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Getting a Visa But No ITR? Here Is a Sample Letter of Explanation for You!

writing a letter of explanation for no ITR


UPDATE for 2020: Yes, I still accept letter writing requests. If you wish me to write a letter for you to help explain to the embassies why you have no ITR, please just send me a message via my Facebook page. I write an explanation letter for no ITR for South Korea, Japan, USA, Schengen visas, and other visas that require you to show an ITR.


Processing a tourist visa for somewhere? Do you need to submit an Income Tax Return or ITR but you don’t have one? Write an explanation letter. Here’s how.

I have been getting queries about writing an explanation letter for having no Income Tax Return (ITR) when applying for a tourist visa. In the spirit of giving, I decided to publicize this letter of explanation I wrote for a friend for your reference. She asked me for help explaining to the Japanese Embassy why she still deserved a tourist visa even if she had no ITR or Income Tax Return seeing as she was a new freelancer. Find below all of my tips and sample.

Sharing with You

I did not think at first to share this. But in the space of two months, I’ve had 5 of my friends asking for how I did it. I sent them the sample and I thought I’d publish it here too. Hopefully, it can assist anyone needing help out there.

By the way, since I am now a freelancer as well, I had to explain myself to the embassy too when I applied for my second Japan Tourist Visa. I actually had an ITR from 2016 so I brought that but I got advised that since my employer is not the same one on the ITR, I should just not submit one and just explain why. I wasn’t prepared for that so I had to submit a handwritten letter, which I wrote right there at the travel agency. So yeah I do not have a copy of that. That’s why I’m just sharing this piece that I did for my friend.

I Can Write For You

As mentioned above, I am a freelance writer so writing is my profession. If you are busy and need help with writing this explanation letter for no ITR, then I can help.

Just message me via the Toploading for Life Facebook page. I charge PHP 350 per letter (coz I also have bills to pay so I hope you understand). Aside from that, I can also help you with the Schedule of Stay or Itinerary for Japan. And if you need help writing a Guarantee or Sponsorship letter, I can assist with that as well.

Reasons for Not Having ITR

Just to clarify guys, I am not writing this to advise everyone that we shouldn’t pay our taxes. Because as good citizens we totally should. (Here’s hoping that our politicians be upstanding and deploy our taxes properly as well.)

Anyway, there might still be instances that someone has no Income Tax Return, ITR, or Form 2316. Some of the reasons I can think of are:

  • you are a new freelancer and have not worked out yet how to self-contribute for your taxes (same as me)
  • you work in an industry that is somehow tax-exempted. For example, I read about this one lady working as a volunteer for a certain social cause. She obviously wasn’t making much and should have no need to pay taxes as she’s contributing most of her time for the good of society.
  • you switched to a new employer recently and the employer noted on your most recent ITR (most likely last year’s) is not the same one as your current one. Submitting this will just cause confusion since your payslip details will not match.
  • you’re a senior, housewife/househusband, teenager, or someone whose situation in life doesn’t involve paying taxes
  • you’ve just become a business owner and have not processed your tax payments yet for one reason or another

As you can see, there are situations when an ITR is just hard to come by. But since getting a tourist visa for other countries in the Philippines often involve presenting an ITR, then you’ll just have to explain why you don’t have it.

Key Points to Cover in the Explanation Letter

Before I give you the sample letter, here are some things you need to take note of. I am detailing these because everyone’s situation is different and the sample letter is quite specific to my friend’s. So its purpose is really to be just a sample for your reference. Take note of these details below to further have an idea on how to write the explanation letter:

  • Explain well and be truthful as much as possible – The idea here is that you should convince the embassy that you deserve a visa despite having no ITR. Therefore, the explanation should cover the fact that you have the finances to support your trip. Also, avoid lying because if you are caught, you might be banned. Who knows. My tip here is to present your case as truthfully but as favorably as possible.
  • Include supporting documents – A bank statement with a higher balance is a great supporting document. Again, you need to convince them that you can finance your trip. I also advice submitting copies of your payslips or income streams for the last 3 months. These could be scans of actual payslips, Paypal monthly withdrawals, or confirmations of your employer depositing money to your account. Other good supporting documents are your exit tickets and paid hotel bookings. These can help further assure the embassy that you will be traveling for pleasure and not job-hunting.

Stayed at Edo Tokyo Hostel on my last visit to Tokyo, Japan. It’s cheap and good for budget travelers. You might want to book there, too.

  • Add a bit of emotional appeal – Just a bit, folks. Don’t go too crazy on the sob story. Otherwise, that might backfire. Just a few lines about this being your dream or something. That is if indeed this is your dream to travel to that country. Again, be truthful.
  • Add sentences that hint or say you are coming back to the PH – In my friend’s case, I included stuff like. “My daughter won’t be going with us during this trip, but I hope that we can return to visit your beautiful country someday in the future as I would love to show my daughter the beauty of Japan as well.” This does not right out say it but it hints that my friend is definitely coming back to the PH since she has a daughter here. The part about her planning to tour Japan again in the future is a double whammy for me – it says she’s returning to the PH and that she is good for Japan’s tourism.
  • Include other countries you have traveled to – if you indeed have traveled to other countries, mention them. This shows that you are a traveler/tourist, not a job hunter. If you have not traveled to other countries yet, no worries. You can just say that your dream is to travel the world and Japan or whichever country you are traveling to is the place where you want your dreams to start coming true. πŸ™‚
  • Observe proper grammar and sentence construction – Proofread your letter. Don’t write overly long paragraphs. Order your thoughts carefully for a coherent letter. Overall, make your letter easy to read.

That’s it. I hope this general guideliness will be of help to you.

Sample Explanation Letter for Not Having an ITR

Okay, I think I’ve said enough. Find the sample letter below. Note that this was written for the purpose of getting a travel visa for Japan. Modify as you please for your own situation.

Embassy of Japan in the Philippines

2627 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, 1300

Dear Sir/Madam,

Hello and good day! My name is ___________ and I am requesting a tourist visa to Japan. I plan to travel to Tokyo this September with two of my friends – _______ and ______. I am really excited to see the beautiful sights of the city and experience its sounds and cuisine.

Part of the tourist visa application is to show an Income Tax Return (ITR), which unfortunately I do not possess. Hence, I am writing this letter. The reason why I do not have an ITR is because I work as a Freelance Web Developer. I work on an ad-hoc basis, obtaining clients via bidding websites for freelance work.

Rest assured, however, that my finances at the moment are enough to cover my trip expenses. I was able to set aside PHP 35,000.00 for the trip. Please see my bank certificate for reference. I believe that this amount is enough for me to thoroughly enjoy myself and see the sights we want to see within the duration of our trip.

Touring Japan has always been a dream of mine and it has been in my travel bucket list since the year 2000. And I have always wanted to see a lot of its cities, but my friends and I have decided that we will concentrate on experiencing Tokyo on this trip. For this trip, we plan to visit Disney Sea, the Gundam Statue in Odaiba, the Skytree in Tokyo, and Tokyo Disneyland. Hopefully, we can return in the years to come to see and experience more the beauty of Japan.

I have traveled to other countries last year, namely Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It is my goal to travel to at least one different country each year, either with my close friends or with my daughter. My daughter won’t be going with us during this trip, but I hope that we can return to visit your beautiful country someday in the future as I would love to show my daughter the beauty of Japan as well.

I am really hoping that you would grant my request for a tourist visa. Hoping for your kind consideration.



Your Name and Signature

There you go, folks. I hope this will be useful to you. Again, this is merely a sample and not a one-time solution to all. Having an explanation letter also doesn’t guarantee that your visa will be approved as embassies consider a lot of other factors. But, just in case you need to explain why you do not have an income tax return document, then I’m hoping this post can guide you.

Please Share and Credit Me

If you find this post and guide helpful, please share with others who might need it too. A link back to this page or mention on social media as thanks will already go a long way and will be much appreciated. Would love to hear your feedback on the comments below, too!

And, once again, if you need help writing an explanation letter, please reach out to me via the Toploading for Life Facebook page.

By the way, if you need help with the Japan visa application form or the visa application process in general, I created this Japan visa guide for you.

Cheers and good luck with your visa applications!


  1. Thank you for this very informative post. By the way, did your friend successfully obtain her visa despite not presenting her ITR? HOw about her certificate of employment? Did she ask a COE from her clients or the explanation letter should suffice? Thank you and I hope to hear from you soon

    • Hi Meghan, yes my friend’s visa was approved. Several people have already asked me to write for them and their visas have been approved as well. Regarding COE, it is best to have it. If you are a freelancer and don’t have it, it is best to have screenshots of your monthly income, like paypal or email screenshots for example. I hope that answers your question.

  2. hi, im a subcobtractor in one project. started 2016 up tp now. and Idont have itr nor COE. I take over our business since my father died last august. what will I do? i will applying for korean embassy. my flight is on may 2. thanks

    • Hi Sayra, so sorry that I saw your comment this late. I see my FB page messages more often but I’ll make an effort to be more mindful of comments here in the future. I hope your trip went well? For your case, having an explanation letter is the best way to go.

  3. Hi DaNnea,
    I really appreciate what you wrote in this blog post. It helps freenlancers a lot.
    Im just curious, is there going to be a conflict if you don’t have an ITR but shows a stream of income for the past years on the bank certifcate?

    • Hi Myla, thanks for visiting my blog and appreciating my content! <3
      I don't think there would be a conflict because there are many valid reasons why someone doesn't have an ITR but still has income. If anything, showing that you have income will help prove that you can finance your trip. πŸ™‚

  4. Very informative post. I would like to get your advise on the case of my husband. We have a “business” but he doesn’t have an ITR. Scenario is:

    Our business consist of manufacturing of sidecar, stainless and other metal crafting that has been existing for almost 3years. The thing is, it is not registered since the products we made are sold to a cooperative in which we are member. Cooperatives are tax exempt when dealing with its members, and we only sell our products to the cooperative. so it looks like he is a partner of the coop but not employed. Do you think his visa will be approved if i write an explanation letter informing them that it is the situation? Thank you very much! So you can help me with this. πŸ™‚

    • its like he was employed for the reason of manufacturing but there is no employee employer relationship. Thanks a lot if you can help!

    • Hello po, thanks for reading this post. And as for your question, I really cannot guarantee an 100% answer because the final decision lies with the embassy. However, I believe your husband has a big chance of approval. Just need to explain in the letter. I think the reason is valid naman. As you said, cooperatives are tax exempt. I think you just need to explain and then include some supporting documents like the proof of transaction with the cooperative. Or if you have other permits like DTI and Brgy permit. The travel agency you choose may or may not accept these. Best to ask them as well.

  5. Hello Dannea! Thank you so much for this informative and helpful post! was really nervous because I am a freelancer and cant provide an ITR (just started last march 2019, so it’s really impossible for me to get an ITR — though nag start na ko mag process as self-employed individual ITR – mygad daming requirements & seminar pa!). I followed the format you provided and just changed the content. aannnnnd voila! just got my passport today and i was granted a tourist visa πŸ™‚ — Just sharing this because this is first time applying for japan visa AND japan is my first country to visit! (no travel history!) aside from the explanation letter I also submitted my paypal transaction history (since i cant provide COE) and roundtrip details (this is risky, I KNOW! but well who cares. cli-naim ko na agad na magragrant! kaya book ng flight agad! positive eh haha) and these are the supporting documents i have submitted along with the main requirements. Dasal lng habang naghihintay. Sobrang kaba kasi nga sobrang bakante ng passport ko, never pa ko na out of the country. By the way, I made my itinerary simple for 9 days. I didnt include amusement parks (universal studio,disneyland etc) and temples with expensive entrance fee. I’m travelling with my 2 friends and mejo budget tlga ung plan namin kaya wlang amusement park. more on temples and food trip lng. Ung isa samin with guarantor, ung samin nmn, 60+k ung laman ng bank namin. So swak lng sa itinerary namin, plus, hindi kami hotel – apartment lng sa tokyo for 3 days then airbnb for 6 days sa osaka. share ko lng. dami ko sinabi haha Thank you again, sobrang lakas mka help ng post mo for freelancers na ambisyosa like me. πŸ™‚

    • Hello Meryl, sorry for the late reply. Been super busy the past few months. But I am glad you were able to get your visa and travel to Japan! I’m sure you had loads of fun πŸ™‚ Glad that this post was helpful too and thanks for sharing your experience! <3

  6. Ma’am, how about for a plain housewife with an OFW husband? Do i need to explain my side why i don’t have an ITR?
    TIA for your reply.

  7. It helps me a lot as of this moment. I am struggling on applying visa for my boss and my co employee because my co employee does not possess bank account and I need to write an explanation letter to the china embassy for that. Thank you so much.

  8. Hi! This post is very helpful. I’m applying for a visa (Japan and Korea) and I almost have all the requirements and that’s why I need your help. I don’t have and ITR and COE since my job is online-based. Can you write a sample letter for me? I don’t have any social media account. Can I contact you through email instead to discuss further? Thank you!

    • Hi Bianca, yes I still do but I wasn’t able to reply during the last quarter of 2019 because of family emergencies I had to deal with. So sorry about that.

  9. Hi, I love your post. Do you have any experience writing a letter for uk visitor visa? If so, were they approved? I am an online tutor and I’m identified as an independent contractor. I don’t have an ITR. My trip will be fully sponsored by my sister.

    • Hello Jel, thank you for reading this post and glad you find it helpful. As for the letter, it applies to any visa that requires an ITR and yes I have written explanation letters before for those who wanted to obtain a UK visa.


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