Japan Visa Application Requirements for Filipino Tourists in Manila, Philippines (Single / Multiple Entry)

by Japan, Visa Guides & Immigration524 comments

Japan is, without a doubt, one of the foreign countries that I would LOVE to visit over and over again! However, as a third world passport holder from the Philippines, we are always required to avail of a Japan visa whenever we want to enter their country… and I’m not gonna lie: it can be quite a hassle!

As a Filipino, surely you might be thinking that it’s hard to get one… but I can tell you from experience that it’s actually NOT that difficult!

In fact: it was easy, and by the second time that I applied, I got myself a multiple entry tourist visa to Japan which now gives me the chance to visit for as much as I want without having to apply for a visa beforehand. (UPDATE: As of 2018, the Embassy is now issuing 10-year visas!)

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What to Do in Japan…?

Come and check out this list of the top things to do in Japan which features the best activities and tours to do in places like Tokyo, Kyoto, and more!

The application process for a Japan visa was EASY and hopefully, with the help of this guide, you can get to visit Japan soon!

…But first, a disclaimer:

NO ONE can give you a guarantee of your Japan visa’s approval — not even a lawyer, a consultant, a travel agent, or an embassy employee. Anyone who says otherwise is most likely going to be a scammer.

That being said, what I can offer you here is a comprehensive guide with helpful tips to increase your chances of getting that Japan Visa.

Top photo by: Shutterstock

ApplicationProcess for Japan Visa

Step 1: Determine the type of Japan visa you need to apply for

There are, of course, various types of Japan Visas out there that you can apply for: a visa for medical stay, a visa for business, a visa for transit, a visa for being a spouse, etc.

For this particular guide, I will only be discussing the requirements for a tourist visa and visits to a friend or relative since they are experiences that I’ve gone through myself (both for single and multiple entry types as well as if you’re visiting with or without a guarantor/sponsor).

If, however, you have a different situation or purpose of visit, it’s best that you head over to this page of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines for more information.

– – –

Step 2: Prepare the required documents for your application

Depending on your circumstance, click the symbol ‘+‘ below to view the corresponding requirements for each section.

  • Make sure that you have authentic, original (if required), and complete documents at all times — preferably ALL in A4 size. Take note though that the embassy does NOT return any of the following documents that you’ll be submitting. If you have an original document that you want to be returned, please submit a photocopy of it too, and a note that the original must be returned.

(Section A) Japan Tourist Visa WITHOUT Any Guarantor/Sponsor

* * * * * *

(Section B) Japan Tourist Visa WITH Non-Japanese Guarantor/Sponsor LIVING IN the Philippines

* * * * * *

(Section C) Japan Tourist Visa WITH Japanese Guarantor/Sponsor LIVING IN Japan

* * * * * *

(Section D) Japan Tourist Visa WITH Non-Japanese Guarantor/Sponsor LIVING IN Japan

* * * * * *

(Section E) Japan Multiple Entry Tourist Visa

NOTE: If in case you are a Philippine national living or residing in a foreign country and you wish to avail of a Japan tourist visa, kindly inquire with the appropriate Japanese Embassy in the country that you’re living in.

On my first visit to Japan, I applied for my tourist visa at the Embassy of Japan in Brussels, Belgium, and the application was fairly easy — the requirements were almost the same as the above (maybe even less).

– – –

Step 3: Choose an accredited travel agency to process your application

The Embassy of Japan in the Philippines does NOT accept direct applications (unless you have a very special or dire case).

So what you need to do instead is go to an accredited travel agency — submit your documents to them and they will process your application for you!

A Japan Visa is FREE, however, these travel agencies charge for the service that they offer of processing/sending your application, and their corresponding single-entry Japan tourist visa without guarantor fee are as follows (for fees on other types of tourist visas, kindly inquire with them or check their website).

Which is the best travel agency to go to if I want to increase my chances of approval?

There really is NO best travel agency out there when it comes to visa approval because they have NO control whatsoever over that matter. Again, these accredited travel agencies simply ensure that the documents you are going to give are complete — after which, they just pass it to the embassy who makes the analysis and final decision.

If however, it’s about the best in price, or the one closest to where you live, then yes, it will be easy to see who’s “best”.

Personally, I applied to Universal Holidays because they were closest to my address at that time. They’re located in Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati alongside Reli Tours and Friendship Tours, but I ended up picking Universal Holidays because they didn’t have a long line. Once I was in, the overall process of submission was streamlined and easy!

NOTE: Only pass your documents to the accredited agencies above! If you’re located far away, it’s also possible to send your documents by courier or through a representative. Just inquire with the travel agency that you’re interested in to see if such is possible.

– – –

Step 4: Wait for the results of your Japan visa application

After you submit your documents to an accredited travel agency, you’ll just have to wait for their email/call/text message that notifies you about when you can pick up your passport, or when you still need to give them additional requirements. (Again, be aware that submission does NOT guarantee the issuance of a visa.)

Visa processing normally takes 2-5 business days — I got mine in just 2 days with Universal Holidays.

Also, I was told that if there’s a red sticker at the back of your passport upon pick-up, it means that your application has been denied. (Mine had a white sticker, which was approved).

Looking for Japan Itinerary Ideas?

Come and check out my ‘DIY Japan Itinerary Guide’ post which features detailed day-by-day activities that you could do, no matter the length of your stay!

• • •

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Booking Essentials

Book an AirBnB

TIP: It’s a good idea to crosscheck the prices with other popular travel insurance providers like World Nomads and HeyMondo (as my reader, you get 5% off)!
However, take note a travel insurance’s affordability typically means lesser coverage; so please always ensure that you read the fine print in order to decipher which travel insurance company is the right fit for you and your trip!

Looking for more travel tips for Japan?

Check out my other detailed Japan travel guides!

• • •

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Multiple Entry Japan Visa
How long can I stay in Japan with a Japan Tourist Visa?

As a temporary visitor, the Embassy of Japan only grants 15 or 30 days of stay. (If you’re visiting a relative, they can allow up to 90 days).

How long is the visa for Japan valid for?

Single-entry: 90 days upon issue BUT once you enter Japan, you will only be allowed to stay for 15 days only (unless otherwise stated on your visa).
Multiple-entry: 3 to 5 years (sometimes 10) BUT once you enter Japan, you will only be allowed to stay for 15 or 30 days, as dependent on the info stated on your visa.

If I have a multiple entry tourist visa, how long until I can re-enter Japan again after a trip?

There seems to be NO existing rule for a “break period” when you want to enter Japan again — however, take note that if you enter the country again too soon, that will raise questions and the immigration might not let you in. Also, take note that you should NOT spend more than 180 days total in a year in Japan as a tourist.

When is the earliest time that I can apply for a Japan Visa?

You can apply no earlier than 60 days (2 months) before the date of your intended departure.

When is the latest time that I can apply for a Japan Visa?

To be safe, apply at least 15 working days before the date of your intended departure.

I was granted a Japan Visa before, what process do I have to follow to renew my Japan Visa?

The same process mentioned above. The only documents you don’t need to resubmit are your birth and marriage certificates (unless you are going to apply with a guarantor/sponsor who is a family member, then you will still need to submit a birth/marriage certificate as proof of relationship).

How long does it take for a Japan Visa to be released?

Like I’ve mentioned above, it can take 2-5 working days. I got mine in just 2 days.

Will there be a formal interview for my visa application?

Nope. The travel agencies are only there to collect and check your documents. However, it is possible that the Embassy of Japan will request that you visit them for an interview after they receive your documents — but I’ve never heard of such a case when applying for a tourist visa only.

Do I need to book accommodation and plane tickets by the time I send in my application?

The embassy does NOT require applicants to submit BOOKED roundtrip flight tickets and hotel(s) before applying for a visa. But if in case you want some “peace of mind” and still want to book a hotel to show to the embassy, it’s best to do it with Booking.com or Agoda.com. With them, you can reserve a hotel with NO pre-payment and you can even cancel the booking a day before your arrival with NO cancellation charges at all. For flights, you can get a flight RESERVATION from OneWayFly for a small fee of only Php 1,000~. I highly recommend them because they are fast, easy, and legitimate; plus, I have been using them for years for all of my visa applications! (Read here for more info).

Can I submit other documents not listed above?

If it can support your application even further, then sure! The Embassy encourages that, especially if it can help provide proof of your economical or social ties within the Philippines (example: pay slips, real estate properties, land title, etc.).

Do I need to provide a cover letter?

It’s not required, but it’s good practice to provide one. After all, if you can’t provide an ITR or if you’re planning to apply for a multiple entry visa, it’s important to write a letter to explain your situation.

Do you have an example cover letter?

Yes, I have. Check it out here.

What do I say if I don’t have an ITR with BIR?

Just be honest and explain why. Just make sure you have a strong or reasonable explanation as to why (example: you’re new to your job, you are just newly registered to BIR, etc.). But if you’re nervous about not being able to submit an ITR or if you’re unsure if your reason is enough, you can then choose to take on a guarantor/sponsor for your Japan Visa application.
However, if you’re a self-employed individual or freelancer who works in the Philippines, it is your obligation to register yourself with BIR to get ITR forms later on. For this, I suggest registering with Taxumo because they can take care of literally everything for you: tax forms, payments, and submissions. I’ve been using them for years now and it has been such a time-saver. Come sign up with my code AILEEN and you can get a 10% discount on all their service plans!

How much money should I have in the bank?

The Japan Embassy did NOT mention any minimum balance requirement, but I have surely heard of someone (and some others) who was (were) granted a visa even with only Php 50,000 in the bank (with a trip that spanned for 5 days) — so let’s use that as a standard. Meanwhile, do take note that your bank certificate will often show the monthly average balance of your savings account; therefore, depositing a sudden large amount of money in order to assist you in your visa application is NOT really a good idea.

What if there’s a problem with the spelling of my name/birthday on my Birth Certificate and Passport?

Kindly provide an Affidavit of Discrepancy.

I will be traveling with my family/friends, are we all required to be there at the travel agency when submitting our documents?

It’s not really required. Besides, some travel agencies provide the option of submitting your documents and/or receiving your passports (after application) via courier. Whereas there are travel agencies that may want you all to be there upon submission, and if in case one of you can’t personally come, just provide an Authorization Letter and photocopy of that person’s valid ID.

Can one person among my family/friends be our overall guarantor/sponsor? We are all traveling to Japan together, and applying for a Japan Visa together.

Sure, but take note: this would mean that he/she should have enough financial capacity and income to prove that he/she can shoulder each and everyone of you.

How can I follow up on my application?

If you haven’t heard back from the travel agency in 5 days, feel free to call them to follow up.

My Japan Visa application was denied. Is there anything I can do?

When a visa is not granted, the reasons for the denial will never be disclosed (yes, even the travel agency would NOT know why). Regrettably, I can’t find any information about making an appeal to the Embassy of Japan. You can, however, apply again after six (6) months with the same purpose of tourist visit — unless there are emergency / humanitarian reasons, or if you want to apply for a different purpose (work, study, etc.).

NOTE: If you’re not a Filipino citizen, you can check this Japan online visa application website for tips!

– – –

As you can see, applying for a Japan Tourist Visa is relatively easy — and I hope the process of preparation becomes absolutely hassle-free with this visa guide.

Let me know how it goes… good luck!

• • •

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At 21, I quit my corporate job in the Philippines to pursue my dreams. Today, I am a successful digital nomad (online entrepreneur, travel writer, & vlogger) living a sustainable travel lifestyle.

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  1. Shanelle Anne

    Hello there! Thank you very much for this detailed and easy-to-understand guide. It’s really helpful! I would just like to ask this. I am still a student and will apply for Visa come vacation. I haven’t asked the school yet if they will issue a Certificate of Enrollment but do you think it’s possible for them to issue such even though it’s vacation and I’m not really enrolled in any class? If this is not possible, what are the possible alternatives for this? Thank you so much!

    • Aileen

      Hey Shanelle, as long as you’re still enrolled as a student at your school, they will surely issue you some sort of certification. Usually a leave of absence letter is also asked, but if you’re going during vacation time, there’s no need to submit that. Just ask your school about it, I’m sure they’ll be able to provide you with something. Good luck!

  2. Jerry

    Earlier this week my Filipino friends applied for a single entry visa to Japan with the intention to travel around using the very economical 7 day Japan Rail Pass…….Unfortunately, the Japan Embassy has issued a multiple entry 5 year visa which makes the JR Pass invalid for use…..Not a good response by the Embassy, the receipts for the JR Pass, an itinerary mentioning the JR Pass were both included in the application and surely they must know of the widely used and popular JR Rail Pass and its restrictions. We had 7 days of travel planned all over Japan which would now cost three times as much booking individual trains, with all the additional hassle. Multiple entry is not always a good thing.

    • Aileen

      Hey Jerry! I just found out about this too. However, last March, I was actually able to claim and use my JR Pass even if I had a multiple entry visa. So I’m not quite sure how strict they are about this rule.

  3. Kristine Aquino

    Hi Aileen!! I really appreciate that something like this is posted online. You’re a gift to first timers like me. You are such a treasure! I was panicking since my Japanese boyfriend’s employers just asked him to manage a different branch and is asked to go back to Japan instead of the original plan of him staying for 4 years. I booked a flight for my birthday in April right away without thinking about the Visa. I’d actually like to ask.. If I will apply for a Visa and my boyfriend will be my guarantor, am I still required to provide a bank account record? Thanks so much in advance!

    • Aileen

      I’m happy to hear this — thanks Kristine! I know how nerve-wracking visa applications can be so it’s my hope that guides like this can make things easier. Also, if your boyfriend is your guarantor, they will put more focus on his financial statements — you’re not required, BUT it doesn’t hurt to provide yours too. Going by my experiences with visa applications, it’s always best to overdeliver on documents as long as they will help your application :) Good luck!

  4. Tsukki

    Hi, Aileen!
    Thank you so much for this information. I feel so relieved reading that the latest time to apply for visa is at least 15 days. I was very much panicking over my planned visa application because I had some problems with my bank account and thought it would soon be too late if I apply in February when my trip is already in March.

    Speaking of bank account, do you think I can also add my payroll account along with my personal savings account?

    Thank you!

    • Aileen

      Sure thing, there’s no harm in overdelivering documents as long as they’re relevant ;) Good luck on your application!

      (Also about the timing, applying 60 days before your trip is a rule of the embassy; but the 15 days is more of a suggested time. You can apply as close to your departure but then of course, there’s no guarantee they’ll issue your visa on time, that’s why the 15 days is your best bet to give ample time for them to issue your visa :D )

  5. Ito Rapadas

    Thanks for this article. It answered all my basic questions, covered all scenarios.

    • Aileen

      You’re welcome :) Good luck on your application!


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