(2019) Ultimate Guide on how to get approved for a Japan Visa in the Philippines

Ultimate Guide on how to get approved for a Japanese Visa in the Philippines

I wanted to live up to our title “Ultimate Guide on how to get approved for a Japan Visa in the Philippines” so I included a complete list of visa requirements, with explanations and clarifications for different types of applications, as well as an exhaustive set of answers to questions anybody could ask for when applying for a visa. I even included links to practically everything you need as well as sample forms to guide you in your application. If this article doesn’t get you approved for a Japan visa, I don’t know what will.

Kimono Experience at Osaka Museum of Housing and Living Japan
Experience old Japan at the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living

Japan is one of my favorite places to visit. From the comfortably cold weather to the rich historic culture to the unforgettably delicious food, Japan is a country you should visit at least once. For me, I’ve visited Japan at least 9 times and I still want to go back every time I think about it. Great thing about it is my Japan visa application has never been denied and I’ve gotten at least 2 multiple-entry visas so there’s a lot of things I could share to get you approved.

If you want to get approved for a Japan visa, now is the best time to do so. Japan has recently eased the visa requirements for Filipinos. They’ve even extended the maximum validity period of multiple-entry visas from 5 years to 10 years!

So, what are you waiting for?

Table of Contents

How to apply for a Japan Visa

Applying for a Japan visa is quite easy, all you need to do is follow these three steps:

  1. Find an accredited travel agency
  2. Prepare your visa requirements and submit to the agency
  3. Wait and pray to God that you’ll get approved

Find an accredited travel agency

You need to go through an accredited travel agency for your Japan visa. And no, you can’t submit your application directly to the Japan Embassy Philippines office. Well, actually you can if you have a special case (see “Do I need to go through a travel agency?” in the FAQ).

Here’s the list of accredited travel agency:

You can also find the updated list of travel agencies including their address and contact number on the Japanese Embassy Philippines website.

One important thing to note here is to make sure you’re submitting through an accredited travel agency. Some travel agencies might accept your application, but they would most likely be going through an accredited agency anyway. This means extra expense for you and a chance that you might get denied; or that they’d cheat you and tell you that you got denied even if your application was never submitted in the first place.

Experience with an unreliable travel agency for a Japan visa application

Check out the Frequently Asked Questions to know What is the best accredited agency for Japan visa?

Prepare your visa requirements and submit to the agency

This is the most important part, make sure you double check and even triple check that your requirements are complete and properly filled out before submitting. There are instances where the travel agency might ask for more requirements. This sound like a hassle at first but that’s better than having your application denied.

Some people have reported that the agency they went through returned some of their documents as it was not needed but ended up being denied. If your travel agency returns some of your documents, insist to include them in the application. The more documents proving that you are capable to travel, the better.

Wait and pray to God that you’ll get approved

Seriously, there’s not much else you can do at this point. The Japan visa processing time takes about 3-5 business days. On one instance, we got our visa the following day. If the travel agency hasn’t given you any feedback after 5 business days, follow-up with the travel agency. You can also contact the Japanese embassy to follow-up.

Trunk Line : 551-5710
Filipino : 834-7514
Japanese : 834-7508
E-mail :
Office Hours : 08:30 ~ 12:30, 13:30 ~ 17:15 (Monday to Friday except holidays)

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This is one of the highlight of our trip to Arashiyama. It's my first time to see a live performance of the handpan and I am amazed by how angelic the sound is! It was so relaxing and its music added to the serene ambiance of the forest.⁣ ⁣ ⁣ Mel wants to get his own hand pan and learn how to play after watching @rryusuque 😅 Any ideas as to where we can get a hand pan for beginners?⁣ ⁣ ⁣ Curious Fact: The steel pan in one of the most recently invented musical instruments, which was made only in 1938, it only 80 years old!! It's basically two metal concaves put together, and makes a resonating sound when tapped.⁣ ⁣ ⁣ _____________________⁣⁣ Don't forget to follow @CuriousCoupleTravels for more food and travel adventures. 🍜✈❤⠀⁣⁣ _____________________⁣

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Japan Visa Requirements

Now let’s go to the most important part, your Japan visa application requirements. Your travel agency might ask you for more requirements that’s not on the list, specially if they think there’s a chance for your application to get denied. Just provide the additional documents, you’ll be happy you did when you get your visa for Japan.

This are all the things you need for your application. I’ve also added some explanations in case you require further help:

Standard Japan Visa Requirements

  • Philippine Passport
  • Japan Visa Application Form
  • Visa Photo
  • Birth Certificate
  • Daily Schedule in Japan ( Taizai Yoteihyo, Itinerary)

Additional Requirements

  • Bank Certificate
  • Certificate of Employment
  • ITR
  • Multiple-Entry Visa Japan Request
  • Letter of Explanation

If you have a Sponsor/Guarantor

  • Invitation Letter
  • Letter of Guarantee
  • Proof of Relationship
  • Income Certificate (Shotoku Shomeisho)

If you’re visiting a friend or family member

  • Family Registration (Koseki Tohon)
  • Residence Certificate (Juminhyo)

If you’re attending a conference

  • Travel Order / Dispatch Letter
  • Business Requirements
  • Proof of activities in Japan

If you need a transit visa on your way to another destination

  • Certificate of Reservation issue by the airline
  • Valid visa of the country you’re headed to

NOTE: You can find the list of requirements for each visa type in the Japan Embassy Philippines website.

🈸 Standard Japan Visa Requirements

These requirements are basic and should be provided regardless of the kind of visa application you’re applying for.

Philippine Passport

Your passport should be current and should not expire within the next six months. Some travel agencies might also ask for your old passports so make sure to prepare that as well.

Your passport should also be signed. People who have gotten their first passport or have recently renewed their passport tend to forget to sign it so make sure to check.

There must be at least two blank pages for your visa.

Japan Visa Application form

You can download the application form from at the Japan Embassy Philippines website. Make sure you fill out all questions in the form correctly. If there are any items that are not applicable, mark it with “N/A”. The embassy may deny your application if you leave anything blank, specially the date, or if any information is incorrect. And there’s a big chance that you’ll get denied if you forget to sign your application. Your travel agency will be checking your application form but it’s best if you check it yourself.

The application form must be printed on A4 size paper only and should not be stapled or pasted together.

If you need guidance in filling out the application form, you can download this Japan visa application form sample.

Visa Photo

It should be 4.5cm x 4.5cm (not 2”x2”) with white background. The photo studio will know if you mention that it’s for a Japan visa application. Use this guide from the Japan Embassy to make sure you have the right photo.

Write your name and birth date at the back of your application form. This is required as improperly pasted photos sometimes fall off the application form.

Paste the photo on your application. DO NOT STAPLE.

The photo must be taken within the last 6 months, and make sure you actually look like the person on your visa photo. I personally had some problems when I decided to cut my hair short, used to go up to my shoulders, and shave my mustache and beard off just before my trip. It was a bad idea as I did not look like my photo on my passport and visa. Good thing I had IDs and documents with me otherwise I might’ve been sent home before I even stepped through immigration. I think it also helped that I chatted the immigration officer up. I asked if I looked better now or when I had longer hair. 😅

Birth Certificate

Your birth certificate must be issued by the Philippine Statistics Office (PSA). Birth certificates issued by the old National Statistics Office (NSO) is no longer accepted. In case the PSA certificate is unreadable, you must submit it together with the certificate issue by the Local Civil Registrar.

A baptismal record or school record (Form 137) may be required if the birth certificate is of “late registration”.

If you do not have any birth certificate recorded in the PSA, you’re probably not a Filipino and you’re reading the wrong article (just kidding). Anyway, if you don’t have a PSA birth record, you need to submit a “Certificate of Non-record” from the PSA together with your birth certificate from the Local Civil Registrar.

Daily Schedule in Japan (Taizai Yoteihyo), in other words, Itinerary

For your schedule of stay, make sure to use the form provided by the Japan Embassy which you can download here.

Filling out the form is pretty straight forward. Just add the places you’re going to and when you’re going to those places including your arrival to and departure from Japan. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Don’t go crazy with your itinerary. The simpler the better. If your schedule doesn’t make logical sense, like being in Osaka in the morning and then touring Tokyo by lunch (practically impossible unless you can time or space travel), may potentially get your application denied.

🈸 Additional Requirements

Depending on the embassy, you may be asked for these additional requirements. Travel agencies usually ask for these immediately even if the embassy hasn’t asked for it yet to make the process faster.

Bank Certificate

You only need this if you will be shouldering all or part of your expenses.

The Japan Embassy only requires that you submit a bank certificate which is different from a bank statement. A bank certificate includes information about your account, when it was opened, how much is in it, etc. A bank statement, on the other hand, shows the movement of your money (deposits and withdrawals) usually within a 3-month period. That said, the embassy may ask you for a bank statement together with a bank certificate. To avoid this hassle, travel agencies typically ask for both. If you’re already at the bank asking for a bank certificate, just ask for a statement anyway. It’s a lot better than getting denied, right?

Some travel agencies will still require you to submit a bank certificate even if your trip is sponsored so make sure to ask before getting one.

Certificate of Employment

You’re not required to submit a certificate of employment on your application, but the embassy may ask you for one. To avoid the hassle of getting your application delayed (or denied) just prepare one in advance.

If you’re a business owner, submit a Certificate of Registration.

Income Tax Return (ITR form 2316)

You’re only required to submit an ITR if you’re employed.

What if you’re a freelancer or a business owner and you don’t have an ITR? That one’s answered in the FAQ.

NOTE: Make sure that your ITR is signed by your company representative and you. You have no idea how often people forget to sign their ITRs.

Multiple-Entry Visa Japan Request

If you need a multiple entry visa, you must submit a Request for a Multiple-Entry Visa form.

Please see the Multiple-Entry Visa section of the FAQ” for more information.

Letter of Explanation

This is usually only required if you lack the necessary requirements on your application, such as a missing ITR. The letter can be used to explain why you lack a particular requirement, where your finances are coming from, to reinforce why you want to go Japan, and/or why you need to go back.

Personally, I’ve not needed to use a letter of explanation for Japan, but I did for my Korean tourist visa application, which also got approved for multiple-entry. Here’s the explanation letter I submitted if you need a sample.

🈸 If you have a Sponsor/Guarantor

These are the Japan visa requirements with guarantor and must be submitted along with the standard requirements.

Invitation Letter

Your letter should use this template from the Japan Embassy (English, Japanese).

Letter of Guarantee

If your expenses will be paid for by someone else, they need to send a signed letter of guarantee to you, there’s also another form for that (download here for English, Japanese).

Important thing to note here is that the letter needs to be original. You can’t have it sent through email and print it out. Also, if your sponsor is Japanese, it also needs to include their family seal (hanko, 判子)

Proof of Relationship

You need to submit additional documents like a birth certificate (if your family is sponsoring your trip) or a marriage certificate (if your spouse if sponsoring your trip).

If your friend (or boyfriend/girlfriend) is sponsoring your trip, you can submit photos, phone call details, receipts, and/or passport copies along with a letter of explanation detailing why you’re being invited to Japan.

Income Certificate (Shotoku Shomeisho)

This must come from City Hall Tax Return Certificates with Gross Income (Nouzeishomeisho: form2) from tax office, Kakuteishinkokusho Hikae or Bank Certificate (Yokin Zandaka Shomeisho).

🈸 If you’re visiting a friend or family member

If you’re going to Japan to visit family, you need to submit the Standard Requirements plus the Sponsor/Guarantor requirements along with the following:

Family Registration (Koseki Tohon)

This is necessary if the family member you’re visiting in Japan is Japanese or has a Japanese spouse. If you’re visiting a friend, you’re not required to submit this.

This must be issued within 3 months of the visa application.

Residence Certificate (Juminhyo)

This must describe all family members without omission and should also be issued within 3 months of visa application.

🈸 If you’re attending a conference

If you belong to a private religious group or a non-government/non-profit organization, you need to submit the standard requirements and Sponsor/Guarantor requirements plus the following:

Travel Order / Dispatch Letter

This is a letter from the organizing committee inviting you to attend the conference.

Business Requirements

These are required if you have been invited by a business/organization. If you were invited by an individual, you only need to submit the certificate of employment of your inviter.

Business Registration (Tokibotohon) which must be issued within 3 months of visa application. You must submit an original copy.

Copy of the latest Quarterly Report (Shikiho), Company Brochure, Pamphlet or any outline of the company/organization.

Proof of Activities in Japan

Seminar schedule, pamphlets, etc. This is different from the daily schedule (Taizai Yoteihyo)

🈸 If you need a transit visa on your way to another destination

Applying for a transit visa for Japan is practically the same as applying for a tourist visa. However, the embassy might ask for these additional requirements:

  1. Certificate of Reservation issue by the airline
  2. Valid visa of the country you’re headed to

That just about covers the basics. If you need a Japan visa for another reason, like the Japan working visa requirements, check out the Japan Embassy website to get the requirements specific to your needs.

Like our page to discover more travel tips and tricks as well as useful articles like this.

Reasons why your Japan Visa application could get denied

The problem with visa applications with any country is that the consulate has the ultimate power to approve or deny you as they see fit. However, here are the common reason why your application may be denied.

Using Fake documents

Seriously. Why would you ever think of using fake documents? That is an extremely serious offense. By the off chance that the embassy misses your fake documents, the Japan immigration will definitely send you back to the Philippines even before you set foot inside Japan. You can even get banned from entering Japan permanently or worse, go to jail. So, no fake documents, ok?

Incomplete, inconsistent, and even wrong information on application

Make sure that your requirements are complete, and the forms are completely filled out. Remember that the consulate gets hundreds of applications a day and while they’re diligent in checking your documents, they can easily deny your application if it’s incomplete.

Also make sure that your documents actually match each other. The salary indicated on your CoE should match your ITR and if you say that you’re staying with family, make sure you include the documents required for that kind of visa application. If you’re going to Japan through a guarantor, make sure that you have enough evidence to prove your relationship with him/her. Things like that can really get you denied so be very diligent in checking.

Insufficient Finances (Show money)

Generally, it’s recommended that you have at least ₱10,000/day of stay in Japan for your show money. Now that’s not a hard and fast rule but that’s what the travel community recommends. However, it’s still in the discretion of the Japan consulate. There have been anecdotal cases of a person who got denied even if they had 300k+ show money for the Japan visa while another person who only had 2k in the bank got approved.

Experience regarding show money on Japan visa application

Another important thing to note, if you have a guarantor, your guarantor should have the financial means to support you in Japan. If your guarantor is unemployed or living on welfare, then you can bet that your application will be denied. Better to apply as a tourist instead.

Weak social and economic ties to the Philippines

One of the reasons the consulate, not only in Japan, are strict with visa applications is that they don’t want illegal immigrants taking over local jobs and not paying taxes to help the country. That said, it’s important to prove to the consulate that you won’t be staying there illegally (TNT). So, you need to prove that you will be returning to the Philippines after your trip. If the travel agency thinks it’s necessary, they may ask you for a letter of explanation stating why you need to go back (maybe your need to take care of your family, or you need to return for your job, etc.). In some cases, you could also be asked for an Affidavit of Assurance of Return which is pretty much the same as the explanation letter except it’s notarized. In the rare chance that you need it, here’s a sample.

Your intention/purpose in Japan is unclear

This one is similar to the previous point. All your documents should prove that you’re only going to Japan for the purpose you indicated on your application. If you indicated tourism, you should only be visiting tourist spots. Don’t mention that you’re dropping your resume to a company because you secretly want to work in Japan (unless of course you’re applying for a work visa then that’s a different story).

No travel history

This point is hotly debated, and for good reason. It shouldn’t be a problem if you’re a budding traveler (or a travel blogger even) and your first destination is Japan, right? The thing is that historically, those who travel to Japan as their first travel end up staying in Japan illegally. So, it’s recommended that if you want to get a travel visa, you need to travel to non-visa-requiring countries before Japan.

Does that mean that you can get denied if you travel to Japan as your first trip? Of course not. Does it also mean that I would immediately get approved if I have other travel history? Also no. In the end, the decision would fall completely on the consulate’s shoulders. However, it doesn’t hurt if you have some travel history under your belt.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ramen Musem at Shin-Yokohama, Japan

We’ve just about answered all of the questions you can possibly think of to help you get approved for a Japan visa but just in case we missed anything, make sure to write your question in the comments section.


What is the Japan Embassy Philippines address?

Japan Embassy Philippines Address: 2627 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, 1300
Trunk Line: 551-5710
Filipino: 834-7514
Japanese: 834-7508
Office Hours:  08:30 ~ 12:30, 13:30 ~ 17:15 (Monday to Friday except holidays)

I already have a Japan visa, I just need to get it renewed. What’s the procedure for that?

If you have an expired Japan visa and you need to renew, the procedure is the same as applying for a new one. There’s one time I had to spend some time in Japan, but my visa was about to expire. Problem is, I have to fly to Japan before my visa expires which means it would expire while I’m there. What the travel agency asked me to do was to create a letter asking for the embassy to cancel my existing visa which the agency submitted before submitting my application for a new visa. Worked out quite well.

Is it possible to get approved for a Japan visa if it’s your first trip out of the country?

It is possible but the travel community recommends you travel to other non-visa requiring countries like Hong Kong or Singapore first so that you can accumulate some travel history.

Do I need to go to the embassy for an interview?

No, you do not. Maybe in special cases like if you’re applying for a diplomat visa. If you’re applying as a tourist, you just need to submit your application to your travel agency.

Do I need to know how to speak Japanese?

No, you’re not getting interviewed anyway. It doesn’t hurt to learn Japanese for your trip though. If you want to learn Japanese, I recommend looking for a tutor in I’ve had really good experience with the instructors there and you can even do a trial lesson first, so you don’t waste your money on an instructor that you don’t like.

What is the validity of the visa?

A single-entry Japan visa will be valid for 3 months from the date of issue. That means that you should use your visa within 3 months otherwise your visa will expire. Also, the validity of your stay depends on the number of days you were approved for (7, 15, or 30 days).

An important thing to note here is that your stay in Japan starts as soon as you go through immigration. So, if you arrive April 1 and you were issued a 7-day visa, you need to make sure you fly out on April 7. I made this mistake when I picked up my mom in Japan. I assumed that since we arrived late in the evening, day 1 would start the following day. We almost missed our flight because we had to go through the immigration office and pay the fines for overstaying. The experience wasn’t really traumatic as the immigration officers in Japan are super nice but it’s a hassle that I had to pay for those fines and that we almost missed our flight. It didn’t affect my mom’s record though because she was able to go to Japan again without any problems whatsoever.

My trip is next year, when is the earliest date I can apply for a visa?

You need to apply 3 months in advance, at most. This applies if you’re applying for a single-entry visa. It’s not a problem if you’re applying for a multiple-entry Japan visa but you’re not guaranteed one.

This actually happened to a friend of mine who got too excited and applied early. He figured it would be fine since he indicated his departure date anyway, but he ended up getting approved early which means he had to move his flights to match the dates on his visa.

How long is the Japan visa processing time?

It takes about 3-5 business days to process the visa. Your travel agent might tell you that it takes 7-10 business days just because they need to collect all applications before actually submitting it to the embassy.

Can you call Japan Embassy Philippines to follow-up?

Yes, you can. Just don’t annoy the embassy by calling every day. You can find the number in the first question on this list.

How will I know if my visa got denied?

That’s not something you should worry about. If you get denied… you will know… you will know…

Can my boyfriend/girlfriend be my guarantor?

Yes, you can, specially if your boyfriend/girlfriend is in Japan. You need to make sure you prove your relationship though (see Japan Visa Requirements with Guarantor).

What if I have a Japanese boyfriend who’s willing to sponsor me but I’m still technically married because my marriage hasn’t been annulled yet?

Application process is the same as the previous point. It might be better if you show your relationship as friends though instead of showing that you’re lovers. #justmytwocents

Can I work in Japan with a tourist visa?

Yes, you can. There are companies that allow tourists to work in their factories.

Can you get banned from entering Japan ever again? Yes you can.

Can you go to jail for doing that? Also a yes.

Should you do it? I think the answer is pretty obvious at this point.


Do I need to go through a travel agency?

As of July 30,2007, all applications must go through an accredited travel agency for Japan visas. However, there are certain application types that are allowed to go to the embassy directly:

    • Diplomatic or Official Visas
    • Visas for invitees directly by the Japanese government and independent administrative agencies of Japan
    • Visas for invitees directly by local government of Japan or national/municipal educational institutions to participate in educational, cultural and youth exchange programs
    • Visas for awardees of Japanese Government Scholarship
    • Visas for commercial purpose of employees of a joint venture company or local subsidiary of Japanese enterprise listed in the Japanese Stocks Exchange or of companies that are members of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines
    • Visas for special cases requiring humanitarian consideration such as serious illness of a relative in Japan.
    • Visas for applicants who have custody of the biological child of Japanese National and whose purpose is to raise the child in Japan.

What is the best accredited agency for Japan visa?

I’ve personally applied through two travel agencies, Reli Tours and Rajah Travel. Most of the time I submit through Reli Tours because they have an office near our home. But of the two, I prefer working with Rajah Travel. The Rajah Travel agents are friendly and easy to work with.

One travel agency we also hear often is Friendship Tours. They have an overwhelmingly positive feedback in the travel community. Also check out the Discovery Tours for a Japan visa.

You really can’t go wrong whichever travel agency you choose. Just make sure that you transact with an accredited travel agency.

How much is the Japan Visa Application Fee?

The actual visa application is free for tourists, but the travel agency will charge you a processing fee of ₱800 to ₱2,500 depending on the agency.

Can I have someone else submit my visa requirements?

Yes. Just make sure they have an authorization letter, their id, and a photocopy of your id when they submit your requirements. But check with the travel agency first. Some travel agencies don’t like doing this because they want to talk to the applicant to make sure all documents are in order.


Should I apply for a single-entry visa or a multiple-entry visa?

Depends on your need. If you need a multiple-entry visa because you need to visit family because of illness, then go for it. If it’s your first time to apply, I recommend you apply for a single-entry visa first. I got my multiple-entry visa after the 3rd or 4th application if memory serves me right.

How would I know if I’m eligible for a multiple-entry visa?

You’re eligible for a multiple-entry visa if any of the following applies to you:

    • Applicant with history of travel as temporary visitor to Japan in the last three (3) years; has no known violation of domestic laws of Japan nor had problem with immigration regarding entry and status during the period of stay; and has sufficient financial capacity to support expenses for travel and stay.
    • Applicant with history of travel as temporary visitor to Japan in the last three (3) years; has no known violation of domestic laws of Japan nor had problem with immigration regarding entry and status during the period of stay; and, has several history of travel as temporary visitor to G7 countries (excluding Japan) in the last (3) years.
    • Applicant with abundant financial capacity
    • Spouse or Child of above.

Is it possible to get a multiple entry visa on your first try?

It is but you need to have strong documentation that you need a multiple-entry visa to qualify. If you’re applying as a tourist and it’s your first time, you’ll be better off applying for a single-entry visa. I have a cousin who traveled with her family and got multiple-entry visas on their first try even if they applied for single-entry visas. Then again, they’re filthy rich so not sure the rules apply to them.

If I get denied for a multiple entry visa, can I reapply for a single-entry visa?

Yes. This actually happened to me. I applied for a multiple-entry visa but instead of denying my application, they gave me a single-entry visa. They gave me a multiple-entry visa the next time I applied though.


Can I use my old NSO birth certificate for my application?

You have to submit a PSA birth certificate.

What’s the validity of a PSA birth certificate?

One year. Because you stop being you after 1 year.

Can I fill out my application by hand or does it need to be computerized?

Technically it doesn’t matter but most travel agencies insist that you fill the form out on your computer and print it.

Do the invitation and guarantee letters need to be originals? Can they be sent through email then I’ll just print it out?

They have to be originals. You can’t just print it out. That said, make sure you have enough time to compensate for the slow postal service in the Philippines.

Do I need to follow the itinerary (Taizai Yoteihyo) I submitted?

No, you don’t. The embassy won’t be installing a gps tracker on your neck to know your whereabouts.

Smile or no smile on your Japan visa photo?

Should you smile or not smile on passport photos?

It doesn’t really matter. Some photo studios insist that you don’t smile though. If you can get away with smiling photos, go for it. Just make sure it’s a simple smile that doesn’t distort your face too much.

Should I book my flights and hotel in advance?

You do not. Unless of course there’s a seat-sale and it’s too good to pass. Then again, what if you get denied!? Arrgghhhh!!!!

In terms of the application requirements though, you don’t need to provide flight and booking details. In our case we’ve gotten away with using a random hotel in Japan and Cebu Pacific (ang pambansang airline) on our application. Other travelers book a cancellable accommodation on Agoda. Just make sure you choose the option where you can cancel anytime and pay at the hotel. This way you have another document you can use to prove that you’re staying in Japan as a tourist.

Is it possible to switch hotels or airlines different from what I mentioned in my application form?

Yes. Specially if you’ve found a cheaper flight and accommodation.

Is it ok to mention that I will be staying at a friend’s place?

I encountered something similar on one trip. I was planning to stay at my sister’s place for the duration of my trip so that’s what I indicated on my application. The travel agency advised against it and had me change my application form to have a hotel address instead.

Allowing this will depend on the travel agency where you submitted your application, but it might be wise to just use a hotel address. This also saves you the hassle of getting additional documents from your friend in Japan.


How much is the show money for Japan visa?

Generally, it’s recommended that you have at least ₱10,000/day of stay in Japan but the more the better.

Do I need to submit pay slips?

No, you don’t. Some travel agencies might ask for this so just submit it for additional proof that you’re financially capable.

Can I apply even if I don’t have money in the bank?

You can but there’s a big chance that you’ll get denied.

What if I have gold credit cards but no money in the bank?

You’ll most likely get denied. Again, it’s case to case basis but the chance is pretty slim.

But if you’re applying for a Korean Visa… that’s a different story.

Do I still need to provide my own bank documents even if I have a guarantor?

This happened to me once when my company sent me to Japan. I was still required to submit my own bank documents even if the company would be paying for everything. Funny thing about it was that it was a payroll account and it literally had around P100 in it. Still got approved though.

Can I apply for a visa even if I don’t have a bank account?

You don’t have a bank account? Why? Seriously, you need to start saving before even thinking about traveling.

Anyway, the travel agency would most likely not accept your application and even if you do find a travel agency who would accept your application, there’s a huge possibility that you’ll get denied.


Do I need to submit an Income Tax Return (ITR or form 2316)?

Yes, if you’re employed.

What if I don’t have an ITR?

Now this is a tricky one specially for freelancers. Technically, there’s no distinction between freelancers and business owners in the Philippines. That means that if you’re a freelancer, you should have registered your “business” and should be paying taxes. That also means you can submit a business tax form instead of an ITR.

If you don’t have a business tax form, you can submit an explanation letter stating how you’re earning your income in the Philippines.

What is a letter of explanation?

An explanation letter is a general letter you can use to explain anything from how you’re earning income to why you need to return to the Philippines. Here’s a sample letter I used in one of my visa applications.

Do I need to submit a Certificate of Employment (CoE)?

Technically, no but your travel agency might ask for one. Doesn’t hurt to include it in your application.

What if I don’t have a CoE?

You don’t necessarily need a CoE, specially if you’re a freelancer or a business owner. Just include how you’re earning money like an Upwork Statement of Earnings.


If my application was denied, when can I re-apply?

You can re-apply after 6 months.

I really need to go to Japan, can I file for an appeal?

Yes, you can. The process is almost the same as applying for a new visa except you need to include additional documents to support your application such as a letter of explanation or an Affidavit of assurance or return.

What do you think? Let's discuss!

That’s about it. Do you think this information is enough to get you approved for a Japan visa? Do you have a question that I wasn’t able to answer?

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50 thoughts on “(2019) Ultimate Guide on how to get approved for a Japan Visa in the Philippines

  1. Hi, I recently got my Visa approved for single entry (15 days) . I didn’t know anything about limited number of days when I booked a flight to Japan. My flight is on April 29 and I’ll be back May 14. I called Japan Embassy and asked how they count visa days. I was told first day is the day after arrival. I am confused now because you mentioned that the first day count is the day you arrive in Japan.

    1. That’s also what we were told, that the first day was the day after my arrival. Imagine my surprise when we were held up at the airport on our way back to the Philippines! I guess it’s possible that the immigration officers at the Narita airport made a mistake but I still had to pay the penalty fee for “overstaying”. For your trip I recommend arriving at the airport early just in case.

      It’s not really a problem other than the extra expense (I paid ₱1,200 if I remember right) and the potential delay. Don’t worry too much about it and ENJOY JAPAN!

  2. hi po just read your blog. gusto ko po sana i ask. kasi po wala pa po akong 1 year sa work so di pa po ako makakarequest ng ITR? then halimbawang nasa minimun wage lang po yung salary tapos biglang nilagyan ng malaking amount yung bank, red flag na po ba pag ganun? then first solo travel out of the country po ito if ever, and base po sa mga nababasa ko madalas daw po ma deny ang female solo traveler. Im losing hope. hoping for your reply. thank you po 🙂

    1. Hi, kahit less than one year pwede ng kumuha ng ITR. Pero if ever wala pwedeng kumuha ka na lang ng CoE then gawa ka ng Letter of Explanation. About sa bank, medyo red flag pag may biglang malaking amount sa bank pero may chance pa rin yun ma-approve. Don’t lose hope. 😊

  3. hi guys! ive been reading a lot of your comments and i am wondering if any of you fellow readers, had been denied of a Japan visa and did you made an apeal to the embassy?
    thank you so much to those who will answer.

    1. Hi,

      Yes that has happened. Applying for an appeal is the same as applying for the visa for the first time except they will ask you for more documents and a letter of reconsideration (it’s like the letter of explanation linked in the article).

      Here’s the caveat, you still need to go through a travel agency amd most travel agency would refuse your application. So far there’s only one agency that we’ve heard might accept your application, Friendship Tours.

      Another thing, the Japan Embassy is known to deny visa application appeals if the trip reason visit is the same. We recommend changing the reason to something different, it might help. But it’s not a guarantee. There are people who got approved after applying for an appeal after waiting for as short as one month so there is hope.

    1. That’s perfectly fine. It was the same for me for my first Japan visa application.

      Wish you the best on your trip. Have fun!

  4. Hi. My ITR is form 2307. Will it be ok? Also has two banks with 30K for one and 60K on the other. Traveled to Osaka (2015), Seoul (2017) Taiwan, Indonesia, Hongkong (2018). I’m so nervous. Will my application be ok? Thank you.

    1. Hi Marie, the Japan Embassy Philippines requires that you submit a form 2316. If you can’t produce one, write a letter of explanation why you don’t have the form but still include the 2307 as an attachment. For the bank accounts, I recommend submitting a bank statement for both. This will help prove that you’re financially capable of paying for your trip.

      Since you’ve already traveled to Japan, your application already has an advantage. It’s not a guarantee of course but there’s a good chance you’ll get approved.

  5. hi ask kulang pwede bako mag apply ng visa as tour lang..pero galing nako dati sa japan pero working visa dati,,tas plano kupo don sa friend ko mag stay pwde kaya ako mabigyan ng visa?

    1. Hi Rea, pwede naman. Pero kung dun ka sa friend mo magstay, merong mga ibang requirement na kelangan mong hingin sa friend mo. I recommend na magresearch ka ng hotel na pwedeng pagstay-an then yung ang ilagay mo sa application. Mas madali yun kse mas konti yung requirement na hinihingi. Just make sure na complete yung requirements.

  6. Hi,

    I am planning to go to Osaka this October and I’m a little bit nervous about my visa application. Would you be able to asses my chances? I am 6 years employed (Accounting Associate), traveled to HK and Macau twice, then SG ang Malaysia and also Korea. Bank account has 100k plus, with 35k ADB. What do you think? 🙂

    1. Hi Arn, I personally know people who got approved for a lot less. Just make sure that you have the complete requirements and you should be good to go. Mind you I’m not saying that it’s a guarantee that you’ll get approved but I think you have a really good chance.

      Regarding the amount, there’s really no set policy but the recommendation is 10k per day of stay. You have more than enough so don’t worry about it too much. 😊

      Have fun in Japan!

        1. Sorry, I have another question. 🙂 My address indicated on my ITR is different from my current address which I will provide on the application form. Would that be a problem?

          1. Oh… That’s not a big deal but might cause some problems. I recommend adding a letter of explanation why there’s a discrepancy on your record as well as supporting documents to show how you’re associated with both addresses. Check out the sample letter of explanation we have on this article. Hope that helps.

  7. My partner over stayed in japan year 1990 – 2000. He voluntarily surrendered in 2000 , hence he was able to comeback to the Philippines on 2000 with travel documents. That was the documents he used to apply for a new passport around 2010. Since then, he was able to travel to different countries again, as tourist for short term stay like Indonesia and Dubai. He is a free lance musician ever since, so he doesn’t have an ITR also. But he is registered now in the BIR as freelance musician with official receipts already in his name, and have yet to file the receipts issued for this year with BIR. We have a planned Japan trip already on November 17, 2019 to November 25, 2019. We have Flight tickets already and booked and paid already our 2 hotels that we will staying during the duration of our stay. 10 of us will be travelling to Japan, same booking details and Hotels, but we will be filing our visa application, me, my mother a senior citizen and our 7 year old daughter this first week of October. Will my partner be tourist visa be approved considering her records in Japan last 2000? What are the steps, documents he needs to do and submit to at least ensure his tourist visa approval. We are not married, he is separated, but our daughter who is travelling with us is under his surname.

    1. Hi Mye, that’s a bit of a loaded question. Let’s start with your partner overstaying.

      His overstaying may or may not be an issue depending on how he was sent back to the Philippines. If he was part of an amnesty program then he should be able to return to Japan without any problems. When he can return to Japan depends on the pardon given to him. Some people are allowed to return in six months and some are allowed to return after six years. He’s the only one who could answer that. If he doesn’t know the details then than can be a problem.

      Regarding his work, that shouldn’t be a problem IF he’s a registered taxpayer which you mentioned then it should be fine. Just have a letter of explanation with the attached BIR forms. Just make sure to show that he has strong ties to the Philippines.

      About your group trip, Japan seems to be a little lenient if you’re traveling with a senior citizen. We’ve had personal experience where a family member got denied three times of her application to Japan but was approved when she traveled with her senior mom. However, that doesn’t apply to your partner because he’s not related to your mom since you’re not married. Even if you have a child together, that may not help with the application. Having a plane ticket and hotel booked does not help at all with your application.

      To be honest, the circumstances don’t look good for your application. Your travel agency might not even accept your application in this case and even if they do, there’s a high chance that it would get denied. But since you’ve already booked a flight and hotel, you might as well apply for a visa. We’ve heard several stories where a visa was approved against all odds. You never know.

      Wish you all the best.

  8. Found ANA AIRLINE SALE TICKET TO JAPAN WHICH WILL LAST ON monday Sept 30, 2019. My travel plan is March 2020.
    i have not yet applied for a visa to japan.
    Can i proceed with my booking?

    1. That’s completely up to you but know though that you’re not guaranteed to get a visa even if you already have a plane ticket and or hotel reservation. Your visa application is based completely in the merit of your application.

      If you book your flight now, you run the risk of getting denied and wasting your flight. The choice is really up to you.

  9. Hi. My boyfriend visa got denied last September 19, 2019. We are 4 when we applied for Tourist visa for 5 days. However he’s the only one who got denied. We have no idea whats the reason for rejection since we submitted all the requirements. Application Forn, Passport, Birth Certificate and Local Civil Registar, COE, Bank Certificate amount to 60k. Flight details, ITR 2316 and Schedule of Stay. Would it be possible to reappeal since we already have a ticket and hotel booking?

    1. It is possible to file an appeal but the result would likely be the same. Unless something has significantly changed in the application, like a considerable increase in thr bank account, the chance of getting denied again is really high. In a visa application, it usually doesn’t matter if you already have a hotel booked or not. There is no harm in trying though but be prepared in case of another denial.

  10. Hi. Me and my husband is scedules to visit japan this mar 2020. Are we required to apply for visa separtely? Or we can apply as a group (just the two of us) since we have a joint bank account. I’m worried that one of us will be denied, and one will be approved if we apply separately.

    1. Hi Rona! Yes, you’re required to submit your Japan visa application separately. By separately, I mean you should have your own Japan visa requirements and your husband should have his own Japan visa requirements.
      Regarding your concern about your bank account, you both should have your own bank certificate/statement: one for you and one for your husband. The important thing is that your names are on the bank certificate/statement. Your accredited travel agency for your Japan visa might ask you for more requirements like a letter of explanation. I recommend asking for the Japan visa requirements before submitting your application.

      Another thing to consider is the amount on your account. Since you’re “sharing” an account the Japan Embassy Manila might require for a larger “show money”. Other than that, you should be fine. Approval still depends on the consulate though.

  11. Hi, Just wanted to ask, is it possible to get an endorsement letter from the company for the re-appeal of denied visa?

    1. That totally depends on your company. If you’re applying for a Japan work visa then they’d most likely give you one. But if you’re applying for an appeal, remember that you need to have a significant change on the Japan visa requirements that you’re submitting. If the documents are still the same as the original application, the Japan Embassy Manila would most likely deny your application again. It’s still up to you if you want to push through with your Japan visa application.

  12. Thak you for your response. Another question, is it possible to have an endorsement letter from our company stating that this is an incentive trip? or at least request for a recommendation letter from the company granting the said trip. Thank you

    1. If it’s an incentive trip, your company would most likely give you a guarantee letter for your Japan visa application appeal. That of again still depends on the company. Since it’s an incentive trip, I recommend submitting the Japan visa with guarantor requirements. This would help make sure case stronger and may get you approved for a Japanese visa.

    1. Personally we’ve always used Express Mail Service (EMS) to send our Japan visa requirements. Pero I recommend pa rin na magtanong sa ibang courier like DHL or FedEx though medyo mas mahal sa kanila.

  13. Hi Sir Mel, I have 2 questions about the requirements:

    1. The ITR I have for this year is the one from when I was still on my previous company. I resigned last May and I’m currently on a new company where the salary is triple from the one stated on my ITR. I already asked and the HR said I will receive the updated ITR after the annual filing Feb next year. Can I still submit my “old” ITR?

    2. My girlfriend is considering to switch banks, transferring all her savings. Magmamatter ba if the bank cert will show that it is a newly opened acct? Will it have a positive or negative effect on the chance for the visa to be approved?

    Thanks in advance sir!

    1. Hi Onchie,

      Regarding your question about the ITR for Japan, yes you can still submit your old ITR as part of your Japan visa requirements. Your HR is right, ITRs are only released once a year so even if you got a raise or in your case moved to a new company with higher salary, you still have to use the old one. One thing I do recommend for your Japan visa application is to make sure that your CoE or Certificate of Employment indicates your salary (triple?? wow, good job!)

      For your other question about switching banks, that may negatively affect the application since the Japan Embassy Manila also considers the average daily balance (adb) aside from the total amount. Now that depends on when you’re going to apply for the visa. If you’re going to apply within a month then I’d recommend you stay at the bank until after you apply because your average daily balance for your Japan visa will practically be zero. Do a quick search on how adb is computed so you can make a mindful decision if you’re moving banks.

      Best of luck on your Japan visa application!

  14. HI, ask ko lang po , for OFW’s like my boyfriend(seaman) ano po requirements nila aside from the requirements mentioned above?.and what if i have two bank accounts pareho ko pa isusubmit and bank statement and bank cert each bank? one is for my payrol(union bank) l and one is for my personal savings (BDO).Salamat in advance

    1. Hi mhara,

      Walang specific statement ang Japan Embassy Manila about requirements for OFWs, mas maganda kung i-confirm mo sa accredited travel agency. Most likely hihingan ka ng Letter of Explanation as part of your Japan visa application para mapaliwanag na OFW yung bf mo at dahil dun exempt sya from filing an ITR. Kelangan nya din ng proof of income like an income statement sa employer nya.

      Regarding sa bank certificate/statement, kahit isa lang pwede na. Kunin mo yung bank na may mas mataas yung ipon at adb para mas malaki din yung show money for your Japan visa application. Hindi naman importante kung payroll or savings yung account, as long as enough yung show money for your Japan visa application. Kung sa isang bank sana, pwedeng isang bank certificate lang sa dalawang account. Pero since magkahiwalay, pili ka lang ng isa. Kung sa tingin mo na masyadong maliit yung laman nung isang account, pwede namang magsubmit ng dalawa. Minsan yung travel agency nanghihingi ng additional requirements so tanong ka na lang din sa accredited travel agency for your Japan visa.

  15. Good eve po..
    Umuwi po ako nung June 19, 2019 as tourist
    Gusto ko po sanang bumalik ng Japan by end of this month. Pwd na po ba maka pag process ng visa para maka balik ng Japan? May rules ba ang Japan na dapat e follow kung ilang months ang dapat hintayin aftr ng last visit para maka balik ng Japan as tourist visa? Last visit ko po na comsume ko po ang 90days stay ko po sa japan.

    Thanks po..
    God bless

    1. Hi Tiffannie,

      Yes, pwede ka nang mag-apply for a Japan visa. Wala namang rule na kailangan mong maghintay bago ka magsubmit ulit ng Japan visa application. Kung end of this month mo balak pumunta ng Japan, magsubmit ka na agad ng Japan visa requirements para maka-abot ka.

      About your last stay in Japan, ok lang naman na na-consume mo yung days of stay. As long as hindi ka nag-overstay in Japan, hindi naman makaka-affect yung sa application mo.

  16. Hi,

    Our family (father, stepmom, sister and I) went to japan last november. We plan to go back this year but this time with our tita (father’s sister).

    Will it be ok if the 4 of us apply for multiple visa already while my tita for single entry tho we will be applying as one group going together?

    1. Hi Erin,

      Yes, you can submit your application together. Just make sure that you all have the necessary visa application requirements. That said, for the four of you, you need to submit a Request for Multiple-entry Visa Form which asks for a reason why you’re applying a multiple-entry visa to Japan. If possible, show that you’ll be going in and out of Japan on your Taizai Yoteihyo form (Japan travel schedule form). For your Tita, just have her submit the Japan tourist visa requirements.

  17. Wow. Thanks for the immediate response.
    Actually, we do not intend to be in and out of japan for this particular trip. Just wanna try to have the multiple visa so we can have it ready in case we decide to go back again during a different season. The real reason is that my father is a retiree who wants to travel and just enjoy. Anyway, as indicated in the article, if we are not approved for the multiple, they will still consider us for single entry, right? It ain’t bad to try

    1. Yes, if you apply for a multiple-entry for Japan and you don’t qualify, they’d most likely give you a single-entry visa. Good luck with your visa application and have fun in Japan!

  18. Hello, just want to ask, is it okay to have a sudden deposit of big amount of money in my bank account? But I also have a guarantor that will shoulder my expenses. Thanks in advance for the response.

    1. Hi Ann,

      There are two parts to your question, let’s start with the sudden deposit first. It’s not ok to have a sudden big deposit on your bank account. Let me explain. The Japan Embassy Manila requires you to submit a bank certificate as part of your Japan visa application requirements. This contains your current balance and your ADB or average daily balance; current balance is how much you have on your account, essentially your show money, and the average daily balance is computed to show how much you have on your account on a daily basis. If you have a sudden big deposit, your current balance would increase but your average daily balance would not because of how it’s computed. This is a signal to the Japan consulate that you’ve just received a large sum of money that’s most likely not yours. If you can keep the money for a few months before submitting your Japan visa application, then that’s a different story since it changes the adb computation. Then again, you had a second part to the question.

      If you have a guarantor regarding for your expenses, then it doesn’t matter if you have a large or small bank account. I’ve personally experienced this. On one of my applications, the company I work with is my guarantor for my Japan trip. I still had to submit a bank statement but at that time I only had less than P300 on my account (I was young, and had no concept of savings yet 😅). My Japan visa application was still approved.

      Please note that that’s my experience with my application, the approval or denial of your application will still depend on the Japan Embassy Manila. But based on their guidelines, you should be just fine.

  19. Hi. I just want to ask if we will be allowed to apply again for a japan visa, after being denied 2 days ago, this time with different purpose like visit a relative? Thank you.

    1. Hi Keith, yes can file for a Japan visa application after being denied. The key is that your application should be significantly different from your original. I’m assuming you submitted Japan tourist visa requirements previously, right? If you’re submitting requirements for visiting relatives in Japan, then it’s fine. Just make sure that you submit all original documents coming from your relative in Japan. If your Japan visa application still got denied, hopefully not again, then you need to apply again after six months.

      Best of luck on your application.

  20. Good evening. My husband and I together with our 2 children planned to visit Japan (first time). We bought tickets for the upcoming U2 concert in Japan on Dec. 4 last June 2019. We already have plane tickets and we also booked already a place to stay. We will be with our friends. All in all we are eight(8).
    We applied last Sept 22 in one accredited agency in Manila and it so happen that my birth certificate was “late registered” so i need some requirements before the agency accepted. So my husband proceeded to apply with our 2 children who are still students with having only one (1) bank certificate in the amount of more or less Php200,000.00. Actually he had 2 but he wasnt able to bring it with him and he continued with their application. Last Fri October 11, 2019 i went to Manila to submit my application since i have completed the requirements already at the same time i was also authorized to get my husband’s passport since it’s already available. Unfortunately they were denied. Please help on what to do … I called the embassy and ask if we could apply again right away and make a letter of reconsideration. I also didn’t push through with my application first because i plan to apply as a family so that our financial status will be stronger. We have travelled already to Singapore (2013), South Korea (2016), Hongkong (last year) and this year sana in Japan. Please help us on what to do. Would our return tickets be an assurance that we are coming back? We will be in Japan from Nov. 30 to Dec. 5 only. We are now preparing their documents again, with additional attachments such as business permits, additional bank certificates and shares of stocks certificates. By the way i am a PWD and a cancer survivor for 2 years now ..would it help if we will state in our letter of reconsideration? i plan to write the letter of appeal . would it be ok even though i was not denied yet?
    Thank you very much.

    1. Hi Elaine,

      Sorry to hear your family’s Japan visa application got denied. It is possible to reapply, but the approval would still depend on the Japan Embassy Manila. If I were in your shoes here are the things I’d do when applying for a Japan visa appeal.

      First, I’ll stick to one of the 7 accredited agencies for Japan visa I mentioned in the list. It also makes sense in include the additional documents you mentioned like additional bank certificates, business permits, business tax forms, business income information, and shares of stock certificates. Normally the flight details don’t matter but I’d include it in my Japan visa application requirements just in case though I won’t bother including the hotel reservation.

      In addition to the income documents, I’d also write an Affidavit of Assurance of Return and have it notarized. On your Letter of Appeal, you can mention that you’re a PWD and include your ID only if you can somehow use that to prove that you’re returning to the Philippines (for additional treatment maybe?).

      The travel agency might as you for additional Japan visa requirements but that’s how I’d approach it. I understand how frustrating it is to get your Japan visa application denied so I hope these suggestions help your appeal. Best of luck on your application.

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