I want to travel to Japan (again) but my visa has expired. That is why I am so busy trying to collate all needed documents and requirements for me to re-visit the Land of the Rising Sun.
While trying to fill out the Japan visa application form, I realized that it is hard to be a citizen of a very weak passport. Humongous preparations are needed to be undertaken for earthlings like us so as to venture into having to experience the joys of travelling.
For other citizens with very strong passports, their first step when they want to travel out of the country is to scout for a good-priced airfare. For Filipino passport holders, scouting for a bargain airfare would be pretty much at the latter part of the multitude of complex steps that we need to hurdle, overcome and accomplish.
Photo of specific size and background, bank certifications, tax certification, employment certification, birth and baptismal certifications, approved vacation leave certifications and correctly filled up confusing application forms are some of the obstacles that we have to undertake.
Thank goodness, Japan embassy need not schedule me for a one-on-one interview with an embassy consul. Other embassies would even add up more requirements like a face-to-face interview, a digital photo, a biometric fingerprint record, a medical vaccination/s certificate and a good coverage of travel insurances to name a few.
Aside from being so confusing and time consuming, being a Filipino passport holder is more expensive. On top of all these time consuming collation of necessary and obligated documents, breathing Filipinos like me needs to pay for the expensive non-refundable visa fees!
The amount of visa fee application can already be a supposed additional budget to a sumptuous dinner in a posh restaurant or a night’s accommodation rate to a first class hotel or the total train and taxi fares of the Filipino traveler to the country of his destination. And the only assurance for Filipino passport holders applying for a visa is that they are guaranteed to pay for a visa fee, may their visa application is approved or denied!
It’s hard to be a Filipino passport holder. We are unlike other citizens of this planet, who would simply buy their plane ticket, pack their bags, bring their powerful passport and proceed to the airport so as to catch the flight to a country of their preferred destination.