A Step by Step Guide in Applying for an Australian Tourist Visa
Many of you may not know, I own a travel agency in Quezon City. I am not actively selling ready made travel packages but focusing more on a customized approach for my clients. We specialize in local destinations like Bohol, Boracay and Palawan while Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand for our international destinations. But this was my first time to process an Australian visa online.
So I did my research.
I discovered that having a travel agency to process your Australian visa application is far more expensive than doing it by yourself.
Below are just some figures to help you out:
SMB Travel and Tours
4 Applicants and Above – Php8,500 per Person
2 to 3 Applicants – Php8,999 per Person
Single Applicant – Php9,500 per Person
BC Travel and Tours
Php10,500 per Person
From a highly recommended blog, The Poor Traveller, I learned that the actual Australian Visa Processing fee is AUD140 per person. That’s more or less Php5,500 in Philippine Peso.
So imagine, if I acquire the service of BC Travel and Tours, that’s about Php5,000 per person of Savings for me! Malayo na mararating ng 15,000 ko di ba.
That’s what made me decide to do it by myself, ONLINE!
So the next question is –
WHAT KIND OF AUSTRALIAN VISA SHOULD I APPLY FOR?
Since we are travelling as tourists, the information I can provide you is only applicable to those applying for an Australian Visitor Visa (subclass 600). This visa is for temporary entry of people for tourism or business visitor purposes.
There are the two streams which can be applied for under visitor visa.
- Tourist Stream. This is what Tourist stream entails according to VFS Global – “For people to visit Australia temporarily for a holiday, to visit relatives or friends or for other short-term non-work purposes, including study for less than three months.” Simplify put, to visit Australia for leisure purposes.
- Business Stream. While this stream is for applicants seeking to engage in business visitor activities including attending a conference, meeting a client or partnering with an Australian business.
If you will support your travel expenses going to Australia whether to visit a relative or just for touring, what you need to apply is the Visitor visa but if someone from Australia is going to support your expenses, then you should explore the SPONSORED FAMILY STREAM.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS WHEN APPLYING FOR AUSTRALIAN VISA?
- Passport with atleast 6 Months Validity.
- Accomplished online application form. You can access the application form from the website, https://online.immi.gov.au/. You will be filling this out after creating an account. This is composed of 20 pages so be ready to spend a lot of time completing this especially if you are travelling as a group or family.
- Passport-size photo. Must be soft copy or scanned. (4.5cm x 3.5cm) Must be taken from a photo studio and should have white background.
- Copy of passport info page. Scanned. Must be clear.
- Original PSA Birth Certificate should be not more than 1 year old
- Original PSA Marriage Certificate (if applicable) should not be more than 1 year old
- Scanned copies of the pages of your OLD and CURRENT passports that have entry and exit stamps
- Scanned copies of the pages of your OLD and CURRENT passports with VISA
- Day to Day Itinerary
- Hotel Reservation
- Airline Ticket Reservation
EVIDENCE OF FINANCIAL CAPACITY
- Personal bank statement (last 6 months) Preferably with an average daily balance of not less than Php25,000
- Bank Certificate
- ITR or Tax document
- Title Deed
- Retirement pension book
- For employees, it can be any or all of the following:
- Certificate of Employment, explaining your role in the company, date joined and compensation package
- Evidence of Leave
- For self-employed individuals or business-owners, any or all of the following will be accepted:
- Business registration documents (DTI or SEC Permit, Business Permit, BIR Certificate of Registration)
- Finance sheets (profits and losses)
- For students
- Certificate of enrollment
Evidence of Business-Related Reason for Travel. (For Business Stream ONLY)
It can be any or all of the following:
– Conference Registration
– Details of previous contacts with Australian company or organization
– Letter from employer explaining the reason for traveling
The actual visa fee is (AUD140). You can pay online through credit card, debit card, PayPal, and UnionPay.
- The more requirements you upload, the higher your chances of your application being approved.
- Note that there are several file types that are accepted: jpg, bmp, png and pdf. PDF files however must NOT be encrypted or compressed.
- Make sure that the size of each file must not exceed 5MB.
SO HOW DO YOU REALLY APPLY FOR AN AUSTRALIAN VISA ONLINE?
1. CREATE AN ACCOUNT WITH IMMIACCOUNT.
Simply go to https://online.immi.gov.au/lusc/register and create an account. This is the Australian government’s official Immigration website. This is the 1st STEP towards submitting your Australian Visa application online.
Upon signing up, make sure you enter an email address that you personally use and monitor because this is where the Australian Immigration will send you updates about your application and the actual visa grant.
2. FILL OUT THE APPLICATION FORM.
After you’ve successfully created an account, a confirmation link will be sent to your email. So check your inbox and click on the confirmation link.
Once confirmed, follow these steps:
A. Click on NEW APPLICATION.
B. Click on VISITOR. Then choose Visitor Visa (subclass 600).
C. Tick on the box to Agree to the website’s Terms & Conditions. Click Next.
4. Continue filling up the 2nd page of the form.
- If you’re currently outside Australia when applying for the tourist visa, click YES.
- For the current location, choose the country you’re currently in while filling up the form.
- For the legal status, choose from Citizen, Permanent Resident, Visitor, Student, Work Visa, No Legal Status and Other.
- You can choose from Tourist stream (if you’re traveling for leisure purposes and shouldering your own expenses), Business stream (if you’re travelling for business related activities like attending conferences or meeting a client but not actually working there), Sponsored Family Stream (if you’re travelling for leisure but a relative or someone else from Australia will sponsor your expenses) and Frequent Traveller Stream (not sure what this is about).
- List all your reasons for visiting Australia
- On the box, write down specific dates when you need to be in Australia. It could be because you’ve already purchased your airline tickets, or maybe enter a wedding date because your cousin is getting married. This is an opportunity to tell them how important your visit is to Australia and that you have the intent to go back to the Philippines.
- For the group processing section, click YES if you are travelling with someone else or your family. You can add a group name after ticking yes, and you will use this group id every time you and your family member submits the application online. This is to let them know that you are part of this group and will be travelling together.
- The last question on Page 2 is “Is the applicant travelling as a representative of a foreign government, or travelling on a United Nations Laissez-Passer, or a member of an exempt group?”. You can answer this with a YES or NO.
5. Continue filling up the remaining pages, pretty much easy to answer. The 3rd page will be about Passport details, place of birth, citizenship and other identity documents. The other pages will cover questions about your intention to enter Australia, about family members not travelling to Australia with you, your funds to support your travel and if you’ll visit any relatives, friends or contacts in Australia. It’s pretty simple really 🙂
IMPORTANT: Since this process is time consuming, you do not need to finish completing the application form in one sitting. You can simply hit the Save button to save your work and go back to it later on.
Remember: DO NOT SUBMIT THE FORM if you’re not done yet.
3. SUBMIT SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS.
Once your done filling up the 20 page application form, you will be directed to upload the supporting documents. But you can also see this feature on your application dashboard. I advise that you submit as many documents as you can to increase your chances of getting approved.
You can see the list of requirements above.
The whole process is easy! A little time consuming but doable. Once you have submitted your application, you should receive an Acknowledgment of Application Receipt in your registered email address.
4. PAY THE APPLICATION FEE.
Like I said, everything can be done online even paying for the actual application fee. That’s now AUD140 per applicant. You can use a credit card, PayPal or UnionPay.
I know you might have several questions in mind before proceeding with your application so I also wrote down several Frequently Asked Questions for you!
AUSTRALIAN VISA FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW LONG WILL I HAVE TO WAIT TO KNOW IF MY AUSTRALIAN VISA IS GRANTED OR DENIED?
According to many sources, the processing time can take as short as 24 hours to as long as a month, depending on your case. When I applied, I got my visa in just 3 days (that was a Friday, I believe). While for my husband and my son, they got their after 6 days.
WHEN SHOULD I APPLY FOR AN AUSTRALIAN VISA?
Atleast 45 days before your departure to Australia. If I were you I would not depend on the expected validity of your visa because this will vary. Since it usually takes 15 to 30 days for you to know whether your visa is denied or granted, apply for it atleast 45 days before you leave for Australia just to be sure.
HOW LONG IS THE VALIDITY OF THE AUSTRALIAN VISA?
My visa duration is 1 year while the length of stay is 3 months. I’ve read other people’s blog and their visa validity is 6 months so I guess it really depends.
HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD I HAVE IN THE BANK TO GET APPROVED?
I really don’t know. But when I submitted mine, my average daily balance was Php25,000. It’s not much. But I also submitted my business documents, income tax returns and title deed so I guess all these supported my bank certificate.
CAN I APPLY FOR AN AUSTRALIAN VISA AS A GROUP?
Yes, you can. On my step by step guideline above, you can create a group on the dashboard (just click on “new group” and then take note of the group code). When completing the online application for you or your companion, you can enter the group code you created.
IF I’M TRAVELING WITH MY FAMILY, DO WE ALL NEED TO SIGN UP FOR AN IMMIACCOUNT?
No Need. Only one member of your family needs to have an IMMI Account and you can use that to submit multiple Australian visa applications online. According to the Immi website: “Yes. ImmiAccount will let you submit multiple online applications and pay for these applications at the same time. For example, if you and your family are applying for visitor visa applications, one member of the family can create and manage all the applications through their ImmiAccount, and pay for all these applications at once. Payment can be made by credit card in Australian Dollars (AUD) for all online applications submitted through ImmiAccount.”
Note that unlike Japan or South Korea’s visa, Australian visa won’t be attached to your passport. It will be sent to your email and all you need to do is print it out and present it to immigration officers when flying to Australia.
If you got any questions, I’d be happy to help! 🙂 Also, I own a travel agency in Timog, Quezon City and we offer Australian visa processing. Should you have NO time to do all of these, we’ll be happy to help!