The paperwork of travel: applying for a Japan visa

Here’s one of the few things I’m not too crazy about when it comes to traveling: having to apply for a visa. Being from the Philippines, we need to apply for a visa if we’re going to the certain countries, like the US, UK, Japan, etc. (But here’s a gallery of some of the countries we can go to, visa-free).

So while I was over the moon when I got to book on-sale tickets to Japan a few months agoโ€”I forgot to mention that I still lacked the most important part of the trip to actually make it happenโ€ฆ the visa. Granted, getting a Japan visa doesn’t require jumping through many hoops like say, getting a US visa, there’s still an element of uncertainty. And while there are much more US Embassy rejection/horror stories, there is a handful of Japan visa rejections I’ve heard to make me worry just a wee bit. (Like the one about a friend of a friend who got rejected on her second trip to Japan. No reason was given. It’s almost as bad dating someone who just stops calling.)

But since those stories are rare, I had gone against my own advice posted here a few years ago (try not to succumb to the temptation of buying those non-refundable promo fares before applying for a visa) and went ahead and booked the tickets and hoped and prayed for the visa. Prayer answered! But aside from prayer, you actually need to do the following.

1. Acquiring a Japanese visa in Manila is done through accredited travel agencies including Reli Tours in SM Megamall, SM Mall of Asia, SM Southmall and Hotel Dusit Thani. The travel agency’s website’s lists the types of visa and the requirements for each.

2. I applied for a (1-B) Tourist Visa (No guarantor) and for that you need the following:

-Philippine passport (with at least six months validity from your travel date)
-Japan Visa application form (which you can download and print from the Reli Tours website)
-your photo to be pasted on the application form (on the form and website, it states that the photo needs to be 2×2 or 4.5 x 4.5cm, but when you go to a photo processing store like Fuji Film in Megamall they will tell you a Japan visa photo is not exactly 2×2, so just mention that you need your photo for a Japan visa; they’ll know the size)
-Daily Schedule in Japan (also downloadable from the site, wherein you provide your itinerary and contact details when in Japan)
-Income Taxย  Return (Form 2316)
-Bank Certificate (make sure the bank addresses it to the Japan Embassy, Roxas Boulevard, Manila… and not Japan Embassy c/o Reli Tours or some other combination; I was told by the helpful bank employee that those certificates get returned and the embassy requests for a new one)
-your birth certificate from the NSO
-a marriage certificate (if applicable) from the NSO (the last two you don’t need if you have a used Japanese visa from your old or existing passport)

3. Once you have all these requirements, go to the nearest accredited agency to submit them. Upon checking your requirements, a staff will ask you to sign a form with the list of documents you submitted; then you take it to the cashier to pay for the visa fee (P1,200 for Tourist Visa).

4. You’re told to wait for a week on when you can pick up your visa (although from my experience, you can get word after three days). Only when you pick up your visa do you know if you’ve been approved or not.

Yesterday, we got our passports back with the news that we were approved and even better, we got a multiple entry visa! Happy new year! Hope you guys have a 2014 filled with adventure, whether at home or on your travels (with or without a visa required).


47 thoughts on “The paperwork of travel: applying for a Japan visa

  1. good pm madam blogger…

    how about with guarantor……
    and about the bank acct, how much is estimated amount i need even if i have a guarantor….
    i have 2 acct, but its ofw or kabayan acct,,

    about schedule of stay, i dont have any idea of it,,, my stepfather is the one making that…

    my brother and i plan to go to japan,,, but im only one needs a visa because my real father didnt enter me in his koseki…..

    • Hi, regarding visa with guarantor, the type of visa depends if you’re going as a tourist with guarantor, visiting relatives with guarantor, etc. you can check the Reli Tours website for requirements and different types of visas or call their numbers (during office hours) (632) 637-4694, mobile (63) 0906-513-6555.
      For the amount in bank account, I can’t really say, I guess as long as they can see that based on the amount, the applicant has enough travel funds to travel to Japan. Schedule of stay is simply your itinerary. Another blogger, the eagertraveller, has a more detailed Japanese visa post you might find helpful ๐Ÿ™‚
      Good luck!

    • Hi Aldo. No, I didn’t apply for a multiple entry, just the single entry visa. You only find out what kind of visa they decide to give you once you pick up your passport from the travel agency.

  2. I was reading your blog and others an hour before I received a message from Reli tours, asking me to come over and pick up my passport. I was granted a Japanese single-entry tourist visa! yay!!

    I know exactly how the others felt. I thought I didn’t have enough funds. I just have around 11x, xxx in the bank and I’m going to Osaka and Kyoto for 12 days. I thought there was no chance.

    I’ve only been with my current company for a little over a year but I have all the requirements. COE, ITR, leave of absence, round-trip tickets, hostel reservations from hostelbookers, birth certificate, bank certificate and itinerary. I spent a lot of time on the fake itinerary and made sure it will not exceed my budget for sightseeing. I even had a walking itinerary. It has the amount I’m going to spend at each tourist destination like entrance fees and stuff. It’s fake since I won’t be following any of it. I’m going with my boyfriend and we planned to do other things like whitewater rafting, canyoning and hiking since we are both adventurous. But he’s a privileged one for having an Australian passport.

    Prior to this trip, I went to Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and Hong Kong. I started going out of the country since March. Then, sort of became a monthly thing. I was making ipon of the stamps. Too bad HK don’t stamp the passports anymore.

    Anyways, I submitted my application last Thursday. the visa was granted on Friday and I received my passport today, Tuesday. To those who are reluctant, if you have all the documents, there’s no reason to get denied. Best of Luck!

  3. Well, the agency doesn’t ask for the actual tickets and hotel reservations but since there’s a required itinerary, you would have to indicate the flight you plan to take and the hotel where you’ll likely be staying. The first time I applied for a Japanese visa, I didn’t have a ticket yet but I put in the itinerary the flight I was planning to take.

  4. Hello,

    My husband and I will be visiting Japan on January. This is our first out-of-the-country-trip and I am quite anxious on applying for a visa. And I do have several questions.

    I think, I will have to enumerate them as follows:
    – I am a housewife, therefore, I am unemployed and wouldn’t be able to provide any ITR. Would my husband’s ITR suffice?
    – Do we both have to submit a bank certificate or his is okay already?
    – We are going for a 4nights, 3days visit. How much estimated money do you think is sufficient for our visa to be approved?

    Hoping to hear from you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Vermaeca, thanks for stopping by the blog. Now re your questions, (1) I have a friend who’s also a housewife and it was her husband who just submitted the ITR when they applied for a Japanese visa and it didn’t appear to be a problem at the time because they were approved. (2) For the bank certificate, I’m not too sure since most couples I’ve asked have conjugal bank accounts and so both their names are on the bank certificate but since you guys are married it might not be an issue. (3) This one is tricky, I think 100k should be safe–it’s not that that’s what you need for those 4 days in Japan–but at least you can show the embassy that you have X amount back home. BUT take note, I’m basing all these from my own experience and some friends who’ve been approved (one was denied even with more than 100k but he never found out why they were denied; another friend of a friend was denied with only 30k in the bank), I CAN’T tell you with certainty what will get you approved as I’m not connected with the embassy or even the accredited travel agencies. Hope that helps. Good luck!

  5. Hello sir i have 1xx,xxx plus in my bpi account but ita only 7 months because o transferred my money from bdo to bpi. So what do you think?

  6. Hi i’ve been wanting to go to japan and the piso fares are making it a lot easier. Since the validity of single entry is only 3 mos, i’ll have to purchase the tickets before the visa application.
    We’ve been out of the country only once (Singapore, summer this year). Plus those stamps are on our old passport since we renewed them last Sept. Would you recommend to grab those piso fare tickets (about 20k for 4 persons) ? And can we also submit our old passports with the new ones?

    • Hi Anne, on this last trip I made to Japan, I went against my own rule and purchased seat sale tickets before getting a visa. Luckily, we got approved. Not sure if it was because we already went three years before or if that didn’t matter. This year, a friend purchased Tokyo seat sale tickets before applying for a visa (for the first time) and she got approved (she made several trips to other Asian countries prior to that visa application; again not sure if they take this into consideration). Grabbing the piso fare before getting a visa is always a risk, so I guess you have to ask yourself how much you want to go to Japan? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Re your old passport, you can bring it if you want and ask the agent in the travel agency if you need to leave it with your current passport as well. Good luck!

  7. Hello? I will be applying for Visiting Relatives – Japan Tourist visa soon. My question is, do you think it will be a problem now that I am unemployed? I also don’t have properties in my name to prove my ties in the country. But I’m definitely ain’t going to overstay, but… do you know someone on the same standing as I am that has got his visa approved? I will have a guarantor, btw. Thanks!

    • Hey h2oM, sorry but I’m not familiar with the visa with guarantor process (Was supposed to opt for that one in our first trip to Japan since we were planning to stay with a friend on some days, but our friend just told us it would be easier to apply for the usual tourist visa). The agency doesn’t ask for an employment certificate (or land titles) at least for tourist visa without guarantor, but they do ask for an ITR and bank certificate. Good luck!

  8. Hi po..this year ng April ngbkasyon na po ako sa japan..guarantor ko po japanese boyfriend..single entry ang inapply ko png month plan ko po bmalik doon pero multiple na po iaapply ko…mka2kuha po ba ako ng multiple visa with the same requirements from my boyfriend guarantor ?? Please help me po..thanks po..

    • Hi Melody, hmm I’m sorry but I’m not too sure about the requirements when the visa is with guarantor. Might be best for you to consult with the accredited travel agencies. Good luck!

  9. Hi, we’ve just booked our flight and scheduled to go this summer. We don’t have a visa yet and I think by the time we apply the funds on my bank account will just be around 40k, do you think this is going to be an issue? We’ve been to Hong Kong for the past 3 yrs and are budget travelers. We’ve read a lot of blogs and I think I won’t really spend that much but for visa application I’m not sure if it will look good. I’m employed and can provide all the necessary documents, I’m just so worried about this visa application. Love you blog by the way, it gave me hope lol ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Hi Tine. Well, a few years back, a friend had to go to Tokyo on her own because her companion got rejected–she only had around 30k in the bank ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
      Someone commented here that he had at least 100k and got approved for a visa and I know from other friends that 100k up is a safe amount. And for tourist visa, as far as I know, they don’t ask for certificate of employment–just ITR. There are rumors that Japan has recently been easing on the visa requirements for Filipinos but I can’t confirm that. Good luck! (You pay around P1,200 for the visa application, fyi.)

      • Tnx for the reply ๐Ÿ™‚ My friends and I decided to try Japan this time instead of HK cos of the news that they eased visa application for Filipinos. Im hoping that they’ll consider the trips we’ve had for 3 consecutive years in HK and never overstayed so dont really have plans to go TNT. Im keeping my fingers crossed. Now, my plan B is to borrow funds as show money hehe.

    • Thanks! Sorry, I haven’t tried applying for a 3-month visa. I got the multiple entry one but it still doesn’t allow for 3-month stay. Best to ask the accredited agencies on how to acquire one ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Hi, Mabes! Remember that time I threatened to stalk your blog if I ever planned to travel to Japan? Lagot, I’m going to stalk you now so be forewarned, you might get a barrage of comments from me. ๐Ÿ˜€ Hoping to take my brother to Japan in July after he finishes college, which I promised him a long time ago. So I will be eating instant noodles for the next six months. Haha. I told him though that there’s no guarantee that we’ll get the visa so we should have a back-up plan (i.e. go somewhere else that doesn’t require a visa). I’m worried about the ITR requirement–I don’t have an ITR because of the exemption for OFWs, and I’ve had prior experience with embassies getting technical and strict about their requirements. Despite the anxiety, the anticipation and planning is half the fun nga. Thanks for your thorough, detailed posts!

    • What a sweet sister you are! And yes, feel free to stalk the blog…hope you get something out of it besides me gushing, haha! Hmm, re your ITR, maybe you can ask your bro to inquire with the travel agency if you can just replace it with something else since you’re an OFW and you do have employment anyway. Also, there are rumors that Japan is easing on the visa requirements this year so… fingers crossed!

  11. Hi!The family is planning to visit Japan in August. All of them are okay with the via requirements except me! Boohoo! I am a housewife, therefore, I am unemployed and wouldnโ€™t be able to provide any ITR, and my husband will not be joining us on the trip. Though I have a sizeable amount in the bank (around 230K) under my name. What do you think are my chances of getting a visa?

    Thanks in advance!

    • I’m guessing you would need to indicate you’re a housewife in the application form, and explain that you have no ITR. The housewives I know who went to Japan, went with their husbands so at least one of them had an ITR. I can’t say what your chances are of getting a visa since I’m not connected with the embassy or any agency. But there’s no harm in applying for a visa, so I say just do it! ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck!

  12. Hello! I’m curious lng ako almost 1 month n akong nag hihintay ng visa ng dlawang Anak Ko..nung feb 5 p nila ipinasa.wla p hanggang Ngyn …normal p ba yun?! May possibility b n ma deny yun?! Sa reli tour megamall ako nag pasa…ang nka lgay s invitation letter ay march 15 ang expect ng arrival nila sa Tokyo narita…gang Ngyn ay wla p din..
    Do you have any idea Kung Bkit?! Thank you and God bless

    • Sorry, I missed this. Waiting 1 month for a tourist visa, I don’t think that’s normal.
      I’m not connected though with Reli Tours so best to call them re these matters. Hope everything turned out okay.

  13. Hi miss mabel, im applying for japn tourist visa and before i was an ofw, do i need to change my existing passport? My folks was there in japn and they will send me a letter about my visit there what is the possible reqt’s will i bring in the agency,kindly advice thankz

  14. Hello! Good morning! I have questions..

    1. One of the requirements is the Bank Certificate. Is there any minimum amount needed for my Visa to be approved? The thing is my fiance will be the one to shoulder all expenses. He and I will be going to Japan together and stay in his friends house. *What is a guarantor?
    2. For my ITR and COE, is it okay if it is to follow? I have requested these documents in our HR and it will be released this Friday. My Ticket is this coming April 1 to April 6, 2015.

    Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi! Sorry just saw this comment now and I might be too late, but anyway re your questions:
      1) Based on my own and my friends’ experiences with bank certs and even one who made a comment here, 100k and up should be safe. Below that, I personally don’t know (maybe someone reading this can offer feedback if they were approved or denied with 100k or less?). Since you’re not married your bank account I’m assuming won’t be conjugal so it might be better if you have your own savings to show. A guarantor is basically someone living in Japan who will vouch for you. I think they might also be required to submit paperwork.
      2) As far as I know–no. You have to submit everything all together before they can process it. The travel agency doesn’t need to see you ticket at least when I last applied (early 2014) that was still the case.

  15. Hi Ms. Blogger,

    If my planned trip to Japan is on Jan 4, 2016, what is the earliest possible date where I can aplly/file my Japan visa without the requirements getting obsolete & also the visa getting obsolete?

    For example, when I applied for a Taiwan visa for my April 2013 trip, I field it on February. It was 3 months away but the visa was still valid.

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