How to apply for an Australian Tourist Visa Online: A guide for Filipinos

Back in September, my sister in Australia told me over Viber that she’s considering asking our mother to spend New Year’s with them again in Melbourne, and asked me if I am willing to accompany our mother to Australia. Of course, I am!

I’ve heard from friends and read in the comments section of my previous visa application guides that Philippine passport holders can now apply for an Australian tourist visa online. Since I do not like the stress that Manila traffic brings, and I do like doing business online, this was very appealing to me.

Create an ImmiAccount

The first step in applying for an Australian tourist visa online is to create an ImmiAccount. To create an account, you will need a valid email address. Make sure that you type in your email address correctly, and that you use an email address you regularly check. The embassy will be communicating with you using this address, so make sure that you check this email address often.

Application Form

Once you have created an account, you can start an application. This is basically the online, fillable version of Form 1419, so there is no need for you to download the form, fill it out, and upload it.

You can start filling out the application form, even if you have not completed compiling your documents yet. Make sure that the information you put in the application form are the same as the information in the supporting documents that you are submitting.

If you have filled out the form, but are not ready to submit yet, click on the Save button. This saves your answers in their database, and once you log back in, you can see your application, check the entries, and make edits.

Once you are ready to submit your application and upload your supporting documents, click on Submit.




Application Fee

When you submit your application form, you will be prompted to pay the Australian tourist visa application fee. For online applications, the only way to pay is through credit cards. If you do not have a credit card, or access to a credit card, I read that you can use prepaid debit cards.

Your card will be charged AU$135 + credit card surcharge fee. Based on BPI’s foreign exchange rate at the time, I paid Php 4,547.26. If you are applying via courier or VFS, the fixed visa fee is Php 4,900, and you would still have to pay for the VFS fee, courier fee, and the fee for the manager’s check.

Supporting Documents

I made sure that all of my supporting documents are complete before I submitted my application and paid the fee. I created my ImmiAccount and filled out the form on September 20, but I didn’t submit until October 5.

As soon as my payment has cleared, I uploaded my scanned documents. The Australian Embassy sets a limit of 30 files for Visitor Visa online applications, and none of the files must be more than 5MB in size. To keep file sizes small, they recommend that you scan your documents at 96 dpi, and to not attach photos in Office document files, as this will increase the file size greatly.

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SupportingDocuments

Since I know my documents will have more than 30 pages, I merged and grouped them together. Also, instead of submitting separate photo files, I created a collage on Photoshop and added captions. I saved them as Portable Document Files (optimized), and used a service like PDFMerge.com to merge the PDFs into one file.

Here are the documents that I submitted:

Passport Photo

They did not give any specifications for the photo file, so I just scanned my passport picture at 180 dpi and saved it as JPG.

Cover Letter

I wrote a letter addressed to the consul explaining the purpose of my trip, who will be sponsoring my trip, why I need a multiple entry visa, and the reason why I need to come back to the Philippines. I included the ways in which they can reach me, should they need to get in touch for an interview. I also mentioned that I will be traveling, and the dates when I will be out of the country.

The supporting documents I submitted corroborates the content of my cover letter, which means that I provided proof of the purpose of the trip, proof that my sponsor can afford to shoulder my trip, proof of my relationship with my sponsor, and proof of my activities and relationships in the Philippines.

Certified Identification Documents

This is a requirement of the embassy: a certified or notarized copy of my passport and birth certificate.

Letter of Invitation

In my previous applications, my sister would send me letters via mail, which I include with my documents. Since I am applying online, I told her to just email me, instead of writing a letter, which would have taken weeks.
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In her email, she stated that she wants me to accompany our mother to Melbourne, and that she will provide our tickets, and that we have the option to stay at her house, or my other sister’s house. She also stated she wants us to have a short holiday in New Zealand.

Along with the email, I also included a scan of my mother’s passport and her visa grant letter (she has a 3-year multiple entry Australian tourist visa).

You can save the email as PDF by clicking on Print, and then selecting Save as PDF/Export as PDF in your browser or email client.

Sponsor Documents

Since my sister is my sponsor, I had her send me a copy of her passport bio page, as well as her last four payslips, as evidence that she has the capacity to shoulder the cost of our trip to Melbourne.

Business Registration

Since I am self-employed and have my own business, I included my business registration papers in lieu of a Certificate of Employment.

Income Tax Return

As evidence of my income, I attached my latest Income Tax Return, which was submitted to the BIR last April 2015.

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Most Recent Credit Card Statement

I also stated in my application that I will be using my credit card as a way to pay for goods and services while in the country.

Bank Statements

I submitted the Statement of Account for the previous 3-6 months. I did not request for a Bank Certificate anymore.

Family Photos

This was comprised of photos of me and my two sisters when we holidayed together in Tasmania during my previous visit, photos of me with my sisters’ families in Melbourne, photos of me with my family in the Philippines, and photos of me with my friend Khursten when I visited her in Sydney in 2013, and when we traveled to Japan together in 2014.




Travel Plans in 2016

To show that I have strong reasons to come back to the Philippines after my trip to Australia, I included the plane tickets that I have already booked. Since one of my travel plans include accompanying my mother and aunt to their hometown in Sorsogon in 2016, I included a photo collage from our trip last summer with extended family members.

One of my close friends is also getting married next year, so I included a scan of their wedding invitation, photos of me and my close friend during our trip to Japan together last year, and a photo of me together with my friend and her fiancΓ©.

Current Passport Visas and Stamps

Since the application checklist includes evidence of previous travels, I scanned all the entry and exit stamps from my previous travels in my current passport.

Previous Passport Visas and Stamps

My last Australian tourist visa is under my old passport, so I included it as well. My old passport also has my other visas, which includes a used visa for Canada, China, and Schengen, as well as valid multiple entry visas for Japan and the United States. I also included the pages with entry and exit stamps from my trips between 2011 and 2013.

Acknowledgement

I submitted my application in the early morning of October 5. I received an acknowledgement immediately after. On October 6, the Immigration and Visa Office of the Australian Embassy Philippines sent me an email requiring me to fill out a short online questionnaire. The questionnaire is basically the Application Checklist. Luckily, I was still at home when the email came, so I was able to quickly respond to their request.

This is why it’s very important that you type your email address correctly, and why you should always check your email after submitting your application online.

Grant Notification

Almost immediately after I submitted my filled out questionnaire, I left the house to go to the airport. By the following day, I received an email again from the Immigration Office, this time saying that my visa has already been granted.

To summarize my timeline:
September 20 – Created ImmiAccount, started filling out application form
October 1 – Requested statement of account from banks, notarized documents
October 2 – Scanned documents and created PDF
October 5 – Submitted application, paid visa fee, attached supporting documents
October 6 – Submitted Immigration Manila’s online questionnaire
October 7 – Received Visa Grant Notice

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I remember back in 2006, when I first applied for an Australian visitor visa, I also submitted around this time of the year, and was granted in just a matter of days — I received notification of my visa grant while on a trip as well! Maybe there’s something about October?

Do you need a sponsor or to have a family in Australia to visit? Absolutely not! Many applicants are just there to tour the country. If you are a tourist, or visiting for a specific purpose (e.g. watching the Australian Open), make sure to include documents pertaining to them (tickets, bookings, etc.) with your application.

This is based on my personal experience in applying for an Australian tourist visa online. I’ve already written down everything I know. Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments. I’ll do my best to answer your questions, but I can’t really answer if your situation is different from mine (e.g. no work, no bank statement, no previous travel, etc.) however, there’s bound to be someone who is in the same boat, who may be able to answer your question. The visa discussions in the comments of this blog can get quite lively.

[EDIT October 22, 2015] Many in the comments both in this post and previous visa posts said that their application, even when lodged online took a month or more to get processed. I got really lucky with my application, and up until now, I don’t know why my application was granted so quickly. Is it because I said I was accompanying my 80-year old mother, because my sister is sponsoring me, because this is my third application, because I provided proof of my plans in 2016, or because I said I was going to watch the Australian Open?

Bear in mind that the Australian Embassy website that average processing time for a tourist visa is one month. To be safe, consider this as a minimum, rather than a maximum, and apply for a tourist visa as soon as you can, instead of waiting for the last minute and fretting over the long processing time as your flight date looms closer.

Article by Nina Fuentes

Nina doesn't aim to travel to every country in the world -- she just wants to travel to the places that means the most to her. She started traveling in 2006, and hopes to travel for as long as she can. Her travel blog, Just Wandering won the Best Travel Blog in the 2010 Philippine Blog Awards and in the 2011 Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards.

This Article Has 1,256 Comments
  1. leh says:

    Hi mga sis, good day. Can i ask how much does it cost for visa extension? Thank youuuu πŸ™‚

  2. Loraine says:

    Hi there! I need some advice po. I’m currently based in Dubai and planning to go to Australia during my leave vacation on December 2017. I cannot do the visa application here since my working visa will expire in Feb 2018 and chances of visa rejection is high. Do you think it’s possible to lodge my application in their embassy in Manila and how long does it take til i get the visa result confirmation? Thank you in advance!

  3. Sweet Lacsamana says:

    Hi po…just wanna ask what if bago lng kme ng boyfriend kong aussie, and he’s willing to sponsor my trip..eventhough,he’s not as rich..di pa rin sya nkvisit dto sa Philippines..mbaba lang po ba yung chance n maapprove?

    • ern says:

      @sweet Lacsamana if bago Lang kau mas maigi na pa visit mo muna sya sa pinas lalo na if dpa kau nag meet in person..d kailangan rich importante Kaya nya accomodate trip mo..

    • Leh says:

      Hello sis, i think risky yan masyado. Pa visit mo muna siya ng pinas kasi usually itatanong sa immigration ung purpose mo then red flag un kasi never pa kayo nagmeet personally .

  4. Donna says:

    Hello again Ladies πŸ™‚ My sister applied tv but na-refused sya. We are planning to re-apply soon does she need to mention on her cover letter na she was refused on her first application? She submitted COE, approved leaves, bank accts, pay slips, ITR, photos with work mates and family. Husband ko ang sponsor nya at complete din naman ang requirements nya. Wala kaming properties, any insights kung ano kaya ang pwede naming gawin on her second application? Thank you πŸ™‚

  5. Cherrylene says:

    Hi Donna the first thing u guys need to do is focus the reason why her application denied , the immigration should have the reason it stated in the letter why she got denied .

  6. Cherrylene says:

    And of course she need to mention her denied first application – the immigration eventually know that she denied once as they have everything records to it …

  7. Donna says:

    Thanks Cherylene πŸ™‚ the CO cited several reasons why it was denied like : civil disruption including war, lawlessness or political upheaval at the applicants home country. I am not sure what can we do about it, maybe, explain further nalang namin ano sa cover letter why she has to go back to Pinas? πŸ™‚ I appreciate your response. Thank you so much

  8. Cherrylene says:

    I’m wondering why the denied reason is like that two – in the last pages of the application form she might have tick the tick box that has questions by mistakes

  9. Mara says:

    Hi I’m planning to visit Australia this November, and I’m already gathering all needed documents. 21st birthday ng cousin ko who is living in Australia Na citizen ng NZ. Bale sila po mag shoulder ng accoms and mga food/tour expenses pag dating dun. How much po kaya ang kelangan ko parin na show money sa bank account ko since maliit Lang naman ang basic salary ko. Hoping you’ll be able to notice my inquiry, thanks.

    • Nina Fuentes says:

      No set amount, but a good guideline is $100 for each day you are spending in Australia. Also, some say it’s not the amount in the account, but also the age of the account.

      Your account would look more suspicious if there is a sudden influx of money, than if you maintain a low balance.

      • Mara says:

        Oohhh okay. So it’s not a good idea pala if they’ll see na biglang may 100k ang bank acct ko in a short period of time. By the way ma’am do you think it’s better if I’ll be submitting my bank statement with small amount plus my credit card statement with a good limit. Thank you for replying.

      • Nina Fuentes says:

        Yes, that’s what I do

  10. Cassandra says:

    Hello Miss Nina and mga sis.. Ask ko lng, uuwi ako sa Pinas for the first time so hindi ko alam anu ang mga restrictions.. sana may maka help. Flying back home via PAL… I have 30kg check in and 7kg hand cary. Is it possible na pwede ang additional bag pa tayo aside from hand carry bag, yung personal na bag natin.. pwede ba may bitbit na iba or back pack kase over luggage ako dahil sa mga pasalubong. Thanks po.. or may nka experience na umuwi aside from hand cary at shoulder bag may ibang bitbit pa silang bags. Thank you

    • Nina Fuentes says:

      Puede kang magdala ng shoulder bag or backpack aside from your handcarried luggage, pero wag masyadong madami at baka ipa-check in sa iyo. Matagal na akong hindi lumilipad with PAL kaya di ko alam kung gaano na sila ka-strict ngayon. Depende rin yan kung puno ang eroplano.

      Suggestion ko kung madami ka talagang dala, either mag pre-pay for extra baggage allowance (puede mag check in ng higit sa isang bag basta ang total weight pasok sa allowance) bago pa ng flight mo, o ipadala nalang ang ibang gamit via balikbayan box (baka mas mura na option to)

  11. B says:

    Hi! Have you ever had an experience applying as a group through the IMMI account? Thank you πŸ™‚

  12. Sahana says:

    Hi! I just have a question regarding financial documents. Is it possible to provide bank statement of Current account?

    Thanks in advance! Hope to hear from you soon.

  13. Mara says:

    Hi Ms Nina, I just saw that one of the documents you passed was certified copy of passport, did you have it done sa DFA or will they honor a notarized copy from a lawyer? Thanks again.

  14. Hillary Ann Braganza Abuel says:

    Hello. I applied for a visa october 3 2017. And already booked a flight for nov 12. Do you think the visa will be granted? Im so sorry im so nervous. And it makes me so crazy. Thanks ladies!

  15. hannah says:

    May nakaexperience na po ba na na expired na po ung plane ticket then.na approve ang visa

  16. Donna says:

    Hello ladies πŸ™‚ Lord willing magrere-apply kami ng tourist visa for my sister. Na-refused kasi sya last August. Ano kaya ang pwede nyang esubmit for the itinerary if di muna kami magbbooked ng tickets? Thank you

  17. Benedicto says:

    Good evening guys! I would like to ask if okay lang ba na hindi ko pina CTC yung Birth Certificate ko sa dfa but my photo copy of my front page of my passport nka Ctc and notarized from dfa. Do you think okay lang yun to sumbit via immi account? Thank you

  18. Hi po ask lang po ako if anong ilalagay sa residential address dun sa immi account sa bandang contact details department office po .?ty.po sasagot

  19. Miss K says:

    Hello, in every letter there is a signature above there name / signature over printed name.

    Yes it need a sign.

  20. Charish says:

    Hello Ms Nina,
    Ask ko lang po if oki lang walang COE for my sponsor, since he has already given me his bank statement, 6months payslips, his government id and his proof of billing as well as affidavit of suipport and invitation letter. I will have to lodge na kasi by the end of this month. And is so nerve racking since i also booked a flight na. Hoping to hear from u.
    Thanks

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