Australia is an emerging travel destination for Filipinos. With more options available, visiting the famed Land Down Under is finally within our reach. One can enjoy the stunning views of Byron Bay, bask under the heat of the sun at Bondi Beach, or even experience the Australian outback adventure - the choices are actually endless! But before entering Oz, one has to secure a valid tourist visa.
Here are the four easy steps on how to apply and successfully obtain an Australian Tourist Visa.
Step 1: Know Your Visa Type
Note: This post is intended for those who want to apply for an Australian tourist visa. If you're planning to apply for visas other than that, click this link for more information.
Since I'm going there for a vacation, I chose the Visitor (subclass 600) visa. If applying online isn't your cup of tea, there are several accredited agencies who can assist you. But, trust me. Applying online is your best option.
Step 2: Create an ImmiAccount
ImmiAccount is your main portal for accessing and uploading the required documents for your Visa Application. This site is managed and maintained by Australia's Department of Immigration and Border Protection, so you don't need to worry about uploading sensitive information online. All you need is a valid email address. They will contact you through email the status of your visa application. Be sure to verify your email address once you've successfully logged in. This will avoid delays in your application.
Step 3: Fill out the application formThe site will ask personal information about you, your travel history, your job description, the purpose of your visit, your financial capability, your health condition, and other important information. The good thing is, you are not required to accomplish this form right away. You can save your application online and go back the following day.
After filling out your application form, attach the required documents such as NSO Birth Certificate, Certificate of Employment (or Business if you're a business owner), Income Tax Return, Bank Statement/Certificate, travel history (scanned copies of your previous stamps and visas other than Australia), and flight and hotel reservations. Each file should not exceed more than 5MB, and only certain file formats are accepted (.JPG, .PDF, and .PNG). There's a checkmark on every item. Red means 'the document is required', yellow means 'the document is recommended', and green means 'the document has been received by the immigration department'.
Step 4: Pay, Submit and WaitThe visa application costs AU$135 (PHP ~5900), and the only mode of payment is through credit card. If you don't have a credit card, you can use your friend's. After that, you'll receive an email acknowledging the receipt of your application and payment.
I've read that it takes 24 hours up to 30 days to process your visa application. You won't receive any updates from them during deliberation process, so it's an agonizing waiting game. I got lucky because, within 24 hours, I received my visa. I was granted a one-year multiple visa with a maximum stay of three months on each visit.
If you have questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below.
Bonus: Here are some of the photos I took during my first visit to Sydney, Australia. I can't wait to be back there again in a few months!