Applying for a tourist visa in Japan have been made easier with the recent improvements in Abe’s foreign policy, specifically its decision to allow more foreign nationals into its borders – may it be for work, permanent residency and or tourism.
In August 2018, the Japanese Embassy has released an official statement re:
“Relaxation of Visa Requirements for Filipinos” (source). This move is expected to contribute to improvement of convenience for tourists and increase in repeat visitors as well as further advancement of people-to-people exchanges between Japan and the Republic of the Philippines.
This being the case, I believe that TODAY is the perfect time to apply for a Japan Tourist Visa! Of course, these official statements do not mean automatic granting of tourist visa to all Filipinos. I have a client who, based on our assessment, is more than qualified for a visa, but to our surprise was eventually denied. This is because much of the success of your application would really depend on the immigration officer assigned to check your documents that day. So my advice: aside from making sure that all your documents are up to date and complete, just pray.
In my case, I was fortunate enough to be granted a single-entry visa four (4) days before my departure date (yes, I spent sleepless nights waiting for that visa to be released, so that is DEFINITELY not recommended). Back then, I had no travel history or whatsoever, so I don’t think the notion that you should be “well-travelled” before applying for visa do not apply here. Although, it’s a factor, yes.
To help you guys achieve your dream vacation, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a Japan Tourist Visa:
Step 1 –
Fill-up the application form (you can download the form here). Make sure not to leave any blanks, put N/A instead if the information do not apply.
Here’s a sample of a properly filled-out form.
*NOTE: Size of document for application should be A4 size only. Do not staple pages and/or ID photo.
Step 2 –
Complete the requirements below.
Requirements nos. 1-6 applies for the applicant himself/herself whether or not he/she will be sponsored by other(s).
If the applicant will be shouldering all expenses (flights, accommodation, allowance, etc.) to Japan, he/she should submit requirements nos. 7-11 (financial documents).
If the applicant has a guarantor and will therefore not shoulder his/her expenses, the guarantor should provide requirements nos. 7-11 (financial documents) + 12-13.
For the schedule of stay, indicate what’s only being asked. You don’t have to provide a very detailed itinerary plan that would take up two pages +. You can submit a simple one (see sample below):
For those who doesn’t have an income tax return (ITR), you will have to submit an explanation letter that details the following:
- Personal information
- Reason why you can’t submit an ITR
- Nature of work/business
- Purpose of visit
*NOTE: All documents should be three (3) months valid from date of application.
Step 3 –
Submit your documents to your trusted travel agency.
Step 4 –
Wait. The usual processing time is 5-10 working days, depending on the travel agency where you submitted your application.
Pray. Pray. Pray.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
1. How much should I have in my bank account to have higher chances of approval?
TBH, there’s no specific amount required in applying for a Japan Tourist Visa. However, I usually suggest for clients to have at least Php 100,000 if they will be visiting Japan for 5-7 days. This is based on the average cost of living in Japan (plus the fact that you’re a TOURIST).
2. Do I have to have a travel history before applying for a Japan Tourist Visa?
As previously mentioned, I was granted a visa without any travel history. It is not a requirement. Although, I am not discounting the fact that it would be a factor to whether or not you will be granted visa.
3. Do I have to book plane tickets and/or accommodation before applying for a Japan Tourist Visa?
No. This is not a requirement. It is better to apply for a visa first before buying plane tickets. But if you’re up for a risk and you want to save more, of course, you could always book your tickets/accommodation in advance.
4. How long is the validity of a Japan Tourist Visa?
It depends on what type of visa you are granted. Single-entry visa is valid for fifteen (15) days three (3) months after date of issue. Multiple-entry visa, on the other hand, is valid for (30/50/90 days) for 5/10 years.
5. Will I be granted multiple-entry visa if I have huge amount of money in the bank? or if I have been to several trips abroad? or if this is my second time to visit Japan?
No. This is not necessarily the case. The immigration is considering a lot of factors in granting multiple-entry visas to Filipinos – financial capacity, travel history, personal background, etc. I have clients who have applied for a Japan Tourist Visa for the second time and was not issued a multiple-entry visa. On the other hand, I was fortunate enough to be granted one for 5 years. (I will blog about this on a separate post.) We really can’t tell, but here’s to hoping.
So that’s it! I hope I have provided you a detailed guide to applying for a Japan Tourist Visa. It’s easy right? You just have to take the first step.
If you have further inquiries about this post, feel free to comment below.
Before I end this post, allow me to share some photos of my very first trip abroad in Tokyo, Japan. Enjoy!