Konnichiwa! It has been a week since my two-week vacation in Japan, which still feels like a dream tbh. But before i tell you all about this trip, let me share about my Japan visa application experience.
I know there are already tons of how-to blog posts about Japan tourist visa application, but please indulge this noona because this trip is most likely going to be the only topic on this blog for the rest of the year. XD
Flashback to 2016: I’ve booked airplane tickets for spring 2017! When do i apply for a visa?
A single entry visa is valid for three (3) months so make sure that your travel date falls within this period when you apply for visa. Take note that the maximum length of stay allowed is 15 days (although i’ve read that there are other visa types that allow 30 days and 90 days). When Rio and i booked our flight, we counted our arrival date in Japan as day 1 so our travel period was from March 30 to April 13. However, when we arrived in Japan the immigration officer stamped our passports with allowable stay until April 14. Not sure if it’s because we arrived in Japan at 8PM so make sure you don’t exceed the 15 days allowed just to be safe.
What type of visa do i apply for?
There are different kinds of visa when visiting Japan. The type of visa determines the requirements you need to submit for the application. Since we are travelling on our own in Japan (DIY), we prepared the requirements for tourist visa.
What are the requirements for tourist visa?
Prepare the following documents when you apply for tourist visa:
- Philippine passport. Should be in good condition and valid for 6 months.
- Visa application form. Print legibly and avoid erasures. You can download the visa application form here.
- 2×2 photo (to be attached on the application form). You can find the visa photo requirements here.
- NSO-certified birth certificate issued within one (1) year. I got mine from SM Business Center and processing period is 3 to 5 working days.
- Marriage contract (if applicable).
- Daily schedule containing a list of the places you intend to visit and where you intend to stay. No need to be overly detailed by the hour. You can download the daily schedule form here.
- Bank certificate. Amount varies from the blogs i have read but the general idea is that your savings account should contain an adequate amount that covers your expenses during your stay in Japan. This should be an original copy from the bank and issued within three (3) months.
- Proof of income. For employed individuals, submit your income tax return form (BIR form 2316). Provide original and photocopy.
Other documents which are not required but i included in my visa application are copies of our airplane tickets (roundtrip), certificate of employment, and approved leaves.
I have completed my requirements. Where do i submit them? Do i have to go to the embassy?
Visa applications should be submitted through an accredited travel agency. Exceptions requiring personal appearance at the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines are listed here. There is an accredited travel agency near my office, Discovery Tour Inc, and it’s located in HV dela Costa street. A friend also recommended Universal Holidays Inc (UHI), located in the mezzanine of Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati.
You can find the complete list of accredited travel agencies here.
How much is the visa processing fee?
Visa processing fee in Discovery Tour Inc is PHP800. At first this is where we wanted to submit our requirements because it’s near our offices. However, when i visited UHI’s website, i was lucky to chance upon their 40% off promo for Japan tourist visa. The processing fee for the promo is only PHP700 so we’ve decided to submit our requirements in UHI. Teehee. #tipidmode
But that’s not the only cost i incurred for the visa application. I also paid for the following requirements: ID picture (PHP75), NSO birth certificate (PHP160), and bank certificate (PHP100).
How do i pay for the visa processing fee?
UHI has several payment options (including over the counter payment in select banks) but i chose to pay the processing fee through 7-11 because i thought clearing time is faster. The following day i received an email containing the payment confirmation voucher. You need to show this voucher when you submit your requirements.
I have submitted my requirements. How long do i have to wait for my visa?
The UHI officer who handled our application told us that processing period is from 3 to 5 days. Rio and i submitted our requirements on Friday, and the officer told us that processing period day 1 starts on Monday. Since it’s already the weekend that’s another two days of waiting on top of the processing period. Huhuhu.
This was the nerve-wracking part. I put it in the farthest corner of my mind and tried not to think about it. Monday came and went but i was not really expecting anything to happen that day, though they did send me a text message (and an email) informing me that our application has been lodged at the embassy. Tuesday happened and still nothing (excited much?). By Wednesday i was already a bit nervous about the result and was constantly checking my phone and email for any message (hardly getting any work done lel), which they did send at 5PM. Waaaaah. I was so nervous i think i did not sleep a wink that night. I was all nerves and adrenaline on the way back to Dusit. And then we had to wait for a few minutes because there were a number of people on queue when we arrived at UHI (stress much!!). When our turn came, our nervousness turned to glee when the UHI officer handed us our passports and told us to check the details printed on the visa. Yaaaaaaay! BEST. MOMENT. EVERRR.
But what if i wasn’t granted a visa? When can i apply again? :((
According to the embassy website, you can file for another visa application after six (6) months. They don’t disclose the reason why the visa application is denied but hey, that’s another chance to add up your budget for your Japan trip. Try and try again!
Before i finish, here are some friendly reminders:
– Print your documents in A4 paper (visa application form, daily schedule, ITR). I think Rio’s officemate mentioned that sometimes they don’t accept documents that are not in A4 paper.
– Do not staple your documents. I used my stapleless stapler but the UHI officer separated the documents anyway.
– It is not required that you already have a booked accommodation when applying for visa. However, if you booked your accommodation through AirBnB, you should indicate AirBnB in the visa application and daily schedule form. The officer told us to write down AirBnB next to the names of our hosts so that the embassy will not think that we are visiting somebody in Japan (which is covered by another type of visa and requires additional documents).
– Speaking of AirBnB, while the embassy approved our application with AirBnB accommodation, keep in mind that AirBnB is not yet legal in Japan. But cities like Osaka and some areas in Tokyo have more liberal regulations about it so make sure you pick a really good host if you are going to book your accommodation through AirBnB. I have read and heard stories where people got kicked out of their room or their host suddenly cancelled their booking. Here’s a good news though: according to this March 2017 article, the Japanese government might likely pass a law that would legalize these rentals. Yay for us (and AirBnB, too)!
– If you are staying in several places during your trip, you can just write down the first accommodation in the fields for name and addresses where you intend to stay. I tried to write all our accommodations in those fields (there were 5) and i’m sure the officer needed a magnifier to read my handwriting. Lol
– The travel expo is a good time to apply for visa as long as it’s scheduled within 3 months of your travel date. According to Rio, her officemate paid only PHP500 for her visa application. Not sure which travel agency but i’m sure these agencies are always present in that event.
– Submit your requirements early in the week so you don’t have to wait extra days for the result. Don’t be like us! XD
Thank you for reading this lengthy post. This noona will be cheering you on as you apply for your Japan tourist visa. Ganbatte!
Embassy of Japan in the Philippines
2627 Roxas Blvd
Pasay City 1300