I did some research before submitting my papers to the Consulate Office through one of the accredited agencies appointed by the Japan Embassy in Manila. I was quite unsure whether it will be granted, as some applicants posted on other blogs attest the difficulty of obtaining one even if he or she hold different visas from powerful countries around the globe namely: US, UK, and Schengen Visas. It doesn’t give an edge so to speak as others claim. While others swear that it’s just a stroke of luck. Rather than to speculate, I decided to give it a “go” amidst the judgment given by some candidates as we’re already booked!
The following are the steps I personally have gone through. It may seem unconventional compared to other bloggers/applicants, but I opted this way:
Step 1 – Choose any reputable travel agencies assigned by the Japan Consulate Office as shown below. Based on experience, I filed mine with the help of Friendship Tours:
- Universal Holidays (UHI)
- Discovery Tour Inc.
- Rajah Travel Corporation
- Reli Tours and Travel Agency
- Attic Tours Phils. Inc.
- Friendship Tours and Resorts Corporation
Step 2 – While most of the information are displayed on the web, always check the embassy’s main page at http://www.ph.emb-japan.go.jp/visiting/new%20visa/tourism.htm along with your chosen agency for accuracy should you bump into this page at a later date or time. I know it could be a lot of work to gather data but this is just to cover all the bases to prevent bumps along your visa application. As of this writing, here’s a checklist from Friendship Tours Website for you to complete. Please be advised, some agencies strictly require additional documents to be submitted and some may leave it as optional for the applicants.
- PASSPORT – Validity of within 6 months from the day of return / Signed Passport. Broken lamination of the Picture Portion will not be accepted / Must have at least 2 blank pages left in the passport.
I had a chance to renew my passport 2 months before the planned vacation. Date of expiry on my previous passport indicated was February 2017 while travel will commence on September 2016. Validity cannot be bypassed. Additionally, I’ve attached my old passport with the new one to give them an overview about my travel history. Do not fret, if you lack travel stamps. It doesn’t mean sure approval even if you went places before as it always ends up with the Consul’s final decision, frequent traveler or not.
- VISA APPLICATION FORM (download from website) – No omissions on the application forms. In case there is a need to make a correction on the application forms, please refrain from using correction fluid. Instead, use a double line to erase/correct the wrong information.
Do not leave anything blank. Place “N/A” or “Not Applicable” on the fields with question/s that doesn’t apply to you. Example on Section: “Other names (including any other names you are or have been known by)” – Indicate N/A except for Married Women. Must state complete Maiden Name.
- PHOTO (1 Copy of 4.5cm x 4.5cm with white background) – Please attach only a clear photo as proof of the applicant’s identity on the application form. Inappropriate photos; blurred photos that reflect on the camera lens, pixilated and significantly low-resolution photos taken by digital cameras.
- BIRTH CERTIFICATE (NSO issued valid within 1 year)
– IN CASE OF NON-RECORD OF REGISTRATION OF LIVE BIRTH additional requirements as follows:
1. Non-Record in the PSA (formerly NSO). Need certificate of Non-Record from the PSA (formerly NSO) with birth certificate from the local civil registrar.
2. Non-Record in the PSA (formerly NSO) and local civil registrar. Need certificate of Non-Record from the PSA (formerly NSO) and the local civil registrar.
– IF PSA (formerly NSO) ISSUED RECORD IS NOT CLEAR: BIRTH CERTIFICATE from the LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR.
– IF BIRTH CERTIFICATE IS LATE-REGISTERED:
1. Original Baptismal Certificate
2. School Record (Form 137 or report card)
3. School Year Book (if applicable)
(Need contact numbers of No.1, No2. No1 & No2 must submit , if you can’t prepare these documents, please submit explanation letter or affidavit.
- MARRIAGE CONTRACT (If Married) PSA (formerly NSO) issued and valid within 1 year. (Submission of NSO certificate is waived with submission of OLD USED JAPAN VISA.)1. Applicants holding (old or valid) passports with used Japan Visa will be exempted from submitting of a marriage contract.2. In case of non-record.You must submit a certificate of non-record together with the one from the local civil registrar.
I’ve obtained copies of my birth and marriage certificates thru the E-Census’ Website and completed the payment with BDO Online Banking. It costs about PHP 315 per copy. Approximately twice as much than getting it on your own. Received the document after 3 working days. Convenience really does come with a fee.
- DAILY SCHEDULE IN JAPAN (download from website) – To be prepared by the applicant or the travel agency. There are no inconsistencies on the contents of the application forms and the accompanying documents.
It would be appropriate to indicate a hotel/guest house address rather than a residential address (e.g. AirBNB) if applying as a Tourist. I overheard this from the Friendship’s Visa Processing Coordinator while waiting for my turn. Truth is, I haven’t booked our accommodation yet, but I decided to write our preferred hotel even without being booked. Bear in mind, this is just for visa purposes. DIY Tours can easily be arranged by connecting each day tour found on the web (e.g. JapanGuide.Com)
- BANK BALANCE CERTIFICATE – Required if the applicant is SHOULDERING ALL TRAVEL EXPENSES.
Considering the flourishing economy in Japan, it really is expensive. Make sure your savings account can cover your daily expenses. Let’s do the math:
- Regular air fare ranges from PHP 13,000 and up per person. We got ours via Cebu Pacific Promo which just costs half as much as the normal ticket price at PHP 6,500 each.
- Accommodation on Booking.com, should you wish to stay in Fukuoka – a budget hotel/guest house costs around PHP 16,000 – PHP 20,000 for 7 days and 6 nights stay based on Super Hotel Kokuraeki Minamiguchi for single occupancy with free breakfast including the 8% consumption tax.
- Food ranges from JPY 290 for a low-cost Gyudon meal and up equivalent to PHP 145 per bowl. Estimated food per day will be roughly around PHP 500 – PHP 1,000 without eating the same entree over and over.
- Land Transportation is the deal breaker. I can’t believe we spent it mostly on getting from one point to another. If you’re staying in Kokura, be prepared to shell out PHP 1,500 – PHP 2,000 per person/ per way if arriving in Fukuoka Airport.
- Pocket money is mainly up to you. Can be around PHP 5,000 and up.
Should you follow this computation, PHP 35,000 – PHP 50,000 will be enough for a 7-day leisure trip in Fukuoka, Japan including Philippine Travel Tax amounting to PHP 1,620. Notify your bank regarding its purpose – Japan Tourist Visa Application with Average Daily Balance or ADB, if possible. Must be submitted to the travel agency no later than a week it was issued.
- INCOME TAX RETURN (Form 2316 or 1701) – Original and 1 photocopy. For the income certificate and bank certificate, please submit personal documents. With the exception of incentive tours, corporate financial documents will not be accepted/considered as personal documents of the applicant.
Just got employed last January 2016, therefore ITR from the new company won’t be possible to acquire. I’ve submitted my 2015 ITR (BIR form 2316) from the previous company and attached it along with my latest certificate of employment indicating position and tenure in the company and annual gross income including 13th-month pay and other bonuses. Based on some bloggers who were previous applicants as well, if it’s impossible to submit an ITR, you may create a Letter of Explanation addressed to the Consul to be submitted along with the list of documents.
Step 3 – After completing the above-mentioned requirements, submit everything to the travel agency where it will be screened and evaluated before they forward it to the Japan Embassy for visa processing. I went to Friendship Tours on a Saturday around 9:00 in the morning and finished at 10:00 AM. Just be sure to track your number on their queueing board. Then paid PHP 1,200 for the single-entry visa application, since it’s my first time to apply.
After 2 working days, I got a call from the said travel agency on a Tuesday afternoon and obtained my passport with a multiple visa entry! I got confused at first, considering I just applied for a single-entry, but since it’s the Consul’s discretion, the agency didn’t collect any additional fees at all.