Requirements and Expenses for our first travel to Japan
Expenses for the trip will start with the plane tickets of course.
When Cebu Pacific announced a sale, I immediately bought a pair for my birthday. Delaying the honeymoon in time for my birthday will make the travel more worth it. Which means we get to travel once for 2 celebrations. My credit card balance at that time is only enough to buy one way tickets. Thanks to the sale, I was able to purchase two one way tickets to Japan for only Php 7,019.30.
Next is for the Visa. Before I left my job, I had no doubts I can have my visa approved. I think the Japanese want to avoid TNTs or Filipinos working in their country without a valid visa so they want to see proofs of income. I think almost all countries that require visa are much the same. A ton of information came from online research and Relitours Ph's website. Aside from that, I was lucky to have friends who have gone to Japan already so I was asking them for tips. I read the requirements of course but having friends to answer some of my “kulit” queries were precious.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the more detailed questions I asked my friends who have been to Japan. Some were answered by additional research from my end:
Q: Is it better to apply for a Visa first or to buy the return ticket first?
A: Buy the return ticket. Do not worry, your visa will get approved.
NOTE: My friend here believes in my financial capacity that is why she pushed me to do it. I had a stable job that time so I willingly bought plane tickets back from Japan. Cebu Pacific had no more promotions so with the help of SkyScanner, I was able to look up a cheap flight and booked 2 seats in a flight via Australia’s budget carrier: Jetstar. (Php 12,680 for the both of us) I thought that with a return ticket, they will be convinced that I will not stay long in their country and risk deportation. If you are unsure of your visa status, DO NOT buy tickets yet. A Japanese visa will be valid for 90 days which hopefully is a wide enough window for you to buy tickets.
Q: Should my passport be valid for a certain amount of time for the Japan Visa?
A: This part is very very important because this is one of the things I overlooked. The official JE website says that in order for Japan to allow me in their country, I need to have my passport valid within the duration of travel. Upon checking my passport, I was relieved to know that it is yet to expire after 4 months. HOWEVER, the Philippine ImmIgration has a rule that they will not allow a person to leave the Philippines if her passport will expire in less that 6 months. So, in order to avoid any inconvenience and emotional trauma on your part, CHECK YOUR PASSPORT'S VALIDITY AND RENEW IT IF NEED BE.
Q: Re: Is the bank certificate the same as a statement of account?
A: No. Bank Certificates are personally requested from the bank with a certain fee (around 100 to 300 pesos)
We got ours from UCPB which costed Php300 each copy. One for each of us. (Php 600)
Q: How much do you think will the Japanese Embassy (JE) would like to see in the account for them to approve the visa?
A: 50,000 per person
I got more research for this. Various forums say that the JE will match your itinerary with the bank statement. If you will stay in Japan for 3 days and 2 nights with Php 50,000, there is a high chance that you will be approved. But if you only have Php 50,000 and yet you want to stay in Japan for 5 months, your visa will highly likely be rejected. To be on the safe side, prepare Php 7,500 per day per person for your stay.
Q: After I have secured a bank certificate that indicates Php 50,000 does that mean the money should stay intact until I return from the trip? Or can I use it for the actual trip?
A: It is best to keep the money untouched until you have your visa approved. After you have an approved visa, you can use the money however you like.
Q: Should the Daily Schedule of Stay be followed strictly?
A: Ideally, yes. But getting lost in Japan’s train stations is imminent so be prepared to bump some sights off the list
We applied for a tourist visa at Relitours at SM Megamall for 950 each (Php 1,900). Take note that you have to personally go there to submit. I tried submitting my husband's application but they said he needs to show up personally.
I only had a freelance writing job when I applied for the visa and I prayed fervently for its approval. Thank God it was approved. I was so happy that day I felt like I would burst.
Pre-flight Expenses Summary
PHP 7,019.30 2 Tickets to Japan
PHP 12,680 2 Tickets from Japan
PHP 600 2 Copies of Bank Certificate
PHP 1,900 2 Visa Applications
TOTAL PHP 22,199.30