5 Myths About Japan Tourist Visa Requirements Debunked

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Shibuya Crossing - Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Shibuya Crossing – Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

Because I have been getting queries about my recent Tokyo travel, specifically about my tourist visa application, I thought it would be more helpful if I just put here on this blog my answers to the most common questions sent to me.

From the questions I received, I have come to realize that there are many who still believe in some common misconceptions re: tourist visa application. To help, I am debunking those myths.

MYTH #1: You need to produce airline tickets during application

THE TRUTH: The embassy does not require you to show your airline ticket as a supplemental document for your visa application. In fact, they discourage applicants to buy a ticket prior to visa approval. They do not want you to have your money wasted in case you get denied. It makes sense, right?

MYTH #2: The embassy requires you to show proof of prior travels abroad to get approved

THE TRUTH: Travel history isn’t a requirement either. They don’t ask for it. In fact, my passport was all blank pages when I submitted it for my tourist visa application.

MYTH #3: From processing of applications to approval, it takes a month

THE TRUTH: The submission of my application just took about an hour (or a little longer than that); the processing – i.e. the agony of waiting for approval – was just 10 days (I guess, it could have been shorter than that had I applied at a time when there was no regular holiday in a working week).

MYTH #4: The 6-figure amount you show in your bank statement guarantees approval

THE TRUTH: A bigger amount cannot guarantee approval. That was what the agency was telling me during my application. However, albeit in an implied way, they said that I should have enough money to cover my daily expenses for the whole duration of my visit. In my case, staying in Japan for 9 days, I submitted my bank statement with an amount a little north of 80k, but my actual expenses totaled just half of that – give or take.

MYTH #5: You get denied when the list of required documents for visa application isn’t complete

THE TRUTH: Even if your are lacking some primary document requirements, they will still process your application; you just need to provide supplemental ones. If, for some reason, you cannot produce a certain additional document they ask for, you will be required to write a letter to the embassy explaining your case. Mine, for instance, my birth certificate (primary requirement) was labeled “delayed registration”. And, as specified in their application rules, I needed to provide additional documents, including my yearbook and baptismal certificate. I could not produce the latter, so they asked me to write a letter to explain my case, which I obliged. My application was processed (and later approved).

So, that’s it. The 5 common myths surrounding Japan tourist visa applications just got debunked.

Hope this post can help you to work on your visa application with more enthusiasm to increase your chances of getting approved.

As for my final thought, I leave you this wisdom that I believe helped me increase my chances for approval: Be truthful always in your application – both in document information and in giving answers about your motive/purpose of your visit.


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