We get a lot (a lot!!!) of comments on our Japan visa posts, especially from prospective Philippine travelers who can’t seem to get their heads wrapped around the concept that it is possible to get a visa in three to four business days.
However, this was many moons ago, and things have progressed since. Get this: we managed to secure a tourist visa to Japan in just 24 hours. Sounds unbelievable? Certainly not!
Step One: Prepare your documents.
Having successfully applied for Japanese tourist visas previously, we had a good handle on the basic documents needed: passport, signed application form, ID pictures sized to Japan visa specifications, BIR Form 2316 photocopy, and original Certificates of Deposit from the bank. You can download all the necessary templates from the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines website.
Step Two: Submit your documents to the travel agent.
Purely for investigative purposes, we skipped our old reliable agencies Universal Holidays, Raja Tours, and Reli Tours (my employer’s agent of choice), and went with as yet untried Attic Tours — located at Unit 203 COKO Building, 2550 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City (right next to the Embassy of Japan!). It turned out to be a fantastic decision, as you will see later. After accepting the documents, they charged us a PhP 1680 processing fee and sent us on our way.
Step Three: The travel agent submits your documents to the Embassy.
We submitted the documents on a Saturday morning, so the agency advised us that they will be forwarded to the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines first thing Monday morning — which implies that had we decided to submit the application early Monday morning, Attic Tours would’ve submitted it to the Japanese Embassy for evaluation that same day. How’s that for speed?
Step Four: The Embassy evaluates your application.
Upon receipt from Attic Tours, the Embassy of Japan does its usual voodoo and decides whether your visa application is accepted or declined based on the quality of the documents supplied. THERE IS NO 100% GUARANTEE THAT YOUR VISA WILL BE GRANTED EVEN IF YOU FOLLOW OUR GUIDES AND HOW-TOS. The Embassy always has the last say, and they will never divulge the reasons for accepting or declining your application.
Step Five: Your travel agent contacts you with your application results.
We received a text message on Tuesday afternoon saying that the passport was ready for pick-up. Passport pick-ups are scheduled on weekdays from 3PM to 6PM and Saturdays from 1PM to 3PM so if your schedule is clear you can claim your passport on the same day the text message arrived! Attic Tours did not say outright if the application was accepted or denied, as per company policy.
Lo and behold — Japan visa get! It took less than 24 hours from submission by the travel agent to the Japanese Embassy to get the application approved, and a little over 24 hours from the minute we handed over the documents to the minute we claimed the passport with the visa attached if you didn’t include Sunday hols in the count. It’s not impossible people, as long as you do it right!
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.