The original plan was to write about this after I apply for a multiple entry visa. But because I can’t wait and I still haven’t applied for a multiple entry visa, I’ll just go ahead and share what I know about Japanese visas.
I made a list of the things you should know before applying for a Japanese Visa.
Disclaimer: I MAY only cover situations which are applicable to visa applicants who are employees and/or employers.
KNOW YOUR VISA TYPE
There are multiple purposes for applying a Japanese Visa. Whether you want to visit the country for tourism or business purposes or you just want to visit your relatives, you have to know which appropriate Visa you should apply for. It’s always better to check the embassy website to know which visa you should get.
SINGLE OR MULTIPLE?
You should also determine if you’re applying for a single entry visa or multiple entry visa. Most travel agents would recommend first timers to apply for single entry visas unless they can see a possibility wherein you can be approved of a multiple entry visa. I know of friends who got their first Japan visas which were multiple entry.
It will be under the consuls’ discretion whether or not he/she will approve single or multiple entry. Whatever his/her reasons may be of giving you such type of visa, nobody really knows. So the moment you get an approved visa, single or multiple, just be grateful.
I APPLIED FOR A MULTIPLE ENTRY BUT GOT A SINGLE ENTRY VISA… WHY?
I know of someone who has been to Japan several times (more than 5 times). He was able to get a multiple entry visa when he applied on his second try but when he reapplied after his multiple entry visa expired, he was given a single entry visa again. The reason? Nobody knows.
There were several instances when applicants applied for single entry visas and got approved with multiple entry and vice versa.
I applied for a Japanese Tourist Visa twice and got approved twice too. The second application was supposedly intended for a multiple entry visa but due to miscommunication, the travel agency who handled my application only submitted my documents for a single entry visa. Ooops! 😅
THE 3-MONTH RULE
If you plan on going to Japan anytime soon, be sure to apply for a Japanese visa within 3 months before your ‘intended’ travel dates. Know that the moment your visa has been issued it can only be used within three months.
KNOW THE REQUIREMENTS
Lodging your visa application can be less hassle if you already know the requirements. All the documents you will submit must be original unless otherwise stated.
The size of the documents should be A4 size only. If the document is printed in another size, please submit a copy that is already adjusted in A4 size and without staples or pasting pages. You still have to bring the original copy when submitting your documents as they might need to check it.
Here are quick links for the list of the requirements:
Applicant himself/herself made the arrangements for the travel/tour in Japan
Visa Requirements for visiting friends or distant relatives residing in Japan
Visa requirements for visiting close relatives residing in Japan
Note: If the relationship between the applicant and the relative in Japan is beyond third degree, please follow the requirements for a temporary visitor visa for visiting a friend
Purpose of going to Japan is to attend business meetings, conference, training, etc. at mother or sister companies and business partners located in Japan. If practical training is included in the activity “Certificate of Eligibility” is required regardless of the length of stay.
(1) Philippine national holding a Machine-Readable Passport (MRP) or ordinary IC passport that meets ICAO standards.
(2) Applicants who intend to engage in activities corresponding to those permitted for “Temporary Visitors”
(3) Applicants who wish to apply for a multiple entry visa for a short-term stay
Conditions for Issuance:
(1) An Applicant with a history of travel as temporary visitor to Japan in the last three (3) years; has no known violation of domestic laws of Japan nor had a problem with immigration regarding entry and status during the period of stay, and has sufficient financial capacity to support expenses for travel and stay.
(2) An Applicant with a history of travel as temporary visitor to Japan in the last three (3) years; has no known violation of domestic laws of Japan nor had problem with immigration regarding entry and status during the period of stay; and, has several history of travel as temporary visitor to G7 countries (excluding Japan) in the last (3) years.
(3) An Applicant with abundant financial capacity
(4) Spouse or Child of (3) above
FIFTEEN (15) IS STANDARD
Once your visa gets approved, you will be given the duration of how long you can stay in Japan. For the usual single entry temporary visitor visa, you are only allowed to stay in Japan for 15 days. Even if you indicate in your application that you are only visiting Japan for 3 days, ’15 days’ is the standard duration of stay in Japan.
If you exceed the 15 days allowance, you have to request a visa extension. It’s best to talk to your travel agents and consult them if this applies to you.
YOU CANNOT DIY YOUR VISA APPLICATION
If it was only an option, I’d prefer to DIY my visa application. When applying for a Japanese Visa, know that the embassy does not allow walk-in applicants. Your visa applications must be coursed through accredited travel agencies.
For my two (2) visas, I applied with JTB Philippines. I have friends who also recommend Discovery Tour and Friendship Tours.
These agencies will assist you in making sure your requirements are complete and in order. They will also advise you on what is best to do if you have a different ‘set up’ (e.g. lacking documents). BUT…having your application fulfilled by a travel agency does not give you the assurance that you will be approved of a visa.
NO BLANK SPACES ON THE APPLICATION FORM
It is very important to know how to fill out your application form correctly as your visa approval will also depend on it. Make sure not to leave a blank space. If the item does not apply to you, simply indicate N/A.
Make sure the details on your application form matches the details on your supporting documents. If you have discrepancies, you can submit a notarized letter explaining the discrepancy.
You can download a copy of the Application Form here.
WATCH OUT FOR TRAVEL BAZAARS/EXPOS
In case you are not aware, the Japanese temporary visitor visa is free. You need not have to pay the embassy to get one BUT since you’re only allowed to course your applications through travel agencies, you have to pay them their ‘service fees’. I know of a travel agency who charges wayyyy too high but there are some which charge fairly and within reason.
If you’re like me, who wish they could just do the application process by themselves and avoid paying the crazy fees, travel expos and bazaars should be in your watchlist. The service fees could go down to 450 PHP and can be used within one year from purchase.
It depends on the travel agency you choose. Based on my experience, it only took about 5 days to get the result of the application although it was stated that it might take 7-15 days before I get to know the verdict.
So there you have it! These are the things I think you should know before applying for a Japanese Visa. I wish you the best in your future travel plans! I hope you get the visa that you want. Cheers to more travels!
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Read more about my previous Japan trip: