Applying for a Japanese tourist visa: I was granted 5 years with multiple entries!
Planning to apply for a Japan visa but don’t know how to start? I was granted 5 years of multiple entries on my first application. I’ll share with you some tips and tricks in this post!
Reader Mail: Trish, I have been following you since 2013 and I am glad you are back in Asia!!! We missed you here! I saw on your Instagram stories that you got a 5-year multiple visa entry to Japan? It’s the first time you applied? I really want to hear your tips and tricks. Japan visa is a little hard, especially for freelancers. I am applying next month and I want to be prepared. Thank you and more power!
Alyssa Jimenez, Philippines
Thank you for your email and thank you for following my adventures! I was pretty shocked to get a 5-year visa on my first application for a Japan visa. As a freelancer/self-employed, I didn’t think I will have this chance to be granted but my mother proposed that we apply as a family. Both my brother and I didn’t have ITRs and were not minors during the application period so my mother presented all her documents as a sponsor on our behalf.
Just last year, Japan Embassy in Manila changed their rules for applying for a 5-year visa but I think a family application is still the most effective! Japan has been flocked by Filipino tourists for the past few years so I guess they will be generous in granting a visa as long as the paperwork is complete.
Here are the easy steps in applying for a Japan visa. Good luck and may the force be with you!
Is Japan open for tourism?
Japan has a list of countries that are allowed to enter (for the time being) unless it is an emergency and/or you have a residency visa in Japan.
If you are allowed to travel to Japan during COVID, you need to present a PCR test and are required to do quarantine for 14 days.
Japan has very high COVID cases and on August 5th, 2020, the government has announced a state of emergency for major cities and prefectures.
Do I need a visa to go to Japan?
As a Philippine passport holder, I am required to apply for a Japan visa at the Embassy. Before booking anything or planning your travels to Japan, check if you need a Japan visa as it varies by country.
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Some just need an e-visa but most countries need to go to an Embassy to apply. Depending on your nationality, you can be granted a 15-90 day visa. You must also state if you want multiple or single entries.
Is Japan visa difficult to get?
In my experience, it wasn’t really hard because a travel agency helped me process it. I did not even need to appear for an interview! The most important thing is that you make sure your documents are complete.
With regards to financial proof, I recommend having at least $3,500 USD in the bank. Japan is a first-world country and is expensive so they need to see you are capable to finance your travels to Japan.
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Japan visa application: a step-by-step guide
Step 1: Prepare the documents you need in applying for a Japanese visa
If you were already granted a single entry for a short visit in the past, you have a great chance of applying for a 5-year visa, however, the requirements will be different. Note that it is very important for you to use the visa granted to you in the past. If unused, there will be a slight chance they will not grant you a visa.
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For the requirements, you may refer to the first item of this section (Japan visa without a sponsor). You will also need proof of travel to Japan within the last 3 years. Submit a photocopy of your previous Japan stamps.
Step 2: Choose a travel agency to process your Japan visa application
The Japanese Embassy in Manila does not accept direct applications from individuals. You need to process your application through an agency.
Please remember that there is no fee for applying for a Japanese visa. However, you will need to pay the travel agency. Below are some travel agencies accredited by the Japanese Embassy in Manila:
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SM Southmall, Lucky Chinatown Mall
Based on experience, it does not matter which travel agency you pick. All of the above are reliable and are certified by the Japan Embassy in Manila.
The results of your Japan visa application do not depend on the travel agency you will process it with. Of course, the visa processing prices for each agency are different so I guess this is where you’ll weigh your selection process.
Step 3: Wait for the results
Results will come out within 3-5 days but I got mine in just 2 days. The travel agent will be responsible for delivering your passport to your home address. If you did not choose the delivery option, your travel agent will notify you when you can pick up your passport.
Tips on applying for a Japan visa
- Make sure all the requirements are complete. The Japan Embassy in Manila will not process your application if you’re missing one (1) document.
- Consult your travel agent on how you can improve your requirements/application.
- If you are a freelancer without an ITR, it wouldn’t hurt to provide materials from your freelance work. For example, I provided screenshots of my blog and social media. This way, they would know the nature of the work that I do.
Japan visa application Frequently Asked Questions
How far ahead should I apply for my Japan visa?
Application is really easy and the results take 3-5 days. I applied for my visa 2 weeks before the departure but you can do it as early as 2 months (60 days).
How much money should I have in the bank?
It normally depends on the number of days you stay in Japan. In my case, I submitted a bank statement with ₱50,000 PHP in it.
How much is the Japanese visa fee?
Applying for a Japan visa is free. The only thing you need to pay for is the travel agency that will process the visa for you. See the prices for each travel agency in “step 2.”
Do I need to appear for an interview?
No. Interviews are not required when applying for a Japan visa so make sure your requirements are complete. Your documents will be your chance to get your visa approved so be diligent!
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I’m not a minor. Can I be sponsored?
If you read the first part of this article, I mentioned that I applied with my family. I was already 27 years old when I applied for the visa (2016). I did not have an ITR then so my parents served as my sponsors.
Is it required to book hotels and flights ahead of time?
No. Japan Embassy in Manila does not require you to book accommodations and hotels when processing your visa. You can do it once approved.
How can I keep track of my application?
Your travel agent will update you on this. Make sure to coordinate with them, not at the Embassy of Japan in Manila.
What if my application is denied?
You can try applying again after 6 months. Application is free so there’s no harm in trying again!