Friday, July 27, 2012

How I applied for my Australian Tourist Visa

Just want to share the good news that my visa got approved! Yey! Me and my best friend have been planning to go to Australia for a couple of months now, to visit our kabarkada who is based there. Now I absolutely hate applying for visas. I just find it such a chore compiling all the documents and then so stressful waiting to see if you got approved or denied. I was extra nervous this time as well, since I'm now a SAHM and have no job.

Anyway, after weeks of researching online and gathering all the necessary documents, I finally applied for the visa. Btw, you can find all the information you need on the ff websites:

http://www.via.ph
http://www.philippines.embassy.gov.au
http://www.immi.gov.au

What's great about the Australian visa is there's no interview. You just submit your documents by doing any of the ff: 

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 (P320).

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 (P600) which includes the one-way delivery by courier after processing.

I chose Option 2. Now, the phone-in option is cheaper and more convenient but the call has a toll charge which costs P32 per minute. I wasn't sure how long the conversation with the call center representative will last but I figured if we talked for 10 minutes, that's P320 already. Besides, the VIA Centre was just in Makati (and I could go to the mall after hehe). I wanted to lodge the application personally so that I'd know if there was any problems with the documents, and I could still change it if ever.

Since I'm a SAHM, here are the documents I provided (make sure you photocopy all your documents):
- completed application form with 2 passport sized ID pictures
- manager's check for the Visa Application Charge - check the website for exact costs since I think they update it every couple of months
- my hubby's Certificate of Employment, ITR, and bank certificate since I wrote in the app form that he would be supporting my trip
- my credit card statement (to show my credit limit) 
- our house title
- NSO birth and marriage certificates which I applied for online via www.ecensus.com.ph - according to the website, the embassy will only accept NSO documents through electronic channels. Once the NSO has facilitated the request, the documents will be couriered directly to the Australian Embassy and be matched to their visa application.

You don't need an appointment if you do the walk-in option. You just show up and wait for the number they give you to be called. I was at the VIA Centre for less than an hour and thankfully all my documents were ok. I was then feeling pretty good about my application. After all, I was going on this trip with friends, which meant that my husband and 2 kids will be back home waiting for me. 

My visa arrived in exactly 15 days. We were actually in Cebu when my passport was delivered so luckily I left an authorization letter to our maid just in case. But what was great was that both the Australian Embassy and Air 21 texted me in the morning to let me know that they would be delivering the visa on that day. And Air 21 also texted me later on to let me know that my package was received. Very efficient! Anyway, since I was in Cebu, I had to wait until we got back to Manila to find out whether I was approved or not. Luckily I was!

Another thing to note, Australian visas are now "label free" which means you don't get anything affixed on your passport. What I got back was just my passport and a bond paper which is the Visa Grant Notice. It includes details of my visa including my visa grant number which is the unique number assigned to my visa.

Anyway, if you have any questions which you feel were not addressed in the websites, you can call their free visa information number at 845-9200 or email them at aus_inquiry@via.ph. I did both and they were so helpful. The phone number was easy to get through and the call center representative who I spoke to answered all my questions. When I emailed, I got a response within a couple of hours as well. 

Here's the costs I incurred during my application:
Visa Application Charge = P5,100
VIA Lodgement and Handling Fee = P600
NSO Birth & Marriage Certificate (P315 each) = P630
Bank Certificate = P200
TOTAL DAMAGE: P6,530

So thank God I got approved since that is a lot of money to just go to waste! Hopefully this post was helpful to those who want to apply for a tourist visa as well. Now, I can't wait for our trip in the next couple of months. Wheeee! =)

9 comments:

  1. Hi I just want to ask if you provided letter of support from your kabarkada stating that s/he will sponsor your accommodation while you're in Australia?

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    Replies
    1. No I didn't na. I just placed her name and address in my application form under the part "Do you have any relatives/friends living in Australia?" Although I think it would be better if you have a letter of support, luckily I was approved without one. =)

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  2. You have shares really nice information with us. I have seen many articles but can't get proper information. I am very glad to see this post.

    ReplyDelete
  3. do u have medical exam

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  4. this a good article thanks, im actually just waiting for my boyfriend's requirements like the Certificate of Employment, Driver's License, and bank certificate,the problem is that my boyfriend want to use an Agency to take care of our application and since to mentioned how much you paid for all, we feel so ripped off now bec. they actually charged us 875AUD for the application thats give or take 34k pesos, now thats A LOT of money and they are taking so long and i have to call them asking if there's a progress on our application, i feel kinda pissed off. The fact that we paid a lot they should give us a good customer service at least. I hope i have read this article before using an agency. I feel like we just throw a lot of money to these obnoxious people.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Visas are split between categories. Australia, among other countries, is divided into Skilled Visa for workers emigrating to the country, Working Holiday Visa for someone under 30 looking to work and live in Australia for under 2 years, Visitor Visa for small holiday or business trips, Business Visa for entrepreneurs or executives looking to emigrate to Australia, Family Visa if you have a family who can sponsor your move to the country, and Fiancée/Spouse Visa if you are married or engaged to an Australian or eligible New Zealand citizen.

    australian visa application

    ReplyDelete
  6. hello im here in uae, pinoy din po ako and gusto ko sana pumunta ng australia after ng contract ko dito. kaso wala po akong friend o kahit ano manlang sa australia gusto ko sana magvisit visa para pag dyan nako mag aapply ako ng work. pwede po ba yun mag hanap ng work pag dating dyan? salamat po

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  7. Thanks For informative information about visa immigration services, If you are facing any problem in a visa application, then You can apply for free visa assessment .

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