How to Apply for a Japan Tourist Visa
Updated: April 14th, 2014
I updated this post into a simple outline so that first time applicants of Japan Tourist Visa can fully understand the process and the required documents more.
If you think applying for a Japan Tourist is a grueling process, perhaps after reading my guide, it will give you an idea that applying is as easy as 1, 2, 3 when you know exactly what you’re doing.
Step 1: Go to PH Embassy of Japan website and look for the type of Visa that best suits you.
>> Click here << to visit the website of Embassy of Japan in the Philippines and from there look for Types of Visa. For Tourism purposes, you will see there are 3 types of Visa:
1) Visa for Tourism/Visit Friends or Distant Relatives (with or without sponsor);
2) Visa for Visiting Relatives (with sponsor)
3) Visit Relatives/Friends Invited by US Military Personnel (SOFA Status);
Step 2: Gather and prepare the required documents.
Now that you know which type of Visa that you will be applying for, gather all the required documents listed from the PH Embassy of Japan website. It stated there, ALL documents must be ORIGINAL unless otherwise stated.
Required documents for applicants without sponsor are the following:
1. Philippine Passport. Must have signature and at least 2 blank pages
2. Visa Application Form (Download)
3. Photo (4.5cm x 4.5cm, white background)
4. NSO Birth Certificate
5. NSO Marriage Contract (if the applicant is married)
6. Daily Schedule in Japan (Download)
7. Documents or photos etc. to prove relationship
8. Bank Certificate. Read here on how much show money.
9. Income Tax Return (Form 2316) original and photocopy.
However, you MUST submit these additional documents if applying with sponsor (Relatives, friends, or Boyfriend/Girlfriend, Fiance/Fiancee):
10. Invitation Letter from the Sponsor (Must have handwritten signature. ORIGINAL) (Download)
11. Guarantee Letter from the Sponsor (Must have handwritten signature. ORIGINAL) (Download)
12. Most Recent Income Tax Return Copy (Form 1040 and Form W-2)
13. Residence Certificate (if Guarantor is a Japanese) or Foreign Registration Certificate from City Hall (if Guarantor is not a Japanese)
Additional requirements if Invited by US Military Personnel:
14. Statement of Service (With e-mail address of attestant if possible)
15. Invitation Letter from Guarantor in Japan (Must have hand written signature)
USEFUL TIP #1: Not listed on the website but I recommend sending a copy of your Certificate of Employment or COE if you’re applying without a sponsor.
USEFUL TIP #2: Applicant’s Bank Certificate is not required if you have a guarantor. Alternatively, you should submit your guarantor’s Bank Certificate.
Step 3: Choose your desired accredited agency, submit the documents, and pay the Visa Application Fee.
You CANNOT directly apply at the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines; instead, you MUST apply through the agencies accredited by the Embassy of Japan. Appointments when submitting documents is typically not necessary. You can just walk-in during their business hours.
>> Click here << to view the list of Accredited Travel Agency for Japan Visa Application.
Step 4: Wait for the call.
It usually takes 2 to 3 business days to process the application if documentation is complete and in order. If you a receive a call from them, it’s either you’re lacking a document or your passport is ready for pickup.
For some reason, some agencies do not disclose information whether you were granted Japan Visa or Denied over the phone. You will just find out upon passport pickup which is the most thrilling part.
They can only tell you whether you were granted a visa or not upon passport pick up. In some agencies, a white sticker at the back of your passport, it’s Granted! Congratulations! While red sticker denotes Visa Denial.
For denied applications, you may apply again after 6 months.
Downloadable templates for your Japan Visa Application
- Schedule of Stay (Itinerary)
- Letter of Guarantee
- Letter of reason for invitation or Invitation Letter
- Letter of explanation template
- List of visa applicants
Or visit. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan website for templates in other language.
My personal experience
In my case, I chose Reli Tours & Travel Agency (SM Megamall) to process my application. My overall experience with them was just OK. I had an unpleasant experience during my first time as their staff were very unfriendly. Especially the front desk. But during my second time (2nd Japan Visa application), those irate staff are no longer there and served me better.
I got my Japan Tourist Visa 2 days after I submitted my documents. The Visa Type I applied for was the Invited by US Military Personnel (SOFA Status). It was a breeze!
Other resources: MOFA of Japan