Japan has been one of every Filipino’s dream destinations. We wanted to go there for various reasons such as to see the cherry blossoms, taste the authentic Japanese cuisines, ski during the winter, experience Japan’s heritage and a whole lot more. But in order to make that “dream” of getting there a reality, the first step that every Philippine passport holders should do is to apply for a visa (apart from saving).
On this post, I am going to share with you my personal experience on applying for a Japan tourist visa here in Doha. Unlike in the Philippines, you will have to submit your requirements directly at the Embassy of Japan instead of going through an agency. Below are the steps that I took to successfully get that visa stamped on my passport.
I. Visit the Embassy of Japan in Qatar website to check out the requirements and other information.
Most of the information that you will need for your visa application such as the Embassy’s office hours, visa type, list of requirements and sample forms are available on their website, which you can visit through this link. Just one note though, you need to be a resident of Qatar in order to be eligible to apply here, as they don’t accept application from non-residents.
II. Gather all the necessary documents
Once you know the requirements that you need to submit based on your visa type, nationality and purpose of travel, you must now prepare and gather all the necessary documents. I applied for a tourist visa without a guarantor and here are the documents that I submitted:
1. Original Passport – more than 6 months validity and with at least 2 blank pages left.
2. 1 Passport Copy – particularly the information page.
3. Visa Application Form – click here to download. If you need some guidelines on filling up the form, you may visit this page provided by the Embassy. Make sure to answer everything, don’t leave anything blank. If some parts are not applicable to you, simply write “Not Applicable”or “N/A.”
Since I don’t have a guarantor, this is how I filled up the Guarantor and Inviter portion on the 2nd page of the form.
4. Photo – passport size with gray, blue or white background, and taken within 3 months
5. A letter from sponsor in Qatar – Not needed if your sponsor here in Qatar is the Company where you work, no. 6 below is already sufficient. But if your sponsor is your husband or parents, then you need to provide one. I am not sure though if this is still necessary if you will be traveling with them. This letter needs to state that your sponsor does not have any objection or issues with you traveling to Japan. It should also have details such as passport no., Qatar ID no. and the purpose of travel. Below is the letter that I submitted. My sponsor here in Qatar is my husband and sadly he can’t join me on this trip.
6. Employment Certificate – Should have details such as your Nationality, Passport No., Qatar ID No., your position in the Company, joining date, salary, purpose of traveling to Japan, duration of travel and return guarantee to Qatar.
7. Copy of residence permit on passport and copy of Qatar ID (both sides) – should have atleast 3 months validity
8. Schedule of Stay in Japan – click this link for the format. If you don’t have a final itinerary yet, it is fine, as long as you indicate on the activity plan column the specific places or attractions that you wish to see and visit in Japan. See example below.
9. Hotel reservation for the period of stay – In my case, I submitted an airbnb reservation document that was booked by my sister from the Philippines who was with me on this trip. The Embassy required me to submit her Japan tourist visa just to be sure that she is eligible to travel with me. The accommodation document must also bear or show your name especially if you will be traveling with others.
You can also try to reserve through Booking.com, they have an option where you can cancel your reservation anytime before the check in date.
10. Copy of flight booking – Your Qatar to Japan flight booking, but if you will not be flying directly from Qatar, then you need to provide your other airline reservation. I submitted 2 flight bookings, my Qatar to Philippines flight with Cebu Pacific and my Philippines to Japan flight with China Airlines, since I stayed in Manila for a few days before going to Japan.
11. Bank Statement for the last 6 months – This must be authorized and stamped by the bank. Take note that they are very strict especially with the deposits and the balance. You may be required to submit additional documents if you have loans or they may ask you to provide explanation for some cash deposits on your bank. The balance should be consistent for the last six months (Don’t attempt to deposit a huge amount of money before submission just to make it look good) and sufficient enough to cover your whole stay in Japan (For the show money, I would suggest at least QAR 1,000 per day/per person, just to be on the safer side).
12. Copy of previous visas – this can be Japan, USA, Schengen or UK visa if you have any.
In case you have a guarantor who will pay some or all of your travel expenses, you need to provide additional documents such as Letter of Guarantee, Guarantor’s Passport Copy and Bank Statement.
III. Go to the Embassy of Japan for document submission
If you have already completed all the necessary documents, then it’s time for you to go to the Embassy. Visa application is from Sunday to Thursday, 7:30 am to 12:00pm (8:30am – 12:00pm during Ramadan). In case you are not available to submit the requirements (applicable also with passport collection), you can let somebody do it on your behalf.
Upon your arrival, the security personnel will check your bags and you will leave to them your ID and mobile phones. Afterwards, proceed to the Consular Section. Once inside, you can directly go to the embassy official’s window or wait for them to call you. Hand them over all the requirements then wait for around 10 to 15 minutes to know the result of their assessment. The embassy official may require you to give further documents or sometimes they will just ask you to explain some items on those you submitted. In case you cannot submit the additional documents that they requested from you, you can politely explain it to them and ask if you can submit an alternative instead.
If the documents you presented are complete, they will hand you over a receipt showing the date (usually after 3 working/business days) on when you can get your passport with the visa, as well as the amount of visa fee that you need to pay. Good news for us Filipinos, as our visa to Japan is entirely free.
IV. Collect your Passport and Visa at the Embassy
The timing of the passport collection is from 10:00am – 3:00pm (10:00am – 1:30pm during Ramadan) every Sunday to Thursday. Once you got it, check first all the information on the visa and make sure that everything is correct before you leave the embassy.
There you go guys, I hope this will help you. If you have further questions regarding the application, you may shoot a message below or you can contact the Embassy (see information below), as they will gladly assist you with your queries.
I guess that’s it, good luck, hope for the best, have fun and enjoy Japan.
P.S.: Here’s my single entry, 15 day stay tourist visa with 3 months validity.
Embassy of Japan in the State of Qatar
Address: West Bay, Diplomatic Area, Doha, Qatar P.O.Box 2208
FAX : （+974）4483-2178
Office Hours: 7:15 – 16:00 Sunday to Thursday (During Ramadan 8:00 – 13:30)
VISA Application: 7:30 – 12:00 (During Ramadan 8:30 – 12:00)
VISA Collection: 10:00 – 15:00 (During Ramadan 10:00 – 13:30)
Closed every Friday, Saturday and Holidays
This will be paid upon collection of the passport and the Embassy only accepts cash.