|Photo from Moyan Brenn|
The process of applying for a Japan Visa with the intent of visiting relatives or sightseeing is actually pretty straightforward. The requirements and other related information is already detailed on their site. However, compared to other countries that accept visa applications directly from the tourists, the Japanese Embassy decided to course it through travel agencies.
1. Philippine Passport
Note that the passport must still be valid and have at least two blank pages
2. Visa Application Form
Size must be 4.5 cm x 4.5 cm
You can specify at the photo studio that you will be using the pictures for your Japan Visa Application.
4. NSO Birth Certificate (*)
Take note that the birth certificate must be valid for 1 year
If your birth certificate is unreadable or you have no record in NSO, you can give one from the Local Civil Registrar
If your birth certificate is tagged as ‘Late Registration’, then you have to also submit your Baptismal Certificate, School Record such as Form 137 and Yearbook
5. NSO Marriage Contract, if married (*)
Must also be valid for 1 year
* You are exempted to submit the birth certificate and marriage contract if you already have a used Japanese visa
6. Daily Schedule in Japan
For a sample format, see here
9. Bank Certificate
10. Income Tax Return (Form 2316)
Other required documents:
11. If you are visiting a friend/relative, provide documents such as photos or documentations to prove the relationship
12. Invitation Letter from your guarantor in Japan
13. Residence Certificate if guarantor is Japanese citizen
14. Foreign Registration Certificate from City Hall, if guarantor is not a Japanese citizen
15. Guarantee Letter, if guarantor will shoulder the applicant’s expenses during his/her stay in Japan
16. Income Certificate from the City Hall
Are you eligible for Multiple-Entry Tourist Status?
The multiple-entry status is valid for 5 years and can either be granted for a 15 or 30-day stay. If you are interested to apply, then kindly check if you fulfill either of the following conditions.
* Have you traveled to Japan within the last three years and was not reported to violate any rules and regulations during your stay?
* Have you violated any rules or regulations as a temporary visitor to any G7 country within the last three years? (G7 countries are United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom)
* Do you have sufficient financial capacity to fund your travel?
Additional requirements aside from those mentioned above:
1. Proof of previous travel to Japan
If your visa is attached to an old or expired passport, include this passport with your application as well
2. Employment certificate
3. Letter requesting for multiple-entry visa
4. If you are not residing in the Philippines, you also need to provide proof of your legal stay abroad
Kindly note that all documents must be an original copy unless specified and allowed by the agency.
AGENCIES ACCREDITED BY THE JAPANESE EMBASSY
Discovery Tour Inc.
Unit301G/Floor Sagittarius Building,H.V.Dela Costa Street,SalcedoVillage,Makati City
Door No.203-A1 2nd Flr.Northgate Center, Don Manuel Gotianuy Complex, Gov.Cuenco Av.,
Banilad City, Cebu City
Door 109 G/F Court View Inn Bldg., Quimpo Blvd., Cor. Sandava Road, Davao City
Mezzanine Floor, DusitThani Manila Hotel, Ayala Center, Makati City
Rajah Travel Corporation
3/F 331 Senator Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City
Ground Flr., GLC Bldg., A. Mabini cor. T.M. Kalaw St. Ermita, Manila
Reli Tours & Travel Agency
Mezannine Floor, DusitThani Hotel, Ayala Center, Makati City
South Entrance,SM Department Store, SM Mall of Asia, Bay City, Pasay City
5th Flr., Bridge way, SM MEGAMALL, EDSA, Mandaluyoung City
Basement Level,Door2, SM SOUTHMALL, AlabangZapoteRood,Laspinas City
FS414, 4F, Luck China Town Mall, 293, Lachamber Street, Binondo, Manila
Attic Tours Philippines, Inc.
Unit 202 Coko Bldg.1,Patio Madrigal Compound, 2550 Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Ground Floor,Traders Hotel Manila,3001 Roxas Blvd.,PasayCity 1305
Lobby,Waterfront Airport Hotel 1 Airport Road,Lapu-lapu City,Mactan Island,Cebu
Friendship Tours and Resorts Corporation
3rd. Flr.,DusitThani Manila, Ayala Center, Makati City
Unit 215A Business Center B, Oakridge Business Park, 880 A.S. Fortuna St., Banilad, Mandaue City
Pan Pacific Travel Corporation
353 E.T. Yuchengco St., Binondo, Manila
Space A, Ground Flr. & 2nd. Flr., Pacific Pace Apartelle suite, 539 Arquiza St., Ermita, Manila
LG01, Herrera Tower Condo, 98 V.A. Rufino St. (Herrera St.) cor. Valero St., Salcedo Vil., Makati City
Diplomat Hotel, 90 F. Ramos St. Cebu City
|This is how you can check if your NSO birth certificate is valid. Year indicated here is when the copy was generated|
MY EXPERIENCE WITH DISCOVERY TOUR
I decided to course my application through Discovery Tour, Makati branch since they offer the cheapest fee which is P800 for Manila-based applicants, it is also the closest to my office. I have also heard only positive feedback about their service, so it was a no-brainer that I’d pick them.
This was my first time to apply but I still submitted some documents that are only asked for those eligible for Multiple Entry, because it wouldn’t hurt to try, right?
1. Philippine Passport
2. Visa Application Form
3. 4.5 cm x 4.5 cm photo
4. Birth Certificate
Tip, check beforehand if your birth cert is still valid. Fortunately, there was a Serbilis Outlet in our city hall, so I was able to request for a new copy and receive it the same day. You can also request it online
5. Daily Schedule for a 5-day stay in Japan
6. Bank Certificate
7. Income Tax Return for the year *2010-2015
Actually only the recent one is needed but I submitted everything because I was unemployed for a couple of months last 2015 which made the total amount of income reported in 2015 to be insufficient
8. * Certificate of Employment
9. * Supporting documents of financial capability such as Investment Certification of Mutual Fund, Stocks, Credit Card statement (first page only)
10. * Letter request for multiple entry
11. * Proof of travel history (visa from China, South Korea) and old passport
You might notice that I didn’t include any plane or hotel bookings, it is not required and the Embassy actually advises not to book anything unless your visa is secured. This is to avoid any loss from the applicant in case the application gets denied.
Discovery Tours is really strict with their deadline, the first time I went there, I arrived at around 4:40 PM and I was only informed that they have a cutoff time of 4:30 PM for visa applications. However, as not to waste effort, I asked them to kindly double check my documents to make sure I have everything needed, turns out the first NSO birth certificate I brought was not valid anymore and will not be accepted by the agency.
I went back there again on a Wednesday, was given a number for queueing purposes and had my documents reviewed. I was given an acknowledgement form and was told to confirm after 5 working days if my passport is already available for pickup. And they were indeed true to their word, by Wednesday the following week, I have already claimed my passport at their office.
By the way, I noticed that there is no standard fee for requesting a Japan Visa. I think the visa fee is actually offered for free but the Japanese Embassy decided to route most of the applications through agencies as to have two sets of eyes double checking the requirements and for easy filtering. The fee asked by the agency is most likely their handling fee.
THE END RESULT
|my Visa to Japan|
Unfortunately, I was only given a Single Entry Temporary Visitor Visa for a maximum stay of 15 days. I was really hoping for a multiple-entry because I have clearly stated my intention to only stay in the country for tourism purposes. I believe my financial documents were also impressive. My friends were surprised that I was only granted single entry as they know other people who had less in their bank account but was given ME. Oh well, at least I was granted the visa and was not declined :)
OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Please note that these are plainly my opinion only, my information came from reading travel forums and learning about experiences from other travelers who applied for the same visa.
How do I get a multiple entry (ME) visa?
Aside from satisfying all the requirements, you need to satisfy all the conditions given by the Embassy. There is no assurance that you will be given a multiple-entry visa and it is still the consul’s discretion whether a single stay or ME visa will be given to you. Not everyone are also allowed to stay for 30 days, some, like me, are only given 15 days maximum since I only indicated in my itinerary that I plan to stay for only five days.
What if I don’t have a certificate of employment?
You can create an explanation letter as to why you don’t have one, some companies don’t even provide one so you can make your own and ask your supervisor to sign. You can also include payslips and possibly, a copy of your contract.
What if I am a freelance worker?
If you declare your annual income, then submit your ITR. For multiple-entry requests, you can request a COE from your online employer, or create a working history profile based from your previous online engagements. This can include pay histories or project contracts.
For business owners, you can include Business Registration and/or DTI permit.
What if I haven’t booked a flight ticket to Japan yet?
This is recommended by the agency since it’s not 100% guaranteed that you can be granted entry to Japan. But personally, I think it will be a bonus point because you already have proof that you have no intention of overstaying and you will be leaving Japan at a certain date. Some proof would also be a copy of your vacation leave approval if you are employed and also confirmation of hotel reservations.
What if I don’t have an Income Tax Return (ITR)?
You can also write an explanation as to why. Please also submit supporting documents that can back this up.
How much money should I have in my bank account?
Some travel agencies suggest that if you plan to stay for five to seven days, you should have at least P100,000 in your bank account. However, there are some travelers who only had P50,000 and were still granted single entry. I believe it will depend on the activities you included in your itinerary/daily schedule. If you think it is sufficient enough, then go for it.
When should I apply for the visa?
I recommend that you apply a month or two before your intended departure date. Japan Visa is only valid for 90 days for single entry, and 5 years for multiple entry.
What if I get denied?
The reasons for denial is not disclosed by the Embassy, but most likely, it will be related to your bank account balance. I have encountered some who still got denied even though they are full time employees.
What should I write in my “Letter of Explanation” for requesting multiple-entry?
Just be honest :) In my case, I stated that I want to come back to Japan to experience the different seasons such as winter, autumn and spring.
What if someone will shoulder my travel expenses?
You can submit a guarantee letter, say it will be your spouse, boy/girlfriend or parent who will be funding the trip. Don’t forget to include their financial documents such as bank certificates and ITR. If the guarantor is Japanese, follow the requirements I mentioned above. For students, I suggest giving a copy of your school ID or school registration form. For married couples, bring a NSO-certified marriage certificate as well.
What if my bank account looks too suspicious?
What I mean here is that you have tons of money LOL. I know someone who inherited a huge sum and that might seem fishy especially if you are too young. You can provide bank account statements (including the history, when it was opened, etc) and even proof of inheritance if this is the case.
Can first timer tourists to Japan be granted with a multiple entry status?
It depends, but the probability is very slim. You must have a REALLY impressive profile, especially if you are a solo traveler. Here are some things that might help…
* You must have traveled to at least one of the G7 countries. Having a residency or working visa from these countries will also be a big plus.
* Bank certificate amounting to seven digits PhpX,000,000
* Not traveling alone, I have noticed that travelers with good profile and have companions (mostly with their children and spouse) are granted ME
I hope this guide helped you plan for your trip and visa application. Best of luck!