Have you been dreaming to take a photo with the iconic Sydney Opera House or with a Melbourne graffiti at the background? Or perhaps long been wanting to meet a kangaroo? Or wishing to be kissed by the Gold Coast sun?
Many of us, probably, wishes to visit Australia for the same reasons. Sadly, for Philippine passport holders, a visa is required to enter the land down under. But don’t fret just yet. The visa application is relatively easy and doesn’t require a lot of unnecessary documents. Unlike other tourist visas, the application process for an Australian visa can be done online – which also means no dreaded interview is required. I can hear that sigh of relief. Also, in order to avoid sunk costs, just in case your visa application denied, do not make flight and hotel reservations just yet. These won’t be required for the application.
Step 1 – Create an ImmiAccount
If you plan to visit Australia for a vacation, to visit relatives and friends, to undertake business visitor activities or to study up to 3 months, you’d probably be applying for a Visitor visa (subclass 600). But in order to make sure, you can check the Visa Finder of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
Once you have verified your visa type, you may start creating your ImmiAccount. You will be asked to input basic personal details. An email address is required since the Embassy will be communicating with you via the email address you provide. More so, the visa grant will be emailed to you once approved. (Yes, the Australian visa won’t be attached to your passport and you will need to print it.)
You will need to confirm your email address using the system-generated link that will be sent to you. Once you have confirmed your email address, you may begin completing the Form 1419 electronically. The form is quite lengthy which would take about 2 hours to complete. Needless to say, you need to fill up the form as accurately as possible and make sure the information you provide matches with the supporting documents you will provide later.
Step 2 – Provide the supporting documents
When you have completed the application form, the system will generate a list of required supporting documents depending on the answers you provide on the form. I know this since my friend and I applied for an Australian visa about the same time and when we compared requirements, we found out we did not have the exact same list probably because of the difference in circumstances.
As for me, I was required to submit the following requirements:
Since I will be staying with a friend during most of my stay in Australia, I was required to submit a letter of invitation. My friend prepared a letter stating the reason for which she invited me to visit her in Sydney and the length of my stay (which was the same as the length of stay I declared on the application form). Her letter also included the type of visa she was holding and provided me a copy of her visa grant as additional support.
Other requirements are quite basic such as passport and passport stamps, birth certificate, bank statements, certificate of employment. A burning question every time visa application is discussed is how much the amount should be on the bank account. Surely, the Embassy doesn’t release a certain amount but you have to take into consideration (read: research) the estimated daily expenses for the country. Based on my research, one could get by on around A$100 to A$150 per day in Australia as baseline. You probably would want to top it up with a safety net.
Step 3 – Pay the visa fee
After a week of compiling my requirements, I was ready to submit my application. But before doing so, a visa fee of A$135, plus A$1.32 for credit card surcharge, totaling approximately PHP5,300 at that time, needs to be settled via credit card or debit card.
Step 4 – Wait
After paying the fee and submitting my application, it took about 3 working days for my visa grant to be released and sent to me via email. The time between the visa lodging and the visa grant varies as I know of some who got their visa grant the following working day while some got theirs several weeks after. Nevertheless, it is important to lodge your application a good two months prior to your planned date of travel.
Once you have your visa, you can now book your flight and hotel reservations and craft that great Aussie itinerary.
Got unique Australian visa application experiences? Share them on the comments section below so others may learn from them, as well.