If you are a fan of manga, anime, or a travel enthusiast who wants to see more of the world, of course, Japan is in your travel bucket list. I applied for a tourist visa to Japan last July 2016 and I was glad that it wasn’t as difficult as I thought. To those who are planning to apply for a tourist visa, here are some answers to your visa application questions.
Note: This application is solely for applicants who will shoulder their own expenses or planning to visit a friend or a distant relative.
1. Do I need a visa to visit Japan?
For Philippine passport holders, the answer is YES. An approved visa prior to your travel is needed. If you are a Philippine passport holder but would like to apply for a tourist visa from a different country (not from the Philippines) and for other nationalities, please check requirements direct from Japan Embassy in your country.
2. What are the requirements for visa application?
1. Passport – Should not be tampered or damaged, especially the photo part. It needs to have 2 blank pages. Make sure it is not expired or near expiration.
2. Visa Application Form – Download here.
3. Picture – 4.5cm x 4.5cm with white background.
4. Birth Certificate – If you have an old copy of your birth certificate, you need to get a new one issued within 1 year.
5. Marriage Certificate – For married applicants, a marriage certificate should be issued within 1 year. In case of non-record, submit certificate of non-record together with the one from the Local Civil Registrar.
6. Itinerary – You need to submit your daily schedule for the whole duration of your stay in Japan. Check my itinerary below.
7. Income Tax Return ( Form 2316 ) – You can request for your Income Tax Return from your HR.
8. Bank Certificate – Submit the most recent bank certificate showing the YTD (year to date balance ) and the available balance.
If you are visiting a friend or distant relative. Aside from the completed basic requirements, submit these following additional documents. (with sponsor/ guarantor)
These requirements needed should be obtained from the guarantor.
Invitation letter – Invitation letter from your friend or distant relative stating the reason of your visit and the number of days of your stay. The letter should be bearing the signature of the person whom you will be visiting in Japan. Include documents and photos to prove relationship.
Guarantee letter – A letter stating that your sponsor or guarantor will handle your expenses.
Residence certificate – is only applicable if guarantor is a Japanese.
Income Certificate from City Hall,
Tax return certificate from Tax office
Proof of income from your sponsor is only needed if they will shoulder your expenses. If not, you can provide your own bank certificate.
3. How much money should I have in the bank?
There was actually no specific amount stated on how much you need to have in your bank account. Just make sure that you will be able to fund your stay in Japan for the number of days that you are intending to stay. Regarding my application, I submitted a bank certificate with a balance of a little bit more than 100,000.PHP
4. Do I need to submit a Certificate of Employment?
Applicants are encouraged to submit additional requirements, but not necessary. I did submit one as an additional document. So it’s up to you if you would like to or not. But additional documentations to back up your application, I guess would be better.
5. Should I book return plane tickets and hotel reservations before applying for a visa?
For your visa application, plane tickets are not really necessary, but best to include it. I purchased my plane ticket months ahead before I submitted my application. It was like a gamble because I know it won’t guarantee the approval of my application. But since I got my plane ticket for only 2,000.00 PHP, I didn’t mind. Hotel reservations, YES since you need to state it in your itinerary.
6. How many days should I lodge my visa application before my planned travel date?
I submitted my application a month before my travel date. The embassy didn’t specify to when you can lodge your visa application. So I guess when you have all the documents needed ready and you are confident about your application, you are good to go.
7. I read that I need a sponsor to visit Japan, I don’t have one. How can I get a sponsor?
The travel agency didn’t ask for my sponsor since I only applied for a short-term tourist visa. Short-term visa is good for 15 days sponsorship not needed especially when you’ll be shouldering your own expenses.
8. Where can I lodge my visa application and how much is the fee?
The embassy of Japan requires your application to be submitted to accredited travel agencies.
I submitted by application at Friendship Tours and Resorts Corporation located at Oakridge Business Park, A.S. Fortuna Street, Banilad, Manduae City, Cebu– Phone number – (032) 345 – 3459. Travel agency handling fee is 1200.00 PHP.
9. How many days should I wait for my visa application result?
When I went to the travel agency, I was informed that it will be maximum of 14 days in case additional documents are needed, but if not, it will only take a week. I submitted by application on a Friday afternoon, July 29th. I got a txt message from the agency that I got an approved application and can get my visa on the 5th of August. I only waited 5 working days for the result.
Make sure to have complete and updated requirements before submitting your application.
Submit additional requirements like COE, hotel reservation, plane tickets and old passports with travel stamps.
You can use a joint bank account for the bank certificate as long as you are a signer on the account.
Submitting complete requirements doesn’t guarantee approval of the visa application. All submitted applications will be under the discretion of the Embassy of Japan regarding its approval. Our application experience may differ.