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Monday, March 13, 2017

Australian Tourist Visa Online Application for Filipinos

I guess most of us has dreamt about seeing the Sydney Opera House in our lifetime. It is just a matter of when. You never will if you won't do anything about that dream, right? The first step is to get that Australian visa! I got my mine after just 24 hours! Business hours. This by far, was the easiest and the quickest visa application I have ever experienced. I'm super impressed! This is also one of the most expensive though - it's a little more than Php 5000.00. But for the kind of service I received, it was worth it.

scroll down under ;)

First, you have to decide how you want to file your application. You can choose to apply through VFS (paper application) or online. I don't want to go through all the hassle of printing a lot of documents, securing a manager's cheque for the payment and scheduling an appointment just to lodge my application -sayang ang leave! It was no-brainer for me - online is the way to go!

Once you've decided, it's time to gather all the requirements.

For online application, a scanner will be your bestest friend! :)

Online Visa Application Requirements:
  1. Passport
    • Scan your passport photo page.
    • Scan all pages of your passport with amendments, visas and entry/exit stamps.
  2. Photo
    •  Passport-sized, in plain background. At the back of the photo, write this declaration:
    • some parts are deleted deliberately
      •  "This is a true photograph of your FIRST and LAST NAME " then your signature.
      •  Scan both sides of the photo (front and back)
  3. Evidence of Financial Capacity and Assets
    • Bank Statement - if you have an online banking account, you can save or print as pdf from there. For passbook accounts, scan it.
    • Bank Certificate* - I requested my bank to reflect my account opening date and ADB. Not really required but I think this will give an edge to my application too.
    • Credit Card Statement - from your online account or scan your paper statements for the last 3 months
    • Pay Slips - also for the last 3 months
  4. Evidence of Work Experience
    • Certicate of Employment
    • Employer Leave Approval
  5. Evidence of Birth or Age
    • NSO Birth Certificate
  6. Other Supporting Documents*
    • Cover Letter - explaining your purpose of travel and your planned length of stay is a good way to express your honest intentions on why you're visiting their country
    • Travel Itinerary - this will convince them that the amount of money you have is sufficient to support your travel plan
    • Expired Passport visas and stamps - proof of travel history, especially if you have a new passport
    •  Income Tax Return
  7.  Credit Card for the AUD 135 Visa Fee
    • This is what you'll need to pay the visa fee online, so this should come handy.
Those marked with asterisk (*) are not really required but I submitted them because I strongly believe they can help with my application.

Also note that, there is no need to notarize any of the documents. I just scanned everything.
When you're done preparing and scanning the above mentioned requirements - Congratulations!
You're now ready to apply online!

How to Apply Online:

Step 1: Create an ImmiAccount

Make sure that you register the email address you're using/checking the most. All updates regarding your application will be sent to that particular email address.

the Australian Immigration website

After creating your account, you will receive an email asking you to confirm your email address. Please note that you will also receive email notifications from them every time you login to your account.

Step 2: Fill out the Application Form

Accomplish the Visitor/Short Stay Visa (Tourist Subclass 600) Form. Answer all the fields correctly and honestly. Proof read all the fields and your answers before hitting submit just to make sure you did not miss anything and that you have filled out everything accurately.

Step 3: Pay your Visa Fee

Online visa applications, can only be paid using a credit card. It is AUD 135 plus a 1.32 surcharge. I was charged a total of AUD 136.32 which was converted to PHP 5,168.45 at that time.

Step 4: Upload your Supporting Documents

So you're done with your application form and payment, it's time to submit all the documents you've worked so hard for. You know the trip to the banks and the scanning galore :)

here's how it will look like

Just choose which Evidence Type each document matches with. You can check my photo above to give you an idea. It doesn't matter how many you'd like to submit. But in my case, I only submitted those that I listed above on the requirements part.

That's it! After you successfully submitted your application, you will receive an acknowledgement email with your transaction reference number and other details essential to your application. 

Processing Time:

Unlike other Embassies or Consulates, they don't have/give fixed processing times. Majority of the blogs I've read shared that they got their visas a month after their application. There's only one that said she got hers after a day. Keeping this in mind, I applied months before my travel date because I don't want that kind of stress a few days before my planned departure.

So when the grant notice came, I was REALLY surprised! They received my application on a Friday. Then the following Monday, when I came back from my lunch break at work, voila! There's my visa grant notice waiting to be read! I was like really??? And I stared at my computer smiling like a fool for a few minutes reading it again and again haha!

1 business day! Superb, right? I'd like to think that I've submitted satisfactory documents for them to decide approving my application that fast :)

3 words better than I Love You? Visa Grant Notice :)

I intentionally erased some information on the photo because this visa will still be valid several months from now. They've granted me Multiple Entry but only good for 9 months. I'm perfectly okay with it because I don't think I will return anytime soon after this trip.

If Australia is high on your travel bucket list, worry no more! Getting a tourist visa has never been this painless and speedy! I can't wait to see them kangaroos and koalas! :)

If we wait until we're ready, we'll be waiting for the rest our lives.

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