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.

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.

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.

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?

Leave a Reply

  1. hi flyhigh, with my TV I was granted after 5 days na na recieved nila ang app ko. then air21 txt me that my shipment from au emb is scheduled to be delivered on the next day,
    hi Danica, pwde ka naman mag apply ng de facto kung ayaw nyo pang magpakasal, and if you were here in Au for tv if you not have 8503 condition on your visa which is, no further stay, you can apply for extenxion
    to Roch be patient ka lang, darating din yun, ako nga I was hopeless kc almost a yr din, and the last time my Co called me I was in Au and she said she will only grant my visa as long as I leave Australia, so pina rebook namin kaagad ang ticket to get back to Ph asap. so when I get to Ph and I emailed them right away , less than an hour I got reply with visa grant Noticed… minsan aabot talaga sya ng 1 yr. and then my co advice me to fly to Au before my medical clearances will expire or else I will redo again…. as long as you provide all the documents that they ask then everything will be alright, Goodluck Guys,.,.,

    • Hi Mary! Did you apply in the PH for your de facto or while you’re in Australia?:) Would appreciate your reply. My partner and I are sort of considering applying for a de facto kasi. Thanks!

    • Tanx sa reply mo sis mary medyo ok na pakiramdam ko.hahaha.so tatawagan tatawagan talaga tau ng embassy?kc andito din ako aussie sis eh.

  2. hello there, I applied in Ph, and while its on process I come visit Au on my multiple entry TV. valid for 1 yr that allow me to stay up to 3 months, so every 3 months exit ako after 1 wk balik agad sa Au.

    • I see. Thanks! I think if you applied inside OZ for de facto, hindi mo na kailangan bumalik to PH, right? I’m here now kasi. Anyway, how much is it sa Philippines? If you don’t mind me asking? Thanks!

  3. hellothere., yes you can apply onshore., i paid almost 150k including my son .. and as of 2014 they increase 50% thats what I heared .

    • I see. Thanks Mary! Halos pareho lang pala rin ang price. Might as well mag stay nalang in OZ. Hehe. Last tingin ko nasa A$4,600 pag sa onshore. Btw, do you mind if I get your e-mail address? I just have another question :-) Thanks Mary!

  4. yes if your in Au while your app is on process you have to email them and let them know that you are now in AU until…. kc thats the rules… d nila i grant basta wala ka sa pinas,kc we should be in the PH when visa is granted,

  5. Hi,

    Question po sa mga nag apply online.

    Pano po kayo nag attach ng picture at pina notarize nyo po ba ung mga documents nyo before scanning?

    Hindi kasi ako sure kung required ba ipa-notarize lahat, dati kasi through VFS, hindi ako ni require mag pa notarize.

    This is my second time to apply for a TV, pero this time online na and rooting for a 1yr multiple entry TV since babalik ulit ako sa Oz this Christmas.

    Thanks! :)

      • Hi Lenz. Gano katagal bago dumating visa mo? Parang ang bagal ng visa process ng VFS kesa sa dating VIA.. Wala pa visa ko eh 2 weeks na sya. Dati Kasi 5 days Lang talaga, may decision na.

  6. Malaking tulong po itong blog na ito. Baka matulungan ninyo ako. Dami ko tanong talaga sa isip ko na paano ba masasagot.
    Kakasal ko lang, advice ng husband ko pwede naman ako mag apply na hindi na kukuha ng agent. Kasalukuyan nasa Au na siya ngayon. Sino po yung pwede ko makausap sa celphone or email para sa more info’s. Maraming salamat.

    PLEASE HELP PO. Ito po email address ko angelfairygreatlove@yahoo.com

  7. Ito po ang mga katanungan ko na baka masagot ninyo.

    1. May passport na ako issued December 2013 single pa ako nyan. Need ko po bang kumuha ng new passport na married na ako kakasal ko lang noong October 2014? or old passport na single ako ang gagamitin ko sa pag-apply ng TV
    2. Asan po ba magandang mag-apply online po ba o courier ba yun air21

    Help me po ito po email address ko angelfairygreatlove@yahoo.com
    Pasensiya na kung dami ko post. Salamat

  8. Guysssss. Need help, should I get one way or roundtrip??? balak ko kase mgextend if ever.. bawal ba isang ticket lng. waaaaaah may nkalusot ba na isang ticket lng ang pinakita sa immigration. Ty

    • Hi marlan di nman required balikan na ticket.. ako 2 times na ko nagpunta oz.. puro one way lang ticket ko no question asked.. kakaextend ko lang dn ng tv ko hehe good luck

      • Hi lenz ask ko lang may previous travel ka ba?ako kasi multiple entry ang visa ko plan ko din sana wag muna kumuha ng return ticket kasi multiple visa ko need to exit after 3months pero iaapply ko siya ng extension sa Australia para di na need ng exit.ano ang pwedeng pangconvince para I allowed ako without return ticket

      • I ddnt have multiple entry. First time ko mgtravel one way lang ticket ko ganun din yung second visa ko one way lng din di nman ngkaproblema sa immi waka nman silang tanung..

  9. Hi good evening po,m so confuse,can u help me ,to know everthing, Certainly it is my first time to travel to Australia, m bliss to my sponsore that he apllied it on the online regisyration,and thanks with a 3 months waiting my visa was granted,just confuse after i received my v tourist visa sub class 600, .Do i visit the Australian immgration for interview,? And do i go further on medical.pks help me

    • Hi sis diana, no I dont think you need to do that,especially if you already recieve a grant notice, cos as I know case officer will notify you if you have to do a medical and tourist visa dont need an interview
      Hope it helps.

  10. Hi who can give me some information about the requirements of tourist visa, what is my requirements asside from my sponsor.
    Thanks.
    I need your reply guys

  11. this thread is very informative. im just wondering if its better to apply for a tourist visa by yourself or use a migration agent? pros and cons anyone? im going to lodge an applicatioin soon and i dont want to make mistakes in attaching documents or lodging the application itself.

    • No agency can guarantee you a 100% approval from the embassy. Many here have applied on their own, including me, who was granted a tourist visa. If you want, you can personally submit your application form and documents through the VIA office in Makati. The agents will be checking your form and documents. They can tell you if there are documents that you need to add. But again, they cannot guarantee that your application will be approved.

      • Thank you for the info. Instinct-wise that was what I’m aiming for, do the tourist visa personally. I guess I am more apprehensive on the financial proof part. Information that I have read says ‘you must have the necessary funds’ – my concern is what figure in your savings account will qualify as ‘necessary’. I’ll be funding my plane ticket only. Then my boyfriend will cover the expenses/cost of my stay 3-week stay there.
        What do you think is a safe amount?

      • There’s really no set amount that you must have in your bank, specially if someone is sponsoring you. What’s important is that you provide strong evidence that you have reasons to come back to the Philippines.

      • The first time I applied, my migration papers were already lodged, so I think that was reason enough for them that I will come back, since I have to be in Manila if and when it ia granted.

        For my second application (my migration application was denied), I submitted my business registration documents. I think it also helps that I have extensive travel history (including two trips to Australia).

      • hmmm..i don’t own a business, so scrap that. We will lodge the fiancee visa early next year, so my sole purpose is just to meet his family and be there for his birthday or our anniversary. He made the effort to meet mine just this February. I figured, I’d return the favor by making an effort too. I only traveled outside the country once, in 2002 and the rest of my trips was within the country.

  12. hubby and i are interested to apply for visa…kaya lang sa bank statement name lang ni hubby yung nandun. pwede ba yun. mag sesend na lang ako ng marriage cert as proof na kasal kami

  13. hi. am anxious of reapplying for tv to aus. last feb. 19 2015, i received my refusal visa. due to insubstantial evidence for me to leave aus once my visa expires. however, my bf wants me to apply again. i have readied my docs but having second thoughts of to lodge or not to lodge as it is only about 7 wks aftr my visa refusal.. should i submit or not? i need ur opinion po.. thanks

    • If and when you apply for a visa again, make sure that you provide the necessary documents to prove that you have strong ties in the Philippines, which will assure them that you have all intentions to leave Australia once your 3-months is up. If you just submit the same documents you submitted the first time you applied, chances are, you will get refused again.

  14. Hi I ask some question is NSO needs for requirements of tourist visa? Aside from passport holder and my sponsor?
    I need your help.Thanks.
    NSO is it required or not?

  15. Hi, I am planning to tour Australia and visit my bf (student visa) and his relatives as a tourist and my employment contract ended last March 31, 2015. I will be travelling with his sister and mother and they are sponsored family members. in what ways can I have a chance to get approved? Since I am unemployed, what are the documents I need to add to support me returning home? Can a letter suffice? Thank you.

  16. Hi, so I’m applying with my niece to visit my cousin and her husband in Australia who are already citizens there. I was wondering if only having the letter of invitation, and my cousin’s and her husband’s financial records enough for our applications to be granted? My niece is only a minor, and I’ve just started working and my income is at its minimum, so the only financial support we have is my cousin’s. What do you think are our chances?

  17. Hi i want to ask if what is the supporting ducoments or proof for tourist visa that i will come back to philippines after 3 mokths in australia

    • Hi jenny, Base on my experienced I lodged my House title from my Pagibig housing loan and tell them n need ko talagang bumalik kasi I still have obligation. Tska nagsubmit din me ng family pictures namin showing that we ties.

  18. Hello po. I am just new member here but since 2013 I used to read this forum as my guide to grant my TV and thanks this site. I am not yet married but in de facto relationship since we have baby already. My question now is Do i need to include my baby in my future application in subclass 309/100 since she is “Citizen By Descent?” Anyone knows and relate. Thanks

  19. Hello..thanks for this article..I have been to oz back and fort already by TV and got married there. but this time i would like to take my child with me same as TV . my question is. CAN I JUST INCLUDE MY CHILD IN MY APPLICATION FORM ? MY CHILD WILL NEED HIS OWN FORM AS WELL?
    AND ALSO did you have your son’s passport included in the application?
    cause in my case, i am still waiting to apply for my child’s passport.
    i hope to hear from you ASAP.
    Thank you so much…

    aiz..

    • Hi Aiza, I think you have to read Australian Child Migration 1128. Bale ung magiging visa ng son mo is subclass 101.Will have his own form and passport too.

  20. hi, guyz at the moment im here in dubai and planning to go ausi once nakauwi aq ng pinas anu ba dapat gawin to apply tv sponsor q yung fiancee q dun pero bago lng din sya sa ausi.it is possible na ma sponsor nya aq kht bago lang sya doon…tnx