Usually when I plan vacations, I prioritize countries or places I’ve never visited before. Aside from allowing me to check off items on my travel list in the quickest time possible, this system forces me to maximize every trip and see as much of the foreign land as possible. With Japan, I had to make an exception.
I realized I needed a multiple-entry tourist visa to Japan when I purchased plane tickets to California last February. I was on a Delta flight that had a lay-over at Narita International Airport. If I had a visa, I could select flights with longer layover times, allowing me to step out and indulge in authentic Japanese cuisine… and I would do anything for authentic Japanese cuisine.
“Anything” in this case meant reapplying for a visa (and hoping they issue me a multiple-entry visa this time around). As I was familiar with the application procedure, I was able to prepare and submit my application within two (2) days after I decided to apply. Of course it helped that my expired single-entry Japanese visa and my recent visits to G7 countries removed 2-3 items from the checklist.
1. Current passport – with the information page filled out and signed; must not be damaged or broken; with at least 2 blank pages
2. Visa application form – fill out all items correctly, either by hand or using PDF. Do not leave any field blank. If something doesn’t apply to you, write N/A. You may download the application form here or secure a hard copy from one of the accredited agencies (more on this below).
3. Photo – 4.5cm x 4.5cm photo taken within the last six (6) months; with applicant’s name and date of birth written on the back, then glued onto the application form. You can read the specifications here.
4. Original Birth Certificate issued within one (1) year from the Philippine Statistics Main Office/Serbilis Outlet Center (Nationwide); must be readable and with complete information.
- If the birth certificate was registered late, submit a baptismal certificate and school record (Form 137) from high school or elementary, and a School Yearbook (if possible)
- If there is no record in PSA, submit a Certificate of Non-Record from PSA together with a birth certificate from the Local Civil Registrar
5. Marriage Certificate issued within one (1) year from the Philippine Statistics Main Office/Serbilis Outlet Center (Nationwide)
- If there is no record in PSA, submit a Certificate of Non-Record from PSA together with the Marriage Certificate from the Local Civil Registrar
6. Daily Schedule of Stay in Japan – where you write your proposed itinerary and trip details. The Embassy of Japan does not require confirmed hotel bookings or plane tickets, but you may search online for the arrival and departure information of the flights you plan to take, as well as the address and contact info of your desired hotel or hostel.
7. Bank Certificate – There is no minimum balance required, but if you are aiming for a multiple-entry visa, the Embassy will most likely issue you one if you have abundant financial capacity. At the very least, you should have enough in the bank to pay for all travel expenses, while still having money left over when you return to the Philippines. Remember that Japan is one of the most expensive countries to visit, so go over your itinerary and budget accordingly! Note: The Embassy considers bank certificates valid if issued within the last three (3) months.
8. Clear photocopy of applicant’s latest Income Tax Return (Form 2316)
The Embassy encourages the submission of any supporting documents not listed above (i.e. applicant’s economic or social ties with the Philippines, urgent reasons for visit: medical certificate, wedding invitation).
Rules on exemptions:
- Applicants with used Japan visa are exempted from submitting #4 and #5.
- Applicants who have traveled to Japan AND to other G7 countries within the last three (3) years are eligible for a multiple-entry visa, and based on the requirements for multiple-entry visas, they are exempt from submitting #8. The following are G7 countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and United States.
The Japanese Embassy expressly states on their website that all documentary requirements must be printed on A4 size paper. For details on the requirements listed above, check out http://www.ph.emb-japan.go.jp/files/000232573.pdf
Those who want a multiple-entry visa should check out this link for a complete list of qualifications and requirements. Personally I followed the list of requirements for single-entry, but I was still given a multiple-entry visa.
How to File your Application
Once you are finished compiling your documentary requirements, head over to any of these accredited agencies to file you application. The Japanese embassy only accepts applications coursed through those agencies, so make sure the agency you select is accredited.
In my case, I decided to file mine with Universal Holidays, Inc. at Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati. This was the same agency my parents and I dealt with when we applied for tourist visas back in 2014, so I was comfortable entrusting my second application with them.
Depending on the time of day and the season you apply, you might encounter a long wait. I applied in March and my waiting time was around 1.5 hours for submission of documents and 20 minutes for passport pick-up.
Their staff went through all my documents to make sure everything was in order, and then directed me to the cashier. Tourist visas to Japan are gratis (free), but accredited agencies collect a handling fee for their services. Universal Holidays charges the same amount of P1,200 for single-entry and multiple-entry tourist visas, unlike other accredited agencies.
The embassy needs at least one (1) week or five (5) working days to process and release passports to the accredited agencies.
March 8 – Submitted my application at Universal Holidays around lunch time/early afternoon
March 9 – Universal Holidays transmitted my application to the Embassy; also the day my visa was issued, as seen on my visa sticker
March 10 – Universal Holidays picked up my passport from the embassy
March 11 – I received a text informing me that I could now pick up my passport.
For more information, check out the
EMBASSY OF JAPAN IN MANILA