How to Apply for Australian Tourist Visa in the Philippines?
The first time I applied for Australian tourist visa, it took 33 days before I received the visa grant from the embassy. When I applied again the second time, I was glad that I got the visa 5 days after I lodged my application online.
Obtaining Australian tourist visa 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. However, applying online for me 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. There’s only a minimal surcharge fee for credit and debit card. There are no additional service visa fees and courier fees for document collection and return. All documents are being processed online. It is also convenient because there’s no need to submit the passport to the embassy. It is not required for a visa label. Everything is digital. 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. Use a valid email address 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. 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.
After completing the application form, applicants can now attach supporting documents. You may refer to the following links to see what documents are needed:
In my case, these are the documents that I 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
It is not indicated how much money there should be in the bank statement. My bank statement didn’t even have a 6-digit savings. But I was still able to have my Australian tourist visa. I also suggest submitting the passport bio page in colored copy.
I have relatives living in Australia. My Aunt sent 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. My Aunt will only be sponsoring my accommodation while I will shoulder any other expenses while in Australia.
4. Pay the Visa Fee
Payment page will prompt after sending in the application. The base application charge for Visitor Visa (subclass 600) is AU$ 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.
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. Applicants can also submit a cover letter stating the itinerary and purpose of visit in Australia.
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. It was only until after thirty-three days when the embassy sent the visa grant to my email account. The application status in my ImmiAccount also changed to finalised stating that my visa was granted.
Applying online for a Australian tourist visa 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.
How to Get a Multiple-entry Tourist Visa?
When I applied again for Australian tourist visa, I indicated in my application form that I wanted a multiple-entry visa. There’s an option in the form if you want a Multiple Entry or Single Entry. The application process is still the same. I logged in to my account and started a new application. The only update in the process is the attachment of supporting documents. Visa applicants can now upload documents after completing the form. One additional document that I included in my second application is a cover letter. Since I wanted a multiple entry tourist visa, I stated in the letter my intention to go back to Australia in different months. I indicated some of the destinations that I also plan to visit in the coming months.
I paid the visa fee after completing the form and when I already attached all my supporting documents. Visa fee for single entry and multiple-entry are just the same. I lodged my application on Thursday. The visa grant was sent to my email 5 days after. I was glad that the visa grant is a multiple-entry tourist visa valid for one year.
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.