[UPDATE October 13, 2015] Here’s a guide on how you can easily, quickly, and cheaply apply for an Australian tourist visa online
[Update: September 15, 2014] Philippine passport holders can now apply for an Australian tourist visa online through the IMMI website. Application fee must be paid via credit card. You can still apply in person through VFS.
I am not a visa officer, nor am I migration agent. I am in no way affiliated with the Australian Embassy Manila nor with the Australian government. This post comes from my experience with preparing and submitting visa applications for family members and for myself. Also note that this entry pertains to my experience in applying for an Australian tourist visa in October 2006. The Australian immigration update their forms every 3 months. I will try to answer your questions the best way that I can, but bear in mind that a lot has changed since 2006. If you ask a question I’ve already answered in the post, I will ignore you.
I’ve been getting quite a lot of inquiries about how to apply for an Australian visa so after a year of this post being in the draft, I’m finally writing it (with hopes of finishing it within 2 hours).
1. Download and read the necessary forms and documents for your visa class.
Everything you need to know about Australian visas are in the official Australian Immigration website at www.immi.gov.au. If you’re just going to visit Australia as a tourist, you fall under Tourist Visa (Subclass 676). The corresponding documents for this visa subclass are:
All files are in PDF format and would require Adobe Reader to open.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship of Australia regularly review and update their visa-related documents and requirements. It’s important that you have the latest edition for your reference, as well as the forms you will fill in.
[UPDATE April 5, 2013] Please note that as of March 23, 2013, the visa subclass for Australian tourist visa is subclass 600 and the application form is now form 1419.
2. Collect the documents needed and make copies of each.
The documents needed for every tourist visa application are listed in the forms. Once you have completed the documents, start filling in the forms. When filling out the form, carefully read the instructions and questions.
The Australian visa application requires you to pay a visa application fee of AU$100. There is an online conversion tool in the immigration website that shows the rate in your currency. The fee must be paid with a manager’s or cashier’s check issued by your bank for the Australian Embassy. Once you have completed your documents, filled in the form and acquired the manager’s check, make copies of everything. Seperate the originals and the copies.
3. Call the Australian Embassy hotline.
The hotline numbers to call for visa application pick up in the Philippines are as follows:
For PLDT/Smart/Touchcard Subscribers 1 (909) 362 – 2779
For Globe/Innove/Touchmobile Subscribers 1 (900) 362 – 2779
For Bayantel Subscribers 1 (903) 362 – 2779
This is considered a long-distance call, so brace yourself for the ginormous phone bill (Php 32 per minute). The hotline is available Mondays to Fridays, 6am – 8pm, and Saturdays, 8am to 6pm. If you are just calling to inquire about the visa application process, you can call the free hotline at (02) 845-9200.
Schedule for a visa pick up. The agent will ask you questions about your application, so better have your documents with you for reference. After the question and answer portion, the agent will then give you instructions regarding the pick-up and return of your documents. You are encouraged to be there when the FedEx guy picks up the documents. By the way, the courier fee is not included in the Australian visa application fee, so be ready to fork out around Php 300 for Mr. FedEx. This fee covers both the pick up and return delivery.
UPDATE (July 5, 2011): The process has changed since this post’s writing. Here’s the new process for submitting your application, according to the VIA website:
1. Phone-in / Book for a roundtrip Courier Service.
This service is a phone-in option that includes the pick up of the completed Application Form and supporting documents from the applicant’s given address and delivery after processing at the Embassy. This service is available nationwide and involves a flat rate; roundtrip courier fee.
2. Walk-in / Direct Lodgment at the VIA Centre
This is a walk-in option where an applicant or an authorized representative can directly submit the completed Application Form and supporting documents at the Embassy’s Visa Information and Application (VIA) Centre. This option involves a lodgment service & handling fee which includes the one-way delivery by courier after processing.
4. Start the agonizing wait for denial or approval.
Visa processing can take from three days to one month. The shortest visa processing we had was three days, I think, and the longest was one month. That one month was due to the high influx of visa applications, as my sister applied on the last week of November. Apparently, a lot of Filipinos are applying for visas during this time (probably hoping to spend Christmas in Australia with their families).
So there you have it! I hope this is helpful in someways. If you have any questions, just post them in the comments area, and I’ll try to answer as best as I can 🙂