Applying for a Japan tourist visa should not be that difficult for first-timers. For as long as you are able to produce the required documents, there is nothing that you should worry about. You are good to go. But it’s another story when you lack one or some of the primary requirements; it means additional legwork for you.
In my case, for example, my birth certificate was labelled “late registration” by the Civil Registrar (PSA). With that, based on Japan’s visa application policy, I needed to produce additional documents, which included baptismal certificate, school records (form 137), and my yearbook. These supplemental requirements presented more issues to me.
While I was able to produce a copy of my yearbook, I could not present a baptismal certificate as I am not yet baptized. Getting a copy of my form 137 was a pain in the ass either; the high school and the college from where I graduated had been pointing at each other on who should give a copy of that document (see? I am really amazed by the fact that some institutions in the Philippines could not work in harmony, seamlessly, despite belonging to the same industry). The former claimed that they already forwarded the document (to my college); the latter insisted that they could not give me what I requested as that’s their permanent record – the sole copy they have – and suggested that I go back to my high school to make a request again, or I try to submit my TOR (which they were willing to provide) to the embassy instead as an alternative.
Well, to cut the story short, I just stopped transacting with those schools to obtain the document.
So, how I managed to secure a Japan tourist visa despite lacking some documents?
For the lacking papers, I went another way: Writing the embassy a letter to explain my case.
Below is the exact transcript of the explanation letter I sent to the Embassy of Japan:
August 10, 2018
EMBASSY OF JAPAN IN THE PHILIPPINES
2627 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, 1300
Dear Sir / Madam:
I am writing to explain why I cannot provide a baptismal certificate as a supplementary document needed for my tourist visa application.
Though my parents are a devout Catholic, I never had a chance to be baptized as a child. And, right now, I am still in the process of searching for a religious organization where my personal perception about life – and its spiritual meaning – can best fit in.
With regards to my school records (Form 137), the secondary school where I attended told me that the document was already forwarded to my college – it was one of the requirements for college admission. The college registrar, however, told me that they could not give me the lone copy of my Form 137 as they need it for their permanent records. They suggested that I present to your good office my Transcript of Records (TOR) instead – my college scholastic records – which they could generously provide.
So, along with the primary requirements, attached in my tourist visa application are my TOR and a copy of my high school yearbook.
I also have included other pertinent documents that you might find useful as you judge the value of my application.
ROY VAN REGIDOR RIVERO
Tourist Visa Applicant
(Check out the PDF version: Japan Tourist Visa Application Letter)
After a week from the submission, the agency I worked with for visa application informed me that my passport was ready for pickup (on their indicated schedule). I went there early in the morning on the specified date of release to get it.
See? For as long as you are sincere and truthful with your application, the chances of getting approved are quite high.
And, one more thing, my unsolicited advice would be: Do not make any misrepresentations with your application and the documents you submit just to fulfill your desire of going to the land of the rising sun. Remember, at the end of the day, you and you alone will suffer the consequences once you are caught.
Just stand on your truth and you should be okay. If denied, accept it and try your luck next time. 🙂