JAPAN VISA FOR VISITING FRIENDS OR RELATIVES: Requirements 2018

This guide is for applying for a VISIT VISA. If you’re traveling to Japan as a tourist, we have a separate visa guide for that. Read: Japan Visa Requirements for Tourists

When my sister moved to Japan as an OFW, I found another reason to return to Japan over and over again. Before that, I had only traveled to Japan as a tourist. But now that I have a close relative living there, I no longer have to worry about the accommodations and spend any dough on hotels. (Hotels in Japan are expensive!)

However, the documents needed for visiting a friend or relative is different from those required of tourists. Most travel agencies also charge a slightly higher price for it because it’s a little bit more complicated. But no worries, this visa guide will help you go through the entire visa application process.

     

Japan Visit Visa Requirements

Below is a list of the documents you need to gather for your visa application. Note that documents that need to be printed out (e.g. application form, itinerary) must be done on an A4-size paper.

  1. Philippine passport. Must have a signature and at least 2 blank pages. Broken passports are not accepted. Must have at least 6-month validity.
  2. A duly accomplished visa application form. Don’t leave any blank. Just put N/A if not applicable. You may download it from here.
  3. ID picture. 4.5cm x 4.5 cm. Write your name and birthdate on the back side. Paste it on the application form.
  4. Birth certificate from PSA. Must be issued within the past one year from PSA Main Office or Serbilis Outlet Center (Nationwide). If the birth certificate is marked LATE REGISTRATION, you must also submit Baptismal certificate, School Record (Form 137), and School Yearbook (if applicable). The address of the church or school must be indicated in the documents.
  5. Marriage certificate from NSO. Only if you’re married. If not, ignore this one. Must be issued within the past one year from PSA Main Office or Serbilis Outlet Center (Nationwide).
  6. Daily schedule. Your itinerary in Japan. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Download the format here. Here’s what mine looked like: Sample Japan Itinerary

The list above are just the basic requirements. But there are additional documents needed depending on your relationship to the person you will visit in Japan.

There are two types of visit visas. The first type is for visiting a Close Relative. The other is for visiting a friend or distant relative. The requirements are different.

If Visiting a Close Relative

Emphasis on CLOSE. This applies to close relatives — parent, child, brother, sister, nephew, niece, aunt, uncle. Everything else falls under the distant relative category.

  1. Birth certificates to prove your relationship. Must be issued within the past one year from PSA Main Office or Serbilis Outlet Center (Nationwide).
    Parent-child – BC of both applicant and relative in Japan
    Siblings – BC of both applicant and relative in Japan
    Aunt/Uncle -> Niece/Nephew – BC of applicant + relative in Japan + parent of relative in Japan.
    Niece/Nephew -> Aunt/Uncle – BC of applicant + parent of applicant + relative in Japan.
  2. Invitation letter from your guarantor. Must be issued within the past 3 months. This must explain why you will be visiting and must have a signature. A template is available right here.
  3. Family Registration Certificate(Koseki Tohon). Only if relative in Japan has a Japanese Spouse or relative. Must be issued within three months. Ignore if not applicable to you.
  4. Residence certificate (Juminhyo) if your guarantor is Japanese OR Foreign Registration Certificate from City Hall if guarantor is not Japanese. Must be issued within the past 3 months.
  5. Copy of Residence Card or Special Permanent Resident certificate of relative in Japan. Copy of both sides must be submitted.

Without Guarantor

If you will shoulder part or all of your trip expenses:

  1. Income tax return (ITR Form 2316). They need a clear photocopy of it.
  2. Bank certificate. Must be issued within the past 3 months. I’m not sure if they require a receipt, but I submitted the receipt too. To be safe, when you get your bank certificate, ask for a receipt too. There’s no telling how big a fund is “enough” to get approved, but (in case you’re wondering) my account had only a bit north of P100,000. I planned on staying for a week. I didn’t encounter any problem.

With Guarantor

If your friend/relative in Japan will sponsor your trip:

  1. Guarantee letter. Must be issued within the past 3 months.
  2. Income Certificate (Shotoku Shomeisho) from City Hall, Tax return certificate (Nouzeishomeisho: Form 2) from Tax office (Kakuteishinkokusho Hikae), OR Bank Certificate (Yokin Zandaka Shomeisho). Best if you have all three.

If Visiting a Friend or Distant Relative

Emphasis on distant. If you have friends or relatives in Japan, you may work with one of them. Here’s what they need to give you:

  1. Proof of Relationship. A letter from the person to be visited explaining their relationship to you plus other documents such as pictures, passport copies, etc.
  2. Invitation letter from the person you will visit. This must explain why you will be visiting and must have a signature. Must be issued within the past 3 months.
  3. Residence certificate (Juminhyo) if your guarantor is Japanese OR Foreign Registration Certificate from City Hall if guarantor is not Japanese. Must be issued within the past 3 months.

Without Guarantor

If you will shoulder your trip expenses:

  1. Income tax return (ITR Form 2316). They need a clear photocopy of it.
  2. Bank certificate. Must be issued within the past 3 months. I’m not sure if they require a receipt, but I submitted the receipt too. To be safe, when you get your bank certificate, ask for a receipt too. There’s no telling how big a fund is “enough” to get approved, but (in case you’re wondering) my account had only a bit north of P100,000. I planned on staying for a week. I didn’t encounter any problem.

With Guarantor

If your friend/relative in Japan will sponsor your trip, you may not be required to prove you could afford the trip. The burden shifts to your friend or relative.

  1. Guarantee letter. Must be issued within the past 3 months.
  2. Income Certificate (Shotoku Shomeisho) from City Hall, Tax return certificate (Nouzeishomeisho: Form 2) from Tax office (Kakuteishinkokusho Hikae), OR Bank Certificate (Yokin Zandaka Shomeisho). Best if you have all three.

Again, documents to be printed out must be done on an A4-size paper. Other sizes will not be accepted.

All birth certificates must be issued within the past year by PSA Main Office or Serbilis Center.

 

How to Apply for a Japan Visit Visa

  1. Complete the requirements.
  2. Submit the documents to an accredited travel agency. Unless summoned by the Japanese Embassy, you can’t apply directly at the embassy. You MUST course it though an agency. My go-to agency is Reli Tours for the only reason that it is the one closest to my home. Check out the list of accredited agencies here.
  3. Pay the processing fee. The actual visa is FREE, but you will need to pay the agency that will process your application. The cost of processing a visit visa is much higher than a tourist visa. Every agency charges a different amount, but it’s usually somewhere around P2000.

That’s about it. After the agency accepts your application, the only thing you can do is wait. It takes 3-5 days, sometimes shorter, sometimes much longer. My most recent application took only 2 days. Some of our readers had to wait 7 days. You can’t really tell. Just wait for a message from your agency.

When the embassy returns your passport to the agency, you should receive a message from the agency telling you to pick it up or that they’re sending it to you, depending on your prior arrangement with them.

If it has a visa affixed to it, congratulations! If there is no visa, then your application is denied.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (with Answers)

How to renew a Japan visa?

The process is still the same. The only difference is you don’t need to submit a birth certificate and marriage certificate. But you will need to submit the passport with your old visas.

 

2. How to apply for a multiple-entry visa?

We also have a dedicated post for that. You’ll find that here: Multiple-Entry Japan Visa

 

Do I really need a travel agency to apply? Can’t I apply on my own?

Yes, you need a travel agency. Unless it’s a special case, all visa applications must be coursed through any of their accredited travel agencies.

 

Are flight and hotel bookings required to apply?

No. It’s not a requirement. And it’s not advisable. However, on the application form, you will have to write down the specific FLIGHT NUMBER and HOTEL ADDRESS you wish to take.

 

How long does it take to process the application?

It varies. My first time, 5 working days. Second time, 2 days. Then on my third and fourth times, 7 days and 2 days respectively.

I know people who have waited weeks for theirs. Pretty hard to tell.

 

How long is the validity of the visa?

Single entry visas are usually valid for a stay no longer than 15 days, and the visa is valid for 90 days (3 months) upon issue. So for example, your visa is issued in January 1, you can enter Japan any time between January 1 and March 31, but once you enter, you can stay for only 15 days maximum.

Multiple-entry visas will allow you to stay for 15 or 30 days, depending on what is given to you. But it’s usually valid for 5 years.

 

How much money should I have in the bank to get approved?

We answered that and more frequently asked questions here:

More Japan FAQs


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