Japan is on everyone’s bucket list of must-visit places, and it’s hardly a surprise as to why. Rich in culture, history, and scenery, the country is truly a sight to behold, offering surprises to its visitors with something for everyone. Whether you’re visiting Tokyo during cherry blossom season in the spring, strolling around the ancient city of Kyoto in the fall, or spending winter in snowy Hokkaido, Japan offers a unique and unparalleled experience for every trip.
Japan is also a treasure trove for foodies, history buffs, geeks, and the fashionable set. Planning a visit to the Land of the Rising Sun? Here’s everything you need to know about getting a Japanese visa for your trip.
How to Apply for a Japanese Tourist Visa
1. A Philippine passport with at least six months’ validity and with at least two blank pages.
Always remember to check the expiry date on your passport before submitting an application. Damaged or dilapidated passports will not be accepted.
If you have the latest Philippine passport with a 10-year validity, you will need to sign your passport on the third page.
2. A duly accomplished Japan Visa form
Remember to fill out the visa form completely and answer the questions honestly. The Japanese embassy may deny your visa application if the form is incompletely or incorrectly filled out.
3. A photo ID taken within the last 6 months
Also required is a recently taken 2 x 2 (4.5 x 4.5 cm or 45 mm x 45 mm) ID photo shot against a white background. Your name and birth date must also be written at the back of the photo and must be pasted properly on your Japan visa application form.
4. Your birth certificate from PSA
You are also required to submit your birth certificate issued within one year from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA, formerly known as NSO) Main Office or Serbilis Outlet Center. This requirement is especially important for those who have never been to Japan.
If your birth certificate at the Philippine Statistics Office contains incomplete information or is unreadable, it is crucial that you submit your PSA-issued birth certificate along with a birth certificate issued by a Local Civil Registrar.
Applicants with PSA birth certificates labeled as “late registration” may also submit a baptismal certificate and a school record from elementary or high school.
Meanwhile, those with no recorded birth certificates at PSA are tasked to submit a “Certificate of Non-Record” from the PSA along with a birth certificate from the Local Civil Registrar.
5. If married, provide your marriage certificate from PSA
If you are married, you are required to submit a marriage certificate certified by PSA Main Office or Serbilis Outlet. This requirement is even more crucial for those who have never been to Japan.
6. Daily schedule in Japan
When applying for your visa, you will be requested to submit a list of your itinerary in Japan that covers your entire stay. If you’re booking with a travel agency they can provide this for you, but if you’re going DIY, you can make one for yourself. You can follow this format and download a sample form here.
Even if you haven’t planned out your trip to the T yet, a general outline will do. Remember to print out your itinerary on an A4-sized paper.
7. An original copy of your bank balance certificate
The certificate you submit to the embassy for your application must have been issued within the last three months. The amount should be sufficient enough to cover your entire stay, including airfare and accommodations.
8. Your income tax return (ITR Form 2316)
The embassy will request an original and photocopied version of your ITR. They usually keep the photocopy with them and return the original on the same day of filing your application.
What if someone else is paying for my trip?
If you have a sponsor or guarantor living in the Philippines, you will need to provide the additional documents.
1. Guarantee letter. This letter should be able to explain your relationship with the guarantor, and must also include their contact details.
2. Proof of relationship with guarantor. You need to provide proof of relationship with your guarantor. If this guarantor is a family member such as a parent, a sibling, or a spouse, submit documents such a birth certificate or a marriage certificate.
If this guarantor is a friend, submit photos of you and your friend together, letters, and screenshots of e-mails and messages.
3. Bank Certificate and your guarantor’s Income Tax Return (ITR Form 2316). Submit both the original and the photocopied versions of your guarantor’s bank certificate and ITR. This is to prove that your guarantor can shoulder your expenses throughout the duration of the trip.
Can I submit my application directly?
The Japan Embassy does not accept direct applications except for very special cases. Your visa application must be coursed through any of their accredited travel agencies. You can check out the list of accredited agencies here.
What if I’m visiting a friend or a relative?
The Embassy has separate visas for those visiting and staying with a relative or a friend who lives in Japan. The visiting relative visa is for close relatives: a spouse, a parent, a sibling, or a cousin up to the third degree. Everyone else falls under the visiting friend visa.
In addition to the requirements mentioned above including the ITR, you must also submit the following documents:
1. Birth certificates to prove your relationship. You must submit your birth certificate along with your relative’s birth certificate in order to prove your affinity.
2. Marriage certificate. This is required for married applicants.
3. Invitation letter from your friend or relative to visit. The invitation letter must have been issued within the past three months and must contain your friend or relative’s signature.
4. Family Registration Certificate (Koseki Tohon) if the inviter or their spouse is Japanese. If the person inviting you or their spouse is Japanese, they must submit a family registration certificate that has been issued in the last three months.
5. A residence certificate (Juminhyo). This is required for either Japanese or foreign hosts. If your friend or relative is a foreigner, you must submit a photocopy of both sides of the valid Residence card, a Certificate of residence, and a photocopy of their passport.
Plan that trip soon and best of luck!