Last March 2016, my sister and I decided to book a flight to Australia, since there was a ticket sale. It will be my first out of the country tour outside Asia, if ever my visa will be granted. I was honestly in doubt if I could get one, but because I already had my ticket booked, I still decided to comply with the requirements and try my luck. So here are the documents that I prepared for the Visa Application.
- Filled-up Application Form for a Visitor Visa – Tourism Stream (Form 1419). Make sure to double check all details in your application. Well, I actually overlooked item #28 (Friends and Contacts in Australia) and it became another reason why I doubted my application to be approved. Good thing was that there was another item where I was able to fill up details of our contact in Australia.
- Letter of Invitation. We were able to submit a letter of invitation from my sister’s friend who is permanently residing in Australia. She stated in the letter the complete list of those she invited, passport details, date of visit in Australia, her current home and work address. She also attached statement of account of her apartment rental, and photocopy of her passport, because we will be staying in her place.
- Photocopy of my Passport. I applied for Australian Visa at VFS Global and they only require applicants to submit photocopy of passport.
- ITR and Payslip. It is important that your documents would be able to prove that you are earning enough to sustain your travel needs so I presented to them a copy of my ITR and 1 month payslip.
- Certificate of Employment. This is to show where my source of income is coming from.
- Approved Leave. Covered dates of my approved Leave Application and reason for filing my leave were indicated.
- Bank Statement. This was another document that made me doubt the approval of my application. I only had a little time left to process my visa, and I also don’t have enough time to wait for Bank Statement/Certificate to be issued by bank, so I decided to just print online copy of my 3 month bank statement. Only until I have submitted my application when I realized that my name wasn’t in the document and it was only the account number that was there, and since it was just a printed copy, there was also no signature from any of the bank’s officer.
- Travel Visa. I provided them copy of my visa to Japan and my travel stamp when I visited Hong Kong. I also attached photocopy of my previous passport.
- Recent 2×2 Picture, white background. Make sure to attach it in your application form.
- Manager’s Check. They do not accept Cash Payment for Visa Application, so I requested for Manager’s Check, payable to AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY. Amount I paid was Php 4,800.00. But aside from the Manager’s check (I was charged Php 50.00 for the Manager’s Check request), you will also be needing to pay them, in cash, the Logistic Fee of Php 625.00. I also preferred to be notified through SMS so I added Php 110.00 for the SMS Fee.
- NSO Birth Certificate. They say it has to be issued within the year but they did not ask for a copy of the receipt (Well I still don’t understand why NSO Birth Certificates have expiration).
- ID’s. I submitted photocopies of my TWO (2) valid ID’s. One was my Company ID and the other was SSS ID.
Not all of the requirements I mentioned above are actually listed in their checklist (you will notice it when they ask you to fill-up checklist form). However, I still decided to submit those documents to further justify my intention (and that is to just spend a short vacation). If you have other companions, make sure to know their names as you will be asked to write it.
Since I am currently residing in Makati, I decided to personally process my visa at VFS Global in Makati (address stated below). I came there at around 2:00 PM and was able to lodge my application after an hour (Thanks to their friendly representative who accommodated me). They do not allow applicants to bring other stuffs, aside from documents and wallet, so you have to deposit those at their locker room rental area, and it costs Php 75.00. You can bring your cellphone with you but you have to turn it off while inside the processing area.
After I lodged my application, they handed me the payment receipts with attached barcode at the back. The purpose of it was for me to be able to check the status of my application online, through VFS website.
I was advised that processing of application takes 1 month and 10 days. That was actually the reason why my sister kept asking me to submit it already because our scheduled flight is August 13, 2016. I submitted my application June 28, 2016. It was forwarded to Australian Embassy last June 29, 2016, and to my surprise, I got my Visa Grant Notice last July 15, 2016 (sent through Email). I was granted with a Single Entry Tourist Visa, with maximum stay of 3 months. Under the conditions, it was stated that I am not allowed to work but I can study for 3 months.
Even though I got my Visa Grant Notice earlier than expected, I suggest that you still follow the 1 month and 10 days lead time. This is just to be sure that you will have enough time in case some unexpected concerns or issues arise.
After getting my Visa Grant Notice, I sent an email to VFS helpline to inquire if there is still a need for me to go to their office or printed copy would be enough. I was informed that I just need to carry with me the said document during travels, and it will be in the discretion of the case officer if I will be required for an interview.
Below are additional details that may help you, should you wish to apply for an Australian Tourist Visa:
VFS Global Address: Mezzanine Floor, Ecoplaza Bldg.,, Don Chino Roces Ave Ext, Makati, Metro Manila.
Helpline Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org (I sent them an email for my inquiry because I was having a hard time reaching their mobile and landline. I got a reply from them within 24 hrs).
Visa Application (Manager’s Check) – Php 4,800.00
Manager’s Check Fee (Paid at the Bank) – Php 50.00
Logistic Fee: Php 625.00
SMS Fee: Php 110.00
Locker Room Rental: Php 75.00
Total Expenses: Php 5,660.00