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What You Need To Know About Applying For A Japanese Tourist Visa

Check the Land of the Rising Sun off your bucket list this year!
PHOTO: istockphoto

Judging by your Instagram feed, it seems like everyone’s been to Japan, whether it’s to the busy streets of Tokyo or the snowcapped mountains of Hokkaido. And with the Japanese government easing visa requirements for Filipinos who visit Japan for business and cultural purposes, going to the Land of the Rising Sun has never been easier.

But applying for a visa can still be a bit tricky, especially if it’s your first time to head off to Japan. So we’ve come up with a comprehensive guide to help you get to this dream destination.

Figure out the type of visa that you need

Japan issues all sorts of visas to visitors, depending on the purpose of their travel. The requirements vary per visa type; so make sure to figure out the appropriate kind of visa to apply for. We’re focusing on how to apply for a tourist visa for now, but you can check out the Japanese embassy website for information on the other kinds of visas available.

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Prepare your requirements

The Japanese embassy is extremely strict when it comes to the requirements for a visa, so make sure you have everything prepared before sending off your application.

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You’ll need your passport, which must have at least six months validity, a signature, at least two blank pages. Passports that are broken or unreadable will not be accepted.

You’ll also need to accomplish the Visa Application Form, which can be downloaded off the Japanese embassy’s website. They accept either handwritten or computerized versions, but make sure not to leave any field blank. Try to avoid erasures and only use a black pen or ink when filling up the form. You can see an example of a filled out form here. Make sure to print it out using A4 paper.

Bring ID pictures taken within the last six months on a white background. Write your name and birthdate behind the photos.

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Submit an original copy of your PSA birth certificate, issued within the year. If your PSA birth certificate is of Late Registration, you’ll also need to submit a Baptismal Certificate or a School Record. If you’re married, you’ll also need to submit a Marriage Certificate from the PSA.

The Japanese embassy will also ask you to submit a copy of your itinerary. You can download the form here. It doesn’t have to be down to the detail, but just make sure to include your arrival date and any tours that you’ll be joining.

If you’ll be shouldering most of your travel expenses, you’ll need to submit an original copy of your bank certificate, issued within the last three months. There’s no minimum balance requirement, but just make sure you have enough funds to cover your trip. You’ll also need to submit a copy of your income tax return.

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If someone is sponsoring your visit to Japan, you’ll need to provide a couple of additional documents. These include a guarantee letter, which explains your sponsor’s relationship to you and their contact details, a proof of your relationship (like a birth certificate if your sponsor is a parent), an original copy of their bank certificate, and a copy of their income tax return.

Submit all your requirements and wait!

Once you’ve finished all of your requirements, you’ll need to submit it to an accredited travel agency. That’s because the Japanese embassy doesn’t accept direct applications. You can find a list of their accredited agencies here.

The visa itself is free, but you may need to shell out anywhere from P800 to P1,600 for the agency’s processing fee. If you personally can’t get to an accredited agency, some of them allow you to ship your application via courier.

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Once you’ve submitted all of your requirements to the agency, all that’s really left to do is to just wait. Processing normally takes three to seven days. Your agency will contact you once your passport is ready for pick-up.

Additional tips

The best tip really is to make sure to have all of your requirements ready before submitting it to an accredited agency. This is just to ensure that you won’t have any problems when it comes to your application.

Make sure as well to provide compelling reasons that you’ll be returning to the Philippines. If you’ve already booked your flight, show them a copy of your return ticket. You can also submit copies of your certificate of employment, approved leave of absence, or even your travel history. This is just to convince the Japanese embassy that you have no intention of staying illegally.

As you can see, applying for a Japanese visa is relatively easy, as long as you have all of your requirements ready. Once you get that coveted sticker on your passport, go ahead and explore everything and anything Japan has to offer!

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