Japan is on most travelers’ bucket list. It is so easy to understand why everyone wants to experience Japan, one way or another. From their rich traditional and pop culture, history, ramen and other Japanese food, to cherry blossoms, every experience is definitely one for the books. However, one dilemma for people wanting to go to the Land of the Rising Sun, especially for Filipinos, is the fact that entering country requires tourist to undergo Japan visa application.
For some, applying for a visa is a daunting idea especially the thought of being declined. But, fret not, Japan’s Ministry of Tourism has, in fact, became more lenient in giving tourist visas to Filipino travelers in the hopes of further increasing the growth of tourism in their country.
If you have an upcoming trip to Japan, here are the helpful information and requirements that you’ll need in applying for a visa.
Types of Japan visa
The Japan Embassy offers a single and multiple-entry visa. For single entry and first-timers, they could issue visas valid for 15 or 30 days. However, if you already bought round-trip tickets exceeding 15 days (but not more than 30 days), then you have to inform your travel agent that you are applying for 30-day validity period instead. See below photo.
Multiple-entry visas, on the other hand, could be valid for 1 – 5 years from issuance.
Japan Visa requirements
Here are the documents you should prepare for your Japan visa application. Note that below requirement #4 (and also #5 when applicable) is no longer needed for applicants who have been previously issued a Japan visa.
1. Passport – Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months and with at least two blank pages left. It should be in good condition, too. If your passport is damaged or about to expire, secure a new one first before you apply for a visa.
2. Completely Filled-out Application Form – You can download the application form through this link. Filling out forms could be tedious and confusing. To guide you, Japan Embassy also gave a sample form you could follow. Access the sample form through this link. The form should be printed on an A4-sized paper.
3. Bank Certificate – Secure a certificate showing your most recent balance and your financial capacity to afford all the expenses you will have to cover for your trip.
4. NSO-Certified Birth Certificate – The NSO receipt that comes with it should also be attached for submission. If you no longer have the receipt, or your copy was issued in the year 2016 or older, you will need to get a new one. You can order an NSO-certified birth certificate online through this link, which will cost you PhP 365 per copy.
5. NSO-Certified Marriage Certificate – Applicable only for married applicants, it goes without saying. You could order it online through this link and it will cost you PhP 465 per copy.
6. Picture – Photo should be 4.5cm x 4.5cm in size with white background. It should be taken within 6 months prior to your application. You could already write your complete name on the back of it, too.
7. Income Tax Return (ITR) Certificate – This is normally issued by the applicant’s employer, if any. No need to submit the original document, a clear photocopy will do.
8. Travel Itinerary – Unlike some embassies, Japan has a required itinerary format that you should use. You can download the format from this link.
Know that some embassies are screening non-immigrant (be they are tourist/business) individuals with the presumption of wanting to be an immigrant. As an example, US Visa applicants are screened in this manner and they even have a law providing for such.
This is where your supplementary documents come in handy, to help you satisfy the embassy to grant you a tourist visa knowing that you don’t have any intention to immigrate.
The supplementary documents that you could submit are as follows:
1. Certificate of Employment (COE), when applicable – Issued by your current employer, ideally indicating your designation/role, annual compensation package, and employment tenure/status. If unemployed and instead operates one’s own business, then any documentation showing proof of the same including yearly revenues should suffice.
2. Leave of Absence Letter – Same with the COE, this is issued by your current employer. This is a letter that proves you’ll be out of work on the dates of your visit to Japan and will return on a specific date after your trip.
3. Round-Trip Air Tickets – Note that applicants are not required to buy tickets in advance, prior to applying for a visa. However, since there’s a lot of seat sales nowadays, some travelers would choose to book round-trip tickets to Japan prior to visa application. If that’s the case, you could include your flight bookings as one of your supporting documents.
4. Proof of Accommodation – Like the tickets, the embassy also discourages travelers to book hotels/rooms in advance. But if you would want to add this as a supplementary document, you certainly can. However, it is advisable that you book from websites that allow free cancellation in case there are changes to your trip.
Where to submit your visa application?
In the Philippines, the Japan Embassy has accredited several travel agencies to process the applications on their behalf. Please see below the list of agencies (listed from the cheapest, with data gathered as of 2018):
1. Discovery Tour – Processing fee is PhP 800. Their branches and contact numbers are listed below:
|Main Office||Unit301G/Floor Sagittarius Building, H.V.Dela Costa Street,
Salcedo Village, Makati City
|Cebu Branch||Door No.203-A1 2nd Flr. Northgate Center,
Don Manuel Gotianuy Complex, Gov.Cuenco Ave.,
Banilad City, Cebu (Beside UC-Banilad Campus)
|Davao Branch||Door 109 G/F Court View Inn Bldg.
Quimpo Blvd. Cor. Sandawa Road,
Davao City （Beside Ice Giants）
2. Reli Tours & Travel Agency – Processing fee is PhP 950. Their branches are listed below:
|Dusit Thani Hotel
|3rd Floor, Dusit Thani Hotel,
Ayala Center, Makati City
|SM Mall of Asia
|South Park 123,
SM Mall of Asia, Bay City, Pasay City
|5th Floor, Bridge way, SM Megamall, EDSA, Mandaluyong City||02-637-5020
02-637-4694 to 96
|0089-A, Ground Floor, SM SOUTHMALL
Almanza Dos, Las Pinas City
|02-800-4948 to 50
|Lucky China Town Mall Branch||FS414, 4th Floor, Lucky China Town Mall,
Calle Felipe 2 Corner Lachambre Street, Brgy 293,
Zone 028, Binondo, Manila City
3. Friendship Travel and Tours – Processing fee is PhP 1200. Their branches are listed below:
|Main Office||3rd. Fllr., Dusit Thani Manila,
Ayala Center, Makati City
|Cebu Branch||Unit 2-508, 5th Floor, OITC 2 Building, Oakridge Business Park, A.S. Fortune Street, Banilad, Mandaue City, Cebu||032-345-3459
4. Attic Tours – Processing fee is PhP 1500. Their branches are listed below:
|Unit 202 Coko Bldg.1, Patio Madrigal Compound,
2550 Roxas Blvd.,Pasay City 1302
|02-556-6301 to 6305|
|Hotel Jen Branch||Ground Floor, Hotel Jen Manila,
3001 Roxas Blvd., Pasay City 1305
|SM CITY NORTH EDSA Branch||G/F The Block, SM City North EDSA,
City North EDSA, Quezon City
|Cebu Waterfront Airport Hotel Branch||Lobby, Waterfront Airport Hotel 1 Airport Road,
Lapu-Lapu City, Mactan Island, Cebu
|Cebu Shangri-la’s Mactan Resort & Spa Branch||Lobby, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa,
Punta Engano Road, Lapu-Lapu Cebu
For the complete list, check out Japan Embassy’s Website.
We only had a chance to personally check two travel agencies but based on our limited experience, we’d recommend that you route your application through Friendship Travel and Tours.
Although their fee is a bit higher as compared to other travel agencies, the way they’d treat their customer is exemplary and is truly living up to its name. Their processing, like other travel agencies, will take 7 business days provided that you submitted all the necessary documents. In fact, we got our visa after three business days only.
Applying for a multiple-entry Japan visa?
Here is a list of basic information that you need to know:
1. You can only apply for a multiple-entry visa if you have visited Japan in the past three years before the application. And, if you don’t have any records of domestic violence in Japan or some form of violence in the Immigration. Plus, either:
a. you must have the financial capacity to support your travel schedule, or
b. you’ve had several travel histories visiting G7 countries (excluding Japan).
The G7 countries are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, United States, and United Kingdom (excluding Japan).
2. Applicants with “abundant” financial capacity.
Should you meet the qualifications above, then you can proceed in preparing the requirements — Philippine passport, Request for a Multiple-entry Visa document (download the file through this link) visa application form, photo, and schedule of stay.
Some agencies, like Reli Travel and Tours, could process a multiple-entry visa application with no additional charge. However, some agencies, like Friendship Travel and Tours, could charge slightly higher (PhP 2,000) as compared to a single-entry application.
Will they automatically issue multiple-entry visa?
If you’re a frequent traveler, will they give automatically grant you a multiple-entry visa even if you didn’t apply for it?
We have some friends who were lucky to have been issued a multiple-entry, however know that there’s no guarantee. We don’t exactly know how Japan Embassy determines/evaluates applications. But if you meet the qualifications enumerated above, might as well apply for the multiple-entry visa and submit all the necessary requirements.
For complete details on how to apply for a multiple-entry visa, check this link.
Tips and Reminders when applying for a Japan Visa
1. Make sure that all your documents are printed on an A4-sized white paper. NSO Certificates aren’t printed on an A4 and it would be best to scan it and print it on one just in case the agency asks for it.
2. Never ever falsify any of your documents.
1. How early can I apply for a Japan visa? – You can apply for a visa 60 days before your trip.
2. How much money should be in my account’s bank certificate? – Each nation has what they call daily statutory allowance, and it should be one of your primary considerations when saving up for your trip. For Japan, the ideal daily allowance per day is 6,000 JPY, approximately PhP 3,000.
Multiply it by the number of days you’ll be in the country, then add your accommodation, airfare, and destination/theme park expenses — that should be the minimum amount available in your account.
3. I ( or the applicant) don’t have my own bank account, what will I do? – You can apply with the support of a guarantor. The guarantor has to fill-up a Guarantee Letter (download the form here) and present his/her bank certificate plus ITR. The guarantor doesn’t have to be based in Japan. Just present any proof of your relationship with him/her.
4. How long will it take for visas to be released? – Most agencies will tell you that their processing time would take 5 – 7 business days. At times, the processing could take as short as 3 business days.
5. What if I don’t have ITR? – This issue is mostly encountered by freelancers. All you need to do is to prepare all possible proof of your income (professional fee document, engagement certifications, etc.) and include them in your supplementary documents. It may also help that you include a letter explaining why you couldn’t provide an ITR.
6. I’m traveling in a group, do we all have to make an appearance at the agency? – This policy depends on the agency. Best to contact the agency first. For Friendship Travel and Tours, all of the applicants should be present.
7. The bank issued certificates that aren’t printed on an A4, what should I do? – Scan the document and print it on an A4-sized paper. However, make sure to still bring the original copy during your appointment.
8. I have a US visa/ Greencard, do I still have to apply for a Japan visa? – Yes. However, since US is one of the G7 countries, the chances of getting your application approved or you getting a multiple-entry visa is definitely higher provided that you meet the other qualifications.
9. Someone (a relative or a friend) will sponsor my trip to Japan, what requirements do I have to submit? – You have to submit a guarantee letter (download the form here), your sponsor’s proof of his/her relationship with you, his/her bank certificate and ITR or any similar document. Process for application is just the same.The guarantor doesn’t have to be based in Japan.
10. Do I need round-trip tickets and hotel accommodations to apply for a Japan visa? – The Embassy is discouraging applicants to book tickets and accommodation in advance. However, if you already have tickets/proof of accommodation, including them as supplementary requirements is definitely a plus.
Summary of all the forms
The embassy has already provided the forms and templates which are scattered above. However, to make it easy for you, here’s a summary of all the forms you need when applying for a Japan Visa and their respective download links:
1. Application form – Download here
2. Travel Itinerary Template – Download here
3. Request for a Multiple-entry Visa (for multiple-entry visa applications only) – Download here
4. Guarantee Letter(for applications via sponsorship or a guarantor) – Download here
We wish you good luck with your visa application! Truth is, we’re very excited for you to experience how amazing Japan is. We also hope that you find this helpful. Should you have any questions, feel free to comment below or get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.