Traveling with a Baby: How to get a Japan visa from the Philippines

Japan Visa

One of my dream vacations has always been to visit Tokyo (or any part of Japan for that matter). I always thought the difficult visa approval as well as its ranking as the most expensive city in the world were too restrictive to even try for it.

Well, this year, for my 33rd birthday and my daughter’s 2nd, we decided to go for it. Applying for a visa is not as complicated as one would think. I’d like to share my experience about getting a tourist visa for a baby from the Philippines.

First things first, you need to find an accredited travel agency to process your visa for Japan. The Japanese embassy in the Philippines does not accept direct filing of visas. You’ll find the list of accredited agencies here: http://www.ph.emb-japan.go.jp/visiting/new%20visa/list%20of%20accredited%20agencies.htm

Please note that each agency has different handling fees. We went with Discovery Tour. They were pretty efficient, had a very informative site, helped with any questions we had and gave discounts for group applications. We even talked to the Japanese owner when we were in their office (a great guy, really) Since we were applying as a couple traveling with our baby, we were only charged P800/person. The handling fee also applies for the baby’s visa application.

Once you are in contact with the agency, here’s what you need to do:

  • Make sure that your passport is still valid up to six months from the time of your planned travel. There should also be at least 2 empty pages in the passport.
  • You can go to your chosen travel agency’s office or you can download the visa application form online. Fill this out completely. For those that don’t apply, indicate N/A on the blank spaces.
  • Get your photo taken against a white background. Photo size should be 4.5cm x 4.5cm. You need two pieces per applicant. One goes on the application form, the other is submitted to the agency.
  • Prepare your personal documents – NSO birth certificates of each applicant valid for 1 year (based on the date the NSO document was requested) and your NSO marriage certificate
  • Type up your tour itinerary. This does not have to be overly complicated. Just do a table in a Word document which shows your arrival date to which airport (if flying to Tokyo, you can do either Narita or Haneda), what hotel you are staying in, the cities you plan on visiting and on which dates plus the contact details of your accommodation provider.
  • Prepare documents that show your financial capability. This is basically made up of three things:
    1. Your bank certificates – You will need to submit the original to the agency and it will not be returned. It needs to state the current amount in your bank. Not all travel agencies will tell you roughly how much you need in there but we asked anyway. They suggest having at least PHP100,000 per traveler.
    2. Certificate of Employment – This needs to state your position, length of stay with the company and gross annual income. For self-employed applicants, you can submit your DTI or SEC registration.
    3. Your current ITR – Your income tax return should be for the most current year (or last year, if not yet available).

Other notes:
>Yes, you can apply for a visa even if you do not have definite travel plans yet. Most visas will be issued on a 3 or 6 month validity period so you should at least have a vague idea of when you want to travel. You will be asked for travel details such as your hotel or your flight. You can just say you’re flying PAL or JAL or other airlines that have that route. As for the hotel, it is best to start searching for accommodations anyway so go ahead and write the hotel name of your most likely candidate. You will NOT be required to present documents showing you already have travel plans.
>If you are unable to provide any of the requirements for a visa, you will need to write a letter of explanation. Keep it short and sweet and be direct to the point.
>It takes between 3 to 5 days to process the visa. It would be best to apply earlier if you already have set travel dates.
>The agency will call you once your visa is approved. Only the filing party is allowed to pick up the passport with visas from their office.

Good luck with your visa application!

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4 comments

  1. maika says:

    Hi Your blog is really helpful in giving ideas about getting japan visa application approved. I have few questions tho.. :(

    But let me tell you my current situation:

    Single mom po ako, my son is only 1y.o.. Full-time mom po ako, I can’t apply for work kasi walang mag aalaga sa anak ko. My mom, who is in USA, wants me and my son to go to Japan and live there for at least 3 years hanggang maging citizen lang siya sa US para makuha na niya kami. She said she will finance everything basta makapunta lang kami ng Japan. I have a best friend in Japan who is a half-Japanese. Kaso she lives in Tokyo at nangungupahan lang sa share-house kasi tipid.

    Questions are:
    – Do you think po my best friend can somewhat help me and her inaanak to go to Japan and live there?
    – What do you think is the right type of visa to apply for me and my son?
    – I would actually apply for work once I get to Japan and I would enroll my son to a baby program at a kindergarten there, do you think it’s possible?
    – Another idea that I had is to get a student visa. Kaso paano ang baby ko if student visa ang kukuhain ko? Student visa din po ba siya since ieenroll ko din siya dun?
    – Since I cannot provide ITR and COE, what other requirements can I provide?

    Sobrang tagal ko na po naghahanap ng paraan para makapag Japan kami. :( Sana po kahit kaunting idea matulungan niyo po ako. Nag email na din kasi ako sa Japan Embassy still walang sagot. :( Thank you po in advance!!

    • Mommy Jade says:

      Hi Mommy Maika,

      Your situation is quiet complicated and I’m hesitating to give any advice since my experience with getting a visa to Japan is limited only to tourist visa. What I can tell you is this, in lieu of an ITR and COE, I used a letter from one of my online employers (based in Canada) as proof of additional work that I had when I filed at that time. I also showed proof of funds in my bank account as well as a credit card in my name. Other than that, I can’t give you much help. I suggest finding someone with a situtation more similar to yours and asking how they did it. I do have personal experience with moving to another country — which is New Zealand, where my husband went through the student route and I am on a partnership visa and my daughter on a special visitor visa and we’ve been here for more than a year now. To be honest, it’s costly but worth it. With my husband studying full-time and me working full-time, we have the option of putting our child in daycare and the government here pays for half of that — no matter what her migrant status is. I’m not sure if it’s anything like the process in Japan. If New Zealand is an option for you, I would be glad to help with advice. Just email me at babyjetsetgo.jade@gmail.com. Good luck, Mommy Maika! I do hope you find a way to get to Japan.

  2. lea says:

    Hi po,

    Ask ko lang po sana na we are planning to visit japan next year kasama po yung dalawang anak ko (4 years old and isang 2 years old) sa tingin nyo po ba dapat po nasa 300k yung laman ng bank account ko? kasi nung nabasa ko po ito sabi nyo po dto dapat nasa 100k pataas ang laman ng bank account per traveler.

    thank you

    • Jade-Ceres Dolor Munoz says:

      It’s usually per adult, I think okay naman na less than that kasi they’re considered dependent. I’d recommend at least P150K though, just because magastos din. Hehe. Good luck getting a visa and hope you enjoy your trip!

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