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?

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Leave a Reply

  1. hello
    mag ask lang sana ako about mutiple visa kasi sakin mag 5 weeks na wala parin ako natanggap na result.nag email sila sa agent ko di pa daw nila ma finalize visa ko dahil naghintay cla sa health of commonwealth ng australia.sino po ba nakaranas the same sakin..sana maymakasagot sa tanong ko.

  2. hi everyone ask ko long since im planing to apply my visa for 3rd time anong yung primary applicant and secondary applicant do we really need to pay that in manager check aswell yung 2 way courier since im here in zamboanga do i need to pay that in manager checks aswell at iba pa yung 380 bakit and daming fee ngayon mga sis please help me

  3. hi joana i purchased my ticket directly at PAL ticketing office in filinvest it depends kc sa date ng departure iba iba ang price nila…. the earlier you pay for your ticket kc the cheaper the price din.that’s why i purchased ticket 4 months pa before my scheduled flight…….

    @apol you dont need to declare the foods that you’re gonna bring like what gina said nagdala din daw sya ng and sotap and dried magoe and she didnt declare it wala naman magiging problem dun…..

    ..

  4. hello mga sis napakasaya ko araw na ito, dumating na visa grant ko, nag papasalamat ako kay papa God sa mga blesing binigay nya sa akin, reward nya lahat na ginawa para sa family ko, pag sasakripisyo nag bunga lahat… lubos din ako nag papasalamat sa co ko na c JULIETA BELIN nakapakabait mo….for exactly 7 months . at makakasama ko na rin sa wakas asawa ko …..Thank you Lord….. God is good all the time my motto..

      • hi meow, sino co mo? ahhhhhhh cge lang bka this week ok na. ng email ba sila sayo kung na finalize na yong application mo? ng hingi ba sila ng mga additional docs sayo?
        ng agent kaba? san ka dto sa pinas? sorry daming kung tanung…..ng apply kc kasi ako bago lang last June lang aku ng lodge. pls. reply……salamat Godbless

      • Sis nov c j.belen co ko same kme ni anamarie…ako lng mismo nagsubmit di nako dumaan sa agency. nagemail xa sakin mga april and may kc nagrequest xa ng cenomar ko tsaka police clearance ko sa saudi eh since wla nako dun eh di nako makakuha so nagrequest aq na iwaive ung police clearance… ung last email nya mageemail dw xa for updates.. un lng. wla na. nagemail aq ulet pati husband ko pero di naman xa nagrereply. tga caloocan city ako pero dito ako ngayon sa oz

    • yes annamarie god is good all the time talaga, na grant na din visa ko today, and im going to pick it up tomorrow to my agent :), anyone here na may flight next week? let me know the date so i can book the ticket po, sabay na tayo :)

      • Hi sis joana! Congrats! Kelan ka nagsubmit? Pmv or partner visa? Hala nagrantan na mga kasabayan ko wla paring reply CO ko sakin… kakastress naman to….

  5. Hello gud am sino po ba dito nag multiple visa ask ko lang na kailangan ba may return ticket kahit mag exit sa ibang place di dito sa pinas.tanx sana maymakapag reply sakin

      • Sis ask ko lang kung san ka nag exit?sa nz kailangan ba ng visa?kc plan namain sa nz kami magpunta ng asawa ko.ano pa place na pwede mag exit sis?

      • Sa bali aq nagpunta nung una. tipong 6 hrs lng aq dun bsta lang makaexit. this time nagapply nako ng extension pra di q na kelangan lumabas. hnd aq sure pero bka need mo rin ng visa kc ang hnd required ng visa dun eh kung permanent visa holder ka ng aussie (ata) try mo maginquire sa hotline ng nz sa pinas pra mas sigurado..

      • Di ko pala nasagot ung last question mo roch. kahit saan pwede bsta outside australia. pero mas makakabuti sating mga philippine visa holder eh magexit sa hnd na required ang visa pra less hassle. ang mga aussie naman kc halos kahit saan pwede.

  6. I got my denied decision letter today from J.GOYA if you get her/him check mabuti yung info mali mali naman nilagay niya sa reasons for refusal father-in-law raw ang step-father ko nakaka disappoint parang minadali lang at hinanapan lang ng loophole. pinatagal pa sa max 30 days eh last week pa pala siya may decision.

    Good Luck to the rest of you! Keep the faith!

    • Hala sayang naman… C J.Goya din case officer ko nung nagapply aq ng tourist visa nungjanuary and inabot din ng 1 month. Although approved naman pero mali ung nilagay nyang birthdate ko buti na lang binasa kong maigi after kong mahimasmasan kc kung nagkataon bka nagkaproblema aq sa airport. Hnd ka na ba pwede umapela?

      • hi meow, sis we’re looking into filing for a review mother ko na gagawa sa AU kaso dont know how much the bond is, may idea ba kayo? i think yun lang hanap ni J.GOYA assurance na hindi ako magTNT which is hindi naman ako ganon at nakapunta nako AU 15 years ago teenager with my stepfather kaso namatay siya so in the middle of the PR application after almost 2 years na naka bridging Visa kami denied ginamit ni J.Goya yun as grounds for refusal which is not fair aksi ibang circumstances nun. anyway, mali mali nga tlga siya nakaka discourage lang na parang hindi naman tlga pinag aralan maigi bago i refuse basta basta nalang. so bond ang ask ko sa nanay ko if not baka hindi na tlga gusto ko lang naman makasama ina ko at 70+ na siya kung tutuusin pwede naman ako mag apply sa other countries.

      • thanks sis ashi! yep di naman ako nawalan ng pag-asa more of irita lang kasi negligent makakawonder ka kung trip lang nila na magdeny refuse or talaga bang taken into consideration lahat. thanks for the encouragement! God bless din!

  7. Mga sissy need help here sa mga nakapag apply ng extension or another visa
    Inside Australia how much lahat bnyad nyo ? Nashocked kasi ako sa nakita ko now lang sana nga nagkamali lang ako $1,035 total. $335 para sa application charge then may $700 pa daw para sa subsequent charge chuchu daw ano b yun ? To too b un pls help naman mga sis T_T

  8. Hello guys. This is my second tv application. The first time I lodged mine it only took them a day to grant me a visa. That was last December. Now, it’s been almost a month and I haven’t got it yet. I lodged it last Aug. 12. What are the possible reasons that it’s taking them long? Kinakabahan na kasi ako. :( Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks.

    • Hello sakura may ganyan talaga girl kc mga previous visa application 2 weeks lang may result na ngayun na tv ko 6 weeks nakuha ko result.i think deprnde kc yan sa co. Mo

      • Hi roch. Thanks for replying. How many times ka na nag-apply Ng tv? When was the last one? Ilang entry? I’m asking for a multiple entry. I also asked for it last time with my first application but my co only gave me a single entry.

    • Hello sakura my last tv ko nung feb tapos pagbalik ko dito pinas apply ako ng partner visa tapos after nag medical ako sis nag apply ng multiple.ito lang pinakamatagal 6 weeks sis, pang 5 ko na tong tv sis,dati kc 3 mnths lang inaaplyana ko na tv.

      • Ok sis. Thanks. I’m also praying for a multiple. Do you know someone here na Binigyan Ng multiple kahit second time lang? Kelan ka nag lodge nung naghintay ka for 6 weeks?

      • Kelangan pa ba magpamedical pag tv and you’re asking for a multiple entry sis? Coz ang alam ko ang medical is for 6 months or more na tv lang. Thanks.

      • Sis sakura88 2nd tym ko to ngayon and multiple din bnigay. Nagrerequire cla ng medical pag ang stay mo sa aussie eh 6 months or more pero pag 3 months multiple eh di na kelangan ng medical kc kelangan mo lumabas after 3 months then balik ka ulet sa aussie just to comply with 3 months multiple visa condition. and inabot ng 1 month ung process ng tv ko this time.

      • Hello elah sorry ngayun lang ako nakapag reply.wala naman cla tinatanong.yun lang tumawag sakin co sa tourist visa tinatanong birthdate ko tapos sabi niya isend daw niya sa agent ko ang visa apprival ko.

  9. hi everyone one…im planning na magapply ng tv this month for 3mos., nagfile kc ako nung 2012 twice pero na refused parehas unemployed ako dati, pero ngaun lang ulit me magapply pero may work me ngaun kso may sponsor po me pagpunta sa sydney…anung requirements ipasa ko? need help po… gusto kc ma grant ung visa para mavisit ko ung lola ko dun…thanks and Godbless..

  10. hi everyone…need ko ng help, kuna anong requirements kailangan ko ipasa although may work me ngaun pero sponsor me ng tita ko punta dun sa sydney…this momonth me apply…thanks po..

  11. Hi sis meow. Thanks for that info. Kelan ka nag-apply for multiple and kelan lumabas ang result? Nung first time mo how long did it take? What are the requirements that you’ve submitted this time? Thanks sis. :) dami Tanong noh? Hehe

    • Hi sis sakura! Nung 1st time ko 2012 pa un 1 day lng pero single entry lng un then nung january 2014 nagapply ulet aq ksbay ng partner visa. same reqts lng sis..

      • hi ladies sakura88 and meow..my first tv application last dec 5 days natanggap q ang result single entry dat tym kc nag hire kmi ng agent from Australia.my 2nd application tv filed july 23,14 it took almost a month pero kmi na nagprocess w/o agent.na grant multiple entries good for 1 yr.have faith lng and be patient daraating yung sa ryt time kng para talaga sayo.God bless US.

  12. Sisy help namn what exact address kung saan ako pd magpasa thru post sa immig. Here ako aust. Sa Melbourne, Victoria ako mga sis pls help namn thnx very much nakakalito kasi ung sa site nila maglodge ako inside aust. For visa extension pls help po

  13. Gidday…..Who is from gold coast australia here mga ka sissy….!!!! Sa may bandang miami… :)
    Baka may gusto dyan gumala sa pacific fair or sa surfers paradise… Let me know… Marami din ako friends dyan but they are from ashmore..sobrang layu…

    • @grace hello, im from Logan im just 30mins drive to goldcoast surfers paradise.. Ilang months kana dito? We also have circle of filipina friends here that i met here in blog. Do u have Viber? Il aff you

      • Hi.. Whats your name? Na takpan kasi name mo…almost 2 years na ako pa balik2x dyan…but dito me sa cebu right now exit muna for 3 weeks din balik ako dyan by 21st…hehe..so malapit ka lang pa la sa city? We can catch up sometimes sa brisbane city kasi nag wowork fiance ko….

      • Lynn @grace, im 20mins drive to brisbane city and 30mins to goldcoast.. I live half way both cities.. Ahhh no plan to get married? Whats ur viber il add you :)

  14. Hi sis Ashi, ask ko lang, the last time na nag tourist ka, do u have job here b non? kc as of wala akong work nag resign ako, i just wonder kung mag tatanong ung imigration about it? or anyone here po na nag tourist na walang job dito, anong mga question sainyo?hope you can help me, thanks in advance

    • Hi sis. When I went to au as a tourist, I didn’t have a job, wala naman tanong about that. Usually ang Tanong lang is if you have money with you, you just say Kung Sino sponsor mo sya magsusupport sayo, if you don’t have a sponsor, you should have enough money with you. Single or multiple entries ka?

    • @ Joana, good morning…no problem kung wala kang work dito. sa akin naman ang tanung lang nila is kung sino sponsor ko yun lang.
      cge sis goodluck and ingat…God bless

    • hi joana sorry for the late reply now lang ulit ako nag online bout sa question mo i have work during my applications and in my 2 previous trip the immig officer asked me kung sino dadalawin ko sa OZ un lang mababait naman mga immig officers sis dont worry at wag ka lng kakabahan…..everything will be alright…….god bless!

  15. Pingback: How to apply for an Australian tourist visa: a guide for Filipinos | justwandering.org

  16. Hello ladies, meron ba d2 case na gus2 isama ang anak for TV. pero nagrant na aq for multiple entry. uwi aq nxt wek month pra mag asikaso ng papers ng anak aq his 4 yrs old.anyone d2 na my experienced.i need help.what is the requirements?thanks