Posted in Visa

How I Got My Japanese Tourist Visa

 

With more budget airlines opening routes from the Philippines, Japan has now become more accessible than ever to Filipinos. And if applying for a Japanese tourist visa is the only thing that stands between you and your trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, fret not fellow Filipino wanderers, getting a Japanese visa is easier and not at all intimidating as it seems.

For Philippine passport holders planning to get a Japanese visa, please refer to the following links for the official guidelines released by the Japanese embassy:

Embassy of Japan in the Philippines – Visiting
Embassy of Japan in the Philippines – Tourist Visa

It should be noted that all Japan visa applications have to be applied thru an accredited agency. As I was searching thru the embassy’s list of accredited agencies, the most convenient option for us was to apply thru Discovery Tour Inc. They are the only agency with an office in Davao City, which is where we reside.

Before I narrate our experience in applying for our Japanese visas, our profile is as follow:

  • Applying as family for tourist visa
  • No Japanese guarantor
  • Occupations: Father – employee, Mother – homemaker, Sister1 – Physician (no employment, has recently just passed the PSBIM exam), Sister2 – unemployed (recently resigned, actively seeking new employment), Me – CPA (working as freelancer)
  • Since technically my Father is the only one employed in our family, he acted as our guarantor for the trip
  • History of travel: Father – traveled to Japan on business a few times in the past, has valid US visa, has also been to many other Asian and American countries; Me – SG, HK, Taiwan, South Korea; Mother, Sister1 and Sister2 – SG
  • Except for my Father, it is all our first time to apply for a Japanese visa

We had already purchased our plane tickets way back in June 2015 (availed Cebu Pacific Air’s 50% discount promo that time) and our travel dates were already set on the first week of April. Since tourist visas usually have a validity of 90days, we planned to submit our applications in January. However, when I called Discovery Tour, they advised to just apply sometime in February.

For our application, we submitted the following:

Father

  • Valid passport
  • Old passport with Japanese visa (my father has actually old Japanese visas in multiple, older passports, but we just submitted the most recent. The most recent was a multiple entry Japanese visa that was used once and expired in 2011)
  • Visa application form with attached photo
  • Bank certificate (original and photocopy)
  • 2014 Income Tax Return (form 2316 – photocopy)
  • Daily schedule / itinerary

Mother

  • Valid passport
  • NSO birth certificate (issued within one year of date of application)
  • NSO marriage certificate (issued within one year of date of application)
  • Visa application form with attached photo
  • Letter of guarantee
  • Daily schedule / itinerary

Sister 1

  • Valid passport
  • NSO birth certificate (issued within one year of date of application)
  • Visa application form with attached photo
  • Bank certificate (original and photocopy)
  • 2014 Income Tax Return (form 1700 – photocopy)
  • Letter of guarantee
  • Daily schedule / itinerary

Me

  • Valid passport
  • NSO birth certificate (issued within one year of date of application)
  • Visa application form with attached photo
  • Bank certificate (original and photocopy)
  • 2014 Income Tax Return (form 2316 – photocopy)
  • Letter of guarantee
  • Daily schedule / itinerary

In the agency’s website, they indicated that all requirements should be on A4 size paper. Just to be prepared, I photocopied all requirements on A4 size paper. This proved to have saved me time from travelling back and forth the agency office.

While we were preparing our requirements, it was only then that we noted that Sister2’s passport was going to expire in June 2016, hence would not be deemed valid anymore since validity of the passport should be more than 6 months upon application. And since Sister2 was dilly dallying on the renewal of her passport, we proceeded to submit our application without hers.

I submitted our applications on a Monday. I arrived at Discovery Tour’s office around 11:00am. Their office was easy to spot since there were people waiting outside on the benches. I initially thought that the line started from the outside. Good thing I checked inside if there were priority numbers. Turns out there was no priority number and you just have to wait in line inside the office. Apparently, people sitting on the benches outside were companions of the applicants already in line inside. Since their office is small, not all companions could be seated inside.

With nothing much to do while waiting for my turn, I just observed how the process was being done. One thing that really stood out to me was how courteous and friendly the staff of Discovery Tour Davao were. (I couldn’t help but overhear conversations with other applicants. It’s a pretty small office, hehe) Even when some applicants were insisting on some things, they were very patient to explain the requirements and the process. And no matter what the applicant’s questions were, they pleasantly accommodated them (even if, in my opinion, the applicant should’ve done prior research / reading before applying and hence should not have had to ask the question). Observing also has its benefits, one of the things that I noted was the need to fill in the “ID No. issued by the govt” item in the application form. I skipped filling this out since the Philippines does not have a national ID. Apparently, you need to fill it out with the details of any valid government ID (eg PRC, drivers’ license, postal ID, etc). So I immediately messaged my Father, Mother and Sister1 to get their government ID details.

Good thing I arrived around 11am cause they have a cutoff schedule so that they could also take their lunch break. All applicants who came after me were advised to come back in the afternoon. I was finally entertained at around 11:45am. I didn’t really mind the wait since I was seated comfortably in their air conditioned office. I just informed the staff that we were applying for tourist visa and presented to her all our requirements. She went over them to ensure that they were complete and details on the application form were consistent with the NSO birth certificate and passport bio page.

After checking that everything was in order, she asked me who should be tagged as the main applicant. I said my Father since he is the one who will guarantee all our expenses. I then paid the processing fee of P1,500 per applicant. She advised me that it would take around a week before we can get the results and that they would call me if our passports were ready for pick-up.

Around Tuesday the following week they told me that our passports were ready for pick up. I was not in Davao City that week and advised them that I would have to get them on a later date.

When I came to pick up our passports, I just informed the staff that I was there for our passports and I didn’t even have to wait in line. She handed me our passports and informed me that we all have been granted MULTIPLE ENTRY VISA valid for 5years for a period of stay of 30days. Wooooooot!! I do suspect we’ve been granted multiple entry because of my father’s previous Japanese multiple entry visa and his valid US visa. I’m discounting the “economic” factor, since all our bank accounts just showed enough to support our trip to Japan.

I was asked by the staff to double check the names on our visa and when everything was clear I signed a form confirming that I had received our passports.

Before I left their office, I asked them what requirements should my Sister2 submit if my Father will still act as her guarantor. In addition to the basic requirements, she told me to include the following:

  • Photocopy of the Japanese visa recently granted to my Father
  • Father’s bank certificate
  • Father’s ITR

My Sister2, who had just recently gotten her passport renewed, submitted her application in the first week of March. She passed the following:

  • Valid passport
  • NSO birth certificate (issued within one year of date of application)
  • Certificate of dedication*
  • High school form 137*
  • Visa application form with attached photo
  • Bank certificate (original and photocopy)
  • 2014 Income Tax Return (form 2316 – photocopy)
  • Daily schedule / itinerary

*In addition to the NSO birth certificate, my sister2 had to submit both Certificate of dedication and HS form 137 because her NSO birth certificate states that she is “late registered”.

My sister did not indicate my Father as her guarantor already since that would require Father’s new bank certificate (photocopy of previously submitted bank certificate was not accepted). Since we didn’t want to delay her application because of the long holidays in March, and since she is able to economically support herself for the trip (she is the only one in the family who is “rich” hahaha), she submitted the requirements without Father’s guarantee.

A week later, she claimed her passport and she was still granted a tourist visa. However, she was only granted a single entry visa with period of stay of only 15days. Not bad at all considering that she applied solo and her new passport did not hold any of her travel history (she did not submit her old passport).

Thanks to the relaxed visa policy of Japan, it is now quite easy for Philippine passport holders to get a Japanese tourist visa and visit the Land of the Rising Sun!

=======Watch out for my trip report of our family vacation to Japan=========

XoXo
-mskimberlydy

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Author:

CPA. Vacation coordinator. Beach bum. Forever wanderlusting.

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