I had gotten a lot of questions in the comments section of my first Japan Visa post, so I thought I’d do a follow-up summarizing some of the most frequently asked questions in the previous blog entry.
Do I need a Visa to visit Japan?
Yes, you need a Visa to enter Japan.
Is there an interview for Japan Visa applicants?
No, there is no interview for Japan Visa applications; all you need to do is submit the required documents.
Do I really need to submit a Letter of Invitation?
If you are not on a package tour, or if you are not shouldering all your expenses for the trip, then yes — a Letter of Invitation is required from your Guarantor in Japan.
What is a Letter of Guarantee?
A Guarantee Letter, also known as a Mimoto Hoshousho, is required from your Japanese Guarantor to assure the Consuls Office that some or all of your expenses while in Japan will be handled by him or her.
Alongside the Guarantee Letter, a Certificate of Income or Shotoku Shoumeisho, an Income Tax Return or Nouzei Shomeisho, and a Certificate of Bank Deposit or Yokin Zandaka Shoumeisho is also required from your Japanese Guarantor.
Do I really need to submit an ITR?
If you are employed or run a business in the Philippines, you are required to submit your Income Tax Return. Your ITR will be proof that you are earning enough to cover all your expenses while in Japan, as well as assure the Consuls Office that you will be returning to the Philippines once your fifteen days are up.
What is a Bank Certificate/Certificate of Deposit?
A Certificate of Deposit is a document you can request from your bank to indicate the amount deposited in your savings account. The suggested minimum amount of “show-money” is PhP 100,000 per single visa application.
The Japan Consuls Office uses the Bank Certificate in place of the Letter of Guarantee if you intend to shoulder all your expenses during your trip to Japan.
What other supporting documents can I submit to improve my chances of getting a Visa?
If you are a student, a Certificate of Enrollment from your school will help immensely. If you are already working, an Employment Certificate stating your position, your annual income, and your length of service to the company will also be very useful.
My boyfriend/fiance is Japanese/American/European/Australian and has assured me that he will handle all my expenses — do I still need to apply for a visa?
Yes — because you are not yet married to your Japanese boyfriend and are not included in his Family Registry or Koseiki Touhon, you will still have to apply for a regular Tourist Visa following all the required steps by the Japanese Embassy.
As for ladies with European, American, and Australian boyfriends (who are allowed visa-free entry to Japan for up to ninety days) — because you carry a Philippine passport you are still required to apply for a Tourist Visa, likewise following all the necessary steps indicated.
I am a Filipino working abroad and I plan to visit Japan– do I still need to apply for a visa?
Regardless of your Permanent Resident status or your valid Work Permit for a foreign country other than Japan, as long as you are carrying a Philippine passport you still need to apply for a Tourist Visa.
You can, however, apply for a Visa at the Japanese Embassy of your present location, and do not need to apply from the Japanese Embassy in Manila.
I plan to look for work in Japan — can I get a Work Visa even if I am not yet employed by a Japan-based company?
The Consuls Office does not issue Work Visas if you are not yet employed by a Japan-based company; many of the requirements and steps necessary to get a Work Visa are initiated by your employer and not you.
If you apply for a Tourist Visa and then enter the country with intention to find work, you are essentially an illegal alien and if caught, will be prosecuted to the full extent of Japanese law and deported back to the Philippines posthaste.
How much and how long will it take to process my application?
Direct application to the Embassy is strictly not allowed; you must apply via an accredited travel agent. Your visa, if granted, is free; however, you have to pay your travel agent a processing fee of about PhP 2500 depending on their rates.
It takes three to five business days to process applications; take note that the Consul does not accept applications during Wednesdays. To know the status of your application, get in touch with the travel agent who applied on your behalf, three to five business days after you have submitted all your requirements to them.
Why was my application denied?
The Consulate of Japan never discloses the reason for denying your visa application. If your application has been denied for any reason whatsoever, you need to wait another six months before you can apply again.
So this is everything I know about applying for a Tourist Visa to Japan, based on personal experience and a bit of research. Please take note that there may be mistakes and inaccuracies, as I am neither a travel agent nor an an employee of the Consulate of Japan.
If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to leave them in the comments box, and I’ll try to answer them to the best of my knowledge :)
For more tips, you can also read the follow-up article to this post: How to Get a Japan Tourist Visa in Three Days.
Starting 31st December 2010, I may no longer be able to regularly reply to queries posted on this thread. However, most cases have already been tackled previously, so I suggest you read through the comments log to find your answers, instead of posting a new question. Thank you very much!