We spent 10 days in Japan for our first trip in 2014. We took the usual first timer route: Osaka – Kyoto – Tokyo. You think a 10-day trip is enough for Japan. It’s actually long for an Asian country trip. But then, Japan proves you miserably wrong. We crammed as much as we can in the time we have and vowed will be back.
There so much more of Japan to go back to.
Recently, I’ve read somewhere that the Japanese Embassy was feeling a little too generous when it comes to multiply entry visa. Among my weird hobbies that bring me joy: collecting government IDs and visas. So sure, let’s put that gossip thru fact checking.
I went about preparing the usual things our third world passport is scrutinized with before it gets attached with those precious entry papers. For the Japan visa, here’s what I put together:
1. Philippine passport
To save you the trouble, make sure you have at least 6 months left in them. Fill out the emergency information at the back, which I always happen to forget doing.
Print in strictly on A4 paper. With some computer savyness, you can actually download the pdf file and type on it. It’s also ok to fill it in with black pen. Write N/A on all blank spaces because they will make you do that when you don’t. Avoid mistakes, but if you do, strike the error with two lines across and write above it. Don’t use correction liquid or tape.
4.5 x 4.5 cm in size against a white background. Photographers like me when I have visa/passport photo taken because I don’t make them take it twice. I don’t even look at it. I look much worse straight out of the plane anyway. Authenticity for the immigration people.
Photo should be pasted on the application form.
4. Marriage certificate
Although it’s not required for repeat applicants, I still don’t have my married name on my passport. So, it’s insurance, in case they asked since I am applying with JR.
*For first time applicants, you should also bring: A. NSO copy of your birth certificate and B. NSO copy of your marriage certificate, if married.
Since we’re applying as tourists, meaning we don’t have friends and relatives to send us support papers, I also prepared the following:
5. Daily Schedule of Stay
It’s your itinerary in a specific format. You can download the format here.
6. Bank Certificate
Any amount that can cover your proposed stay in your Daily Schedule. It doesn’t have to be exorbitant. It just have to be justified. Hindi mo sila sisilawin sa salapi. Japan sila. Di sila masisilaw. Something that just says, I work hard and I just want to visit your beautiful country.
7. ITR form 2316. Original and photocopy.
Most of the embassies require an ITR form in their application process. If you’re planning to do a lot of traveling, it’ll save you trouble if you have a TIN number. Please don’t ask me what to do if you don’t have an ITR number. Get one, maybe?
And since we’re reapplying,
8. Old passports with old japanese visas.
In 2016, the Japanese Embassy in Manila issued a relaxation of Visa requirements for Multiple Entry Visa for Philippine passport holders. Basically, if they deem you are financially capable to visit their country and you’ve visited Japan in the last 3 years and any G7 countries in the same period without causing trouble, there is an ease in the application process. So just bring all the visas you were issued with.
And because the policy applies if you politely ask for it, we also prepared:
9. A letter addressed to the Japanese embassy requesting for a multiple entry visa.
Basically, this is your moment to shine. It’s a letter asking the Japan embassy to please grant to a multiple entry visa because you want to visit their country over and over again. Mag pacute ka. Essay writing competition levels.
I then took all these papers to Reli tours which is the most convenient accredited agency nearest us. I arrived there at 1 pm and their office was literally overflowing with people. I waited for 2 hours and then overheard that the cutoff was 4 pm and everything else will be processed the day after. I was flying to Korea in two weeks and processing time was between 7-10 days. I don’t want to risk it. My only concern was the validity of the bank statement, which I applied a month before together with my requirements for the Korean visa (read about that here). When I was told it should be valid for 3 months, which it will still be after my Korea trip, I bolted out of there since I saw no end in sight for that line that afternoon.
I went to Reli Megamall first thing Monday morning after my Korea trip. I was mentally prepared for the long queue but I came in and was immediately pointed to an available assistant. She checked my papers, and saw my glorious letter. She advised me that the multiple entry visa is not assured and is still in the discretion of the embassy. I said that’s fine and she sent me inside to see the Japanese. They filed it and I paid 950 each.
And then I prayed to Hachiko, patron saint of the Japanese visa.
I applied it Monday, got a text on Thursday telling me it was ready to be picked up. They won’t text you if you were approved or denied one. Suspense ba. We picked it up on Saturday and then casually walked out of Reli before I got far enough to adorkably jump up and down.
Thank you Hachiko!