WITH MY FAMILY OR FRIENDS, ARE WE ALL REQUIRED TO BE THERE AT THE AGENCY?
No, however, ensure that your forms are duly accomplished. While applying for a Japan Visa recently, one of the applicants had to call her husband over the phone to tell him to go inside the travel agency because there was something missing on the form. Avoid this. If only one of you will go to the travel agency to file the Japan visa application, make sure all the documents are complete and the application form is dully accomplished. Also bring a signed authorisation letter as well as the ID of the applicant.
CAN I SUBMIT THE REQUIREMENTS VIA COURIER?
If for example you are in a remote province and you can’t personally apply for a visa, maybe the flight to Manila from your place is expensive, you can submit the Japan visa requirements via courier. Contact the travel agency for more information.
HOW WILL I KNOW IF MY VISA WAS DENIED?
Once you collect your passport from the travel agency, that’s the only time you’ll know. However, neither the travel agency will know why your application was denied. Japan Embassy doesn’t disclose it.
MY JAPAN VISA WAS DENIED WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?
You can re-apply again after 6 months. Read my Japan Visa tips below. Avoid doing the same mistake.
WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR A DENIED JAPAN VISA?
We don’t know for sure because as I said the Japan Embassy doesn’t disclose that. But here are some POSSIBLE reasons and TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF JAPAN VISA APPROVAL
Fake documents: Never ever submit fake documents, even birth certificate.
You don’t have an established travel history: Maybe it’s your first time traveling abroad and you can’t prove your strong economic and social ties in the Philippines. Again, there are many factors, I know someone who got approved even if it’s his first time to travel abroad. But he was able to prove his financial capability to fund his trip. Another one got approved even if it’s her first time to travel overseas, but she has a sponsor.
I recommend building your travel history first, travel to visa-free countries for Filipinos, return to the Philippine and never overstay in another country, and once you have some stamps in your passport, try to apply for a Japan visa. Previous travel history can help in your visa application.
You don’t have strong social and economic ties in the Philippines: I’ve heard of many visa horror stories before, especially for Filipinas traveling alone. Now, when it comes to applying for a visa in general, I often hear this “If you are a female, and you are single (meaning not married), you don’t have kids, your chance is slim.” That’s because they might think you are traveling there to find a husband or find a job since you are not married here. I hope this is not true, but it seemed to have happened to some women I know.
Another possible reason for weak economic ties is if you just resigned from your job, you are new to your job or your business is new.
Again, the Japanese Embassy doesn’t disclose the denial reason, so we don’t know for sure. But if ever, you need to prove you have a steady source of income, again, I mentioned this above, submit copies of payments/receipts from clients. I also suggest, aside from the Japan requirements, you submit other supporting documents, like if you have a title of your real property, land, car, etc. Or if you have other investments, stocks, insurance, etc.
Your bank account is questionable: Maybe you have enough or big money in your bank account, however your ITR or other documents can’t explain how you were able acquire that fund. This will raise a red flag. Depositing a sudden large amount of money in your bank account for the visa application is NOT recommended. This may be seen as a red flag by the Japanese consul.
You are unemployed or you don’t have enough money in your bank account: If you find yourself in this situation, apply with a guarantor. Make sure the guarantor has the financial capacity to fund tour trip. See the Japan visa requirements above under WITH GUARANTOR.
You applied for a visa WITHOUT a guarantor, but you wrote down that you will be staying at your friend’s place or family member’s house: If you are applying for a visa without a sponsor, write down a hotel address. Otherwise, the Japanese consul may ask for additional proof that your friend or family is residing in Japan legally and this can delay the process or worse, your visa might be denied right away.
Too many erasures and wrong information in your application form: Again, ensure that your application form is complete, correct and neat!
You requested the wrong number of days for your Japan visa: Again, the Japan Embassy can only grant Filipinos 15 days, 30 days or 60 days visa. For example, if you intend to stay there for over 15 days, do not write down 15 days on your form. Request for 30 days. If you plan to stay over 30 days, then put 60 days in your request. If you plan to stay over 90 days, then you have a problem, because maximum stay in Japan is up to 90 days only. But then again, be careful about your request for over 30 days or so, you need to submit additional documents to validate your reason for staying that long in Japan.
Too complicated Japan itinerary: Again, do not complicate things. Just follow the template above and make sure your itinerary is doable.
That’s it. Hope this blog is able to help you prepare for your Japan visa application! Good luck, and I would really appreciate if you leave a comment below regarding your experience to help other readers as well. If you find any errors in the blogpost, please let me know so I can correct immediately. If your Japan visa is approved, do let me know in the comment sections!
About the Blogger : Gael is a Filipina travel blogger. Her work has appeared in local and international publications.
For advertisements, sponsorship and partnerships, you may reach her at gaelhilotinblog (at) gmail (dot) com.
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