One of the hardest parts of traveling is securing a visa. The Philippine passport’s strength lies in the number of countries it can enter without a visa. In 2017, we are ranked 65th. That being said, we have a lot of visa applications to do, if we plan to travel the world.
There are a couple of ways to apply for a tourist visa to the land down under. Online, and in person. We chose online since it is convenient, but the fee is the same, which Au$140 (PhP 5,612 as of this writing).
We hope to share with you our experience so you may learn from them, and make your application as easy as 123.
Once your visa is approved, by all means, unlock Australia and cross it out of your bucket list, like we did.
STEP 1: CREATE AN IMMI ACCOUNT
Go this website to start your online application: https://online.immi.gov.au/lusc/login
If you want to read more about this specific visa type, read: https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/600-
STEP 2: UPLOAD YOUR DOCUMENTS
Read the instructions carefully. Learn which documents should be uploaded to which category.
Some documents would need to be notarized (I have listed below the documents we submitted). We only paid PhP 100 per notarized document.
There is a max of 60 documents to upload, but you can lessen that by creating a PDF instead of uploading your photos / screenshot one by one as JPEG.
To avoid confusion and to facilitate easy uploading, I suggest you create a naming convention for your files and don’t leave it at the IMG001 file name that the camera decided for you.
Ex: PassportPage_1, Payslip_1, Bank Statement_1
Review that the documents you uploaded are right, clear and authentic and not duplicated,. Don’t dare upload altered documents. They are trained to identify legitimate from rubbish, and the consequence will be worse.
At this point you can still edit or delete documents, but once the application has been submitted and you realize you forgot to upload a document, you have to wait till the application is received before you can add more. To ensure the fastest processing, do things right the very first time.
Don’t bother scanning all your documents because it will cost you more, unless you have a scanner at home. What we did was download the office scanner app, take a picture of each document and save the photo as PDF.
STEP 3: MAKE THE PAYMENT WITH YOUR CARD
Credit and debit cards are acceptable. Your Immi Account will acknowledge your payment and submit your application once paid. The status of your application will then change to RECEIVED. You will get an acknowledgment email and the next email you will receive from them is the visa grant notification – approved or denied.
STEP 4: THE WAITING GAME
This is probably the second hardest – waiting whether you are granted a visa or not. Bear in mind that the single-entry and multiple-entry visa application goes through the same process and uses the same form. You have to express your intent to get a multiple visa but it’s not a guarantee you will get one. Some applicants got their visa grants within 48 hours, we had ours after a few days (mine being on the 8th) so don’t worry yourself much if you don’t receive the grant right away. Allot a month at least prior to your travel date.
Documents we submitted:
- Cover Letter – this is me expressing my intentions to travel to the country and why
- Passport Cover / Back of Passport
- Approved Vacation Leave email or form
- Hotel booking if any (you can book at booking.com without paying in advance)
- Plane ticket (we have booked tickets ahead but you can have yours mock-booked at travel agencies)
- Certificate of Employment (with compensation package)
- Income Tax Return form
- Credit Card Statement if any
- Bank Statement (last 6 months)
- Pay Slip (last 6 months)
EVIDENCE OF TRAVEL HISTORY
- Previous and current visa granted (we had this list notarized)
- Photos of Entry and Exit passport stamps (part of the same document we got notarized)
EVIDENCE OF BIRTH / AGE
- PSA Birth Certificate
- Baptismal Certificate if any
NATIONAL IDENTITY DOCUMENT (OTHER THAN PASSPORT)
- SSS ID or the Unified ID
- TIN ID
- Driver’s License, if any
- Professional Registration Commission ID, if any
EVIDENCE OF PLANNED TOURISM ACTIVITIES
- Itinerary (create your own – or you can get some ideas from what we used below)
- Activity bookings such as, humpback whale watching, if any
Visa we were granted:
I was granted a 3-year multiple entry visa for a maximum of 3 months stay. I have an existing 10-year US visa, 5-year Japan visa, 1-year India visa at the time of application.
Mary was granted a single entry visa for 3 months, maximum of 1 month stay. She had used single-entry visas to Japan and China respectively. Two months after getting the Australian visa, the next one she applied for and got granted is a 10-year US visa.
Off to Australia we went!