Because it is so easy to buy cheap airline tickets these days, many Filipinos now have more opportunities to visit other countries. Many of these countries require a visa, and I’m sure most travel enthusiasts have heard of at least one horror story of a visa application gone wrong.
For this blog’s first guest blogger, my friend and co-owner of What’s In Your Cup?, Iya, took it upon herself to make a quick guide for anyone interested in visiting a country with visa requirements.
What you actually have to prove to any country you wish to enter (also to the Bureau of Immigration before departure), are the following:
- You intend to return to the Philippines.
- You will not commit a crime while you’re there.
- You will not illegally stay in their country (meaning, you won’t perform acts contrary to your stated purpose of travel).
It is also important to prove your:
Present an NSO Birth Certificate and Marriage Certificate, if applicable. If you can’t prove who you are, the immigration officer will suspect that you plan to commit or are already in the process of committing a crime.
2. Intent to return.
Submit for inspection your ticket/airline reservation back to the Philippines or another country (in case you are country-hopping), ITR, DTI Certification, or Certificate of Employment, whichever is applicable. You have to prove that you will return and that you have reason to return to the Philippines.
3. Capacity to fund your travel.
Present a copy of your Bank Certificate, Travel History, ITR, DTI Certification or Certificate of Employment, used visa for the same country, if applicable.
Most people illegally stay in other countries because of economic reasons. If you have the capacity to fund your travel, e.g., properties, a stable job, or business in the Philippines, immigration will assume that you will return (as overstaying most probably will just damage your job or business). Having a family in the Philippines oftentimes shows that you have established roots, so generally, in some countries like the U.S., being single means you have a higher risk of overstaying, as you have no family to return to. (Note that different countries have differing standards; it is generally accepted that the U.S. has one of the strictest, hence having a US visa usually means you have a higher chance of getting a visa from other countries.)
Your travel history, on the other hand, shows that traveling is not new to you and you actually do go back to the Philippines, within the allowed period of time, in your previous trips. In relation to this, you have to attach your itinerary, to show that you indeed intend to tour the country, as stated in your reason for travel. Showing bookings/reservations is proof that you intent to stick to your itinerary.
You also have to show proof of your financial capacity (e.g., Bank Certificate and property in the Philippines) to show that you can easily support your projected expenses. (Read: Your certificate should at least be double your projected expenses.) Having a bank certificate that shows you can’t support your travel or is just enough to cover your projected expenses can give the immigration officer just cause to question your intention to enter their country. (Read: If you can’t afford it or if you only have the exact amount in your bank account, there is danger that you will overstay or illegally work while you’re there.)
If you can’t show proof that you can shoulder all your expenses, or if your money is just enough for the trip, you can present a letter of invitation or certification from a sponsor (e.g., company, friend, or relative) who has the capacity to shoulder your expenses. You have to prove that you are related to your sponsor by showing pictures or birth certificates indicating your relationship with them.
WARNING: The embassy will question the capacity of your sponsor to easily support you, or the number of persons in your group. It is prudent to attach the financial capacity of your sponsor in your application. (Read: If your sponsor is a known multi-national corporation, you most probably will have no problems. If not, your sponsor may be asked to submit a bank certification, and if it is an individual, his address and background.)
Even if your sponsor is a resident/citizen of the country you’re visiting, if there is doubt as to her capacity to support you or your group, there is a possibility that someone or everyone might not be granted visa.
Next week, our guest blogger will go more in-depth and list down the requirements for a Japan tourist visa application.
Iya passed the 2011 Philippine bar examinations and since then, has been happily practicing her profession. She swims daily in labor, civil, criminal, and special cases. When not defending people’s rights, Iya travels to strange and wonderful places, often in search of great food. This article is cross-posted in What’s In Your Cup.