The Cupcake and I are leaving soon for our next trip, and based on the title of this post, you guessed it right! We’re going to the Land of the Rising Sun! One of the most important and tedious parts of our preparation, of course, was to apply for a Japanese Tourist Visa (if you’re holding a Philippine passport, you need this). A lot of our friends who have been to Japan told us that it’s really easy (especially now that Japan is a lot more lenient towards tourists). Most of them even said that we can apply for our visas a few weeks before our trip. Since we leave in August, the Cupcake and I targeted to do this by July.
Photo Credit: Jeric Pena of Just Jeric
As early as June, I started my research and even began collecting requirements to be submitted. I felt really overwhelmed at first, and I sort of wished there was a blog entry that was thorough in explaining everything—which is why I decided to write this! Hopefully it helps my readers (especially the ones looking to visit Japan soon) on how to apply for a Japanese Tourist Visa in the Philippines.
Before I list down the requirements and how to get them, let me start by saying that you don’t apply for a visa at the Japanese Embassy in Manila. All applications must be made through accredited agencies. Based on the Japanese Embassy’s website, there are six. The Cupcake and I chose UHI because of the positive feedback from family and friends, the accessibility (it’s near both our offices), and they had the lowest processing fee (Php 1,200 per application). There are a few exceptions with regard to who can apply directly at the Japanese Embassy—you can view it here. Otherwise, you need to go through an accredited agency.
1. Philippine Passport
Make sure it’s not going to expire within the next six months! It also needs to have at least two blank pages for the visa.
2. Application Form
You can download or print the form here. Apart from filling up the form, you need a 2×2 ID picture pasted (not stapled!) on the form. The photo has to have a white background, and you need to be wearing a collared shirt as much as possible. The photo also has to be recent, and you can’t be wearing jewelry, headbands, caps, clips, or any other accessory. You can view the complete photo requirements here.
A little tip when filling out the application forms—make sure your handwriting is neat and you don’t make any erasures! The forms will most likely be the first thing the Japanese consuls will look at, and you want to make a good impression.
3. 2×2 ID Pictures
When we applied for our visas, the agency only got one photo (the one pasted on our application forms). But best to bring extra copies just in case!
4. Bank Certificate
This basically shows how much money you have, so that it shows the consul you’re able to pay for your trip. This was the part I was most nervous about because I wasn’t sure how much money was enough. But based on my research, if you’re staying in Japan for a week and had about Php 50,000 to Php 90,000 in your account, then you’re fine.
My main account is BDO, and I had to request for my bank certificate from my home branch. At first, I tried sending my brother to do it for me because I didn’t want to file a leave for it. I gave him an authorization letter, my government ID’s, and even my passbook—but BDO informed him that it had to be me to do it. So I took a half day off and applied for my bank certificate as soon as the bank opened. I assumed it would take a couple of days to get my bank certificate but the teller was nice enough to tell me that she was already processing the document and I could get it in 10 minutes.
Since this is a formal document, the bank will ask for the address of the Japanese Embassy:
Embassy of Japan in the Philippines
2627 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, 1300
I don’t know the bank certificate format of other banks, but BDO just shows the total amount in your bank account as of a certain date. It doesn’t show the transaction history for the past few months. I think with some banks, it does. And the embassy could be a little skeptical if for example, you deposited an unusually large amount just days before you applied for your visa. So as much as possible, try to avoid any activity that could jeopardize your application. Remember that applying for a Japanese Visa doesn’t require you to do an interview anymore, so your documents will do the talking for you.
5. Original NSO Birth Certificate
Applying for our original NSO Birth Certificate was really quick and easy. We just ordered it online here for Php 350 each! A couple of days later, it was delivered to my office and to the Cupcake’s house.
6. Income Tax Return or Form 2316
I borrowed the original copy from our HR and Accounting Officer, and had it photocopied—then I brought both original and photocopy just to be sure. The morning we submitted our documents to UHI, they only got the photocopied one. So I think it’s okay to just bring a photocopy. The Cupcake didn’t have a chance to photocopy his, but UHI did it for him.
You can download a template from the Japanese Embassy’s website, but ever since the Cupcake and I started traveling together, I was always the one in charge of our itinerary and I have my own format, which is more detailed. I submitted this instead. The guy at UHI who was processing our documents kind of laughed at how specific the itinerary was, because it even included breakfast time, bath time, and travel time.
8. Other Important Documents
The first seven I listed are the main requirements, but it also helps a lot if you can submit the following:
- Copy of Your Flight Ticket – I submitted a printed copy of our Cebu Pacific Itinerary which shows our flight to Japan and our flight back to Manila
- Receipt or Reservation Form from Hotel – The Cupcake and I are staying in an AirBnB Apartment, so I just had to print our Itinerary (which is also the receipt of our transaction). Since it contains the details and contact number of our host, I was able to write these down on the Application Form as well.
(By the way, if you’re married, I think you need to bring an original and photocopy of your marriage certificate as well.)
So those are the documents you need to submit in order to apply for a Japanese Tourist Visa! I kept them neatly inside recycled brown envelopes to make sure the papers didn’t get folded or crumpled.
UHI is open from 9am to 3pm every Monday to Friday, and 9am to 12nn every Saturday. We submitted our documents as soon as they opened last Saturday, July 11. It took us less than an hour to finish because the line wasn’t very long, and we were informed it takes about 3 to 5 working days to process (we had to leave our passports with them). But a couple of days later, they already texted and e-mailed that our passports were ready for pickup!
Since the Cupcake was really busy with work, I was the one who picked up our passports from UHI. He just needed to write an authorization letter and lend me one of his government ID’s. Thankfully, we both got approved with a Single Entry Tourist Visa that’s valid until October 2015!
If you’re about to apply for a Japanese Tourist Visa in the Philippines, I really hope this blog entry helped you. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment below!