Disclaimer: I am not a visa officer/migration agent. I am also not affiliated with the Australian Embassy here in the Philippines nor with the Australian Government. What I have written below is based from personal experience when I was preparing to submit my tourist visa application. Please note that this “guide” is intended for applicants who holds a Philippine passport.
This was my first application for a tourist visa, although I have traveled around ASEAN countries and Middle East, those countries didn’t require me getting a visa. So the first thing I did was to “research” the process. I thought the more I know about the process, the easier I could get it done.I became a member of some forums and read blogs on people’s experiences. It was a little nerve-wrecking as some didn’t get a favorable response from the Australian Embassy.
I started noting that it was crucial not to miss a requirement, its better to lodge more than necessary vs. incomplete requirements. Why is that? There is no phone interview conducted to everyone, you will not have an appointment to come to the embassy. The decision if it will be approved or denied is solely based on what you hand them over.
STEPS ON APPLYING FOR AN AUSTRALIAN TOURIST VISA
1. Go to this website http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/tourist/ when you have read all the important details- download, print and fill in this form. Make reading a habit, almost all the questions of first-time applicant will be answered in the website.
To make sure you didn’t miss out any webpages, allow me to list them here:
These webpages need not to be printed and submitted except for the Application for a Visitor visa – Tourist stream (Form 1419) form and the Visitor visa (Subclass 600) Application document checklist. But if you would like to read them off the computer, you may of course print them out.
2. Complete your requirements. You can find an Application Checklist on page 14 of the Form 1419, under Part M. You will see a two column list on that page, the left one has the required documents, while the right one has the additional documents.
Below is a list of what I submitted:
- Photocopy of the identity page and pages of my valid passport
- Recent photo (ask for the visa size)
- Visa application charge in manager’s or cashier’s check
- Bank Statements
- Credit Card Statements
- Postpaid Statements
- Birth Certificate from NSO
- Certificate of Employment
- A printed email that showed my leave was approved
- My intent letter
My partner sent me more supporting documents that I submitted with my application:
- Invitation Letter
- Photocopy of his passport’s identity page
- His Bank Statements
I also included some proof of our relationship:
- Printed conversation/call logs
- Boarding Pass when we went to Boracay
- Reservation emails when we went to Puerto Galera and Boracay.
Remember what I mentioned at the start of this post that its better to send more than the necessary, that’s what I did. Even though some aren’t part of the requirements, I included them. I felt that I had to make sure that whoever will be reviewing my application will have no doubts with my intention to visit Australia and that I have a strong ties and reason to come back to the Philippines.
3. Get a Manger’s Check from your local bank for the visa fee. As stated on the website, the visa fee is AU$130, which is Php 5,700. Before you lodge your application, please double check the fees and the conversion rate, as this is subject to change. My manager’s check was bought from BPI since I already have an account with them. You will need to insert this in a long brown envelope together with your other documents.
4. Lodge your application.There are two ways to submit: you can either call the embassy hotline and have them pick up your documents or submit them in person at the VIA Center.
I had my application picked up from my house by calling their call center (+63 2) 2 790 4900. Calling them will cost you PHP 32/minute. They will give you further instructions as to how to fix your documents inside a long brown envelope and how to seal it.
The courier fee will also be advised to you during the call and must be paid directly to the messenger who will pick up your documents. This fee covers both pick up and delivery after your application as been processed.
Need more information in Where to Apply? Click here
Now the fun part, waiting for the decision.
Once you have lodged your application and had your documents picked up by the courier, you should receive a text from the embassy (computer generated) stating that it has been received. The process will take from 10 to 30 days
After two weeks, I received another computer generated text message that it was for dispatched. Whether it was approved or denied was not mentioned.
I was lucky to be approved of a multiple entry visa with a one year validity. Make sure you read your visa thoroughly and be guided with the restrictions.
By the way, there is no need to send your passports when you apply, as the Australian Embassy do not affix visa labels anymore. They send a decision letter that you will need to bring with you when you travel. If you would really like to have a visa label on your passport, you have pay more and its a different application once you get your approved visa.
I’ll be happy to answer your questions, feel free to put them in the comment box below. I’d love to hear from you, are you thinking about applying for a visa? Did you lodge your application? Let me know your experience.