Visa and immigration policies change often, so it’s best to contact the respective embassy to confirm if these privileges still apply. Also, this post is for Philippine passport holders who plan to visit as tourists only.

When we were invited to speak at the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul in early 2016, our excitement quickly morphed into worry when we realized Filipinos are required to get a visa to enter Turkey. It wouldn’t have been a problem any other day, but we were traveling abroad and we didn’t have more time to apply for one. But a quick online search revealed that e-Visas were available for Filipinos with a valid multiple-entry Japan visa. It saved us. The application took only minutes.

Sadly, Turkey no longer accepts Japan visa as a supporting document. (They limited it to US, UK, Schengen, and Ireland visas.) But it opened our eyes that this whole visa game is more complicated than we previously thought. Some countries are easier to visit if you have existing visas from other countries. For example, having a US visa on your Philippine passport will allow you to access many other countries. And that’s good news for Filipino travelers given that the Philippine passport isn’t all that powerful. At the school of passport privileges, the Philippines doesn’t sit at the table where popular kids like Germany, Singapore, South Korea or the US have their lunch.

Japan is a dream destination for many Filipinos. Over the past few years, visa policies have been relaxed and more forgiving, allowing many to visit Japan easily. But your Japan visa is more powerful than you think! It comes with many other perks. With a valid Japan visa, your Philippine passport will get a bit more edge.

Here are some countries that you can visit much more easily with a Japan visa!

Montenegro

I discovered this on my recent trip to Europe’s Balkan region. My Schengen visa wasn’t multiple entry, which narrowed down the countries that I could visit in the area. But then I found out that Montenegro grants entry to travelers of certain nationalities, including Filipinos, provided that they have a valid multiple entry Japan visa!

I emailed their Ministry of Foreign Affairs to confirm and they replied with this:

According to the Article 7 of the Decree on Visa Regime, holders of valid foreign travel documents containing a valid Schengen visa, a valid visa of Commonwealth of Australia, the Republic of Bulgaria, the Republic of Croatia, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, Romania, the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland may enter, pass through the territory and stay in Montenegro up to 30 days, and not longer than the expiry of visa if the period of validity of the visa is less than 30 days.

A few days later, I was in Montenegro! I visited Kotor and Perast and they were so beautiful!


Mexico

If you have a valid multiple-entry Japan visa on your Philippine passport, you don’t need to apply for a Mexico visa for stays shorter than 180 days. I learned about this because we get invited to a lot of press trips to Mexico at the last minute and we kept on declining thinking we would need to apply for a Mexico visa, which can take days. BUT when we finally took the time to research, we found out that we didn’t actually need one if we have a valid Japan visa.

Photo by Fer Gregory

According to the Mexican Embassy:

With the purpose of facilitating and promoting travel to Mexico, effective May 2016 all those foreign nationals, regardless of their nationality, visiting Mexico for tourism, business or transit are NOT required to obtain a Mexican visa IF they hold a valid (non-expired) Visa or Permanent Residence of any of this countries: United States of America, Canada, Japan, United Kingdom or Schengen area (European Union).

Ting ting ting! Japan is there! But this seems to good to be true so I emailed the Embassy of Mexico in Manila to be absolutely sure! Here’s what they said.

So yep, it’s confirmed. You can enter Mexico for tourism with a Japan visa.


Georgia

Normally, a visa can be obtained online using Georgia’s E-Visa Service website. But recently, they have allowed Filipino citizens to enter the country if their passport has a valid visa from any of the member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which include (among others) the US, the UK, Australia, South Korea, and (wait for it) Japan!

Ushguli Village and Mt. Shkhara, Georgia. Photo by Creative Travel Projects.

I tested it by making a faux application at Georgia’s E-Visa site and here’s what it said when I entered my Japan visa as a supporting document:

In case the text is too small for mobile readers, here’s what it says: Holders of valid visa or residence permit of the (Philippines) are exempted from visa requirements. You can enter Georgia without a visa for 90 days in any 180-day period. Please note that you must present relevant valid visa or residence permit along with your travel document/passport at the moment of crossing Georgian border.




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Yoshke Dimen

Comments

  1. Kim says:

    Hi, what if my visa from an OECD country was from, say 2010. Is that still valid as supporting document given it has been expired for years? Haha thanks!

  2. MIcaela San Isidro-Sanders says:

    This is just soo pathetic. Your PASSPORT IS SUPPOSED TO BE YOUR STANDING IN THE GLOBAL STAGE. as we can all see, THE RP Passport is of the LOWLY KIND. that we need a visa from another country to bolster it’s use.

  3. pamela verna carino says:

    hi no additional requirements going to mexico? only the japan visa and good to go? thank you..

    • Waqas says:

      I am vizat japan go to this mounth plz aske me may viza japan Enter a koreya plz tel me

  4. Panila says:

    Hi, im here in Europe now as tourist and I thought of visiting a friend in Romania for a few days. I don’t have Romanina tourist visa but I have multipe Schengen visa valid until Jan 30, 2019. I am allowed to stay here for 1 month. I just arrived yesterday in Amstersam. Will my current Schengen visa enough to enter Romania? Thanks in advance.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Panila, never been to Romania, but as far as I know, yes, you can enter Romania using a multiple entry Schengen visa. It’s also best practice to have proof of return or onward journey, just in case you’re questioned at the Immigration.

  5. Precious Jimarie says:

    Hi!
    Thank you for this information. I have been to Taiwan last year, April 2018. Will it be accepted as a supporting document for a planned trip after July 31, 2019? Moreover, I have a single-entry Japan Visa which I got also last year on October 2018. Will I need only the Travel Authorization Certificate? If so, when should I apply for it? My planned trip to Taiwan will be on August 5-9.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Precious,

      Unfortunately, I don’t know yet what the rules will be after July 31. They haven’t made any announcement yet, afik. Best to call MOFA/TECO to be sure.

      • Aj says:

        Ung application poh ba ng SK VISA kahit expired na applicable ba sa tokyo

        • Yoshke Dimen says:

          Hi AJ, medyo di ko gets yung question mo. Could you clarify?

          Hindi nagagamit ang SK visa sa Japan ha, and hindi rin nagagamit ang Japan visa sa Korea. Kung may existing Japan visa ka, mas mabilis lang yung processing pero you stil need an SK visa.

  6. JAM says:

    Hi,
    If I’m already in Fukuoka and I plan to cross Busan via ferry. Should I still get SK visa?
    Or my Japan Visa would suffice since I also plan to exit Fukuoka?

    Thanks!

  7. pia says:

    hi….i have been to japan twice and considering of applying for sk visa…will it be easier for me to get the said visa?

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      The Korean Embassy recently excluded Japan visa from their list of OECD visas that they honor after discovering several Filipinos submitting fake Japan visas.

      Applicants with Japan visa will still have to complete all the requirements (including ITR) unlike before, but I think nagmamatter pa rin naman na may Japan visa ka kasi it proves your travel history.

  8. Tyler Smith says:

    Im still planning to cross busan via ferry. Meron ba dto na nka encounter na? Even no sk visa? Or meron bang cases na naaproved transit visa sa japan to sk?

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