How to apply for an Australian Tourist Visa (2013 edition)

[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 April 2013. This is geared towards applicants who holds a Philippine passport, though the preparation can be applied for other nationalities as well. 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 I can’t answer all your questions. If you ask a question I’ve already answered in the post, I will ignore you.

Australian tourist visa

After almost seven years, I finally have an update to my now epic How to Apply for an Australian Tourist Visa series. I have written two posts on the topic, both garnering over a thousand comments, with one getting over 4,500! I have stopped replying to comments, since I don’t think I’m not the best person to be talking about it, as my knowledge of the visa process is largely obsolete, so the visitors have taken upon themselves to answer each other’s questions, with successful applicants coming back to share their good news and help others. It has become a mini forum of sorts and I have to admit I’m happy it turned out that way. I found it to be a great help when I took another chance to apply for an Australian tourist visa once more.

Before I get to the visa application process, here’s some background about me and my circumstances: I am a Philippine passport holder, and have applied and received a visa from Australia before. I have a valid US Visa, with used tourist visas to Canada, Japan, and Myanmar. I also have more than 70 arrival and departure stamps from various countries, and that’s just in one passport. I am single and have my own company registered with the DTI. I have a bank account and a couple of credit cards, and I have two sisters who live in Australia, one of which is a temporary resident and the other a citizen. My intention to visit was for a short break from life in Manila, and to hopefully visit places I missed during my first two trips to the Australia.

Step 1: Download and read the necessary pages, documents, and forms.

This is very important, I can’t stress that enough. It won’t do to just ask questions without reading these web pages and documents first, because you’ll look like an idiot. Majority of your questions would likely be answered by the information written in these files. All these are available for download at the Australian Immigration website, immi.gov.au, and they are all free.

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There is no need to print all of those pages or forms (unless you prefer to read them off the computer), but the one thing you should print is the visa application form. It’s a fillable form, wherein you can type in your answers on the form itself and print it afterwards. If you use Adobe Reader to open it, it will not save the changes to the form, so fill it out only when you are ready to print and submit. However, if you’re using Foxit PDF Reader, it can save the changes to the form, so you can fill it out and edit it later on before printing.

Step 2: Gather the required documents

Page 15 of Form 1419, Part M is actually an application check list. The column on the left lists all the required documents, while the column on the right lists the additional documents you may submit.

Here are the documents I submitted:

  • Certified true copy of the identity page and pages with visa stamps of my valid passport
  • Recent passport photo taken within the last six months
  • Visa application charge in manager’s or cashier’s check

The Australian embassy do not affix visa labels anymore, so there’s no need to send your passport when you apply, unless you specify that you want a visa label. I would have done this, but the label costs AU$70.

Step 3: Gather your supporting documents

Here are the supporting documents I submitted. Remember that this vary depending on your circumstance. You’re not required to submit all of these, but it is advised that you submit as much supporting documents as you can to prove that you can fund your trip to Australia, and that you have a strong reason to come back to the Philippines.

  • Birth certificate printed on security paper
  • Certified true copy of my DTI Registration
  • Certified true copy of my BIR Registration (Form 2303)
  • Certified true copy of my Income Tax Return (From 1701)
  • Certified true copy of the invitation letter from my sister
  • Certified true copy of my sister’s pay slip
  • Certified true copy of my sister’s passport bio page and employee ID
  • NBI Clearance
  • Bank statement
  • Credit card statement
  • Itinerary

The Australian immigration require that all photocopied documents you submit are certified true copies. You can do this by going to the Notary Public.

If you look at the form, it doesn’t list the birth certificate as part of the documents needed. I included it anyway, since I have an extra copy. Also, when I called to have my document picked up, they mentioned something about the NSO and I asked if I still need to get another since I already have a SECPA copy. They said I can include my copy instead of getting a new one.

Supplementary reading: How to apply for birth, death, and marriage documents in the Philippines – National Statistics Office (NSO)

The NBI clearance isn’t really required either, but I included it since I have it anyway. I got it because it was required in the previous form, 48R. A medical isn’t required, but you may be required to get one if you are applying for a 6-month visa, or if you’re over 75 years old. The medical is only done through accredited clinics. From what I understand, you have to submit your application and use the reference code the embassy will give you when you go for your medical.

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I also included a cover letter [Download sample of intent letter] explaining the purpose of my trip and that I wish to get a multiple-entry visa, since I want to make a side trip to New Zealand. This isn’t really necessary, since the form now asks for your trip’s purpose. You are also asked to provide an itinerary of your trip, though you are not required nor advised to make any bookings until your visa is approved.

Step 4: Buy a manager’s check for the visa fee

The visa fee is AU$115, which is Php 5,100, based on the conversion rate at the time. Please double check the fees and the conversion rate, as this can change anytime. I bought my manager’s check from BDO, since I have an account there. Based on the comments in the previous blog posts, there are banks that would not let you buy a manager’s check if you don’t have an account with them. Best to call and inquire with the banks in your area if they’ll let you buy a manager’s check from them even if you don’t have an account.




Step 5: Lodge your application

Required reading: Where to Apply

You don’t have to go to the embassy to submit your application. There are two ways to submit: you can either call the embassy hotline and have them pick up your documents or submit them in person at the VIA Center.

I opted to go with the call center, since it was summer and don’t want to be away for too long from my electric fan. Calling the hotline costs Php 32 per minute, not including the charges from your network provider, if you are calling from a mobile phone. My phone call took about 10 minutes (which included a long wait for them to finish a spiel, and another wait for an operator to be available), and cost me Php 339.29. If you’re going this route, listen closely at the start of the spiel, because there is an option to skip that and go directly to request for a pick up.

The courier fee for Metro Manila is Php 320, paid directly to the messenger who will pick up your documents. This fee covers both pick up and delivery after your application as been processed.

VIA Center have offices in Makati and Cebu.

Step 6: Wait for your visa

Visa processing takes about ten days all the way to 30 days. I called to have my documents picked up on Tuesday, April 2, 2013. It was almost 5pm when I called, and was told that they have already reached the quota for pick up the follwing day. My documents were picked up on Thursday, April 4. I received a text from the embassy that my documents were received on Monday, April 8.

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By the third week of April, I was wondering what’s happening to my application. Someone who commented on my previous post said her application was received around the same time and she already has her visa. I started worrying when someone who submitted a week after I did said she already got her visa grant. That’s when I also found out that the embassy conducts phone interviews.

Apparently, they don’t do this to all applicants, only for those they feel they need to clarify certain answers to the application form. Worry changed to distress when I missed not one, but FOUR calls from the embassy. The first call was to our house phone, and my sister gave them my mobile number since I was out of the house. The first call to my mobile came while I was struggling to get off a packed LRT, so I had to cancel it. The next two came when the phone was in silent mode because I was at an event. You can just imagine how frantic I was.

I ended up calling the number, but it was the consulate’s trunkline number. I was told to just call the visa information number (845 9200). Because I do not know how to follow instructions, I called the hotline instead, and was told to send them an e-mail, which can be found on the immigration website. I sent an e-mail using the contact form there, and did not receive any response.

On May 7, just a day shy of one month since they received my documents, I called the hotline again, after getting no response or call from the embassy. The operator took pity and gave me a number to contact, which is the consulate hotline. I wasn’t able to talk to anybody, but I did get an e-mail address. I sent another e-mail, which again did not receive any response.

I finally got a text on May 14 that my documents have been dispatched to the courier for delivery. It did not mention if my visa was granted or not. My documents came the following day, and I was so relieved that my application was granted. It wasn’t a multiple entry visa, as I was hoping for. The visa was granted on May 10, and since it was a long weekend, it wasn’t dispatched until after election day.

Unlike before, the embassy not just issue visa grant letters for tourists. You need to bring this when you leave Manila, as the local immigration would ask for your visa before they stamp you out of the country. Also, instead of having a one-year validity, my Australian tourist visa is only valid until November 2013.

Supplementary reading: Frequently Asked Question – Australian Embassy Manila

I hope you find this helpful. I would also suggest you check the previous entries, How to apply for an Australian visa and Applying for an Australian tourist visa, because the discussions over there are a great resource, as it have inputs from applicants with different circumstances.

You’re welcome to post your questions here, but please read the entire blog post and read all the documents I linked to before asking. Did you apply for an Australian tourist visa recently? How was your experience?


Published by

Nina Fuentes

Nina started traveling in 2006, after realizing that her life is going nowhere. Now, she's trying to go everywhere. Read more...

4,047 thoughts on “How to apply for an Australian Tourist Visa (2013 edition)”

  1. for online application please advise below

    Non-accompanying family members:
    Does the applicant have any family members not travelling to Australia who are not Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents?

    Im a bit confused for this question. Please enlighten… Do i ahve to state my parents, brothers who are not travelling with me in australia?

  2. Mnga sis, flight ko na sa Perth sa 6 September anong kailangan kong dala like ipapakita sa immigration dito sa pinas & how much money need ko kasi diba halos 2k na rin travel tax? kasama ko si bf (sponsor) ko paalis at sya nag book ng flights namin nung asa Australia pa sya.

    1. Hi sis Grace. For immi sa airport manila.passport, visa at ticket mo.yon kailangn nila.bout sa travel tax sa akin free na at wala din akong binayaran na terminal fee sa manila.dependi ata sa airlines mo.PAL ako kaya free…Thanks

      1. Hello sis! July 22 nilodged namin yung application ko for tv.. kahapon lng natanggap ko good news! Hehe ok lng yan sis bka this week my result na! :)

      2. hi Annee, nung ng sign kba ng aplication mo ano yung inattach mo? si Bf kse ng sign ng info ko, ask me lng ng personal info and ang innattach nya lang yung COE, passport & invyt letter.. ayus nba yun? actuly ng lodge na si bf nung aug 6, then aug 7 my letter ako na nareceive na andun yung reference number.. then still waiting for grAnted my visa.. ikw po after you sign ano mga nareceive mo? dkse ko mkpg fallowup dahil tru online lang po.

    1. Hi sis Edmilyn,

      just read all the previous conversation here, makikita mo hinahanap mo. Some of our sissy here posted the documents that you need when applying for Subclass 600.

      Tiyaga lang.

      :)

  3. Sana nga, pero I don’t think I will will receive grant notice this week. Feeling ko. Haha

    Sana kahit single entry lang keri na as long hindi denied ang visa.

    Well, good luck girls! Sana sunod sunod ma-approved visa naten.

    :) :) :)

    1. Haha oo nga ehh sana positive result! First time mo ba mag apply sis ? Actually sa akin yung fiance ko talaga nag apply thru online haha pasa ko lng sa knya mga docs ko :D

  4. Hi Ritz! Actually yung fiance ko lng din nag sign infos ko taz pinasa ko lng sa knya yung mga docs ko pina scan ko passport, valid ids ko, yung birth cert ko yun lng nmn mga docs ko na in-attach nya thru ImmiAcc din online

    1. I received email after nilodged nmin ..parang confirmation din yun taz binigay din ung ref number.. taz a day after nag sent na nmn cla email it was a questionare kelangan sagutan kc nga c fiance nag apply pra lng cguro mapatunayan mgkatugma sagot nmin dun sa application..

      1. wow, we have same email. my nareceive din akong questioner. so very positive na ako na ma grant visa ko :) kylangan lang ng patient pra mg hintay. sis add kita sa fb. pg andun nako meet tayo if you want :)

  5. Kasi sis Ritz nag stop ako ng work this year eh kc gusto ng fiance ko talaga i process lahat this year kaya at first talagang worried ako baka kc kulangin docs ko at ma deny.. pro c fiance talaga sobrang positive ginawa nya lahat inattach din nya mga valid ids nya , coe, bank accs etc. Kahapon lng na approved visa ko :)

  6. Hello everyone! Just received my Visa for tourist in Australia and it was denied. Ang sakit! Ask ko lang can i reapply? Problema kasi sa employment ko maliit lang daw salary ko tapos wala daw akong family sa Pilipinas. Guys help me. :(

    1. Hi sis Dindi,

      When did you lodged your application? Do you have sponsor ba? Wala kang family dito sa Pinas?

      Yes you can re-apply, I think after a month.

    2. Aw sis Dindi. Cheer up! Dont give up hope. Apply na lng ulit,or maybe God has a better plan :) pero how come wala kang family here? Nasa abroad ba lahat?

  7. hello guys,

    ask ko lang after bang ma grant ang visa, kailangan pang mag pa stamp ng passport sa australian immigration? slamat sa makakasagot. Godbless po!

  8. Good morning mga sis!

    Sis Penny, just bring your visa grant notice and of course passport. Hehe They will ask you some questions lang naman but really not all immigration officer are like that.

    Sis Sweet, no need. Just bring your visa grant notice, that’s it!

    Thursday na mga ate, sis! Good luck ulit sa mga waiting ng visa notice.

    :)

  9. Hello good afternoon. Ask q Lang Kung OK lang ba yung sinabmit qoh na documents.kasi galing aq dun sa embassy last august 25. This year. Ang mga sinabmit q ay, birthcertificate namen dalawa at bank statement nya employed certificate nya and credit card. statement nya then passport and pay slip nya. and invitation letter from my fiance, then hes my sponsor, and he will pay to all my cost tourist visa poh ang inaplayan qoh.. Ok na poh kaya iyon. Now meron na po aq narerecieve na message from my email. Then nakalagay doon yung reference number at date kailan nila pinoprocess yung documents qoh.

      1. Hi sis MGC!

        Wala nmn ganun condition nkalagay sa visa ko :) so pwede pako mag apply extension hehe
        Hindi nmuna ako uuwi sis sulitin ko muna ang moment at gumala dun kasama fiance ko ! Hehe Sana din talaga pyagan mag extend :) thanks sa info sis! :*

  10. Yes sis, you can extend. Baka nga one year pa ibigay sayo or multiple entry and mas mabilis ma grant pag andun ka na unlike here .Parang pagong ang processing Ha-ha

    San ka sa Australia? Kelan flight mo?

    :)

  11. Hi girls!

    Sa mga waiting ng visa dyan, you can add my number so we can group chat sa viber. This is my public number/business number lol

    09052865244

  12. Hi lovelies, good day po! i saw my online application status for as Finalised. but i havent received any email kasi pala mali yung email add ko, instead @gmail.com yung nkalagay is @gmail,com…what does finalised mean? im a travel blogger din, self-employed. actually i gave up na sa visa na to coz i applied last july 8 while i was in sri lanka. nkabalik na ako ng Pinas wala pa din. Nung nakabalik naman ako, nabasa passport ko for replacement pa, sept 16 pa schedule ko sa dfa…and then today, out of nothingness, inaccess ko ulet yung IMMI. Yun, finalised daw. hahahaha thanks for taking time reading my post :-)

  13. Hi Kurthlene. Ask again ako sis if singleentry ba ung visa mo? If single entry and no further stay condition , hindi kana mag exit sis. Apply ka nalang ng extension two weeks before mag expire visa mo. If multiple entry visa mo yon kailangn mag exit ka.at balik ka naman dito Aus sis…

      1. Hi sis Kurtlaine gud morning. Same parin docs ipasa natin yong pag apply natin dati. Pabuhat ka lang ng bagong letter ng bf mo ano reason na mag extend ka.at bank statement ng bf mo. $340 ang payment for first apply sa tv extension. Last friday ako nagpa medical. They say it took 5 working days the result.thanks

    1. Sis,Good morning too.sorry kasi i dont have bf here ung bestfriend ko ang nag invite sakin dito for touring bale ako ang nag sponsor on my own and then invitation letter lang ang sa friend ko.ok lang ba un kasi gusto ko pa ma experience ang summer,christmas and new year in australian way and also other tourist spots.salamat ulit @josephine.

      1. Hi sis KURTLAIne pwdi yan sis as long as u have ur own money for ur self. Submit ka lang ng latest bank account mo.same dati ung pag apply u.thanks

      1. Oo mas maganda if online.sa akin personal kami nag submit sa DIBP …sorry late reply sis.hindi ko rin alam about hanggan ilan tau maka pag extend. 2nd or 3 pwdi cguro as long as no further to stay na nakalagay

  14. Guys good day… pwede mg ask… may process ba mgpakasal sa Australia? Sabi nila need daw 1 month ng seminar??? Sino may alam kung anu mga process… pwede list down? thank you

  15. Guys…. sino may alam panu process ng kasal sa Australia??? need ba daw ng 1 month seminar bago ikasal? kng sino may alam pwede pa list down. Thank you very much and mga papers needed.

    1. Need niyo appointment dun then magpass kayo birth certificate pareho. Tapos fill up kayo forms then ask lang sila questions then one month after that pa pwede ikasal.

  16. Girls! ano usually tinatanong sa immigration sa Naia at sa australia? pag ipakita ko ba sakanila lahat ng pinass ko nung nag apply para sa tourist visa eh pwede na?

    Cover letter ko wher nag explain ako bat wala akong trabaho, invitation ni BF pati lahat ng tax forms?

    1. Hi sis Tintin.basi sa experience ko hindi na ang Immigration office nagtanong sa akin sa NAIA.pinakita ko lang passport ko, visa and ticket.stamp kaagad… dependi yan sa immi ma encounter mo.dito perth immi after mag stamp. Meron mag tanong kung saan ka sa pumunta, sino puntahan mo. Ilang buwan at ano work ng sponsor mo. Basi narin sa card ni pinifil apan natin for custom. Tpz saan kau nag meet ng sponsor mo before.thanks.

  17. Pwede mag tanong,andito ako sa Australia ngayon tourist visa lang at malapit na mag expire pwede ba ako dito mag apply nang multiple entry? Wala bang medical? Please help me guys.thanks

      1. Yes sis! But they told me last week na wala pa one month yung application ko. So I email them again today .

        Try to email them sis, db matagal na yung application mo?

      2. One month pa lang din naman kahapon kc aug 1 ako naglodged. Okay b magemail jan kahit online application via immiaccount? Kc db ung sayo thru VIA?

  18. Hi. Just wanna ask about my chance of getting a tourist visa without a job and family but my fiancé will support me. Just worried that I might get a refusal. Hope you could help me. Any tips? Thanks!

      1. Thanks so much Bianca! Pero worried pa din ako kase wala akong family coz they passed away na. Do you think may chance pa din Ako?

    1. @MGC Aw. Sorry. I just copied the url of the page.

      Same as before, “application received” pa rin Sis. :( then i emailed them as you suggested,but just like what you experienced, i just received a system generated reply. I guess we dont have any choice but to patiently wait for the decision. I sincerely pray for the grant of our visas.

      All the best! :)

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