Konnichiwa! Traveling to Japan?
Even if Japan happens to be relatively near to the Philippines, getting there isn’t as easy as we think. Since our Philippine Passports do not provide us a visa-free entry to any Japan city, we still need to go through an application process before we jet off to this vibrant country.
To ease up the process for you guys, we put together a step-by-step guide that you can follow as you apply for a tourist Japan visa! Read on ‘til the end for some tips as well!
*Update (August 2, 2018): According to the Embassy of Japan, visa restrictions have been relaxed for Philippine passport holders intending to travel to Japan for business or cultural purposes. Effective August 1, 2018, the Embassy of Japan will be extending visa periods from 5 years to a maximum of 10 years, while the number of visa applicants eligible for multiple entry visas for short-term stay will also be expanded.
How To Apply For A Japan Visa:
1. Decide on what kind of Japan visa you need
There are several types of Japan visas that you can apply for, so you have to first determine the purpose of your travel. The requirements for each type of visa varies, so make sure you’ve chosen the appropriate type of visa to apply for.
In this guide, we’ll be discussing what requirements you’ll be needing for a tourist visa without a guarantor or sponsor. However, if you intend to visit Japan for other purposes, we recommend checking out the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines page for more information.
If you will proceed with a tourist visa, this means that you intend to visit Japan as a tourist and have made arrangements to tour the country.
2. Prepare the required documents for your visa application
This is the single most crucial portion of the application process. Do know that incomplete requirements, or even unfilled blanks, may cause your application to be rejected.
*All documents must be original – scanned copies and photocopies are discouraged unless stated
2.1. Philippine Passport
What many people don’t know is that your Philippine passport WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED on several accounts:
- Photo page (Page 2) has a broken lamination
- Validity of passport is less than 6 months from intended travel date
- No traveler signature on passport
- Less than 2 blank pages available for stamps
2.2 Visa Application Form
Download the Japan Visa Application form here in A4 size. Applicants must type in their information or write it down in CAPITALIZED letters . Whatever method you decide on, make sure there are NO ERASURES and that all provided information is in fact true by the time you submit.
Make sure not to leave any blanks unfilled – if information is not applicable, write N/A. Check this guide for a sample Japan visa application form.
For the sections that ask for information on flights and accommodations:
- The embassy doesn’t necessarily require applicants to book their flights and accommodations before the application process. That said, applicants can indicate the airline and hotel they intend to stay in for the meantime.
- If you want to show the embassy proof of your bookings, you can book your round-trip flights and accommodations beforehand as well. Though some say this increases your chances, we cannot guarantee this.
- We recommend checking out Agoda.com for accommodations with no required prepayments. Many of their accommodations also offer free cancellations, so book these in the meantime.
2.3 ID Photo
- The ID Photo requirement for a Japan visa is 4.5cm x 4.5cm or 2 x 2 inches on a white background. Head to the nearest photo shop in your area and simply request an ID Photo for a Japan Visa, and they should be aware of the latest ID requirements.
- For photo guidelines, please refer to this page
- Make sure your ID Photo was taken within 6 months.
- Indicate NAME and BIRTHDATE on the back of the photo.
- Your ID Photo must be directly pasted onto your application.
2.4 NSO Birth Certificate
The NSO Birth Certificate that will be submitted must be an original copy, issued within one year. If you will need to order, you can order one online here. However, if you’ve already acquired a Japan visa before, this is no longer required.
In the event that your NSO Birth Certificate is unreadable, submit a birth certificate from the local civil registrar instead.
In the event that your NSO Birth Certificate is of “Late Registration”, submit a Baptismal Certificate or a School Record (Form 137) with the necessary address and telephone information.
2.5 NSO Marriage Certificate
If you’re married, the NSO Marriage Certificate that will be submitted must be an original copy, issued within one year. If you will need to order, you can order one online here. However, if you’ve already acquired a Japan visa during the course of your marriage, this is no longer required.
2.6 Japan Itinerary
Your Japan Itinerary will give the embassy an idea of your activities in Japan. Download the form here, fill it up and print. You can fill this up yourself, or have an accredited travel agency fill it up for you.
You don’t need to stick to these activities once you fly off to Japan, but it’s best to indicate the activities you plan on doing while you’re there. This doesn’t have to be complex, but make sure to indicate when you’re arriving and the contact information of the tours you intend on joining.
Here’s a sample:
2.7 Bank Certificate
Include in your application an original bank certificate issued within the past 3 months. There is no indication of a minimum balance requirement from the embassy, but take into account the cost of your entire trip and your daily expenses.
2.8 Income Tax Return
Unless you’re retired or a senior citizen, you are required to submit your proof of income along with your other requirements.
- For employed individuals:
- Provide the latest Income Tax Return Form 2316 and a photocopy on A4 paper
- Certificate of Employment
- For self-employed individuals:
- Freelance: Provide the latest Income Tax Return Form 2316 and a photocopy on A4 paper
- Business Owners: Submit your Business Registration issued by DTI / SEC and the company Income Tax Return
- For OFWs:
- Provide a Tax Exemption Form from the BIR
- Certificate of Employment or Contract of Employment
- No Income Tax Report
- Provide a letter stating why you are unable to submit an ITR at this time
* For those traveling with guarantor/sponsor: There are additional requirements needed if you’re a student, minor, or an unemployed individual. If you are a spouse and cannot provide a bank certificate, or a self-employed individual who cannot provide an ITR, you will also need to submit additional documents. You can find a list for these here.
3. Contact an accredited travel agency to process your application
Be informed that The Embassy of Japan DOES NOT accept walk in applications. All applications need to go through accredited travel agencies. Submit your requirements to them and they will be the ones to process it for you.
Although the Japan Visa is free, these travel agencies will charge you for their services. For a list of accredited travel agencies check here. Take note that these are the only agencies that the Embassy of Japan will entertain applications from, so if you need more information, visit the corresponding agency websites.
4. Wait for application results
The processing time for visa applications shouldn’t take more than 3-5 days, unless a problem was encountered with your application requirements. However, in such case, the embassy will reach out to you to get the requirements completed. Once you’ve completed all the requirements and had it double checked by the agency, there’s not a lot you can do but wait! So ask your travel agency how they will be contacting you regarding your application status.
Additional Tips for applying for a Japan Tourist Visa
1. Quadruple-check your requirements!
Though the travel agency you will send your requirements can catch any missing documents, other aspects such as incorrect information on the application, is beyond their control. If you can, have a friend who’s successfully applied for a Japan visa before look over your application as well!
2. Have enough money in your bank account
One common reason as to why people get denied a visa to Japan is due to lack of money in their account. So before planning a trip to Japan, make sure that you should have enough money to cover your travel expenses and daily allowance at least six months before your trip. A sudden deposit of a large amount of money is a red flag and will work against your favor.
3. Provide proof that you will return to the Philippines
By providing proof, you’re letting the Embassy of Japan know that you have no intention of settling illegally. If you’ve already booked your flights, show them a copy of your return flight ticket. If this isn’t something you have at the moment, you can send a certificate of employment, approved leave of absence, an ITR, or a photocopy of your travel history on old passports.
Klook your way around Japan!
Once you’ve got that visa covered, it’s time to explore this dynamic country! Whether you want to hit up the quirky streets of Tokyo, or the cultural sites of Osaka, Klook has got you covered! Check out our activities and make the most out of your trip at a budget-friendly price!