So you want to go to Japan for a vacation? I say go for it!
I never really thought that I would be able to visit Japan for a vacation last June. Sure we’ve always talked about it, my friends and I. However to actually be granted a Japan Tourist Visa was just something I never really expected for several reasons. First, I’ve never traveled abroad, not even once. Second, I don’t have that much fund, believe me. Third, I don’t think I’ll be able to submit all the documents required by the embassy. Still, my friend Melanie and I pushed through with the plan with June as the target month.
As early as January of this year, we were already on the lookout for seat sales. It was in the middle of March when I received an email from Jetstar Airways about their promo deals for Japan. Roundtrip tickets bound for Tokyo was only around Php5000+. A deal indeed so we took it – me, my friend, her mom, and her brother. A few days later, my friend was able to book our accommodation, which was also on a promo deal – 4D/3N for only Php9,000+. So now all that’s left was the visa application.
Japan Tourist Visa Application
Since my friend is already an Australian citizen, she’s no longer required to apply for a Japan tourist visa. It would just be me, her mom, and her brother. We visited the Japan Embassy website and read through the details. Applications for Japan Tourist Visa can only be submitted through accredited travel agencies so we looked for one and chose Reli Tours.
At Reli, we were given the visa application form to fill out and the list of documents we needed to submit. Here are the documents required:
- Philippine passport
– Your passport must have your signature and at least two blank pages.
– This is downloadable online or you can get one from the agency. Fill out the form before you go to the agency to submit your application. Reli Tours, for example, has a small office space and there are a lot of people submitting applications. So better fill out the form beforehand so you won’t have a hard time filling it out in the office.
– Specs: 4.5cm x 4.5cm with white background. Just tell the photo studio people that it’s for tourist visa application, they already know it.
- Birth Certificate (NSO)
– This must be original and issued within one year. If yours is unreadable or if you have no record in NSO, you need to submit one from the Local Civil Registrar. If your birth certificate has a late registration label, you need to submit your Baptismal Certificate (w/ address & landline# of church if applicable), your School Record or Form 137 (w/ address & landline# of school if applicable), and your School Yearbook if applicable
- Marriage Contract
– Only if applicable. This must be original. If there’s no record you need to submit a certificate of non-record together with one from the Local Civil Registrar
- Daily Schedule in Japan (Taizai Nitteihyo)
– When creating your itinerary, make it as simple as possible. Consider the location of your accommodation, the number of days of your stay, and of course the money in your bank. Try to choose tourist spots that are near your accommodation and those that require a small amount of fee or none at all. Like in our itinerary, since it was only a 4-day trip we only chose the places situated near our accommodation. The only place we included that requires an entrance fee was Disneysea. It was far and a bit expensive but we still included it since the rest of the places we chose were all free and near anyway.
- Bank certificate
– This must be original. Some banks like BPI can provide this within 30 minutes to 1 hour while others will require you to come back the next day. You can ask for this at any BPI branch (not necessarily the branch where you opened your account). You only need to pay Php100+ for it. Now about the amount that should be in your account. The amount should cover the entire trip. In my case, I only had about P40,000+ in my bank account. It’s kinda a small amount actually but considering the fact that we’ve already bought our roundtrip tickets and the accommodation has already been taken cared of, it’s more than enough already for a 4-day stay even in Tokyo.
- Income Tax Return (Form 2316)
– This should be original and photocopy. I don’t have an ITR. So what I did was submit a Certificate of Employment (COE) from my current employer/company instead. In some blogs I’ve read, they also submitted previous ITRs aside from their COEs. In my case, I also didn’t have ITR from the previous year. To help the embassy understand my situation, I also submitted a Letter of Explanation. In my letter I provided the reason why I did not have an ITR from the previous year/employment. Because I want to assure the Japanese Embassy that I have no plans of overstaying in Japan or doing something illegal there, I also submitted documents of professional registration/certification that I was granted years ago by the New Zealand board for work application. All these documents will let them know that I am already set to apply for work in another country so overstaying or working in Japan is not an option for me.
Aside from the above-mentioned documents, we also submitted copies of our plane tickets and hotel booking. Reli Tours’ guidelines indicate that we need not submit copies of our plane tickets when applying for Japan Tourist Visa. However I told my friend that we need to submit them too plus the hotel booking because I only have a small amount of money in my account. I figured that even if they see how small the amount of money I have in my bank, they would say it’s already enough for the 4-day trip since the plane tickets and the accommodation were already taken cared of.
Waiting for the Call:
After submission, we waited several days for a call from Reli but there was none. So we decided to just call them and lo and behold our passports were already available for pick-up! I wasn’t really expecting to be granted a visa but luckily all three of us (me, my friend’s mom and brother) were granted single-entry! I was so happy! Finally a Japan Tourist Visa in my passport!!!
A Piece of Advice:
When applying for a Japan Tourist Visa, just remember to cover all the bases. Put yourself in the embassy’s shoes. Think of what will they be looking for when they examine your application. Learn to decide if you need to include a particular document or not to support the primary documents required. When I submitted my documents to Reli Tours, the staff told me to remove the New Zealand board professional certification/registration documents I included. But I insisted. I told her that those documents will justify why I have no previous ITR and will support my claim that I am not going to overstay or look for work in Japan. That’s it.
If you’ve been wanting to go to Japan for a vacation then I say go for it! As long as you have the necessary documents just go and apply for a visa. You will never know if you’ll be granted a visa or not if you don’t try. It’s extremely easy to apply for a Japan Tourist visa. Just gather all the required documents and proceed with your application. Don’t let that Japan vacation remain a wishful thinking. Make it happen now!