If you're a Filipino traveler, it's highly likely that Japan is included in your bucket list of countries to visit. It's everyone's dream to see cherry blossoms up close and personal and view the majestic Mt. Fuji from afar. But being a local traveler with a third world passport, there's one thing standing between you and your dream of seeing the Land of the Rising Sun in person—a Japan visa.
Applying for a Japan visa may seem intimidating at first, but in truth, it's quite simple and easy, especially since Japan has relaxed the visa requirements for Filipinos. In this article, we will break down the visa application process into three easy steps. We have also added tips on how you can avoid getting denied.
Step 1: Complete the requirements.
The most important step in the process is securing the requirements. Since walk-ins are not allowed and it's up to a Japanese embassy-accredited travel agency to process your application, it's your responsibility to make sure that your requirements are complete before handing them over to the travel agency.
The standard requirements for a Japan visa are as follows:
Check that your passport bears your signature, has at least two blank pages, and is valid for at least six (6) months prior to your travel date. If your passport is due for a renewal, visit this blog for some tips on the passport renewal process.
Accomplished visa application form
You can download the application form here. Make sure to fill out both pages of the application form, and if there's a field that does not apply to you, just put N/A instead of leaving it blank.
4.5 cm x 4.5 cm ID picture with white background
The photo must be taken within the past six (6) months. You will need to paste (not staple!) this on your application form.
NSO birth certificate
Your birth certificate copy should be issued within the past year.
NSO marriage certificate (if applicable)
Like your birth certificate, it should also be issued within the past year.
Daily schedule in Japan
The embassy requires you to give them a copy of your itinerary, which includes the places you want to visit and your accommodation/s. The format for this requirement can be downloaded here. Original copies of these documents must be submitted unless stated otherwise.
For travelers applying for a tourist visa without a guarantor (meaning, you will shoulder part or all your expenses), you will need to submit these additional requirements:
The validity of your bank certificate should be three (3) months from the date of issue.
Latest Income Tax Return (Form 2316)
The embassy requires both an original copy and a clear photocopy. If you are unemployed or newly-employed and you don't have an ITR, provide a letter explaining why you are lacking this requirement.
Meanwhile, for travelers who have guarantors living in the Philippines, these are the additional requirements that you need to submit:
Letter of guarantee
You can download the format here.
Proof of your relationship with your guarantor
You can submit all kinds of documents showing evidence of your ties to your guarantor such as his or her birth certificate.
Your guarantor's bank certificate
Its validity should be three (3) months from the date of issue.
Your guarantor's latest Income Tax Return (Form 2316)
You must submit both an original copy and a clear photocopy.
Step 2: Submit your application to an agency accredited by the Japan Embassy of the Philippines.
The best thing about applying for a Japan visa is the fact that there's no need for interviews or personal appearances. You only need to submit your requirements and application form to an accredited travel agency and pay for their processing fee. Depending on which travel agency you choose, the fee usually ranges from PHP 1,000.00 to PHP 2,000.00.
Step 3: Wait for a call from the travel agency.
Now that you've submitted your application for processing, the only thing left to do is wait. It usually only takes less than a week for the embassy to return your passport. And if you find a Japan visa in one of the pages, then congratulations, because you can now go to Japan!
Avoid getting denied! Here are key tips to boost your chance of getting approved:
1. For first time applicants, aim for a 15-day stay first.
If you will be traveling to Japan or abroad for the first time, start modest first by indicating that you will be staying for not more than 15 days. That way, you will increase your chance of getting approved for a single entry 15-day stay, the minimum that the Japanese embassy grants visitors. Take note that there have been numerous instances where Filipino visitors were given multiple entry visas on their second trips to the country even if they didn't ask for it. So if you want to score a 30 to 90-day multiple entry visa, you may want to reserve that for another trip to Japan in the future.
2. Ensure that you have sufficient savings in your bank account to fund your trip.
As much as we hate to admit it, money is one of the deciding factors for your visa approval, especially if you’ll be shouldering your own expenses. For a five-day (5) stay in Tokyo or Osaka, it is advised that you have at least PHP 50,000.00 in your bank account at the time of your application. More funds is recommended if you will be touring more than one (1) city. Make sure as well that you have had money in your account for some time now since bank certificates indicate your transactions. So if you borrow a huge amount of money and deposit it to your account in one go, the embassy will become suspicious.
3. While it is not required, it is highly recommended that you submit additional documents for your application beyond the requirements.
The Japanese embassy encourages applicants to provide additional proof for better chances of getting approved. These can mean printouts of plane tickets and hotel reservations to certificates of employment. If you’ve traveled to other countries before, include your old passports with stamps and or visas.
*This story originally appeared on Travelbook.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.