I have traveled 25 times outside of the Philippines. Of those 25 times, I applied for visas seven times since most of the countries I’ve visited are visa-free. The entire process of applying for a visa is undeniably nerve-wracking especially to those people who are hesitant with their current situation, employment, financial status, etc…
I’ve been a member of several travel groups online and I have seen a lot of people sharing their visa application experiences. Nobody really knows the perfect formula on how to get your visa applications approved. We are just good at speculating, lol.
Among those experiences shared, obtaining a Japan Visa was on top of the list. Over the years, Japan has been a more welcoming country to tourists, based on personal observation.
I’ve been to Japan three times and I have only been given Single-Entry Visas until last week when I reapplied for another visa that they have finally given me a Multiple-Entry Visa.
It’s true that some people get approved with Multiple-Entry visas on their first try, some on their second but it doesn’t really apply to everyone. I know a person who got denied on their third visa application and one who got approved a multiple-entry on their third try and single-entry on their fourth. Nobody really knows why that happens.
Here’s where I come in. I will try to answer questions you are likely hesitant to ask regarding how to obtain a Japan Visa. I’ll try to cover topics that are not found in most visa processing guides.
On this particular blog post, I will try to help our fellow travelers who are freelancers. Those who have regular jobs most likely will not have a hard time applying for their visas as long as their documents are complete.
I have created a separate post about Japan Visas before, you can check it here: What You Should Know Before Applying for a Japan Visa.
Let’s start with the basics:
What are the requirements?
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
Your purpose of going to Japan is to attend business meetings, conferences, 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.
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.
Can A Freelancer Get a Japan Visa?
YES! YES! YES!
If you are hesitant to lodge your application because you are a freelancer, fear not, the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines doesn’t bite! It is not impossible to be approved of a visa if you are a freelancer, may it be with a PRC (Professional Regulation Commission) License or not.
Bluntly speaking, having a PRC license could mean plus points for your visa approval. But not all freelancers have PRC licenses, e.g. Makeup Artists, Photographers, Graphic Designers, Social Media Managers, etc…
Today, our virtual workforce has been growing in number and a lot of people have chosen to take home-based jobs. Most of the employers of these home-based jobs are not based in the Philippines. Because of this, they cannot provide their employees with their tax returns.
Income tax returns (ITRs) are included in most, if not all, visa requirements all over the world. If you’re a freelancer with a professional license, it will be easier for you to voluntarily remit your taxes and you’d still get an ITR. But if you’re having a hard time securing your ITR, although it is not encouraged, you can explain in writing to the embassy why you cannot provide your ITR.
Can a freelancer get a Multiple-Entry Japan Visa?
YES! I just got mine! Four times’ the charm! Some were lucky to get their multiple-entry (ME) visas on their second or third try but I got mine on my fourth try. It differs from one person to another.
How can I request a Multiple-Entry Visa?
Secure a multiple-entry form here.
Fill out the form and tick the boxes that BEST fit your situation/status. There’s an open space at the bottom of the form where you’ll be writing your explanation or intent to visit Japan and why they should issue a multiple-entry visa to you. Explain yourself briefly but don’t make it too simple. After all, you need to convince the embassy why they should grant you a multiple-entry visa.
Can I get a Multiple-Entry Visa on my first application?
Although it is possible, it is still not guaranteed. Those freelancers who got multiple-entry visas on their first try must have been PRC License holders and/or have proven their strong ties to our country (e.g. frequent traveler to G7 countries, very high financial capacity, belongs to the cultural or intellectual figures).
I’m a Freelancer, what other documents do I need to prepare?
As much as I love freelancing because I own most of my time, I loathe the fact that sometimes it’s hard to gather documents to prove and support your current employment and financial situation.
(1) If you’re a freelancer with a PRC license holder, you can simply attach a copy of your license together with your cover letter and other necessary documents. You can easily pay your taxes at the BIR given that you are a professional.
(2) If you’re a freelancer without a PRC license, the best way to go is to register as a business to get your proper documents. (3) In some cases, there are other freelancers who don’t offer their service as a business, instead, they fall under offshore employees (e.g. virtual workers, online teachers, and the like). I have been asking advice from people, tax law friends and other businessmen about this setup, but so far, I haven’t gotten any answers on how to settle your taxes or register as a freelancer legally.
If you fall under the third setup, you can strengthen your visa application by submitting your current certificate of employment, salary certificate or your monthly payslips, and a cover letter stating your employment status.
Do I need to book my flights and accommodations?
If you are confident enough, why not? But it is always advisable to secure your visas first before booking or reserving anything. It’s really up to you. Just know that the Embassy of Japan doesn’t require you to submit any of your reservations/bookings. You will only be asked to submit your “proposed” daily schedule.
How much should my bank balance be?
There is no specific answer to this question. But just to give you an idea, you should be able to prove that you are capable to support your trip. This means that the money you have in your bank can cover your flights, accommodations, food, pocket money AND that even after the travel expenses you will still have money left on your account.
It’s true that some people got their visas approved with a minimal bank balance, this I cannot really explain why. Again, it differs from one person to another.
What should I put on my Daily Schedule (Taizai Yoteihyo)?
I suggest making your daily schedule brief and simple. Make it one that fits your bank balance. I normally put more free attractions, maybe just one or two attractions with admission fees. You need to put the address and contact details of the hotel or hostel where you are planning to stay.
Always keep this in mind: EVERYTHING SHOULD FIT IN YOUR BUDGET.
Do I really have to apply at an agency, Can I just DIY my Visa Application?
Yes, you have to lodge your applications at an ACCREDITED agency. The embassy no longer accepts walk-in visa applicants.
How many days will it take for Visa processing?
Usually, you’d get the result the day after if you lodged your applications in Manila. You can claim your passports usually on the 3rd or 4th day.
If you’re from the Visayas or Mindanao regions, it would take 5-15 days depending on how long it takes for your agency to ship your passports.
I’m not so confident with my bank balance, what should I do?
If you are still hesitant about your status, you can ask a family member to guarantee your trip. It’s better to ask an immediate family member or second-degree family member to support your trip.
You need to fill out a Letter of Guarantee and have it sealed (signed) by your guarantor. Don’t forget the SEAL part, make sure there are no blanks on any of your forms. Put N/A for items that are not applicable.
Also, indicate your guarantor on your application form.
How do I fill out an 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/affidavit explaining the discrepancy.
You can download a copy of the Application Form here.
What is an Affidavit of Discrepancy?
If you didn’t know about this, an affidavit of discrepancy shall be needed when your documents don’t match. For instance, what you have on your baptismal certificate lacks something but is indicated on your birth certificate. Ask for legal advice and confirm with the embassy.
With our current health situation, the Japan Embassy has implemented a new policy. Those non-Japanese applicants who have traveled to the following countries within 14 days before arrival in Japan will NOT be allowed to enter Japan, unless in exceptional cases:
- CHINA: Hubei Province and Zhejiang Province
- SOUTH KOREA: Republic of Korea
Daegu, Gyeongsangbuk-do (Cheongdo-gun, Gyeongsan-si, Andong-si, Yeongcheon-si, Chilgok-gun, Uiseong-gun, Seongju-gun, Gunwi-gun)
- IRAN: Qom Province, Teheran Province, Gilan Province
In line with this, visa applicants must complete a new form: NCOV-Questionnaire-Updated-Mar-07-2020.
Answer this form truthfully. Any false declaration upon arrival in Japan may be subject to punishment including imprisonment (up to three years), fine (up to 3 million yen), and deportation from Japan.
A lot of people have been smitten by the beauty of Japan (count me in). And trust me when I say that you’ll find tons of reasons to keep coming back once you’ve been there. There is just so much to see, experience, taste, and explore.
I hope this post will help you achieve your Japan travel goals. Tag me when you’re there! If you have questions or need any clarification, feel free to leave a comment or message via e-mail. If you like this article and want to see or know more about my other trips and tips, follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
JAPAN TRAVEL QUICK LINKS