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We have been preparing for our second trip to Japan on January 2020, and of course, the most important and the first part is to apply for the Japan Tourist Visa. The set of requirements is still the same but this time the agent specifically asked us to prepare a letter explaining why we don't have our Income Tax Return or ITR.

Despite that, we got approved in just one day!

    Why is the ITR needed for the Japan tourist visa application?

    The ITR is a requirement together with the bank certificate. These two documents will serve as proofs that you have the capability to fund your trip to Japan.

    A bank certificate can be easily acquired as long as you have a bank account, whether you're employed or not at the time of your visa application, but not everyone has an ITR. Overseas Filipino Workers like us, for example, are not required to file the ITR. For this reason, Anna and I don't have our Income Tax Returns, but still, we have to explain why we don't have the said document.

    Why OFWs don't have the Income Tax Return

    Simply, incomes of Filipinos working overseas are exempted from taxes.

    To be a bit more technical, here's the resolution wherein this exemption is stated: https://www.bir.gov.ph/images/bir_files/old_files/pdf/56432RR%201-2011.pdf

    Making an explanation letter for not having an ITR

    Having no ITR to present is resolved by stating why you don't have one through a letter. In our case, it's simply because we are working outside the country (or OFWs).

    The agent at Reli Tours instructed as to state in simple words that we are OFWs and that should be fine. No need to be fancy about it. Even a handwritten letter, according to the agent, would do, but you may add some supporting details as well.

    Aside from the main reason why you don't have the ITR, mention why you want to visit Japan. It also would help that you include in the letter the trips you've had to other countries in the past and when. I suppose this one is helpful because it will prove that you have the capability to travel financially and that you're there solely for leisure.

    Sample of No ITR Explanation Letter

    I created a letter for the two of us which basically contain these:

    • Address of the Japan Embassy in the Philippines
    • Introduction why I am writing the letter
    • Reason why I don't have an ITR
    • Previous travels to other countries and when
    • Reassure that I am financially capable for the trip
    • Where and why I want to travel to Japan
    • Closing remarks

    Here's a sample:

    Embassy of Japan in the Philippines
    2627 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, 1300

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    Greetings! My name is Elriz John Buenaventura and I am requesting a tourist visa to Japan as I am planning a trip there in January to experience winter. I specifically want to travel to Sapporo as it's famous and a top winter destination in Japan.

    However, part of the tourist visa application is to show an Income Tax Return (ITR), which, unfortunately, I do not have. I am an Overseas Filipino Worker and work in Saudi Arabia as a communications engineer, and currently on my annual leave.

    I've traveled to other countries in the past both for leisure and work. I've been to Aberdeen, Scotland (2013) and Dubai, United Arab Emirates (2013 and 2017) for work related business, and Thailand (2016) and Japan (October 2017) for leisure. 

    Rest assured that my finances at the moment are enough to cover the trip's expenses.

    I had the pleasure to see Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto during my last visit and surely, Japan is an amazing country worth another visit. This time, as mentioned, I am looking forward to visit Sapporo especially that it's winter.

    I am really hoping that you would grant my request for a tourist visa. Hoping for your kind consideration.


    Elriz John Buenaventura

    The letter can be simple and straightforward but it wouldn't hurt to put some descriptive words to convey your desire to visit their country, but most importantly, be honest.

    Supporting documents

    Upon mentioning that we work abroad, we have to prove that by attaching documents that will support that statement. In my case, I provided a copy of my Exit Re-Entry Visa for Saudi Arabia, and Anna her Certificate of Employment (COE). Fact is, I also have my own CoE but I instead gave a copy of my KSA visa. Anything that will prove your employment abroad will be enough like a company ID.


    The approval of our visa application apparently got approved in one day. (We submitted on 19 December, the documents were forwarded on the 20th, and the issue dates on the visa stickers on our passports are 20 December.

    But this doesn't mean that it will be the case for everyone. It probably helped that we had been there before. 

    Preparing the correct documents for the Japan tourist visa will increase the chance of getting approved but it does not guarantee.

    The agents always tell the applicants that the result could take 3 to 10 days, and discourage any booking of flights until they get the passport back and know the result. Hope you get approved fast, too!


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    As I know, it is very difficult to get Japan visa. This country will have a lot of requirements for you. That's why, you should learn more information about it.

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