I haven’t updated this blog in years, but I just thought it would be nice to document and share how I managed to get a visa for one of my dream travel destinations- Japan.
First off, I have a Japanese guarantor/sponsor so I applied for a Visit Friends Visa. The requirements are different from the regular Tourist Visa. Here is the list of documents me and my guarantor prepared months ahead of my target departure date.
1. Passport that is more than 6 months valid
I had mine renewed just a few months ago so I also included a photocopy of the stamped pages of my old passport. This is just to show that I usually travel out of the country for more than 10 days.
2. Visa application form
I conveniently filled it up online and printed it out. If you are too confused on how to go about it, here’s an official sample.
The place I went to is very familiar with the required photo for Japanese visa applications so luckily I didn’t have to explain anything.
4. NSO Birth Certificate with receipt
The validity of this certificate is only for a year. I got mine from the NSO office in my city. And no, I didn’t go there early in the morning. I went there around lunch time, filled up a form and got a number for the cashier. As soon as I paid (I forgot how much it was but definitely less than 200 PHP), I left to eat lunch. When I came back, my document was ready. I just showed them an ID and I got my birth certificate. The process was a breeze. Or maybe, I was just lucky. You also have the option to get yours online but it’s more expensive.
From my guarantor:
1. Invitation letter which clearly states the reason for the invitation
2. Letter of Guarantee
3. Residence Certificate
4. Income Certificate and Bank Certificate
*I couldn’t say much about 1, 2, 3, and 4 because they were all in Japanese.
5. Documents and photos to prove relationship
This included excerpts from our conversations on Facebook, emails, some letters my guarantor sent me, and photos of us together. Photocopies and print outs are okay.
There is a sample of how to make this here. Ours contained what we plan to do on every single day of my stay in Japan, the contact person (my guarantor), and where I will be staying (my guarantor’s house). On some days, it was visiting tourist attractions. On others, it was just staying at home to spend time with my guarantor’s family.
Next, when I got the documents from my guarantor, I sent all our documents to FRIENDSHIP TOURS AND RESORTS CORPORATION in Manila. We decided to go with them as my guarantor felt comfortable dealing with their Japanese staff. Their processing fee is higher than that of the other accredited agencies at 2000 PHP. I also had to pay an extra 200 PHP for them to ship me back my passport after processing the documents. Then all we did was wait.
The schedule went like this:
Tuesday: Sent the documents to the agency via LBC
Wednesday: The agency received the documents
Friday: The agency filed my application at the Japanese embassy
Saturday and Sunday: Dreaded waiting period
Monday: Got a call of good news from the agency and that I can pick up my passport the next day
Tuesday: I got my passport with my visa
The Japanese government allowed me to stay up to 30 days. :)