July 4, 2017
DISCLAIMER: This article is based on my own experience in applying for Australian Tourist Visa online.
I’d say I was one of the people who got super excited when I first heard that Philippine Passport Holders can now apply for a visa in Australia online. But of course, I didn’t just jump into it. I’ve done months and months of research before I finally got the courage to apply for one myself. Reading forums, tips, and guidelines, etc.
When my leave from work was finally approved, I started collecting all the paperwork needed.
So the question is, how do you apply for the visa online? Let me give you a step-by-step instruction.
The first step is to go to IMMI Account Website and create an account.
After filling out this form, click on CONTINUE to go to the next page.
On this page, you’ll be asked to set up your password. You’ll also be required to answer 5 questions of your choice which you’ll be needing in case you forget your password. Once completed, click SUBMIT.
Then, voila! You now have your own IMMI account. Click CONTINUE to go to the next page.
On this next page, click on “New Application”
Since we’re here to discuss Visitor Visa, click on VISITOR. Then under that, VISITOR VISA (600).
You will then be redirected to this page. This is the first page of the 20-pages Online Application Form. Fill them all out then keep clicking NEXT til you reach the last page.
Once you’re done and you see your application status says “INCOMPLETE”, it means you weren’t able to answer all the required questions. Just go over it again and make sure you answer every single question. When finished, your status will change to “AWAITING DOCUMENTS”. In this stage, you should start uploading all the needed documents for the application. Your status will not change until you were able to submit each and every document required. You’ll know you’re done when your status says “READY TO SUBMIT”.
For my Travel Documents, I uploaded:
1. Passport’s Bio Page – Scanned Copy
2. Passport Sized Photo – Scanned Copy
3. NSO Authenticated Birth Certificate – Scanned Copy
For the Evidence of Financial Capacity, I uploaded:
1. Payslips – Last 3 Months
2. Salary Account Statements – Last 3 Months – Downloaded Online
3. Personal Savings Account Statements – Last 3 Months – Downloaded Online
For the Evidence of Overseas Work Experience, I uploaded:
1. No Objection Letter – Stating my joining date, nationality, passport number, position in the company, monthly salary, sanctioned leave dates, reporting date and that my company has no objection with the said trip
For the Evidence of Travel History, I uploaded:
1. Travel Photos – Composed of 3 Photos from my trip to Oman
2. Travel Photos – Composed of 5 Photos from my trip to Hong Kong
3. Travel Photos – Composed of 5 Photos from my trip to Singapore
4. Current Passport’s Immigration Stamps – Scanned Copies
5. Expired Passport’s Immigration Stamps – Scanned Copies
6. Entry Slip from Hong Kong – Scanned Copy
For the Evidence of Ties in my Home Country, I uploaded:
1. NSO Authenticated Birth Certificate – My son’s
2. Family Photos
For the Evidence of Temporary Stay in Australia, I uploaded:
1. Cover Letter – Basically a 3-page explanation to every single document I submitted.
2. Travel Itinerary – Shows my activities each day during my stay
3. Hotel Reservations – Booked from booking.com – with free cancellation option
For the Evidence of Valid Stay back in Current Country, I uploaded:
1. Emirates ID – Scanned Copy – Shows validity until 2018
2. UAE Visa Page – Scanned Copy – Shows validity until 2018
June 5th, 2017. I filled out the form and uploaded all my documents online, paid the fee, closed my eyes, and hit the SUBMIT button.
At this point, you’ll see your status change to “SUBMITTED”.
For more information about your Application’s Status, CLICK HERE
If there’s any additional document needed, your application status will change from “SUBMITTED” to “INFORMATION REQUESTED”
In my case, since I lodged my application in the UAE, I was required to submit my Biometrics. I immediately received an email confirmation of my application and another email requesting me to schedule my Biometrics Collected to the nearest AVAC (Australia Visa Application Centre).
NOTE: If you are applying from United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar, you’ll be required to have your Biometrics collected regardless of your nationality.
I wasn’t really sure if I needed to have an appointment to do that so I called VFS Dubai. I was informed that I can just walk in so I went there the next day. Immediately after, I logged into my IMMI account and clicked the INFORMATION PROVIDED button to have my application processed right away.
Then, my status was changed to “Assessment in progress”
I’ve heard lots of stories of people getting their grant notice in as early as 48 hours, but since I lodged it during Ramadan, it’s probably one of the reasons why it took some time for me to get my results.
Kept waiting for days and days, still nothing. I know I wasn’t supposed to, but two weeks after I lodged my application, I sent a follow-up email to the embassy asking about my application. On their website, they said that status update requests from applications lodged within the processing timeframe will not be responded to. So I was surprised to receive a response from them the next day. I was just basically given a link for the average processing timeframe and was told that they will do their best to process my application as soon as possible.
Again, I waited. 24 days later, I still haven’t heard from them so I sent another email. This time I was told that my application is currently allocated to a case officer who will assess my case. And that there were various system checks and clearances processed onshore by an external agency that may delay their ability to make the decision so they could not provide a firm guarantee, however, they assured me that they will certainly endeavor to make a decision in advance of my required travel. It was only five days away at the time.
Now 3 days left, and I was starting to get really worried. I sent another email. This time, I was told that my application is now with a case officer and currently undergoing assessment. They also mentioned that I may have the result shortly. After reading this, my hands started to get cold and got super nervous.
Only an hour later, I finally received the email I was waiting for. I got my Visa with multiple entries. Though it’s only valid for 3 months, I’m still so thankful, it actually made me cry.
All my hard work finally paid off. I’m now a few days away from seeing this beautiful country and cross out some of the things on my bucket list.