You may probably read a lot of articles when you searched about the topic. Yet, I still like to share my version of experience from my recent trip to Japan. It went easy. I believe I was truly lucky. But before anything else, keep in mind that the approval or rejection of your application will be dependent on the consular officer who will be looking into your submitted documents. How to get approved may be subjective and reasons for rejection will be unknown.
Here’s what I did with my application for a Japan tourist visa:
Look for a reliable travel agency that is accredited by the Japanese embassy. I seek referral from friends who recently visited Japan. I paid Php800 for processing fee. Here are the links:
Submit the requirements to the travel agency. You can find the list of requirements from the agency’s website. The requirements depend on your purpose of visit. For tourist visa, here are the basic requirements:
- Philippine Passport (original and at least valid for 6 months at the time of departure from Japan)
- Visa Application Form (downloaded from the website)
- 2pcs Visa Photo 4.5cm x 4.5cm (white background)
- NSO Birth Certificate (recent) – In my case, I provided in addition the local civil registry certified copy because my NSO copy is blurred.
- Tour Itinerary (Schedule of Stay) – There’s a sample from the agency website. I just copied itinerary from my friend. At least a list with contacts (for hostel) will be okay, too detailed itinerary is not required (like how to get to places and time).
- Bank Balance Certificate (original) – Get certificate from your bank when you are ready to apply for a visa, so it will show your latest bank balance. How much is needed? Estimate the expenses that you need for your trip. That should be your minimum bank balance. If possible, double that amount to have a greater chance to get approved The purpose is to show proof that you are capable to spend for your trip. Anyway, who knows which amount is really safe?
- BIR Form 2316 (latest)
Other points to consider when applying for a tourist visa:
Do I need to purchase a plane ticket in advance? – No. I was advised by the agency to book a flight after the visa approval.
Do I need to book a hotel in advance? No. This was my theory based on the required documents. Although the address where you will stay in Japan is being asked in the visa application form, there was no receipt needed to be submitted to verify the booking. But then, I still made a cancellable reservation in a hostel through Agoda.com. This just was a personal choice.
When is it advisable to apply for a tourist visa? I was advised to apply 3 months prior my planned departure. The validity of a tourist visa is 15 days, to be used within 3 months upon release.
When do I get the results of my application? The results will be released within 3-5 working days and to be claimed through your agent personally or through mail.
Previously approved visa
I was told that getting a Japanese visa was difficult. My sister’s friend told me I was lucky to be granted with visa. I think it’s about the timing. It was recently announced that granting Japanese Tourist Visa to Filipinos has been easier today than before. Plus, a year ago I went to South Korea. Thus, my passport has the Korean Visa in it. So my theory is that the Korean visa gave me a plus point. But then, this is not a guarantee.
This is just a head start to your Japan visa application. For some of you, this may not be the same case as mine. But you can always seek help from people who know better about this kind of stuffs. What I can suggest is to go through that list of accredited agencies and ask. The information is free anyway! ^_^