Unlike the application process for a US visa, a Japan visa doesn’t require personal interview; the Consul Office will make their decision purely based on the documents that you submit.
Based on my experience: travel history, evidence of return, and good financial status are the most important criteria that the Consul considers. A regular Filipino Japan tourist visa allows you to stay in Japan for maximum of 15 days on a single entry.
So, what are the documents to submit to increase the chances of your Japan visa approval?
- How much “show money” in your bank certificate.
The monthly average balance of your account is shown in your bank certificate, so putting an immediate large amount of money in just one day is a bad idea. Additionally, having a fat bank account does not guarantee your approval.
Be realistic when submitting your bank certificate and be aware of the cost of goods in Japan. For example, if you are planning to stay for 2 weeks, having Php 500,000 to 900,000 in your bank account may look suspicious if you are single and a regular employee. Japan Consul would think that you are planning on extending there to look for a job.
The daily expenses in Japan as a tourist including your accommodation is approximately 10,000 jpy or Php [convert number=10000 from=”jpy” to=”php”]. Meaning, if you are staying in Japan for 7 days, you should have at least Php [convert number=70000 from=”jpy” to=”php”] in your bank account which is equivalent to 70,000 jpy. However, if you planning on going to expensive places such as Tokyo Disneyland or Universal Studios Japan, it’d be better to add Php 10,000 – 20,000 just to be on the safe side.
- Travel history.
Having a considerable number of passport stamps is very helpful; this serves as evidence that shows you have returned back to your country after your travels. If you had just renewed your passport, you can attach your old passport with stamps to the new one with a rubber band.
If you don’t have any passport stamps, don’t be discouraged – you just have to try your luck! My mother and brother didn’t have any passport stamps when they first applied for tourist visa yet they were approved.
- Provide evidence of return or strong social ties to the Philippines.
Show the Consul something that makes you return to your “home” in the Philippines. Having a stable job seems to hold the most weight as evidence of return. Applicants who have traveled Japan shared that Certificate of Employment and Income Tax Return (ITR) are compelling evidences that prove their bond to the Philippines.
What if you don’t have Certificate of employment or ITR? Then read the next tip.
- Apply with a guarantor/sponsor.
If you have a relative, family member, a very close friend, boyfriend or girlfriend who lives in Japan, ask them if they are willing to be your guarantor for the trip. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for financial documents, letter of invitation, and guarantee letter. In return, when you get approved, bring them souvenir from the Philippines and spend time with each other. YAY!
Having a guarantor is actually very beneficial for visa applicant. It’s like having insurance against the risks of applicant’s non-compliance with Japanese laws. This is the reason why Consuls are always very happy to receive visa applications with guarantor.
- Have a neat visa application form.
If printing the visa Application form is not an option for you, you can get the form from the accredited agency. I recommend that you write neatly and in all block letters when filling out.
While I was waiting to be called by the staff in the agency to submit the requirements, a lady waiting in line tapped my shoulder and noticed the erasures on my application form. She suggested that I fill out the form again and avoid erasures.
I asked why, and she only said it will be nice if my application form is neat as well. I don’t know if this would actually be a factor, but I guess it doesn’t hurt.
- If you’re a first timer, request for 15 days or less of stay.
A reader shared that even though he completed all the requirements, his visa still got denied. After a bit of back and forth with him, he said he requested to stay for 36 days.
The Consul-General of Japan only grants 15 days, 30 days, and 90 days of stay. If you really have to stay for more than 30 days in Japan, then you’d better request for 90 days of stay instead. Then provide an explanation letter on why you plan on staying that long. Along with the letter, provide supporting documents such as wedding invitation, medical checkup, etc.
- Complete all requirements and submit originals.
If your documents are complete and in order, it would only take 2 to 3 business days to find out the result of your visa application.
Don’t be dismayed if you received a call from the travel agency asking you to provide additional documents. All you have to do is obtain that document as soon as you can. If what they’re requesting for doesn’t need to be an original copy, ask if you could scan and email the documents to them instead of going physically to their site. It would save you a lot of time!
There are times that travel agencies are busy processing other applications that they might have overlooked the status of other applicants. So it is very important that you initiate a call and inquire about the status of your application in case you haven’t heard anything back from them after 3 business days.
My mom experienced a case like this with Discovery Tours. It was already 4 days after she submitted her application and haven’t heard anything back. I gave her the number of the travel agency to call. After which, she was told that her passport was already ready for pickup. She was approved and was very happy. So hope and pray.