(Updated 2017) Steps in Applying For a Japan Tourist Visa | Philippines

Thursday, March 05, 2015

I’m going back to Japan this April and I’m so excited for spring! I’ve been to a number of countries in three continents, but Japan still holds this irresistible charm on top of my list. It’s one of the best places I’ve visited in my years of travel, not only because of its iconic places but also because of their food, culture, people, invention and the little quirks which are unique to Japan.

* Read further down below for 2017 updates
With all the available flights to Japan coming from the Philippines, visiting the Land of the Rising Sun is no longer far-fetched. Still, you need to secure a tourist visa if you’re a Filipino traveler with a Philippine passport.      

So how do you apply for a Japan Tourist Visa without a guarantor (visa for tourism)? Follow these steps:

STEP 1 - Prepare all requirements.

Basic Requirements

1) Philippine Passport
  • Must be in good condition, with signature, has at least 2 blank pages, not tampered
  • Just to be on the safe side, passport must have at least 6 months validity.
  • Remove fancy passport holder.
2) Visa Application Form
  • Available for download here.
  • If you decide to type in the details, be ready to print this after filling out the form because you cannot save the data.
  • Write legibly (preferably ALL CAPS in black ink) if you decide to fill out the details using a pen.
  • Write N/A for sections which are not applicable instead of leaving them blank.
  • Printed copies are also available at accredited travel agencies.
* TIP: Make a positive impression by typing in the details instead of writing them by hand. This will save the consul’s time (or whoever is assigned to process the visa) in verifying the information in your application form (and understanding your penmanship).

3) Photo
  • 4.5cm x 4.5cm size photo with white background. You can inform the photo center that you’re applying for a Japan visa. Most photo centers already know what size you require.
  • Dress appropriately for the photo by looking formal. Opt for a top/blazer with collar.
  • More details can be found here.
  • Attach photo in your application form.
4) NSO PSA Certified Birth Certificate
  • Must be issued within a year (1 year)
  • You can request through PSA E-Census website (formerly NSO).
  • Fee is Php 315 per copy and can be paid through BDO and Union Bank if application is within the Philippines (more about payment information).
  • Delivery period (after payment): 3-5 days for Manila, Cebu and Davao; 4-9 days for other cities and provinces (more about delivery information).
  • According to the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines, “In case of non-record, you must submit certificate of non-record together with the one from Local Civil Registrar.”
  • Original copy will be submitted to the embassy.
* TIP: NSO PSA certified birth certificate will only be submitted once. If this isn’t your first time to apply a Japan tourist visa (given you were granted a visa before either on your old or current passport), you may skip this step.

5) NSO PSA Certified Marriage Contract (if you’re married)
  • Must be issued within a year (1 year)
  • Same as the birth certificate, you can request through PSA E-Census website (formerly NSO).
  • Fee is also Php 315 per copy.
  • Again in case of non-record, submit a certificate of non-record with your copy of the marriage contract from the Local Civil Registrar.
  • Original copy will be submitted to the embassy.
  • Same as #4, you only need to do this once, which is on your very first application.
6) Daily Schedule in Japan (TAIZAI NITTEIHYO)
  • Your itinerary
  • Original template from the embassy here (in English)
  • Sample itinerary here (in English)
* TIP: List down all the hotels/hostels or accommodation (with contact details and address) you’re staying at, especially when you plan to tour outside your first Japan destination/city

7) Bank Certificate
  • Check with your bank as to when you’ll be able to receive your bank certificate. Some banks will provide it to you on the spot while other banks will ask you to come back when the certificate becomes available.
  • Keep the receipt for the bank certificate in case the travel agency asks for it (for BDO, the fee is Php 100).
  • Provide ample amount of money for your stay.
  • Original copy will be submitted to the embassy.
* TIP: The embassy does not prescribe a minimum amount of money in your savings/current account. The cost of living in Japan is expensive so it’s not ideal to show Php50,000 if you’re staying there for 10 days. At least provide the said amount if you’re touring for 3 days only (and given you already paid for your flight and accommodation).

8) Latest Income Tax Return (ITR or Form 2316)
  • Ask your HR for a copy of your ITR.
  • Submit this requirement if you are employed.
  • Bring original copy and a photocopy.
  • Photocopy will be submitted to the embassy.
* TIP: If you don’t have an ITR, say you’re a freelancer or your company hasn’t provided you with this document yet, write a formal letter to the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines and explain why you lack the said document. Sign the letter and provide your contact details.

9) Certificate of Employment
  • For employed applicants, ask your HR to include your position, tenure, total annual income plus other monetary benefits.
  • Original copy will be submitted to the embassy.
  • Similar to #8, if you don’t have a COE for a valid reason, provide a formal letter addressed to the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines and sign it.
10) Flight Details/Itinerary
  • Print your e-ticket and provide a copy.
11) Hotel Booking Reservation/Confirmation
  • Print hotel booking reservation/confirmation and provide a copy.
* TIP: If you haven’t booked an accommodation yet, you can consult one of the embassy’s accredited agencies to help you with your hotel choice.  Otherwise, you can book online through Agoda.com, Booking.com or any hotel booking agents which can provide you with a free booking cancellation in case you won’t be granted a visa.

Supplemental Documents

Supplemental documents are optional. You may or may not submit the following, unless these will be required by the agency or the embassy.

1) Approved Leave of Absence
  • If you’re a first time traveler, it is recommended that you provide a letter from your manager stating that your vacation leave is approved and that you will be coming back at the office at a certain date.
2) Travel Permit
  • Government employees may need a travel permit when flying out of the Philippines.
3) Business-Related Documents
  • If you own a business, you can also provide documents, certificates, etc.

STEP 2 - Submit all requirements to an accredited agency.

Application for a Japan tourist visa is free. However, you cannot go directly to the embassy to apply. You have to go through one of the following registered agencies listed here. Take note that they charge a fee for their service.

1) UHI (Universal Holidays Inc.)
- Mezzanine Floor, Dusit Thani Hotel, Ayala Center (beside SM Makati)

2) Discovery Tour Inc.
- Salcedo Village, Makati (head office)
- Airport Road, Lapu-Lapu City (Cebu)
- Juna Subdivision Matina near SM-Ecoland (Davao)

3) Rajah Travel Corporation
- Gercon Plaza, Makati Avenue (Makati)
- A. Mabini cor. T.M. Kalaw St. Ermita (Manila)

4) Reli Tours & Travel Agency
- Mezzanine Floor, Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati (main office)
- SM Megamall, SM Southmall and SM Mall of Asia

5) Attic Tours Phils., Inc.
- Patio Madrigal Compound, Roxas Blvd. (Pasay)
- Traders Hotel, Roxas Blvd. (Pasay)
- Waterfront Airport Hotel, Lapu-Lapu City (Cebu)

6) Friendship Tours and Resorts Corporation
- 3rd Floor, Dusit Thani Hotel (Makati)
- Banilad Mandaue City (Cebu)

7) Pan Pacific Travel Corporation (only for applicants without Japanese Guarantor)
- Yuchengco St., Binondo (Manila)
- Pacific Pace Apartelle Suite, Ermita (Manila)
- Herrera Tower Condo, Salcedo Village (Makati)
- Diplomat Hotel (Cebu)

Since the closest accredited travel agency to our place is in Makati, my fiancรฉ and I opted for Universal Holidays Inc. in Dusit Hotel. Aside from their weekday schedule (9:00am-4:00pm) they are open on Saturdays from 9:00am to 11:30am which means we don’t have to skip work just to apply for a tourist visa. In addition, they only charge Php 1,200 for their tourist visa application service (no guarantor). When I went to Japan in 2012, we applied through Rajah Travel Agency and the cost back then was Php 2,500 (if I’m not mistaken). There was a Japanese staff who checked our documents. I could not remember if he was employed by Rajah Travel or if he was a member of the embassy.

Upon reaching UHI, the security guard asked for our purpose and provided us with a computer-generated number for queuing. We were assigned one number and went to 3 windows for the following steps: (1) submission of requirements, (2) payment of visa fee, (3) releasing of receipt. Since this is my second application, submission of requirements was easy because I already knew what to prepare. I had all the requirements ready and arranged beforehand. The staff of UHI just checked our documents in less than 10 minutes before asking us to proceed to the payment window.

* TIP: Save time by preparing all documents and application forms ahead. I noticed some applicants would just fill out their application forms on the spot, making the process tedious and time-consuming, not just for themselves but for the agency staff and other applicants as well.

STEP 3 - Claim your passports.

Processing of Japan tourist visa takes 3-5 business days, but we got our passports earlier. We applied Saturday (embassy closed on weekends which means processing will be on Monday) and on Tuesday, we received an email and a text message that our passports are ready for pick-up. Even if it only takes a few days for visa processing, apply no less than a month before you travel so you’ll have enough time to secure additional documents if needed.

The most common Japan tourist visa would be single entry, valid for 3 months with 15 days stay (unless you plan to stay longer which will depend on your itinerary). Some are granted multiple entries for a year or more if they have been to Japan thrice within a certain timeframe. Otherwise, if you want a multiple entry visa, you have to write a letter to the embassy and state your reason for that request.

If you’re unable to get your passport yourself, even if the person(s) you’re travelling with can claim your passport, you still need to present an authorization letter and a photocopy of your ID. If you got a Japan tour package from the same agency, then that travel agency can handle the claiming for you.

Please take note that the accredited travel agencies cannot influence the embassy regarding the outcome of your visa application. If you’re denied a visa, the embassy will not disclose the reason. You may re-apply after 6 months.

Throwback to August 2012. This was taken from a store in Owakudani, a place famous for their boiled black eggs.

Japan is still one of the most expensive countries in the world. But out of all the 5 visa applications I had, Japan is the easiest. And it’s still worth trying so don’t get intimidated!

Good luck on your Japan tourist visa application and enjoy the Land of the Rising Sun!

UPDATE: March 7, 2017
Japan Visa application at Universal Holidays Inc.
Japan Visa application at UHI

I recently applied for a Japan visa last week at Universal Holidays Inc. (UHI) and so far, the requirements stated above are still the same. I’m just going to add some helpful details for Japan Tourist Visa applications: 

1)    In UHI, the cost for applying a Japan tourist visa is at Php 1,200. If you are going to visit your family or relatives in Japan, the rate is different. Please refer to the list of accredited travel agencies and contact them for rates.

Universal Holidays Inc. Japan Visa application fees
UHI Japan Visa application fees

2)    If you are applying for someone else, make sure to provide a signed authorization letter with the attached ID of the person you are applying for. 

3)    Make sure that your PSA documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc.) are released or ordered within one year. For instance, if you presented your birth certificate and it was printed/ordered/released in 2013, the accredited travel agency will not accept the application form.

4)    The application form and other forms must be free from mistakes. Hand-written forms are prone to erasures so it’s best to type in the details and print out. Double check all the details before submitting the forms. 

5)    On the second page of the application form, affix your signature and leave the date blank for the meantime. You can place the date in the application form once the travel agency has verified and accepted all your documents. 

6)    For applicants with late registration of birth certificate, bring your Form 137 and baptismal certificate. 

7)    If someone else will support you financially, include a notarized Affidavit of Support signed by you and the person who will fund your tour. Include a bank certificate and 3-month bank statement of the account owner. 

8)    If you are currently unemployed and cannot provide an ITR, a letter of guarantee must be included in your application. This does not need to be notarized and you can get a template from the accredit travel agency. 

9)    If you are claiming a passport in behalf of someone else, provide a signed authorization letter with the attached ID of the passport owner, your ID, as well as the receipt of payment when you applied for the visa. 

10)    It pays to be early. If you are visiting to Japan during peak season (i.e. cherry blossom season), keep in mind that a lot of tourists are applying for a visa, especially during March. Go to the accredited travel agency early in the morning so you don’t have to wait in line for too long, and you don’t need to go back just in case your number did not make it to the processing before lunch break.

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  1. This is really helpful, not to mention very detailed! I was just wondering whether to put in the actual number of days of stay (in our case, 4 days) or is it only allowed to put in 15, 30 and 90 days? Thanks! Would really appreciate it!

    1. Hello! Put the actual number of days of stay because you have to indicate your itinerary on each day. If I remember it correctly, the accredited travel agency also asked for our flight details. Hope this helps!

  2. Hi Ms. Jena can I apply tourist visa without plane ticket yet?

    1. Hello! I haven't tried applying for a visa without plane tickets, but I think these are required. It'll make much more sense that you want to visit their country and will return to the Philippines after (plus points for visa approval, too if you have everything planned out prior to application). Better if you contact any of the accredited travel agencies just to be sure. Good luck!

  3. Hi. I am wondering if the result of my application is positive because the agency I applied to just said that my passport is now ready for pick-up. and the result will be disclosed only if I get my passport. Any advice?

  4. Hi. I am just wondering whether the result of my application is positive. The agency just told me that my passport is now ready for pick-up and the results will just be disclosed after I get my passport. Any advice?

    1. Hi Jason. I hope you got your visa. So sorry I didn't get notification on your comment earlier.

  5. Hi I also applied visa via UHI. Hopefully it gets approved. I also notice applicants filling out application form on the spot which actually makes the waiting time longer :-( the requirements are posted on the website of travel agency and in Japanese embassy website here in PH it would really be more efficient to get this organized before going to the agency.

  6. Hello po, ask ko lang if how did you booked your hotel stay? Is it necessary po?

    1. Hi Maurice! I booked directly from the hotel's website. Two years ago I booked via Agoda. I believe it's necessary to have your accommodation ready because you need to write your address and contact details while in Japan (Schedule of Stay form). I suggest you pick a hotel/accommodation where you can cancel your booking for free in case you don't get a visa. Best of luck!

    2. Nakakaba pla mag antay ng visa i hope ma approve kmi ng pinsan qu..wer expecting nextweek for the result..

  7. Hi Jena,

    Your blog is really helpful. I will be travelling with my family, cousins and niece in Japan by June 2017 and I am now starting to gather the documents needed for Visa application. I am wondering, do we need to prepare an affidavit of support for all my kids and nieces who happened to be students? Thank you for your response :)

    1. Hello! I believe it's better for you to prepare an affidavit of support, especially if you're paying for all their travel expenses. It's better to be prepared to save time :)

  8. Hi
    This page is very helpful ๐Ÿ˜Š
    Though until now hindi parin na rerelease yung passport ko from the embassy, I applied March 6,2017 at reli tours sm megamall, time to time I'm always asking them about the status of my application pero sinasabi lang nila na "processing parin daw" Do you have any idea why it takes too long for them to release my application?
    I applied for tourist visa with guarantor. Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Qwncy. I'm not sure why it's taking time, but since you're applying with guarantor, they're probably reaching out or checking the status of your guarantor in Japan. Hope you get your visa soon!

    2. Hi, what if yung sa itr years ng wala like more than 10years.. freelance ate ko. Di din niya nalakad mag-isa since hassle.. @__@ tapos yun pinag-freelance niya online is.. hindi nagbibigay ng payslip.. :O sobrang laki po ba ng chance na ma-deny visa niya? hehe :D gusto ko talaga sana kasi isama ate ko :O

    3. Hello. Just write a letter that your sister works as a freelancer (specify what type of freelancer) and that she doesn't have an ITR. My sister used to apply for visas without ITR since she was a freelance graphic artist before. However, she provided other supporting documents such as bank statements under her name.

  9. Hi! Ask ko lang po kung may interview pa po yung sa pag kuha ng visa? Thank you!

    1. So far, none unless specified by the accredited travel agency.

  10. hello!

    very informative blog, glad to have found it!
    how about an itinerary for 30 to 90day stay? should we have to indicate schedule for each day?
    it's a visiting friend visa with guarantor. thank you!

    1. It's best to ask the accredited travel agency if you're staying for a longer period of time. If there are days when you won't be touring around Japan, you can just state rest day at home and then specify the address and contact details.

  11. Goodday Ms. Jena!
    Ask ko lang po if possible po ba ma grant ang inaapplyan ko na tourist visa. Kahit boyfriend ko palang yung Japanese Sya kasi yung magiging guarantor ko po and need po ba mag book ako ng hotel na kahit may pagstayhan na ako tska plane ticket while applying for visa? Nagpaplan po kasi sya na by November or December nasa Japan na ako to meet his parents possible po ba yun? Then same pa din yung requirements?
    Then may ma refer po ba kayo na agency?
    Thank you! ๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. Hi Jhaerah! Sorry for the late response, late ko na nakita :( Were you able to meet your boyfriend's parents? Hope your trip went well!

  12. Hi! Thanks for your very informative blog! Just want to ask if it's okay to submit my ITR from last year since the 2017 one hasn't been issued yet?

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Hi Alexandria! Thank you for reading and I'm so sorry for the late response :( The answer to your question is YES. I hope you were successful in your visa application!

  13. Hi ask ko lang po kasi 1st time ko mag aaply ng visa for japan. Is it okay kung unemployed ako pero may tita naman ako sa japan and she will be my guarantor. I'll be staying there for 6 mos. Kelangan ko pa ba mg provide ng letter?

    1. Hi Mikki. Yes, I believe it's ok to apply for a visa even if you're unemployed, just as long as you have a guarantor. All the requirements are posted on Japan Embassy's website. You can also check yung accredited agencies para they can guide you correctly with the process. Good luck with your application!

  14. Hi Ms. Jena!

    Good day! Thank you for a very informative blog. I'm planning to apply for a "Visiting Friend" Visa, and my Japanese friend who lives currently in Japan will be my guarantor. I will be staying there for 15 days. I don't have a COE or ITR. I'm a Freelancer and I work as a Virtual Assistant as of the moment.

    I'm thinking of a way on how I can prove to them that I will be going back home after my trip. And since I'm not employed and I can't provide COE or ITR.

    Question: Do you think a Letter of Intent addressed to the Embassy explaining my reason for a the visa application would be enough? Or are there other ways that I can do so?

    Thank you very much. Looking forward to your response. :)

    1. Hello Adi! My sister used to be a freelancer when she applied for visas. Here's what she did. She created a separate, signed letter addressed to the Japan Embassy explaining that she's a freelancer and does not have an ITR.

      Include in your letter your position/nature of your work as a V.A. and the length of time you've been working as a freelancer for the said position. You can also provide supporting documents such as your last ITR here in the Philippines, bank certificate, and bank statement under your name. If you have properties under your name, present a copy, too. What's important is that you should provide a solid proof of your financial capability and intention to return to the Philippines, even if your friend will be your guarantor. Your chosen accredited travel agency will also help you in the step-by-step process and will ask for all the necessary documents/requirements so you can have a higher chance of getting a Japan visa.

      Good luck on your application!

  15. hello mam jena ask ko lang po sana kasi po 2 weeks ko po inantay un result ng visa application ko ngaun ready for pick up na daw po. paano pag expire na po un iteneray kasi po inabot ng 2 weeks un processing feb 5 sana alis ko pero sabi nila processing pa daw po d last time I check. pa advice po sana salamat po

    1. Hello. Sorry for responding to your question late. I hope you were able to pick up your passport at the travel agency. Were you given a visa? Also, your accredited travel agency should tell you what to do next as they are qualified to give you sound advice.

  16. Hello,

    Can I submit my application 3 months early? My intended travel is on June.

    Thank you.

  17. Hi Jiro. Yes, you can do that. I've done that in the past. If the embassy grants you a visa, they will adjust the validity to your travel dates. Good luck!

  18. hi ms jenna magandang buhay ..nag apply ako ng visa today and my daughter is my guarantor ..nakalimutan ko lagyan ng date ang visa application form ko
    .d po ba magiging problema un

    1. Hello! The accredited travel agency will probably do it for you before they submit your application to the embassy. I hope you got your visa!

  19. Hi Jena! Thank you, your write up is really helpful. We're feeling anxious right now cause we have applied for our visa just 5 days before our flight, we're hoping that we can get an approved visa on time. Just to ease our a hearts a bit, could you kindly advise when did you get the notification that your passport is ready for pick up? Is it after 2 or 3 days? And what time did you receive the notification? Is it in the morning or towards the end of day? Thank you!

    1. Whoa that's a really tight schedule! I got the notification after 2 business days, in the afternoon. Good luck and I hope you get your visa! Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

    2. Thank you so much! God bless :)

  20. ilang days 0r weeks p0 ba marerelease pag nag apply ng visa?


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