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Avoid visa rejection, read this: 12 Lessons Learned from Denied Japan Tourist Visa
This is my personal experience in applying a tourist visa to Japan.
I was 20 years old, employed in the Philippines for 2 years as a Digital Marketing/Web Developer with a salary of less than PHP 40,000 per month. More and more Filipinos are traveling to Japan because of Cebu Pacific’s effect and I was one of them and that I couldn’t prevent myself from paying a PHP 4,500 roundtrip fare to Japan. I confirmed my flight and there is no turning back.
I did my own research and listened to people who’ve been to Japan. Now that I got all my requirements ready, I went and submitted my application. I received a call right after one day to get my passport and tadaa! I got a lovely Japan Tourist Visa sticker in my passport. To my surprise, it was approved the same day I applied.
Well, I find applying Japan Tourist visa for Filipinos easier than getting a Chinese tourist visa. Here’s how I did it.
- My Passport of course – I put details on my passport’s Emergency Contact Page and I make sure that contact numbers were active. Don’t apply if your passport will expire in 6 months.
- Application Form – download here. It’s better if you fill out those fields first before printing it out.
- Photo with white background. I asked the Kodak Studio that the photo’s size will be used for Japan Visa. Trust them, they do it every day. The size they gave me was 4.5cm x 4.5cm. I pasted (not stapled) it on my application form. I made sure my face is clear, no earrings, no glasses, just my face.
- Birth Certificate –
- It must be issued within one year from PSA Main Office/Serbilis Outlet Center (Nationwide).
- If the birth certificate from Philippine Statistics Office (PSA) is unreadable, or has incomplete
information, please submit the birth certificate issued by PSA together with a birth certificate issued by the Local Civil Registrar.
- If the birth certificate is “late registration”, please submit in addition, a baptismal certificate and school record (Form 137) from high school or elementary and School Yearbook (if possible).
- If there is no record in PSA, please submit a “Certificate of Non-Record” from PSA together with a birth certificate from the Local Civil Registrar.
- Itinerary in Japan – let’s talk about this below.
- Bank Certificate – magkaiba po ang certificate sa statement
- Income Tax Return
I fill out my application online to have a clean print. I put N/A if I have no answer or if it’s not applicable. You can fill it out here: Japan Tourist Visa Application Form.pdf
5 Days Itinerary in Japan
I actually don’t know where to go and I just want to go around wherever I want. But the Japanese Embassy in Manila needs to know where will you be in Japan. I only got less than ₱ 40,000.00 in my bank when I applied.
Ok, I went to TripAdvisor and listed some tourist spots to visit. I did not put any expensive places such as Tokyo Disneyland. Instead, I listed down places such as Shibuya Crossing or any other free public places you can visit and put dates on it. I also reserved a cheap hotel at Booking.com and have them listed in my itinerary with its address and contact number in case they will check. These will make you a budget traveler in the eyes of Japanese immigration officers. I had my itinerary written that is affordable in accordance with my salary and bank balance.
Thinking of your bank balance?
Regular office worker with big savings – the Embassy might think that you have enough money to support your stay in Japan thus breaching your visa condition.
Regular office worker with small savings – the Embassy will check if you can afford traveling in Japan thus checking your itinerary if your savings will support you.
Before I went to Japan, I withdraw enough cash for my whole trip using my other savings account. When I arrived, I did not actually follow my itinerary, I even took Shinkansen which is way too expensive than riding a bus. But cases like this must be well planned and you must think like a detective.
It says CERTIFICATE, so please don’t submit a bank statement or your application will be denied. Bring the bank’s receipt with you in case they might need it.
Income Tax Return
Submit one original and one copy of ITR 2316.
Some Filipinos don’t have this. For me, it is not safe to apply if you do freelancing without an ITR. That means you are not paying personal income tax, that’s tax evasion. It’s safer if somebody with good financial documents or a guarantor from Japan will sponsor you. I don’t know how to do it right though but I know some agencies that can help you with this.
I don’t think this is required but this made my application process faster with no questions being asked. I guess this added great points of approval. I wrote my letter as simple as possible.
Company Name (colored company logo to increase legitimacy)
The body content includes my work duration, my job position and my monthly salary. I also write exactly like this:
“He will be in Japan for 5 days for travel purposes. He will never do business in your country.”
Signed by my company’s managing director, not my HR.
Note: As of January 1, 2018, COE or Employment Letter is no longer required. Source: http://www.ph.emb-japan.go.jp/files/000232573.pdf
Submit your application
You can go to one of the accredited agencies of the Japanese Embassy in Manila.
|(Currency: Philippine Peso)|
Source: Japan Embassy in Manila, Philippines (November 2016)
The morning of Thursday, I went to Reli Travel and Tours in Dusit Thani in Makati since that was the nearest agency from my office. I submitted all the documents and forwarded to a Japanese guy. He checked and accepted all the documents without any questions. I paid ₱ 950.00 for the service.
Japan Tourist Visa is free for Filipinos but the Japanese Embassy in Manila only accepts bulk applications from accredited agencies.
The next day, Reli Tours called me saying that my sealed passport is ready for pick-up. I jumped straight there and got a visa in my passport. Finally, I can cancel my hotel bookings and create a travel plan I wanted.
I was happy of course but quite annoyed with the agency. They put Reli Travel and Tours sticker on the back of my passport as a form of advertisement and cannot be removed, otherwise, your passport will be torn up and nobody wants to go to Japan with a damaged passport.
I saw some other agency’s stickers on my friend’s passport as the embassy’s mandatory, I guess.