Did you grow up watching anime every afternoon and evening on our local TV hosts? Was your dream when you were a kid to visit the places you saw on those shows? Dream not anymore, grab the chance while Japan still has its relaxed visa requirements for us Filipinos. We won’t know if this is forever or only for a while, so save up and try your luck, take a gamble!
Like others, visiting Japan was also my dream (yea, it ‘was’ a dream) I just woke up that I already visited this magnificent country, and still can’t believe I got their visa. There were many times I thought to fake my documents just to get to this country! Let me tell you, they were stressful, my ITR record is not complete, on my picture I didn’t even wear the proper dress code and I’ve only been to one country before.
But. I. Still. Got The. Visa!!! baby~
Meet Mt. Fuji!
The worries did not stop there, I’m a solo flight traveler, hence the blog name, mind you. Heard of airport immigration? the officers you’ll have to pass before you leave the country. I just shot them down with this innocent smile, I passed the border solo while my head’s up, up in the air.
So, long story short, I applied for my Japan tourist visa with no guarantor, flew alone outside the country and did not faked my documents. The lesson to this story? Don’t fool the descendants of the ninja and the samurai’s. Just be honest.
How to Apply for a Japan Tourist Visa with No Guarantor
STEP 1: Know the Type of Visa You’re Applying For
There’s various types of Japan visa’s you can apply for, click here for the complete list.
I’ll only discuss the requirements needed in applying for a tourist visa with no guarantor, since this is the only thing I, myself have experienced. If your purpose of landing on my blog is to get a visa as a tourist with your friends, family or lover, you’re on the right page.
STEP 2: Gather all Required Documents
1. Philippine Passport
2. Japan Visa Application Form
3. ID Photo
4. NSO Birth Certificate
5. Marriage Certificate
6. Itinerary in Japan
7. Bank Certificate
8. Income Tax Return (ITR)
9. Other Supporting Documents
1. Philippine Passport
Laminated photo inside must not be damaged. Must have a signature and at least 2 blank pages. Don't have a passport yet? Here's a guide on how to get your Philippine Passport.
2. Japan Visa Application Form.
- Strictly print the form in an A4 size paper.
- Can be handwritten or typewritten – the form is an editable PDF. Go here to download or type your details. Check out this sample guide on how to fill them out correctly.
- Don’t leave any blanks. Put N/A on all spaces not applicable.
- Do not staple the papers, have them glued together.
3. ID Photo
A 4.5cm x 4.5cm picture with white background pasted on your Japan Visa Application Form. I had my photo taken at Tronix for P67, just tell them it's for a Japan Visa. Visa photos have their own strict measurements so just have it taken by the professionals. No accessories, no smiling and wear a top with a collar to be safe, don’t copy me!
4. NSO Birth Certificate
Original copy issued within the past 1 year. Not required anymore if you’ve been issued a Japan visa before. If it’s your first time here are easier options to get this.
- OPTION 1: Order your NSO online for P350.00, it will be delivered via courier within 2-3 working days.
- OPTION 2: SM Malls Bills Payment section offers this and costs only P140.00 and P20.00 service fee. You can pick it up after a week, or have it delivered (with an additional fee of course).
5. Marriage Certificate.
If, well, your married. Skip this if you're single and living life to it's fullest.
6. Itinerary in Japan.
They have a certain format which you can download here. Just put a rough draft on what you’ll do on your stay in Japan, simple ideas are okay. This is an example:
7. Bank Certificate
Issued within the past 3 months. You can only get it from the branch of your bank account.
What’s a bank certificate? It’s a document indicating your current balance on your bank account signed by the bank officials, worth P100 in BDO and you can get it on the same day. You can’t fake this one, the numbers are embedded on the paper and I saw the checker slid her fingers on it to check if it’s an original copy.
8. Income Tax Return (ITR or Form 2316)
Original and Photocopy. They’ll only take the copy.
If you’re employed: Get one from your current employer. This way you’ll also see if their duly paying your taxes that they deduct on your salary monthly.
If you’re a freelancer: I have no experience in this yet, but if you're still paying your taxes even as a freelancer you can get an ITR Form 1700/ 1701/ 1702
9. Other Supporting Documents
If you feel that your current requirements won’t land you a visa successfully, you can include passing supporting documents like:
- COE or Certificate of Employment. Indicating your company background, your position, what you do on your job, your current salary, when you started working on the company and of course your boss’s signature. With the company stamp or seal too.
- Leave of Absence. An approved slip from your employer that stated you’ll be away for a while on your job.
- Booked Hotel. Not really necessary, but if you want to pass this go ahead. They know you can just cancel your booking afterwards….hmm
- Flight Ticket. Also not required by the embassy or the travel agency. But if you’ve already booked your discounted or Piso fare plane ticket or just have some cash to spare even when denied, feel free to include to this on your documents.
On my experience getting my ITR was the hardest since I always change jobs after a year. The ITR I submitted only has a record from January to September 2015. So I passed a COE certificate that indicates I started on March 2017 up to present. It’s a really helpful document so they know you’re currently employed and you have a job to come back to.
STEP 3: Find an Accredited Travel Agency AND SUBMIT YOUR DOCUMENTS
I submitted mine in Reli Agency, my friends also recommend them. They have an in-house Japanese that checks your requirements to see if you have a high chance to be approved. If not, they'll ask you to provide other documents. Check below to see other travel agencies accredited by the Japan embassy. This list was taken from the Japan Embassy website, see here for more details.
STEP 4: WAIT FOR YOUR VISA
The agency will notify you thru a text message that your passport is already released and you will know the result upon pick-up only. When I was getting mine, I stared at the white sticker at the back of my passport while they were writing my details. That white sticker means you’re approved! if it’s in red…well...try again after 6 months. They won’t tell you why you got denied, no one knows but only the embassy.
And ta-daaaa~ my first visa!! And this is only my second travel outside the country.
TIPS TO GET APPROVED ON YOUR JAPAN VISA APPLICATION
Your Bank Certificate and Travel Itinerary goes hand in hand.
If it’s your first time getting a Japan visa, better write on your itinerary that you’ll only be there for a short time, like 5-7 days. Especially if you feel that the amount of your Bank Certificate is not enough. Just to show that you can support your stay with the money you currently have. I put 6 days on the itinerary I submitted, but stayed in Japan for 14 days!
The hotels you wrote on you Application Form can always be changed.
What if you said on your application form that you will be staying at a hotel but in the end you want to stay at a friend’s house? No worries, everyone’s got a change of plans. And it’s easier to just write a hotel than annoy your friend to provide you with their documents. This is what happened to me.
Your ITR record is also incomplete? Or you recently changed job to a freelancer?
If you recently changed your job mid-year, get one from your last employer and then a Certificate of Employment (COE) on your current employer. Make sure it has the company’s seal on it, don’t settle for a plain looking paper, make it look professional and legal.
Feel free to submit any supporting Documents.
If you think this will give you a higher chance to get approved.
Request for a stay of less than 15 days for first timers.
Your first time in Japan? Don’t get too excited! Request the minimum length of stay in Japan so you’ll have a higher chance to get approved. They grant 15 days, 30 days and 90 days of stay, on your next visit maybe you can ask for a longer one.
Don’t fake any documents.
Just. DON’T. It’s much better to be denied than be BANNED! So trash those bad thoughts.
When to apply for a Japan Visa?If applying for a single entry, apply at least 1 or 2 months before your preferred date so you have time to pass missing/additional documents. I applied October and flew on December.
Make sure your requirements are complete.Give a letter of explanation if you can't complete their list of documents to be submitted.
Neat and Tidy.Better have your documents neat with no erasures on your application form, no paper wrinkles and no typos.
Buy your plane tickets and book a hotel AFTER your visa has been approved.
It’s best NOT to buy your tickets in advanced especially if it’s a regular fare. Just put your preferred hotel or airlines. This is not required by the travel agencies and I don’t know if this affects much the status that the embassy will give you their YES.
They denied your request for a visa?You can re-apply again after 6 months. Good Luck!
MY THOUGHTS AND EXPERIENCE:
I never knew that a Visa is just a sticker on a passport. And it's a big deal for me to get approved since I have only traveled once outside the country before. On top of this, I'm just flying solo and staying in Japan for 14 days. The immigration officer in NAIA asked me if I have a companion, I just said..."yes". Unknowingly, what if she wants to see who I'm with? who will I point to? After the interview I was acting that I'm hurrying after a friend. LOL.
Inside the plane, the attendants will give you 2 papers to write what the things you brought to their country (like wines or perfume), it's for their customs. And another paper to write where you'll stay. After the plane landed, in the immigration point in Japan, the officer guy there was typing and seems like he's getting an error, then he asked where is the address I wrote on the paper. Since I did not put a hotel, but my friend's house address, I just said "It's a friend's house". Then he just nod and said "okay", and I was like in my mind "ah, okay?, that's all?", while walking away.
See how strict they are to me? For a solo female plane traveler they were too nice to me, especially on a visa required country. Such a very unique experience.