How to Get a Japanese Visa: A Guide for Filipinos

Japan Philippines Tourist Visa

Going to Japan is one of the most fun things you can do in your entire life — especially if you are an anime fan. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Tokyo (where I stayed for over a year as a university student), Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagano, Kanazawa and a number of other cities — both for business and for pleasure, four times so far. I still haven’t had enough of Japan, and you can bet your entire manga collection that I have plans of going back very soon.

One of the largest hurdles for Filipino J-pop fans planning to visit Japan is obtaining an entry visa. Due to the number of Filipinos in search of employment entering the country via tourist visas, the Consul Office of the Japan Embassy has implemented stricter rules in granting them. I’ve gone through three distinct kinds of visa application procedures, all of which I will be describing below. I hope that my personal experiences shed some light on the sometimes archaic and often very scary process of applying for a Japanese visa.

Applying For a Visa as a University Exchange Student

Students flying to Japan under the auspices of the Ministry of Education or the Japan Student Services Organization have a distinct advantage over almost everybody else when applying for a visa. They are in possession of a special document called the Certificate of Eligibility, which eliminates the need for many of the requirements such as Income Tax Returns, Bank Certificates, and Letters of Guarantee.

The Certificate of Eligibility is exclusively issued to university exchange students (whether postgraduate or undergraduate) so to be able to obtain one, it would be best to start off by applying for a Japanese exchange student programme via your college or university. Application procedures vary for different universities (UP, ADMU, DLSU, etc.) and areas of discipline (language, liberal arts, engineering, etc.) so it would be best to consult with your school’s Foreign Exchange offices.

Once you have cleared their selection process and are bound for Japan, your certificate will be issued to you alongside your Japanese school admission forms and other documents. All you need to do is submit it to the Consul Office along with your current passport to obtain your visa. For more information, you can also view the complete application procedure from the official website of the Embassy of Japan.

Applying For a Visa on Business

If you are employed in a private company with business ties to Japan, you can apply for a commercial visa. With this type of visa, your company vouches for you, eliminating the need for you to find a Japanese individual to act as a guarantor. Instead, your company and the Japanese company affiliated with you will need to issue a Letter of Dispatch or a Letter of Invitation, stating the nature of your business, the business relationship of the two companies involved in the transaction, and the purpose of your visit to Japan.

In my case, both my employer in Manila and our affiliate in Japan issued the letters described above, as well as Certificates of Employment and Length of Service, and a timetable detailing all my travel plans within Japan. Photocopies of my round-trip airline tickets were also given to prove that I will be returning to the Philippines once business has been completed. The travel agency handling my trip then took care of the rest, and my passport with my new visa attached arrived after three days. For more info, you can also view the complete application procedure from the official website of the Embassy of Japan.

Applying For a Visa as a Tourist

There are two ways of going about applying for a tourist visa. The first way is easier but is more expensive and also very limiting: joining a package tour. Since your tour facilitator will act as your guarantor, there is no need to obtain a Letter of Guarantee. However, you will still need to submit all the other documents like your Income Tax Returns, Bank Certificates, and Itineraries. The other option is to go it alone. I actually prefer this method since I can pick my flight schedule, my hotel/hostel, and my itinerary. Unfortunately the Consul Office will be a little bit stricter with your requirements, so it’s best that you make a good impression and get it right the first time.

The first step still means going through a travel agent. The Embassy of Japan has disallowed personal applications for entry visas, and we all now have to apply through accredited travel agencies to apply for visas. I personally recommend Universal Holidays and Rajah Travel since I have used them both and have been happy with their service so far. Just drop by their offices in Makati Avenue for Rajah and Dusit Hotel for Universal, with your completed documents and the PhP 2500 fee. For more information or additional clarification on visa application requirements, you can also view the complete application procedure from the official website of the Embassy of Japan.

Required Supporting Documents for Your Application

What are the most crucial documents needed for the application? From personal experience, it all boils down to three things: 1) proof of good financial standing; 2) history of travel; and 3) proof of return.

Proof of financial standing just means that you have the ability to support yourself during your Japan stay; it also implies that you will not be seeking illegal employment once you have entered the country. This proof comes in the form of your original Income Tax Return, which explicitly states how much you pay in taxes and earn in a year. Another important document that proves you are financially capable is a Bank Certificate stating that you have at least PhP 100,000 in savings, which would roughly be the amount you need to cover the 15 days you spend in Japan as allowed by your tourist visa.

History of travel is basically the number of used visas or old immigration stamps that you have accumulated in your passport. As a rule of thumb, the more stamps you have the better your chances of being granted a visa, since this implies that you regularly travel abroad and that you return to the Philippines after every trip. Used visas from the US, Europe, Australia, and of course Japan are also helpful in getting you an entry visa, since this guarantees the Consul Office that you have entered and left other foreign countries in good faith.

Last but not least is your proof of return: your round-trip airline ticket. This reassures the Consul Office that you will be returning to the Philippines once the fifteen day limit of your tourist visa expires, and will not attempt to stay in the country illegally for employment purposes. You can also submit land titles, business permits, and other documents that will outline your properties and business interests in the Philippines that you will return to once your trip is finished.

Visa Approval

Once your application has been received, it will take the Japanese consuls office three to five business days to review it and approve or deny your application. If approved, you will receive your passport from your travel agent with the visa attached. If your passport has been returned to you with no visa attached, your application was denied, and you will have to wait another six months to lodge another application. Under no circumstances will the visa office explain why your application has been denied, so there is really no point in pursuing the argument further.

Please note that this is a summary of our experience in applying for a Japanese visa. Mileage may vary with each individual. For more tips, you can also read How to Get A Japanese Tourist Visa in 24 Hours, How to Get a Japan Visa in Three Days, Getting a Japan Tourist Visa: An FAQ for Filipinos, and Tips on Obtaining a Japan Tourist Visa.

378 Comments

  1. irene says:

    sa lahat po ng makakabasa nito tulungan nio ako…maghihintay po ako ng reply asap mahalga po sakin ang bawat minuto kaya umaasa po ako sa inyo responce my name is irene shimizu 32yrs old pls reply sent my e mail add.. kireiirene@yahoo.com tnx a lot

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  2. hi irene — nagbasa po ba kayo ng post? eto po uulitin ko lang ang sinabi sa taas:

    Under no circumstances will the visa office explain why your application has been denied, so there is really no point in pursuing the argument further.

    Starting 31st December 2010, I may no longer be able to regularly reply to queries posted on this thread.

    sa madaling salita: 1) kung denied po kayo, denied po kayo — wala na po tayong magagawa; at 2) hindi ko po kayo matutulungan kahit na iwan niyo po ang email address niyo sa akin.

    maraming salamat po.

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  3. maika ueta says:

    ohayo,magnetic-rose, sis pacnxa na ha, me gusto po sana ko ilapit sayo eh, my situation is, im married d2 sa pinas sa isang japanese national year 2005, pero bago kmi ikasal buntis na ko nun, di lng kmi nakapgpakasal agad kc namatay father ko so we have to wait for 1 yr po, sa madaling salita pinanganak yung baby namin di pa kmi kasal but he aknowlegde nmn our baby sa birth cert nito with his hanko and now she’s 6 yrs old,unfortunately, we were abandoned by his father for 4yrs now. wla n kming communication, i just want to ask po if pde ako makakuha ng visa or japanese passport para sa anak ko? i just want to have the right para sa anak ko, gusto ko sana mamuhay sa japan para sa future niya, dun siya makapagaral at the same time po makapgwork din ako. is it possible na mabigyan siya ng visa and ako rin kahit walang consent ng father niya? ano po ba ang maganda kong gawin for us na makarating sa japan legally po?thank you so much, and i would really appreciate your response mam…

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  4. bebe ken suico says:

    good day.former ex trainee po ako ng isang japanese company for 3 years.after that umuwi ako ng pinas.just last wk my boss told me tha he is willing to sponsor me go back to japan but not a trainee.but hes gettng hard to process my documents specially the certificate of eligibility.my makatutulong po ba sa kanya sa pag process ng coe sa japan?

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  5. lovelyheart says:

    hi!!dear, my friend invite me to go in japan..and i just awnt to know how to get visa?as a working visa?

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  6. amir says:

    hello,my japan tourist visa was refuse last month,i was ready my all documents,i was done some mistake i am student but i tell him visa officer i am a shopekepper,and my bank statement was very low,so please anwes my messege,what can i do affter six month,?visa officer was refuse stamp on my passport,next time what i am change the passport? I am student of garduate what i ready paper for college holidays?

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  7. ian says:

    good day po…just wanna have some info bout may situation…isa rin po aq sa nag aasam na makabalik sa japan.this is may case..my father is us navy(retired na yta) and i havent met him my entire life.this past yrs nalaman ko nasa japan xa nagsstay..ask ko lng sana kung may rights ba ang isang US NAVY na kunin ang anak nya or pwede ba nya ako mabgyan ng visa para makapunta sa japan.im 30 yrs old right now.married. yun lng po i appreciate any advise that yo can give.thanks.

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  8. the most recent visa-related post can be found here: How to Get a Japan Visa in Three Days.

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