I know this sounds crazy but I’m still surprised by the fact that my husband and I got our visa granted in only 3 days. No joke, 3 days! The usual service standard time for Filipinos (ETA ineligible) is 1 month. We got really lucky on ours!
So I’d like to share my experience so people who plan to visit the land-down-under have an idea on how to go about the process step-by-step. Again, I am basing this from my own experience.
- Research online.
- By saying this means to visit websites, articles, blogs, and forums specifically on how to get an Australian Tourist Visa. I suggest you read something specifically targeted to Filipinos coz these people have already done and experienced the whole process and have done it successfully. Don’t assume you know better just because you think you’re qualified or worse, overqualified. It wouldn’t hurt to get some insight.
- As for me, I had to make sure I was well informed before even trying to lodge my application because it can actually be overwhelming basing it on Australian Embassy’s website alone. And dude, 135 AUD isn’t cheap at all!
- So yes, read up , read up, read up!
- Create an Immi Account
- Your Immi Account is like your personal account with Australia’s Department of Immigration. It’s the department’s front door to their online services.
- It’s actually very convenient coz you don’t have to go through the hassle of applying through an agency nor even going to the embassy. Moreover, in this day and age, everybody wants to do transactions online.
- You need to use this account if you’d like to:
- apply for a visa or citizenship online
- access the My Health Declarations service
- continue a saved online application
- import a paper application (service available for certain visa subclasses only)
- attach documents to an online or imported paper application
- update application details online
- access Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) for organisations (organisations accounts only) and LEGENDcom.
- Start an Application
- After creating your ImmiAccount, you can now start your application. On your dashboard, click ‘New Application‘
- Choose the Type of Application. Since you’re applying for tourist visa, choose the Category ‘Visitor‘ and click ‘Visitor Visa (600)‘
- Make sure to read the terms and conditions before proceeding to the succeeding page.
- You’ll then be redirected to a 20-page application form that asks for all of your personal information, travel history, and your proposed time of travel to the country.
- Be honest and consistent. Again, you have to re-assure them that your only intention is to visit.
- You don’t necessarily have to fill in the fields in one go. You can save the ones with filled-in information and go back to it once you have the rest of the details finalized.
- Attach Required Documents
- Once you’re done fulfilling all the pages, be ready to attach all of the required documents to strongly support your application.
- My advice is, before even getting to its actual page, be sure all of your documents are all in one folder– complete, numbered and properly labeled.
- If you have already made your booking with an airline and/or hotel, include it in your attachment even if it’s not required. This will strengthen your application.
- The limit for each allowable file attachment is 5MB. If you have files bigger than what’s allowed, which happened to me, an option I can recommend is to compress the file through Adobe Photoshop.
- You cannot proceed to Payment Page if required documents are unattached. If you have supporting documents that you’d like added after lodging your application, that’s doable. There’s an ‘attach document’ option on your application page’s dashboard- so feel free to make use of it. I used did that when I realized I wanted to include my hotel booking and travel itinerary last minute.
- Just wanna share:
- There’s one required document asking for personal assets (land, car). Since I didn’t have any, I just attached my Credit Card Statement just so they know I have good credit standing.
- Submit Application
- Once you’re done reviewing your information and attaching your documents, you can now submit the application and proceed to payment which is the FINAL STAGE.
- DO NOT submit application if you’re not 101% sure of your answers.
- Pay the Visa Fee (135 AUD)
- Yup, you heard it right! Application Fee can be pretty pricey. But if you think about how straightforward and seamless the whole application process is, you’d understand why they charge premium.
- You’ll be given options to either pay through your credit/debit card or even PayPal account. If you don’t have any of these, have it transacted through someone you know who has a card then just pay him/her in cash.
- Once payment is successful, you should be able to receive an acknowledgement letter and receipt on your email. You can also access it in your ImmiAccount.
That’s it! When you get these emails, it means that your application is officially lodged and received. So the next step is the most agonizing part which is, the “Waiting Game”.
At first, I was thinking to myself, how can I actually sleep well for the next 30 days? haha! For some reason, there’s just something about Visa applications that make me nervous even if I know I’m a compliant applicant. I’m pretty sure it’s a normal feeling to get a little anxious.
So I was really hoping to get a feedback within 2 weeks coz that’s the minimum number of days I’ve seen based on the blogs/forums I’ve read (for Filipinos, at least).
Little did I know I’d receive mine in 3 freaking days! Isn’t it amazing?! I lodged my application on February 05 and voila! received my grant letter on February 08. The moment I received it, I had such a huge relief and immediately called my husband and asked him to check his on his email. Fortunately, he also received his! Such great news for us both! We can finally plan our upcoming trip this June!
Pondering about it, I thought of the things I think I could have done right for the embassy to grant our applications in such a short period of time.
Here are take-aways and I hope it can help make your experience as painstaking as ours:
- Be Diligent. Don’t procrastinate. Get things done as soon as possible.
- Be Honest and Consistent. Again, last thing these consuls want is people trying to cheat the system.
- Be Organized. Make sure to gather all your documents and label them accordingly before completing your form. Trust me, this will save you from headache.
- Attach as many supporting documents as possible. Maximum number of attachments allowed is 60. Of course, you have to make sure these documents are pertinent and not redundant.
- Be as detailed as possible. Make a travel itinerary. I’ve only realized this a day after lodging my application. So I panicked and made sure to do my research on what I wanna do and where I wanna go. Upon completing it, I added it to my attachment. Don’t be scared to add documents even after the application is lodged. I’m pretty sure they’ll appreciate the fact that you’re reassuring them you don’t plan on overstaying.
- Claim It! Have Faith! Above all, I’m sure this is the most powerful weapon. Pray that it shall be given to you and it will. 🙂 I prayed for the grant to be my birthday gift and I got it 7 days before my birthday. How cool is that?
So yes, I hope I was able to help you in any way possible. I can’t assure you that the processing time will be as fast as ours but what I’m pretty sure of is, as long as you have all of your requirements covered and your intentions are clear, that is, to just visit the country as a tourist, then, you shouldn’t really worry about getting denied.
If you have questions, just shoot me a comment. I am more than willing to return the favor!
Good luck and God bless! ❤
My Grant Letter