Home Other Countries Japan 2019 Japan Visa Requirements + Application Form Guide + Immigration Tips (Philippines)

2019 Japan Visa Requirements + Application Form Guide + Immigration Tips (Philippines)

Japan visa requirements, visa application form guide, and immigration tips
Japan Visa Requirements + Visa Application Form Guide + Immigration Tips
Japan visa requirements, visa application form guide, and immigration tips
Japan Visa Requirements + Visa Application Form Guide + Immigration Tips

Are you planning a trip to Japan this 2019? Then, for sure, you’ll be looking into the Japan Visa requirements. In that case, I got you covered. I have visited Japan three times so far and so I am sharing here all of my knowledge regarding the visa application process. Find here an outline of the requirements that the Japan embassy in the Philippines require you to complete before you can be a tourist in the Land of the Rising Sun.the

Not only that, but this guide will also help you fill up the application form. I’ve received enough questions about this as well as requests for assistance that I have decided to publish a guide here on how to fill up the Japan Visa application form.

Last but not least, you can also find here my top immigration tips. I have gone through several immigration counters already and have dealt with numerous immigration officers. So, I’ll be sharing on this post my various tips on how to deal with immigration officers confidently.

Just to reiterate, this guide is for the Japan visa requirements for TOURISM purposes only. For a different kind of visa, such as those for studying or working, please refer to the Japan embassy’s website.

This is quite a long guide though, so please use the table of contents below to help you find the answers to your questions quickly.

Table of Contents

Japan Visa Requirements – SINGLE-ENTRY Tourism

I had a single-entry tourist visa for my first and second visit to Japan. Then, I successfully applied for a multi-entry Japan visa (good for 5 years) for my third visit. Each time, I had to gather the requirements and go through the application process. I know how nerve-wracking and confusing this can be for first-timers, so I made this ultimate guide to make things easier for you.

single-entry Japan visa
Here’s one of my single-entry Japan visa, yay. Excuse the face 😀

Let’s start with the requirements. This is the most updated list based on the information currently up on the website of the Japan Embassy in the Philippines this 2019.

Valid Philippine Passport

A valid Philippine passport means that your passport must not expire within 6 months beyond your departure or travel date. For example, if you are planning to visit Tokyo this Spring of 2019, which is around March to April of this year, then your passport should still be valid up until October 2019.

To check the validity of your passport, simply look at the part that says, “Petsa ng pagkawalang bisa/Valid until”. If your passport does not fit this qualification, better renew it right away or your visa application might be denied.

READ: Renewing My Philippine Passport at DFA Cebu by Online Appointment

Aside from that, a valid Philippine passport also means a passport that is not broken or tampered with. Pages should be in good condition, not torn or broken. There shouldn’t be missing pages as well.

Your passport must be signed at the front part and the emergency contact details on the back part should be filled up. IMPORTANT: There should be at least two (2) blank pages in your passport when you process your Japan visa.

Note: Your passport will be taken by the travel agency and sent to the Japan Embassy in the Philippines, located in Manila. The processing can take 2 weeks or more, which means you won’t have your passport for that duration. So, don’t schedule another overseas trip within that time.

Filled-Up Japan Visa Application Form (see the guide on filling it up below)

You can download the Japan Visa application form from the Japan embassy’s website. Alternatively, you can get it at the entrance of the Embassy or you can go to the nearest accredited travel agency.

The form must be duly accomplished or properly filled up. Just see below the guide I made for you on how to fill up this form. Just note that if there are items on the form that are not applicable, all you have to do is write “N/A”.

The Embassy specifically states that they might not accept application forms with blank items. Ensure as well that there is a date on the form and that you signed it. Any wrong or fraudulent information on the form is not tolerated by the Japanese embassy.

On the forms section of this guide, I will show you how to fill up the Japan visa application form.

Valid Photo

A photo needs to be attached to your Japan visa application form. In my experience, the travel agency accepts 2×2 (two by two) photos and visa-size photos.

On the embassy’s list of requirements, here are the photo specs they listed:

  • Size: 4.5cm x 4.5cm
  • Background: white
  • Photo must be taken within the past 6 months from the date of your application
  • Write your name and birthdate at the back of the photo

Tips for having your photo taken for visa purposes:

  • Wear a collared top or bring your own blazer. Photo centers will usually have a blazer for you if you didn’t bring one. But note that this might have been worn by many others before you and might not have been washed for months. So…yeah.
  • To be safe, get a 2×2 and a Japan visa-size photo from the photo center. That’s what I did anyway 🙂
  • Note that you have to remove accessories, including earrings when having your photo taken for the visa.
  • You are not allowed to smile/show teeth on the photo as well.

Birth Certificate from PSA/NSO

Another important Japan visa requirement is the birth certificate issued by the NSO, which is now called PSA. The certificate should be valid within one year prior to the date of application. Your birth certificate should also be readable and has complete information.

If the NSO/PSA birth certificate is not readable and/or incomplete, don’t panic. You can submit that document still but include a birth certificate that’s issued by the Local Civil Registrar.

In the case of a “late registration” birth certificate, you need to also submit your baptismal certificate along with your school record or Form 137. The former can be obtained from the church where you were baptized and the latter is available from your high school. If possible, submit your elementary or high school yearbook as well.

Now, what if you have no records at the PSA or NSO? All you have to do is submit a “Certificate of Non-Record”, which you can get from the PSA. Include a Local Civil Registrar birth certificate.

Guide on How to Buy PSA/NSO Birth Certificate Online

Did you know that you can get your PSA/NSO birth certificate online and have it delivered to your home address? You need to pay PHP 365 for this but I think this is worth it because it’s very convenient. Plus, I hate long lines haha. Anyway, here is a step-by-step guide on how to buy your PSA/NSO birth certificate online:

  1. Go to https://nsohelpline.ph/order-now
  2. Click on the Birth Certificate option. (Other things you can order from here are your Marriage Certificate, a Death Certificate, and CENOMAR)
  3. On the next page, you’ll be asked: “what do you need the birth certificate for?” Choose the Passport/Travel option and select the country, Japan. Then press “Submit”.
  4. You’ll then be taken to the Birth Certificate Application Form. Fill it up with your details.
  5. Once you submit your form, you will be asked: “Have you had any of the following done to your birth certificate?” Choices are: None, Correction of entry, Legitimation, Adoption, Court Hearings, Supplemental. Choose whichever is appropriate.
  6. Next, fill up the “Who is requesting for this Birth Certificate? Form. That should be yourself. Press Submit.
  7. You’ll then be taken to the Checkout page. Review your Order Summary and make sure all the details are correct. Then fill up the Contact Info and Delivery Address part. Again, make sure these are correct so that your birth certificate doesn’t get lost. TAKE NOTE: You will be asked to input the names of the people who will be receiving the delivery on your behalf if you’re not around. In this case, you need to prepare a Letter of Authorization for them and they need to show their ID. You can print the LOA from the NSOhelpline website as it will show up on the payment page.
  8. On the Checkout Summary part, note how many copies you need. Yes, you can order more than one. How much you’ll pay will be automatically computed and will show up for you.
  9. Check the “I certify that all the information I’ve provided is true and correct” part. Then press Continue.
  10. You’ll then be taken to the Order Confirmation page. Here, you can pay through the available online payment channels, which include credit cards (Visa or Mastercard), Bancnet online payment, or Globe Gcash. If you don’t have any of these, you can pay over the counter at these banks/places: Metrobank, Security Bank, Bayad Center, 7-Eleven ECPay, and Bancnet ATM.
  11. After successful payment, you’ll be shown a thank you page, which means yes you have paid and your order is on the way. You’ll also receive an email confirmation of your order.
  12. Expect your PSA/NSO birth certificate to arrive in 1-2 weeks.

Marriage Certificate – for Married Applicants

If you’re single, you can skip this requirement. If you’re married and are applying for a Japan tourist visa, then you need to submit a marriage certificate. It must be issued within one year prior to the date of application and must come from the PSA Main Office or Serbilis Outlet Center. You can also use the NSOhelpline.ph website noted above to get your marriage certificate delivered to you.

Schedule of Stay or Daily Schedule in Japan

This is also called the Taizai Yoteihyo. The Schedule of Stay is actually your itinerary for your Japan trip. The embassy actually provides a form for this. Download here.

The form is pretty straightforward. Just fill in the dates, the activity, and the place where you’ll be staying complete with its address and contact number. Here’s the top part of my most recent Schedule of Stay just to give you an idea.

Schedule of Stay for Japan visa
Sample Schedule of Stay or Itinerary for Japan visa

Just take note that you should do the Schedule of Stay properly. Don’t put in random attractions. It must make sense. What I mean by that is do not put in so many activities that might cost too much compared to the amount in your bank certificate. It does not make sense that you only have that much budget but you’re going to so many places or to expensive ones.

Another thing that does not make sense is having loads of attraction in one day that are hard to get to from each other. The embassy would think that you did not plan your itinerary properly because if you did, you would take into account the routes. And if the lack of planning shows, this can be suspicious.

So, you still have to do your research. You don’t have to follow exactly what’s on your Schedule of Stay once you are in Japan, but you can use it as a rough outline for your trip. What’s important here is to not make the embassy suspicious with your itinerary.

By the way, I can help make your Schedule of Stay for Japan just in case you are busy and can’t do the research. I charge PHP 250 for it (because I have bills to pay hehe). Just message me on my Facebook page (Toploading for Life FB page) if you need assistance.

Bentendo Hall, Daigoji in Kyoto - autumn foliage
At Bentendo Hall, Daigoji in Kyoto. The image that inspired me for 1+ years to save up for Japan. Finally got to see it in real life and I got so emotional!

READ: Kyoto Day 04: Made My Dream to Visit Daigoji Temple in Kyoto a Reality!

Japan Visa Requirements for WITHOUT SPONSOR or GUARANTOR

If you do not have a sponsor or guarantor, meaning you are taking care of the travel costs yourself, then you need to submit all of the above requirements plus:

  • ITR or Income Tax Return Document or Form 2316
  • Bank Certificate

ITR or Income Tax Return Document

If you have a full-time job, you can ask for a copy of your ITR from your HR department. This should be the latest. Meaning since it is 2019 right now, your 2018 ITR is the latest. You only need to submit a clear photocopy, but bring the original to the travel agency during application just in case.

What If I Have No ITR?

There are many reasons for not having an Income Tax Return document or Form 2316. I discussed this in a separate blog post. Maybe you’re a freelancer or new to your job or you just opened a new business. All you have to do is provide an explanation letter.

READ: Getting a Visa But No ITR? Here is a Sample Letter of Explanation for You!

If letter writing is not your strong skill or you are busy, I can write the no ITR explanation letter for you. I also charge PHP 250 for it. I have been doing this for almost 2 years now. I do not guarantee sure approval because only the embassy makes the last decision on your application. Anyone who guarantees 100% visa application approval is most likely a scam.

But, if you follow my Facebook page, I post on there the messages from people who have asked me for help with the letter. Many of them had their visas approved and it is my constant honor to be of service. What I do is use my writing skills to write an explanation letter in a way that presents your situation in the best light possible. So, just message me on this blog’s FB page if you need help with the letter.

Bank Certificate

The bank certificate should be issued within 3 months prior to the date of visa application. My advice is to get your bank certificate one week before you go to the travel agency to apply for a Japan visa.

How Much Money Should I Show in My Bank Certificate?

The answer is it depends. It depends on how long you’ll be in Japan and which city or cities are you planning to visit. Many would tell you that you should have at least 100k pesos in your bank account but that wasn’t the case for me at all.

For my trip to Kyoto, I only had 35k pesos. For my trip to Nagoya, I had 53k on my bank certificate. So, if you’re only one week or less in Japan and your Schedule of Stay shows mostly free places or not a lot of expensive destinations, then PHP 35,000 is most likely okay.

If you’re going to Tokyo, however, I advise having a higher amount on your bank certificate since it is the capital of Japan and stuff there are more expensive compared to places like Nagoya and Fukuoka, which don’t get as much tourist action as Tokyo. For a week or less in Tokyo, I think PHP 50,000 is okay.

I also advise having higher show money if you do not have an ITR.

Disclaimer: This is based on my experience only. The embassy will have the final say.

Japan Visa Requirements for WITH SPONSOR or GUARANTOR

Having a sponsor or guarantor means someone else will shoulder your travel expenses to Japan. This person can be Filipino or Japanese or anyone really. And they can be living in Japan, in the Philippines, or anywhere in the world. Maybe your Tita in the US or your sister in Japan is being generous, right? Lucky you!

List of Requirements

Anyway, the Japan Visa requirements for travelers with a sponsor or guarantor involves a few more documents. To summarize it for you, here are the things you need if you are applying with a guarantor:

  • Valid Philippine passport
  • Completed Japan visa application form
  • Photo
  • Your Birth Certificate (PSA/NSO)
  • Marriage Certificate (if you’re married, no need if you’re single)
  • Daily Schedule / Schedule of Stay / Taizai Yoteihyo
  • ITR (or no ITR Explanation Letter if you don’t have it)
  • Guarantee Letter (coming from and signed by the sponsor or guarantor)
  • Proof of Relationship between applicant and guarantor (e.g birth certificate of the guarantor if they are your parents or siblings. If they are your friend, aunt, uncle, etc. – show screenshots of online conversations with each other and photos together)
  • Bank Certificate of the Guarantor
  • ITR of the Guarantor

If you have your own bank certificate with some savings, this can help as a supporting document, so my advice is to include it if you have it.

If you need help in writing the guarantee letter, I can help write the Guarantee or Sponsor Letter as well. Same fee as the other travel writing services I provide.

Japan Visa Requirements for MINORS

If the Japan visa applicant is a minor or below 18 years of age, they will need a Parental Consent letter. And since most likely they cannot afford to finance their trip, they would have to show the requirements needed for applying with a guarantor or sponsor.

Supporting Documents

These documents can help with your Japan visa application here in the Philippines. They are not major visa requirements (meaning you need not submit them) but the travel agency can still accept them and they will improve your chances of getting approved:

  • COE or Certificate of Employment – will help prove that you’re coming back to the Philippines and not work illegally in Japan.
  • Copy of your leave form signed by your manager. This should coincide with your travel dates to Japan, of course.
  • Copy of three months worth of payslips or salary. For freelancers like me, you can just have screenshots of your Paypal earnings or a copy of your bank statement (this is different from the bank certificate).
  • Booking confirmation of flights. Yes, I know this is a risk because you’ll waste your money booking flights if your visa is denied. So please don’t book flights if you really don’t want to. As for me, I took this risk each time but I made sure to wait for cheap flight promos.
  • Booking confirmation of hotels. Take advantage of “book now, pay later” and free cancellation features of hotel booking sites such as Agoda.
  • If you’re an entrepreneur/businessperson, submit documents related to your business such us SEC or Mayor’s Permit.

Japan Visa Requirements – MULTI-ENTRY Tourism

Okay, if you’re like me who love Japan so much, you’d probably want a multi-entry visa. That way, you can visit again and again without having to go through the visa application process each time. This will also save you money on application processing fees.

For a multi-entry Japan visa, you’d still need to have all of the above applicable requirements PLUS one crucial form: the REQUEST FOR A MULTIPLE-ENTRY VISA form.

You can download this form or fill up one at the travel agency during application.

On the forms section of this guide, I’ll show you how to fill up this form.

How Much Do I Have to Pay for My Japan Visa Application?

This can range from PHP 900.00 to PHP 1,700.00.

Standard

If you choose regular processing, expect to pay around PHP 900.00 (may take 2 or more weeks).

Rush

If you want your application to be rushed (faster processing), the fee is around PHP 1,700.00.

Important

These amounts might be a bit lower or higher depending on the accredited travel agency you are transacting with.

Note that the visa application fee is non-refundable. Whether you are approved or denied.

Make sure that you keep the receipt of the visa application fee as you’ll need to present that upon claiming back your passport.

One Piece Tokyo Tower
Visited the One Piece Tower at Tokyo Tower! <3

READ: I Met Totoro in Kyoto! Love!

Japan Visa Application Form – How to Fill It Up?

Okay, how to fill up the Japan Visa application form? I’ll show you right here! I decided to do this because I have received messages in the past asking me what to write on some parts of the form. And so I’m going to show you right here through the below screenshots.

But before anything, please take note:

  • You can fill up the form digitally or it can also be handwritten
  • Write using black ballpen
  • Fill it up legibly, avoid erasures
  • Make sure all the information are readable and accurate
  • Put N/A if there is a part that is not applicable to you.
  • DO NOT LEAVE ANY PARTS BLANK

Okay, here goes. Let’s begin at the top part.

P.S. All answers on the images below are for sample purposes only and not real names, addresses, or contact numbers.

Personal Details Section

Japan visa application form part 1
Japan visa application form part 1 – Personal Details section

Here, you need to fill up your:

  • Surname – that’s your family name; write the same thing that’s on your passport.
  • Given and middle names – this is your first name and middle name.
  • Other names – if for some reason you have other names, write it here. But if there’s none, just put N/A.
  • Date of birth – follow the format given, which is (Day)/(Month)/(Year).
  • Place of birth – again, follow the format as shown.
  • Sex – unfortunately, we only have Male and Female choices for official forms, so just choose your biological gender.
  • Marital Status – just choose one among the choices given. (wala pong “Complicated” sorry 😀 )
  • Nationality or citizenship – if you are filling this form digitally, there is actually a drop-down box there where you can choose Philippines. If you are handwriting this form, you can write Philippines or Filipino.
  • Former and/or other nationalities or citizenships – if you had different citizenship and converted to being a Filipino or if you have dual citizenship, just fill up this part accordingly. If doing this digitally, choose from the drop-down box. Since there was no N/A in the choices, I just chose Philippines again. If you’re doing this by hand and you have no other citizenship, write N/A.
  • ID No. issued to you by your government – this can be the number of any government ID you have. But to make things easier for you, just input your Passport number.

Passport Details Section

Japan visa application form part 2
Japan visa application form part 2 – Passport Details Section

On the Japan visa application form, there is a part where you need to input your passport details. So, make sure you have your passport ready for this. Open the page where your picture is located as that is where all the details are.

  • Passport type – unless you are a diplomat or government official, just choose “Ordinary”
  • Passport No. – input your passport number
  • Date of Issue – check your passport and copy the date there
  • Issuing authority – it’s also there on your passport
  • Date of Expiry – check your passport

Purpose Section

Japan visa application form part 3
Japan visa application form part 3 – Purpose Section

Here, you need to detail your purpose of visit to Japan and other tour-related information.

  • Purpose of visit to Japan – you can write here “Tourism”, “Tour”, “Holiday”, “Vacation”.
  • Intended length of stay in Japan – count the days from your arrival date to your departure date and write here.
  • Date of arrival in Japan – write the date that your flight will be landing at a Japanese airport.
  • Port of entry into Japan – this just means the city where you’ll be landing.
  • Name of ship or airline – input your chosen flight carrier/company.
  • Names and address of hotels or persons with whom applicant intends to stay – this is pretty self-explanatory. If staying at a hotel, hostel, etc. – just input its name, address, and contact number. [Check FAQs below regarding pre-booking an accommodation]
  • Dates and duration of previous stays in Japan – if this is your first time traveling to Japan, just write N/A. If you have visited before, just state the city and how many days you were there (e.g. Kyoto-8 days).

Address and Employment Section

Japan visa application form part 4
Japan visa application form part 4 – Address and Employment Section

Here, you need to provide your residential address and employment details.

  • Your current residential address – where you live right now, fill up accordingly
  • Current profession or occupation and position – Input your job position here. If you are a freelancer, just note that. If you are a businessperson, just note “business owner”.
  • Name and address of employer – IF YOU WORK IN AN OFFICE, just input the details of the company you work for. IF YOU ARE A FREELANCER, write N/A. It’s okay because you are not expected to list out all of your clients from various parts of the world. Been there, done that ^_~. IF YOU ARE A BUSINESSPERSON, then just write your business name, address, and contact info. If your business is online, just write “online” or N/A on the address part.

Guarantor Section

Japan visa application form part 5
Japan visa application form part 5 – Guarantor Section

We’re almost done with this form!

  • Partner’s profession/occupation (or that of parents, if applicant is a minor) – for those of you who are married, fill this up. Or if you’re a minor, fill this up with the appropriate details. If you’re of legal age and single, just write N/A.
  • Guarantor or reference in Japan – okay, so if you have a guarantor or sponsor whether living in Japan or not, fill up their details here. If there’s none, write N/A.
  • Inviter in Japan – if this is the same person as above, just write “same as above”. If not, then fill in the details. If you have no inviter, write N/A.

Have You Ever Section

Here, you will have to declare if you have committed a crime in the past. If you’re not guilty of anything, just choose all of the No boxes. If you chose a Yes box, please explain the details on the box provided.

Japan visa application form part 6
Japan visa application form part 6 – Have Your Ever Section

Signature Section

This is the last part of the form guys, yay! So here, just write the date of application, the day you go to the travel agency to submit your Japan visa requirements. See specified format. DON’T FORGET to sign your form! You may want to read the fine print too.

Japan visa application form part 7
Japan visa application form part 7 – Signature Section

You did it, you filled up the form! That wasn’t too bad, was it? 🙂

Japan Visa Application Form – For Multi-Entry

If you are applying for a multi-entry Japan visa, you’ll need to fill up the above form PLUS one other form – the REQUEST FOR A MULTIPLE-ENTRY VISA.

It is just a one-page form, very straightforward.

Based on this form, there can be four reasons that you’re asking for a multi-entry Japan Visa:

  • Multiple-entry visa for tourist.
  • A company employee who has been working full-time in any of the following (see image for details)
  • Multiple entry temporary visitor’s visa for cultural or intellectual figures.
  • Spouse or child of the Japanese who lives in the Philippines with long term visa.

For the purposes of this guide, we will only be concerned with the Tourism multi-entry Japan visa.

1st Half of the Form

Request for a multi-entry visa form part 1
Request for a multi-entry visa form part 1

As you can see here, we chose “Multiple-entry visa for tourist”. Just fill in the box next to it or you can do an X or check mark. Up to you.

Below that, choose everything that applies to you. If you have NOT traveled to Japan before and you really just want to apply for a multi-entry right away, just choose “A person who has highly sufficient financial capacity.” That is if you are paying for your own trip.

If you have a sponsor, choose “Immediate family members (Spouse/Child) of the person who has highly sufficient financial capacity.

Since I have traveled to Japan twice before I applied for a multi-entry visa and have also traveled to the US, I chose those three options as seen in the image.

READ: Kyoto Day 01: Exploring, Eating, Gawking, Fangirling

READ: The Crazy First Day in Fukuoka

READ: That Day I Got MOBBED by DEER in Nara for Feeding Them Biscuits!

G7 countries, by the way, are any of the following: Japan, France, Canada, Germany, Italy, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom.

Advice time: Unless you can really show very high show money, it is advisable to not apply for a multi-entry visa as a tourist right away. It’s best to enter Japan at least once on a single-entry visa first before getting a multi-entry. I just think this increases your chances of approval.

2nd Half of the Form

Request for a multi-entry visa form part 2
Request for a multi-entry visa form part 2

Here, we don’t care anymore about the other checkboxes since they are not for tourism.

I want to bring your attention, though, to “The reason” part of the form. You need to explain here why you are applying for a multi-entry tourist visa to Japan. I used orange text there on the image for easier visuals, but you should totally write using black ballpen here.

Just want to point out to you guys that you don’t need an essay here. Keep it short and with sense. The reason written in the image right there is exactly what I wrote when I applied for a multi-entry. For your reference. 🙂

Lastly, don’t forget to fill in the date, your name, and your signature. That’s it!

I Provide Travel Writing Services

As already mentioned, I can help you with these things:

  • no ITR explanation letter
  • Schedule of Stay or Itinerary
  • Guarantee Letter

I charge PHP 250 each. I hope you understand because I have bills to pay and my wanderlust to satisfy! Haha! Please give me advanced notice if you need help because I also have work and I need enough time to craft your letters in the best words possible. I usually require a one-week turn-around time for these letters as I need to study your situation and write your letter to present your case positively. Thank you.

For assistance, please message me at the Toploading for Life Facebook Page. Cheers!

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding the Japan Visa for Tourists

In the almost two years that I have been writing no ITR explanation letters, I have received so many questions regarding the Japan tourist visa. I received similar questions from my blog posts regarding my Japan trips as well. So, I will do my best to answer all of your pressing questions right here!

tatami floor, Fukuoka AirBnB
Stayed at an AirBnB in Nagoya that had a traditional tatami floor and Japanese family house feel.

How early should I apply for a Japan tourist visa?

Apply a month before your planned travel date, to be safe. The processing of the Japan Visa requirements and application form can take 1 to 2 weeks and the embassy might need 2 weeks as well to decide on your application. There have been many cases though that the embassy gave their decision in just two days. But just apply a month prior to your trip to be safe, especially if you are outside Manila.

How long does the visa application process take?

Expect 1 to 2 business weeks. Might be longer for those outside of Manila. You’d need time to gather your requirements, too.

How to know if your visa has been approved or denied?

Someone messaged me on FB and said that someone told him that you’ll only know if your visa is approved or denied once you get to the immigration counter. That is not true. I repeat – that is not the case at all.

The embassy will inform the travel agency of their decision. The agency will then text you if you have been approved or denied. If they don’t and they just say you can claim your passport now, then just go and get your passport.

Upon claiming your passport, if you see a white sticker on the back cover, that means you’ve been approved. If you see a red sticker, you’ve been denied. Of course, you can always check the pages of your passport. An approved visa will be stuck to one of those pages.

My visa application was denied. What can I do?

You can submit an appeal letter within 15 days from when you received the denial. Explain well your situation and why you deserve a tourist visa. This is still not a guarantee for the Japan embassy to change their mind though. I haven’t tried this so that’s the extent of my knowledge.

If the appeal did not work or you don’t want to bother about it, you can reapply for a visa 6 months later.

Why was my visa application denied?

The embassy and travel agency don’t actually give the specific reasons why, so these are just my guesses. It might be that they got suspicious of you and are not convinced that you’re really there for tourism.

Red flags for these are no ITR, no previous travel experience, unemployment, you just resigned from your job, you’re new to your job, or any of those “not sufficient proof of social and economic ties to home country” reasons. So, that’s why explaining your situation in a letter (for no ITR) becomes important.

Another reason might be is that they think your show money isn’t enough or there is a disconnect between your show money and your itinerary. It might be also that in the form you stated the address of a friend or relative in Japan, but you did not apply for a visa with guarantor. Also, a form with so many erasures or many areas left blank can be reasons for a denied visa.

What if I overstayed in Japan before and was deported? Can I still apply for a tourist visa?

Japan’s law states that 10 years after you were deported, you can apply for a tourist visa again. If it hasn’t been 10 years for you, then I’d say your chances are very low if non-existent. When it is more than 10 years and you apply for a tourist visa, I advise to include a cover letter explaining what happened and stating your conviction not to overstay again and not to violate their laws again.

How soon is my passport released?

I know some people who got back their passport with visa in less than a week. But this might take longer, especially if the embassy needs more requirements from you or are busy. So, again, apply a month prior to your trip to be extra safe.

Is there an interview?

No, there is no interview for Japan visa. However, there are cases when the embassy would require more information from you so they would ask you to send more documents. This can be coursed through the accredited travel agency you dealt with.

How long is a Japan visa valid / what is the validity length?

Japan visa validity
“Date of expiry” and “‘For stay(s) of”

Okay, two things to remember here. On the visa, find these – “Date of expiry” and “‘For stay(s) of”. The “Date of expiry” is until when the visa can be used to enter Japan. So if you got the visa on January 1, 2019 and the expiry is July 1, 2019, then any time within that period, your visa is valid.

The “For stay(s) of” shows how many days you can stay in Japan. If it says 15 days, then you can only tour there for 15 days. Exceed that and you’ll be considered overstaying and breaking the law.

Now, if your visa is Single-Entry, then once you used it to enter Japan one time, that’s it. Even if the expiry is far away, since you’ve used it already, it’ll be invalid after that. You’ll have to apply for another visa if you plan another trip.

But, if your visa is Multi-Entry, you can use that to enter Japan multiple times as long as it has not exceeded the expiry date. Just make sure to stay only for the number of days stated on the “For stay(s) of” part each time. I hope that makes sense.

Where is the Japan Embassy in the Philippines located?

The Japan Embassy Philippines address is: 2627, 1300 Roxas Blvd, Pasay, Metro Manila

Do I have to pre-book flights and hotels or can I book them after the visa is approved?

Yes and No. Bear with me. No, because booking confirmation documents are not major requirements, meaning you need not submit them if you don’t have them. BUT, the travel agency does accept them as supporting documents. So, that tells me that they can help prove that you are traveling for tourism purposes.

So, what I do is go to Agoda and book accommodation. I use their “Book Now, Pay Later” feature. If ever the visa isn’t approved, just make sure to cancel the booking before the payment date. You don’t have to pay anything but you’ll still receive a confirmation email, which you can print as supporting documents. You’ll also have a legit hotel name, address, and contact number to input into the visa application form and scheedule of stay.

As for flights, I always take the risk on this one. I wait for promo flights to Japan and book them. You don’t have to if you don’t want to. And yes, I got denied once since I applied for a visa to Japan four times and got approved three times only. And yes, since the promo flight I booked was non-refundable and non-transferrable, that money went down the drain. But it was a risk I willingly took. It’s up to you to decide in the end.

Do I have to stay at the hotel address I wrote on my form?

No, you don’t have to if you changed your mind later.

What does the Japan tourist visa look like?

Behold my multi-entry visa! Obviously, I’m proud of it. Hehe

multi-entry Japan visa
My multi-entry Japan visa. You can clearly see the red “MULTIPLE” there and as you can see, I can stay in Japan for 30 days each visit. This expires on June 2023, so I can definitely attend the 2020 Olympics! <3

What visa should I get – single or multi-entry?

If it’s your first time, I advise single-entry. It might look weird to the embassy why you want a multi-entry right away. They might think you’re going to hunt for a job. However, if you can show excellent finances, then feel free to apply for a multi-entry.

Otherwise, apply for a multi-entry when you have already at least one single-entry visa approved.

Should my travel companions apply for the visa together with me at the agency?

My answer to this is Yes. Because the only time I was denied was when my travel companion and I submitted our requirements separately. Imagine this, I had a single-entry visa approved before this. My travel companion has traveled to the US, a G7 country, before this. But our schedules didn’t match so we did not go together to apply to the travel agency. We got denied.

Of course, this may not be the reason at all. It might also be that our show money was low for Tokyo. We only showed PHP 35,000 that time. But, to be safe, apply together. And, again, have higher show money for Tokyo.

Does an explanation letter work for other requirements?

Yes, just explain the situation and if you can show other proofs to why some of these documents are missing, do so. Also, ask your travel agency for the best course of action.

Can I send my Japan visa requirements via mail or courier?

Yes, you can. But make sure to contact your travel agency first to arrange this matter.

What travel agency do you use? / Why use a travel agency?

Due to the volume of applications, the Japanese Embassy here in the Philippines work with accredited travel agencies to help them process things. To that effect, applicants are encouraged to go through a travel agency. As a Cebuana, I find this convenient because traveling to Manila to process the visa in person like you do for the US visa is such a hassle and expensive.

As for what travel agency I use here in Cebu, I have always gone to Destination Specialists. They’re accredited and are located in Oakridge, A.S. Fortuna. Both the Japanese and Filipino staff there are friendly and helpful.

Can I ask a friend or someone else to submit my Japan visa requirements?

Yes, you can do that. Just provide whoever it is with an authorization letter, your ID, and a photocopy of your ID. The person must also show their ID.

My main purpose is to visit a relative or friend, not for tourism. Is the visa process the same?

No. There is another type of visa you should apply for this. See this if you’re visiting a friend and this if you’re visiting a relative.

I already had an approved visa before. How can I renew this?

There is no renewal per se. All you can do is apply for a new single-entry visa or a multi-entry visa this time. The process is as stated above.

Oh no, I don’t have a bank account. Can I still apply for a Japan visa?

Yes, but the best way is to find a guarantor. Then, you show your guarantor’s or sponsor’s bank certificate. See the application with a guarantor or sponsor section above for more details.

I am a freelancer, can I still apply?

Yes, of course. Just write an explanation letter for why you have no ITR. As stated above, I can help you with this if needed.

I am a retired senior, can I still apply?

Yes, definitely. You just need to submit an explanation letter explaining your situation and the lack of ITR. Again, I can help with that. Also, it’s great if you can include a copy of your senior citizen ID.

I am a housewife/househusband, can I still apply?

Yes, you can. You’ll need an explanation letter about why you don’t have an ITR. And, apply with guarantor/sponsor. Your partner can be your guarantor or sponsor.

I am still a student with no work, can I still apply?

Yes, no problem. As long as you have a guarantor or sponsor. This can be any of your parents, a sibling, or any generous relative.

Can my boyfriend or girlfriend be my sponsor or guarantor?

Yes, that’s no problem. As long as you show the bank certificate and ITR of your sponsor, then you’re good. Don’t forget the guarantee letter as well. Check above for details on applying for a visa with guarantor or sponsor.

Nagoya Castle
Visited Nagoya Castle in summer.

BONUS: IMMIGRATION TIPS

Once you have the Japan visa and you are now excited about your trip to Japan, the next thing that might cause you to worry is the immigration process.

We’ve all been there. We’ve heard stories about rude and mean immigration officers, about people getting offloaded and not allowed to go on their trips. We’ve heard of those stories about travel plans that ended in tears because of immigration officers.

Don’t panic. I’m here to share with you all the tips I can think of on how to deal with the immigration officer and how to make the immigration process go smoothly for you. I have traveled to 10 countries so far and have successfully gone through several immigration counters without major problems. And I’m a freelancer. So, here goes.

The Process

Step 1 – Upon arrival at the airport, pay the Travel Tax (PHP 1,620 at the moment). Make sure to hold on to that receipt.
Step 2 – Depending on the airport, you might have to pay the Terminal Fee. No need if you’re going through NAIA. PHP 750 if you’re going through the Mactan International Airport Terminal 2.
Step 3 – Check in to your flight via the counters, unless you’ve done so online already. If you have checked-in luggage, go to the counters. MAKE SURE you still have the travel tax and terminal fee receipts.
Step 4 – Pre-Immigration counter. Fill up the Departure Card. You can get this form at the entrance leading to the immigration counters.
Step 5 – Line up at the immigration. Ready these documents – Passport with the Visa, Flight boarding pass, Travel Tax receipt, Terminal Fee receipt if there’s any, Departure Card. That’s it. Don’t shove your hotel booking documents and any other documents to the IO. They might think you’re trying too hard and, therefore, suspicious.
Step 6 – Once you’re at the counter, answer the IO’s questions accurately and succinctly. Keep it short and simple.

That’s it. The officer will stamp your passport and you can go find your boarding gate.

Immigration Tip 1 – Be Prepared (Departure Card and Travel Tax)

Have printed copies of your flight and hotel bookings. Or have screenshots of them on your phone. Print or have a digital copy of your Itinerary as well.

No, you don’t have to give these to the immigration officer (IO) right away, but have them ready in your bag just in case they ask for it. Do not have copies of your CV or anything job-seeking related. If you’re really traveling for tourism, you shouldn’t have this anyway.

Make sure as well that you have the Departure Card and Travel Tax receipt with you.

Immigration Tip 2 – Be Confident (Nerves Are Suspicious)

If you’re really traveling for tourism purposes, then you shouldn’t be nervous. Your purpose is legit and just think that any country, even Japan, would appreciate the money you’re injecting to their tourism industry. So why be nervous? If you appear nervous, the IO will be suspicious of you, so just take a deep breath and calm down and rest easy in the fact that you’re not a criminal!

IMPORTANT: Memorize your entry and exit days. When asked when you’re leaving Japan, say January 29, for example. Don’t say “end of the month”. They need specifics. Memorize the name of your hotel and it’s general address as well. If you forgot the address, DON’T PANIC. Just say, “I have the address on my hotel booking or phone, I can show it to you if you want. If they nod yes, that’s the time to take out the copy of the hotel booking.

I know some of you only rely on your friends to plan the whole trip. But so you don’t have a tough time at the immigration counter, have the initiative to know the entry and exit dates as well as the hotel name and address.

Immigration Tip 3 – Keep Answers to Questions Short and Simple. (Sample Questions)

Don’t launch into long stories and answers. Again, this can make you look suspicious because they might think you’re trying too hard. Answer only what is asked. Here are most of the questions I came across:

  • What’s your purpose in Japan? – Tourism. (That’s it. Only talk about where you’re going around Tokyo if you’re asked for it.)
  • When are you coming back? – Say the date.
  • How many days are you staying? – Say the number of days.
  • What is your occupation? – Answer your position. In my case, I just say freelance writer. And in my case, this is often the part when the IO becomes a bit weird. One time, I got asked exactly what I do, so I just explained as best I can. I said I write for various websites and my clients come from different parts of the world.
  • Where do you work? – This is often the follow-up question if you have an office job. Just say your company name and address.
  • Sometimes, they might ask you if you know a certain someone with the same surname as you. This person might be on their watch list. Just say no.
  • Where are you staying? – Say the name of the hotel.
  • Where is this hotel? – Answer the address. If you forgot, say I have it on the booking confirmation. Hand to the officer that document.
  • Are you traveling solo – Yes if you are, no if you are not. And you can point to your travel companions if they’re behind you in the line or have gone through the counter.
  • If you’re traveling solo, they might ask you other questions, like why? Just say you love adventuring on your own. They never asked me though, I wonder why hahaha.
  • Is your family in the Philippines?/Are you living with your family? – I got asked this question when going to the US. I simply said yes.

Immigration Tip 4 – Be Cordial or Respectful

Often, the immigration officers will be there in their counters not smiling or having a resting b*tch face. Don’t be intimidated. They’ve probably been there all day and with the many people going through their counters all day, they can’t be expected to smile all day. They’re also just humans.

Still, be cordial and respectful. What I do when I go up to the counter is just say, “Good morning/afternoon/evening.” I smile a bit, not showing teeth. I just don’t want to smile so broadly and appearing weird or suspicious. So, you know, just typical small smile when you meet a stranger. I don’t care if the IO fails to respond to my greeting.

Once done, I say thank you. That’s it. Just common courtesy.

Immigration Tip 5 – Dress Appropriately (A Jacket Once Gave Me Trouble with an IO)

Dress in a decent manner. I know, I know. We should not be judged by our appearance. But the IO’s job is to make quick decisions and screen so many people. It cannot be helped that a person’s appearance can factor into their decisions. To be safe, just dress nicely. You don’t have to go all out, just comfortable and decent.

Hachiko Statue, Shibuya, Tokyo
Visited the Hachiko Statue in Shibuya. Wearing the offending jacket. 😀

Here’s a story: I landed at Fukuoka and since it was Autumn, I thought it was gonna be cold. So, I wore my HeatTech jacket on top of two layers of clothing. Turns out the airport was warm enough. Since I had bags, I couldn’t easily remove my jacket, so I was sweating when I arrived at the counter.

Obviously, the Japanese immigration officer found that suspicious. Why was I sweating? I could tell he was suspicious and probably thought I was nervous. Good thing I was prepared because he grilled me. He wanted to see all my hotel bookings, lol. I just gave the documents to him. And my exit flight tickets. Even though my exit flight ticket stated I was going to Los Angeles, the IO was still a bit unsure. But he eventually let me through.

So, the lesson of the story is – dress comfortably because it might affect your immigration process!

Immigration Tip 6 – Prepare for Long Lines, Don’t Be Late!

Always, expect the immigration lines to be long. So, arrive at the airport early, around 2 hours or more before your flight. That way, you won’t feel stressed about getting left behind by your plane while still lining up for the immigration.

If you’re stressing because of that, you can appear nervous and suspicious. So, just be kind to yourself, and give yourself enough time.

Immigration Tip 7 – Don’t Be Intimidated by the Tech

At immigration counters, it is standard procedure that they’ll take your photo and thumbprints. There will be a camera there and the IO will tell you to look into the camera or gesture to the camera. Look into the camera, give it a count of 10, and that’s it. Your picture was taken.

Then there will be a fingerprint scanner. The IO will tell you or gesture to it as well. Often, there are signs posted on the counter about this. So, don’t panic, give yourself time to look at those signs and follow instructions.

Remember: This is not a race. Yes, there are other people lining up behind you but stay calm.

Immigration Tip 8 – Stay Behind the Line

Follow instructions posted around you. If it is not yet your turn, there is often a line on the floor that separates you from the counter. Stay behind that line. If you cross that and it is not yet your turn, the IO might get annoyed at you and give you a hard time.

Immigration Tip 9 – Listen to Announcements, Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Just in case you are a bit late to the airport and afraid to miss your flight, listen to announcements. Often, some immigration counters will be freed up for those whose flights are about to leave. Someone will be announcing the flight destination, time, or airline. Be aware and make sure you line up for those counters.

But again, arrive at the airport early to avoid unnecessary stress.

That’s all I can think of guys. I hope you find this guide helpful.

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