Every once in awhile, rumors start circulating on social media about the possibility of Japan removing visa requirements for Filipino visitors. It always excites Filipinos as Japan is a dream destination for many.
Unfortunately, those rumors always end up being just rumors. While Japan has slowly been relaxing visa requirements since 2014, Filipinos still need them to enter Japan. In an effort to make your application as seamless as possible, we’ve come up with this handy guide on how to get a Japan visa in Manila.
Pick a Visa That Suits Your Needs
Japan has 17 kinds of visas for foreigners visiting the country. Aside from the tourist visa, Japan also has visas for those visiting friends or distant relatives, those attending conferences, and for those in the country for a medical stay. Head over to the website of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines to find out which one you need.
Ready the Requirements
If it’s your first time heading to Japan as a tourist, here is what you need to have when applying for a visa:
Your passport has to be valid for the next six months and in good condition. At least two pages of the passport must also be blank. Renew a damaged or expiring passport before applying.
2. Visa Application Form
The embassy has specifications with regards to the photo needed for your visa, so it’s best to check them out here. But in any case, you will need to submit a 4.5cm x 4.5cm photo with white background, taken no longer than six months prior to your application. Most photo studios will know the photo requirements of embassies, so tell them you’re applying for a Japanese visa when you have your photo taken.
4. NSO-certified Birth Certificate with Receipt
An NSO-certified birth certificate will cost you P350 if you have it delivered, and P140 if you pick it up personally. Order it online here. The embassy also accepts a birth certificate from the local civil registrar if your NSO-certified birth certificate copy is unclear.
If your birth is not registered with the NSO, you will need to get a Certificate of Non-Record from the NSO and submit it with a birth certificate from the local civil registrar. You will pay P350 if you have this delivered and P140 if you pick it up personally.
If the birth certificate is a late registration (your birth was not registered with the NSO within 30 days), you will need several documents: a birth certificate from the local civil registrar, the original baptismal certificate, the school record (Form 137 or school report card), and school yearbook are required. The contact number of the church and the school is also needed.
5. NSO-issued marriage contract, if applicable
If you don’t have a marriage certificate with the NSO, you will need to get a Certificate of Non-Record together with a marriage certificate from the local civil registrar. You will pay P350 if you have this delivered and P140 if you pick it up personally.
6. Tour Itinerary
The embassy will also need an itinerary that covers your entire stay. If the travel agency you booked with doesn’t have an itinerary for you, then you can make one for yourself. Download a sample form here.
7. Bank Balance Certificate
The certificate you present to the embassy should be recent (within 3 months of submission of the application) and the amount should be enough to cover your airfare and your stay.
8. Income Tax Return (ITR)
The embassy will require an original and photocopied version of your income tax return. If you don’t have an ITR for some reason, the embassy will require a letter from you explaining why.
Choose an Accredited Travel Agency
One thing you should know on how to get a Japan visa in Manila is that the embassy will require you to course it through accredited travel agencies. These agencies will charge you anywhere from P800 to P1500, so pick one that fits your budget. Once you’ve paid and submitted your requirements, all you need now is to wait for their call.
The accredited travel agencies and their respective fees are listed below:
Friendship Tours – P1200
Attic Tours Phils. – P1500 + 12% VAT
Discovery Tour – P800
Rajah Travel Corporation – P1500
Reli Tours and Travel Agency – P950
UHI (Universal Holidays) – P1200
Make Sure You Have Enough Money in the Bank
You need to have at least P100,000 in your account for at least half a year to get a better chance at acquiring a visa. The bank balance certificate you will submit will show the average balance for the past 6 months as well as the most recent balance. If reviewers catch a sudden influx of money into your account, your application may be denied.
Show Them That You Intend to Return Home
This can be established either through your ITR, certificate of employment, or your travel history. You also get a higher chance of getting approved if you submit an old passport with plenty of stamps and visas on it.
Make Sure You’ve Filled Out Your Application Correctly
It would certainly be heartbreaking if you went through all the stress of completing your requirements and then finding out that your application was denied because of an incorrectly filled-out application. Review everything before handing it over to the travel agency so your hard work won’t go to waste.