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 ago—I forgot to mention that I still lacked the most important part of the trip to actually make it happen… 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 Tax 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).