This is a very different post from the one you guys are used to in this place but I promised myself I will write one come the time it did happen and it did so enjoy! If you do have comments regarding this post, I will try answering them but I can’t guarantee they are correct though since I also gotten loads of advices when I applied.
Out of all the countries in the world that I desperately want to visit, Japan has been on the top three alongside Italy (Venice… why Venice, why!) and Egypt. Since I was a kid, I loved anime, manga and even Japanese music and this had also been fuelled further when I started learning about history, culture and tradition of Japan.
Since I started to work, I knew I had to at least attempt to go get a visa to this one of a kind country. However, the horror stories about denials despite the fact you don’t have to see the consul to get an interview and the bank certificate requirement did send me back. But with the incoming Summer Olympics in 2020 in Japan, news that the visa process is way lenient now than before did appeal to me.
I still didn’t act up on it till ONE OK ROCK announced the SPECIAL LIVE IN NAGISAEN shows which just so happens to be a September show did I face my fears and plan my trip to my dream country. I would have done the same last year, but this specific live was way special for me in many ways.
Anyway, the basic requirements to get a tourist visa in Japan are as follows:
– Original NSO Birth Certificate – you can request this in SM and NSO Online. You have to make sure this is valid in your application as birth certificates today have expiry dates good for 6 months to a year depending on the Embassy you are applying a visa for.
– Application form with photo- You can get this in the official website of the Japanese embassy or with your local agency. Write in block letters when you fill it up! Your photo must also conform to the Japanese embassy requirements.
– Passport – must be valid on your trip and have some extra pages for your Japanese visa. If you have your old visa with a variety of travel stamps and visas, include it with you!
– Daily Schedule in Japan – the format is available in the official website of the embassy and online. Make sure that your schedule reflects your budget. I can’t give you much details on this one, but you can do a very different schedule once you get a visa. You need to give the embassy an idea what you will do in Japan and not overstay.
– ITR – Self-explanatory this one. You can submit your previous ITR if you are currently not employed by the time you are applying.
– Bank certificate – You can get this on your current bank. It will detail your financial balance as of that application date. Make sure you estimate as to how much you would need and your certificate should reflect it! Also get this from your main bank itself and not another branch since your main branch has your full details which is necessary for the bank certificate.
Its important to remember that if you do lack one of these requirements, you have to write an explanation letter to explain why you do not have it. In my case, I did not have an ITR because I changed my work earlier this year and I do not have the paperwork yet. You should also write in your explanation letter which supporting documents you have to support that you can indeed go to the country without problems such as your certificate of employment. It is also good if you put in the reason why you want to go to Japan and I have to stress you have to be honest with this. Don’t do any word flourishing here because they may spot it.
If by any chance you are not employed or working as a freelance, I was advised by some friends of mine and the agency I used to get a guarantor. You can ask your parents do to this bit for you even if they are not travelling with you. Just remember to ask them about their bank statements, ITR and if your parent is an OFW or an immigrant, best double check it with your agency. For students, the same requirements are needed. But it is advisable you have your certificate of enrolment with you. You can ask this from your school registrar’s office. I didn’t get a guarantor since I did get my COE in time and I used my joint account with my dad.
Once you have all of this, you have to pick the agency that would serve as your intermediary to send the documentations for review to the Japanese Embassy. For me, I selected Friendship Travel and Tours – located in the third floor of Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati – to do my paperwork. My friend Paolo recommended the agency to me and my Japanese friend Nozomi worked there once. Technically speaking, getting a Japanese visa is free, but in recent years, they cited several agencies to act as intermediaries for those wishing to visit the country. This, of course causes the fees. I paid 1,200 pesos for mine with 2,000 pesos for multiple (Soon… soon I tell you)
When I came to the agency sometime around the 31st of August to get everything in order, I brought the following:
– Original NSO Birth Certificate requested 1 week prior via NSO online (way faster than getting it in SM but a bit pricy)
– Completed form with photo – taken by Great Image
– Daily Schedule in Japan – 6 days with flight details
– Explanation letter for the lack of documentation and purpose for going to Japan
– Certificate of Employment
– Copies of both my tickets for the concert – I was lucky my friend Kaori sent me the photo of the ticket for day 2 that same day I applied so I got it printed before filing.
– Bank certificate from my joint bank account with my dad
– Photocopy of my previous passport with one travel stamp in Hong Kong.
The people from the agency were accommodating and they were very friendly. I kinda told them I am very nervous about this application and told me that I didn’t have to worry that much since I gave them everything that was needed. They also reviewed my requirements and said not to include my previous passport, sorting everything out for me while I was there. They told me to wait for their call and went home in full anxiousness.
Two days later, I gotten the call while working and hello Japanese visa! They will tell you if you gotten or not when they call or if you do ask them. I was so nervous when I got that call and couldn’t contain my excitement when I realized I am going to Japan.
I gotten my passport that next Monday and sorted my trip that very week. Oh Mei found herself saying hello to something that she has been dreaming off for a long time!!!
Next post? Mei-ed in Nippon Day 1! This will be a long series!!!