Australian Tourist Visa Application for Filipinos
Thirty-three days, that’s the number of days I waited from the time I lodged my application to the time that I received my visa grant for Australia. The waiting game was agonizing but once I received my visa, it was replaced with great excitement.
Obtaining a tourist visa for Australia for Filipinos is now easy through online application. Philippine passport holders has now the option to apply for Australian tourist visa online at the official website of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) of the Australian Government. One can still apply using the old way through a third-party agency, VFS Global, but applying online is better and more convenient.
The features of Visitor Visa (subclass 600) let the applicant go to Australia for a holiday, to visit family or friends or for business visitor purposes. The visa is valid for up to three, six or twelve months depending on the grant.
How to Apply for Australian Tourist Visa Online?
Applying online is cheaper and more convenient. Compared to applying through a third-party agency, a credit and debit card surcharge fee will only be applied, which is just minimal. There would be no additional service visa fees and courier fees for document collection and return since all documents have to be submitted online. It is also convenient because there’s no need to submit the passport to the embassy. A visa label is not required. Everything is online. When the application becomes successful, the visa grant will be sent via email.
So now how to apply online?
1. Create an ImmiAccount
ImmiAccount is the online system of DIBP. One of its uses is the application for a visa online. Create your account as an individual through this link. A valid email address is needed to start the online account creation.
2. Start a New Application
Once you’ve successfully created an ImmiAccount, you can now log in and start a new application. Choose Visitor > Visitor Visa (subclass 600) if you’re applying for a tourist visa.
The visa application is about 18-page form. The application form is pretty straightforward. Fill it up with corresponding details. There’s a question mark icon that you can click for further description of the application process. The online system could also let you save your application and get back to finish it later. You can also review your application any time before you finally send it in. When everything’s complete, submit your application.
3. Pay the Visa Fee
Payment page will be prompted after sending in the application. The base application charge for Visitor Visa (subclass 600) is AUD 135. Acceptable cards are Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB and Diners Club International. A surcharge fee will apply. The surcharge will also apply to debit cards when making payments online.
An acknowledgement receipt will be sent via email after the payment.
4. Attach Supporting Documents
It took me 8 days after I submitted my application form to complete my supporting documents. My employer wasn’t able to give me my certificate of employment on time because of the delay in signatories. Nonetheless, I was still able to complete my documents – and got my visa grant.
Attaching of supporting documents can only be done after completing the application form and paying the visa fee. You may refer to the following links to see what documents is needed to be uploaded online:
In my case, these are the documents that I had attached (scanned copy):
Evidence of Current Employment: Certificate of employment.
Evidence of Birth or Age: NSO birth certificate
Evidence of Citizenship: Bio page of my passport (colored and notarized)
Evidence of Invitation: Letter of invitation from my relative, a statutory declaration and the bio page of my relative’s passport
Evidence of Temporary Stay: Approved vacation leave form
Passport-Photograph: Recent passport Size ID
Personal Evidence of Financial Capacity: One-month pay slip and bank statement
Travel Document: Visa from other countries and arrival and departure stamps of my previous travels
There is no minimum amount indicated how much money there should be in the bank statement. My bank statement didn’t even have 6 digits of money but I was still able to have my visa.
I also suggest submitting the passport bio page in colored copy.
I have relatives living in Australia. I asked my Aunt to send me an invitation letter, a statutory declaration and a copy of her passport’s bio page, which I had included in my supporting documents. In the application form, I indicated that I will be on a holiday and my Aunt will only be sponsoring my accommodation while I will shoulder any other expenses while in Australia.
DIBP doesn’t require buying plane tickets in advance before applying for a visa. I actually had my onward ticket already when I sent in my application but I opted not to include it in my supporting documents. A cover letter stating your itinerary and purpose of visit in Australia can also be submitted.
The standard processing time for a Visitor Visa (subclass 600) is thirty days. I didn’t hear anything from the DIBP after the acknowledgement receipt until after thirty-three days when they sent in the visa grant in my email account. The application status in my ImmiAccount also changed to finalised stating that my visa was granted.
Applying online for a tourist visa for Australia is a smooth and easy process. I was granted for a single-entry visitor visa for three months – and valid for six months from the time I received the visa grant. I’ve got my visa three weeks before my flight. It is advisable to lodge your application ahead of time – as much as 3 months – to avoid hassles like missing your flight. I’ve read some stories wherein applicants were not able to make it to their supposed flight because they were still waiting to receive their visa grant.
If you haven’t received anything from DIBP after thirty days, you may follow up to verify your visa status through Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO). This provides an online service to check the visa details, entitlements and status.