If you hold an Indian Passport (or a few other passports which you may already know), you will need a visa to enter Japan. In many cases you will need a visa even if you are transiting via Japan.
Speaking of that and amongst the different visas we have got done for ourselves, I really feel that the Japanese consulate made the experience smoothest for us!
Everything about the Japanese is amazing. They like simplifying things for themselves and people around them and that is the best part. No wonder if you get all basic documents in place, your stamped passports will be handed out to you in less than 3 days!
Documents Required for Tourist Visa
Ours was a self-arranged visit! We did everything on our own, considering which below were the documents we furnished –
1) A filled Application Form with a Photo
An online PDF filler form is available which must be filled, printed and signed.
A visa photo has to be pasted top right. Photo specification is 45mm&45mm (2 inches & 2 inches) in white background.
Passport validity should be not less than 6 months ahead.
3) Travel Bookings – Travel Itinerary and Hotel Booking
We gave them copies of our Hotel Bookings and Airbnb Apartment Bookings as proof of accommodation. Along with it, we submitted a day-wise itinerary of how our indicative trip would look like. I also made a mention of our hotel details in this itinerary.
Send me a note if you want to see how I wrote my itinerary!
4) Document proving financial ability to execute the trip – 6 month bank statements
Although we had carried our latest Income Tax return form (as stated on their website), they returned it back saying they only wanted the latest 6 month bank statements for tourist visas. I would still suggest you carry the income-tax return because they have mentioned it on their website!
5) A Covering Letter
Now, I usually submit a covering letter to all embassies/consulates when applying for a visa. This is regardless of whether they ask or not! Japan consulate doesn’t need one but I still gave covering letter stating our purpose of visit, length of stay and an indication of the enclosed documents.
Send me a note if you want to know more about what I usually write in my cover letters!
In short, you should give them a filled application form with a photo, your passport, details of your travel bookings (hotels, itinerary) along with 6 months bank statements!
Yeah, and that is pretty much it! Simple, isn’t it?
What is the Process?
The process is a breeze! We applied from Bangalore but regardless of which city you are in, the process remains almost the same (Do visit the consulate website where everything is very clear). Below is what we did –
1) We drove to the Japanese Consulate in Bangalore. Details below –
Consulate-General of Japan in Bengaluru
1st Floor, Prestige Nebula
No. 8-14, Cubbon Road
Bengaluru-560 001. India.
I had called them up a few weeks before (on the above Tel. Number) to check if we needed an appointment. It turned out that we could just walk in between 09:00 – 12:00 (Mon to Fri) for submission of the documents.
Just make sure that it is not an Indian or Japanese Government Holiday that day. Holiday closing information is available on their website.
2) Documents Submission –
We reached a little before 9AM and saw that we were the only ones at that time. We submitted our passports and all the documents required (listed above). They gave us an acknowledgement of submission and that was it! Keep in mind to bring this acknowledgement slip when you come to collect your passport!
Now for those of you who are wondering about visa fees, here is the thing! You don’t pay anything on the submission day! Yay! You pay the fees only when you come to collect your passport and only if your visa is stamped. You don’t pay it otherwise! That is how the Japanese people work!
Note – There is no parking available in the Bangalore Consulate Office building. We parked outside the Hindu Newspaper office.
What are the Japan Visa Fees?
A regular Japan tourist visa for Indian nationals, whether it is Single or Multiple Entry, will cost you Rs.510.
For other nationals applying here, it will cost them Rs.1,830 for Single entry and Rs.3,660 for Multiple entry.
Like I said above, you pay the fees only if your visa is approved, not otherwise!
Note – Transit visa for Indians is Rs.50 and other nationals is Rs.430
What is the Visa Processing Time?
They will need one full working day, excluding the day of submission. The passport will be returned on the third working day.
Passport Collection timings are 14:00-16:00, Monday to Friday barring the consulate holidays! Don’t forget to get the acknowledgement slip that was given to you on the submission day!
This is the best part about their visas! There is no long wait.
Can you apply for the Japan visa at the VFS?
Well, of course you can!
For those of you who stay where Japan consulate office is not around but VFS is, then go ahead and get it done at the VFS. The VFS also has longer opening hours for document submission ( 8:30 to 17:30) and they are available for passport collection on Saturdays too! They also have an option of couriering the passport home (at additional Rs.500).
That said, applying at the VFS will cost you extra VFS-service fees (Rs.650) which is more than the actual visa fees! So, if you stay in a city which has Japan consulate/embassy office please do go directly to the consulate/embassy instead of applying at the VFS.
How does a Japanese Visa look?
Below is an idea –