Did you grow up watching anime every afternoon and evening on our local TV hosts? Was your dream when you were a kid to visit the places you saw on those Japanese shows?
Dream not anymore, grab the chance while Japan still has its relaxed visa requirements for us Filipinos. We won’t know if this is forever or only for a while, so save up and try your luck, take a gamble! Like others, visiting Japan was also my dream (yea, it ‘was’ a dream) I just woke up that I already visited this magnificent country, and still can’t believe I got their visa. There were many times I thought to fake my documents just to get to this country! Let me tell you, they were stressful, my ITR record is not complete, in my picture I didn’t even wear the proper dress code and I’ve only ever been to one country before. But. I. Still. Got The. Visa!!! baby~
HOW TO APPLY FOR A JAPAN TOURIST VISA WITH NO GUARANTOR
1 KNOW THE TYPE OF VISA YOU’RE APPLYING FOR
2GATHER ALL REQUIRED DOCUMENTS
COMPLETE LIST OF ALL REQUIREMENTS
- Philippine Passport
- Japan Visa Application Form
- ID Photo
- NSO Birth Certificate
- Marriage Certificate
- Itinerary in Japan
- Bank Certificate
- Income Tax Return (ITR)
- Other Supporting Documents
- Strictly print the form on an A4 size paper.
- It can be handwritten or typewritten – the form is an editable PDF. Go here to download or type your details. Check out this sample guide on how to fill them out correctly.
- Don’t leave any blanks. Put N/A in all spaces not applicable.
- Do not staple the papers, have them glued together.
Original copy of your NSO issued within the past 1 year. Not required anymore if you’ve been issued a Japan visa before. If it’s your first time getting an NSO, below are easier options for you to get this document.
OPTION 1: Order your NSO online for P350.00, it will be delivered via courier within 2-3 working days.
OPTION 2: SM Malls Bills Payment section offers this service and costs only P140.00 + P20.00 service fee. You can pick it up after a week, or have it delivered (with an additional fee of course).
Original and Photocopy. They’ll only take the photocopy but you still need to show the agency the original when you submit your application.
If you’re employed: Get one from your current employer. This way you’ll also know if they’re duly paying your taxes that they deduct on your monthly salary.
If you’re a freelancer or self-employed:
• Provide your latest ITR (Form 2316/ 1700/ 1701/ 1702) original and photocopy on an A4 size paper.
• If you own a business, submit your Business Registration issued by DTI / SEC and the company ITR.
• If you do NOT have an ITR, write a simple letter explaining why you’re unable to submit it (example: if you are a new business, a newly self-employed person, you are being taxed in another country, etc.)
• Provide tax exemption form from BIR.
• Certificate of Employment (or contract of employment)
COE or Certificate of Employment indicating your position, what you do on your job, the company background, your current salary, when you started working on the company and of course your boss’s signature. With the company stamp or seal too.
Leave of Absence. An approved slip from your employer that stated you’ll be away for a while on your job.
Booked Hotel. Not really necessary, but if you want to pass this go ahead. They know you can just cancel your booking anyway…
Flight Ticket. Also not required by the embassy or the travel agency. But if you’ve already booked your discounted or Piso Fare plane ticket or just have some cash to spare, feel free to include them in your documents.
Getting my ITR was the hardest part since I always change jobs after a year. The ITR I submitted from my previous employer only has a record from January to September 2015. So I passed a COE certificate from my current employer that indicates I started working with them from March 2017 up to present. It’s a really helpful document so they know you’re currently employed and you have a job to come back to.
3FIND AN ACCREDITED TRAVEL AGENCY AND SUBMIT YOUR DOCUMENTS
I submitted my documents to Reli Agency which my friends have recommended to me. They have an in-house Japanese that checks your requirements to see if you have a high chance to be approved. If not, they’ll ask you to provide other documents.
Check below to see other travel agencies accredited by the Japan embassy. This list was taken from the Japan Embassy website, see here for more details.
4 WAIT FOR YOUR VISA
The agency will notify you thru a text message that your passport is already released and you will know the result upon pick-up only.
When I was getting mine, I kept staring at the white sticker on the back of my passport while they were writing. That white sticker means you’re approved and good to go! if it’s in red…well…try again after 6 months. They won’t tell you why you got denied, no one knows but only the embassy. And ta-daaaa~ my first visa!! And this is only my second travel outside the country.
TIPS TO GET APPROVED ON YOUR JAPAN VISA APPLICATION
≡ Your Bank Certificate and Travel Itinerary go hand in hand. If it’s your first time getting a Japan visa, better write on your itinerary that you’ll only be there for a short time, like 5-7 days. Especially if you feel that the amount of your Bank Certificate is not enough. Just to show that you can support your stay with the money you currently have. I put 6 days on the itinerary I submitted, but stayed in Japan for 14 days!
≡ The hotels you wrote on your Application Form can always be changed. What if you said on your application form that you will be staying at a hotel but in the end, you want to stay at a friend’s house? No worries, everyone’s got a change of plans. And it’s easier to just write a hotel than annoy your friend to provide you with their documents. This is what happened to me. It’s easier to apply as a tourist that be sponsored by a friend in Japan. There’s a higher chance you will be denied.
≡ Your ITR record is also incomplete? Or you recently changed job as a freelancer? If you recently changed companies mid-year, get your ITR from your last employer and then a Certificate of Employment (COE) on your current employer. Make sure your COE has the company’s seal on it, don’t settle for a plain looking paper, make it look professional and legal.
≡ Feel free to submit any supporting Documents. If you think this will give you a higher chance to get approved.
≡ Request for a stay of fewer than 15 days for first-timers. Your first time in Japan? Don’t get too excited! Request the minimum length of stay in Japan so you’ll have a higher chance to get approved. They grant 15 days, 30 days and 90 days of stay. On your next visit maybe you can ask for a longer one.
≡ Don’t fake any documents. Just. DON’T. It’s much better to be denied than
≡ When to apply for a Japan Visa? If applying for a single entry, apply at least 1 or 2 months ahead of your preferred date so you have time to pass missing/additional documents. I applied October and flew in December.
≡ Make sure your requirements are complete. Give a letter of explanation if you can’t complete their list of documents to be submitted.
≡ Make it neat and Tidy. Better have your documents neat with no erasures on your application form, no paper wrinkles, and no typos.
Buy your plane tickets and book a hotel AFTER your visa has been approved. It’s best NOT to buy your tickets in advance especially if it’s a regular fare. Just put your preferred hotel or airlines. This is not required by the travel agencies and I don’t know if this affects much the status that the embassy will give you their YES.
Did they deny your request for a visa? You can re-apply again after 6 months. Good Luck!
MY THOUGHTS & EXPERIENCE
I never knew that a Visa is just a sticker on a passport. And it’s a big deal for me to get approved since I have only traveled once outside the country before. On top of this, I’m just flying solo and staying in Japan for 14 days. The immigration officer in NAIA asked me if I have a companion, I just said…“yes”. Unknowingly, what if she wants to see who I’m with? who will I point to? After the interview, I was acting that I’m hurrying after a friend. LOL.
Inside the plane, the attendants will give you 2 papers to write what the things you brought to their country (like wines or perfume), it’s for their customs. And another paper to write where you’ll stay. After the plane landed, in the immigration point in Japan, the officer guy there was typing and seems like he’s getting an error. He then asked where the address I wrote on the paper is. Since I did not put a hotel, but my friend’s house address, I just said: “It’s a friend’s house”. Then he just nods and said “okay”, and I was like in my mind “ah, okay? that’s all?”, while walking away. (I was so sure they will be more skeptical!) See how strict they are with me?
For a solo female plane traveler, they were too nice to me, especially on a visa required country. Such a very unique experience ♥
WAS MY GUIDE HELPFUL TO YOU?
• Thinking again of what happened makes me furious. Just a little more push from them and I’ll definitely report them to DOLE.
• Did you have problems with your requirements too? Or on any other things while applying?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The name’s Fiorucci (pronounced as Fee-yoh-ru-chi), I’m not Italian but I can eat pasta for a whole week…or a month…or more. Hop on my story as I travel the world ‘one destination at a time’ while juggling with my full-time work, freelancing and building my own business to gain freedom from this monotonous corporate society.