Thursday, March 6, 2014

HOWTO: Apply for Japan Tourist Visa for Philippine Nationals in Malaysia

Updated July 19, 2018 after my third trip to Japan.

Change Log:

1. Image size has changed, in application form it says 4.5x4.5cm or 2x2in but in website it says 4.5x4.5cm only so best go with 4.5x4.5cm (which I did for the third visa application). Still needs to be pasted on the form.

This is a recollection of all the tips I can recall from my past experience applying for a Japan tourist visa while being an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) living in Malaysia.

Some mandatory disclaimers: 

DISCLAIMER 1: I do not work for the Embassy of Japan in Malaysia.
DISCLAIMER 2: Information here should be used as a guide, you have your free will, use it.
DISCLAIMER 3: This guide does not apply to the case where you're "Visiting Family/Acquaintances" that's one whole other world I dare not touch.
DISCLAIMER 4: This guide would be most apt for those living in Kuala Lumpur. If you are living elsewhere (like Penang, Ipoh, etc) you need to apply to the consulate nearest you. (Penang, Johor, Kota Kinabalu)
DISCLAIMER 5: This guide is only for Philippine Nationals, you can probably use this as a guide but some of the stuff might not apply to you.

My first trip to Japan was in April 2012, in time for the cherry blossoms with my good friends Ruiza and Yel. The next time I was in Japan was just a few weeks back for the Tokyo Marathon 2014.

The official websites you should be looking at: 

The Requirements

  1. Visa application form - this is a pretty straightforward form, it is written in English and you can fill it up before printing the form [link]
  2. Schedule of stay - a document where you list down all the planned activities for your duration of stay [link]
  3. Passport - your passport of course, with a valid visa (Malaysia Visa with validity > 3 months)
  4. List of Visa Applicants (optional, for the first trip I submitted this since I was with a group) - a list of visa applicants [link]
  5. Proof of Income - certified copy of bank statement (if you're with Maybank, print 3 months transaction history from Maybank2u and have it stamped in a branch), income tax return (from Hasil), salary slip, certificate of employment with salary details. It would be best to bring all possible proof of income you are ready to give them during the time you submit your application.
  6. 1pc 2x2 4.5cm x 4.5cm Photo - Should be recently taken, 2in4.5cm x 2in4.5cm with white background. You need to paste it onto the application form.
  7. (OPTIONAL - might be asked from youProof of Residence in Kuala Lumpur - any government correspondence with your name and your current address would be good (I used a letter from Hasil and a copy of my tenancy agreement) [more details below]
  8. Just in case you haven't noticed, there is no fee to be paid at any point when you apply for a Japan Tourist Visa. (NOTE: Might change, don't shoot me if they start charging)

The Process

STEP 1. Gather all your documents
STEP 2. Pick a date when you are to submit the application forms with the documents. The embassy is open Monday - Friday, 0830H to 1200H and 1400H to 1600H.
STEP 3. Make sure you know where the embassy is. If you're going by taxi, and the taxi driver doesn't know how to get there, get out of that taxi (just kidding). One of the better ways to make the taxi driver know the place is to tell him, Jalan Tun Razak corner Persiaran Stonor, near the Bombay Palace Restaurant or in between Prince Court and Singapore High Commission.Or you can just show the guy this google map: [link]
STEP 4. Once at the embassy, inform the guard you're applying for a visa. The guard will give you a form to fill up, give the form and your passport to the guard. You'll be issued a visitor badge and don't forget your passport.
STEP 5. Turn off your mobile phone and go through a security check where your things will be x-rayed. You must surrender your phone (and tablets, I think) to the security personnel, and you'll be given another tag for you to claim the phone later.
STEP 6. You're inside the embassy, yay! Make sure to pick a number from the queue machine and then wait for your turn.
STEP 7. Once your number is called, go and submit all your documents, pray all are enough, and you'll be given a claim slip.
STEP 8. Were you given a claim slip? If yes, you can go out of the embassy, claim your mobile phone and wait for 2 days to get your passport back.

STEP 9. No claim slip? Or claim slip with additional documents required? Don't worry, gather all the required documents and return the next day to submit the additional stuff.

Some tips!

Tip #1 If you're going on a holiday (not visiting relatives or anything), you don't need a letter from someone living in Japan.

Tip #2 You can submit the application form without taking a leave from work, for this to work you should be at the Embassy before 0830H and you can still make it to work (if you are like me who have a bit later work day start).

Tip #3 In the claim slip, there will be a date with a time attached to it. Normally it is +2 days from your application date and with time set from 1400H . You don't need to be at the embassy at 1400H at that day, you can claim your passport the next day at any time of your convenience (I claimed mine 0830H the day after the indicated date in the slip)

Tip #4 Bring all documents with you. Better to lug around a large folder with all your documents than returning the next day.

Tip #5 Check your visa, the address indicated in the "Employer" section should be an address in KL. If it is not, be prepared with proof of residency in KL. This hit me on my second time to apply for a Japan tourist visa because the company in my visa was my employer's branch in Ipoh. The embassy personnel wanted me to apply to the consulate in Penang, and I was forced to return with proof that I am living in KL.

That's it. Congratulations on your tourist visa and enjoy your trip to Japan!

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