When my friends saw my Tokyo pictures on Facebook, I got a lot of questions. Some of them will be answered in this blog.
FAQ 1: What kind of Visa do I need, and how much is the fee?
Answer 1: It depends on the purpose of travel. Some travel for leisure (with or without a sponsor or relative), some for entertainment or medical reasons, and some, to work.
Our Situation: My friends and I got ourselves the A2 Visa Application Form – Tourist / Visit Distant Relatives. All such applications are coursed through accredited agencies since 2007.
That means, the Visa applicants do not need to personally appear before the Japanese embassy for this type of visa. We got the services of Universal Holdings, Inc (UHI) in Dusit Thani Makati, for PhP 1,200.00. But here’s a list of other accredited agencies.
My second visa application just this month (June 2016) was granted, this time, it’s a 5-year multiple entry visa since I had a used single entry visa last year and a 10-year multiple entry US visa. The maximum stay per visit is 60 days whereas the single entry is 15 days.
FAQ 2: What are the requirements I need to accomplish to apply for a tourist visa?
Answer 2: You can find the requirements here but I have a few suggestions.
Our Situation: Needless to say, your passport has to be available and should be valid 6 months after the travel dates. Renew as early as possible. Don’t have the time? Try the online application here.
An authenticated birth certificate and marriage certificate can be requested from the NSO, or its satellite offices, or again, just go online and request for it at the comfort of your couch. Go online here.
If you’re pressed for time, the NSO office in the old Makati City Hall issues the documents within 3 hours. You just have to queue up and endure the heat, but it’s the fastest process I know. I have gotten my documents there multiple times, and the experience is always good.
Note added June 2016: If your birth was registered late, then you would need to present more documents like the form 137 from your high school (cannot be substituted by any other document) and your original baptismal certificate.
If you have a used Japanese visa on your current or old passport, there is no more need to present the birth certificate on your subsequent applications.
You would of course need your latest ITR and / or Certificate of Employment. Request early and make sure the COE includes the compensation package – you would need a proof that you can afford vacationing in Japan (in our case, Tokyo) for a few days (maximum of 15 days for tourists).
Take your photo with you, fit for a Japanese Visa and take note, it’s okay to smile. (I thought they were strict so I had a tiger look photo on my Visa).
You also need to fill out a schedule / itinerary – where you’re staying at – a prospective hotel / inn, tours you want to book – but again don’t book yet as these are usually non-refundable.
Remember, before booking anything, it is best to first secure a Japanese Visa.
Lastly, a bank certificate is needed – make sure you request this from your bank, and you have to put all your savings in the bank first. It has to indicate at least PhP 100,000 – the website does not say this, but the agency gave us the tip.
FAQ 3: Should I book a plane ticket and accommodation first before applying for a visa, or is it the other way around?
Answer 3: Ideally, it is best to book only after the visa has been approved and released to you.
Our situation: When Cebu Pacific announced its piso fare in July 2014, I immediately booked a round trip ticket to Narita for March 2015 which only reached PhP 7,000++. My best friend booked his own RT ticket a couple months after and it ballooned to PhP 13,000++.
My second trip to Japan this year was only about ₱6000 per pax, RT.
We only applied for the Visa at least a month prior to the flight dates since tourist visas only have a 3-month expiration.
FAQ 4: What are some possible reasons I get denied?
Answer 4: The reason that one applicant gets denied is never discussed.
Our situation: But tips for getting approved include carefully filling out all the forms, ensuring the completeness of the documents we submitted, and well – trusting that we will get approved. 🙂
I hope this article helped. If you have other tips in getting a tourist visa to Japan that I missed, please feel free to comment.
All of the tips here are based on my own experiences.