Henly and Partners recently published the countries with the most powerful passport. And which got the top spot? No other than Japan! It’s inevitable to not get jealous because my country’s passport even requires a visa for 1-day transit to to go out of the airport in a lot of countries! It’s sometimes frustrating and challenging to get all those paperwork done for someone like me who doesn’t like doing paperwork but very into traveling. But don’t let that stop you from aiming to go to places! Let this guide you on getting your Japan visa.
Japan’s sakura being featured in animes when I was a kid has always lured me to go to Japan. Ticket price is not cheap but the most intimidating part is getting a visa. I don’t know where to get that bank statement that will prove that you can stay in Japan (they say you need at least PhP 100K in your bank account for a week’s stay. Not sure about this but you can find other sources). Guess what? I only had PhP15K but was able to get a double-entry visa!
My journey in getting one wasn’t too bad. How did I do that? Agriculture! In my previous posts, you’d see how I was able to go to places without breaking the bank (cos I don’t have a bank to break to begin with. lol) by being in the field of agriculture. So, agriculture brought me to the US and the fact that I’m in the US I think helped me get the double-entry transit visa.
It was a bit last minute cause I was busy with things. I got a round trip ticket to the Philippines for a quick vacation and the ticket had a 20-hr layover in Nagoya going to the Philippines and 12-hr layover in Narita going back to the US. I was not planning to go out of the airport so I won’t have to process any papers. But then I said to myself, why not give it a try. I didn’t even go the Japan embassy in Chicago (the embassy that process visa for people residing in the state where I’m staying), I just sent everything by mail! But make sure to have all the required documents before sending them!
The documents I sent are the following:
- original valid passport with available visa pages
- completed visa form application
- 2″x2″ recent photo (taken within the last six months with my full name on the back side)
- flight reservation/itinerary (basically the round-trip flight information)
- hotel reservation for the 20-hr layover (in my case, the layover in Nagoya)
- proof of your U.S. immigration status
- clearance from the country that you are planning to enter after Japan (I didn’t need this bec my final destination was my country)
- valid I-20 (if you’re studying)
- bank statement (I think my account had only $300. LOL)
- prepaid self-addressed return envelope (there’s an express which was 3x the price of the usual priority mail but 1-2 days faster, if you’re not in a hurry, the cheaper one is fine)
- visa fee (if it applies in your country, for Philippines residents at the time I applied it was free)
- schedule of stay where you describe day by day DETAILED activity plan in Japan (see the one I made below)
If your layover is more than 12-hr, it is imperative to have a hotel reservation issued by the hotel or travel agency in Japan. If you have all the requirements mentioned above, you just have to mail them and wait for it to get back to you.
How long did it take to get my double entry visa? If I mailed the complete documents, it would just be a 5-7 business days from the date they received my papers.
NOTE: In my case, I did not initially have a hotel reservation and schedule of stay so they had to mail it back to me with a checklist of missing documents. So make sure you have the COMPLETE requirements.
Funny story when I resubmitted my documents, I looked at the tracking online and saw that it was sent back to me back like 3 days after and I felt like it was so fast and assumed that I got denied. I didn’t have enough time to reapply if that would be the case, so I had to message my friend that I was sad because I got denied. But then when I physically got the envelope, I felt that it only had my passport and immediately opened it. Taddddaaaaaa!!! Approved!!!
Most blogs I saw said that the time it takes to get processed would be at least 10 business day so I advise you to apply a month before your flight especially if you’re planning to do everything by mail.
When I was thinking I got denied, I said maybe there’s another way. I heard that in some countries they give transit visa in the airport. While searching, I came across on this Japan Shore Pass which says that I may be able to obtain a Japan Transit Visa on arrival if I have a travel ticket within 72 hours. I don’t know how this one works because before I could do a thorough research, I already got my visa. If anyone knows how it works, feel free to share it with us.
It was worth it and rewarding. Fighting for something you really want.