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Applying for an Australian Tourist Visa in 2024: Guide for Filipinos

Applying for an Australian Tourist Visa in 2024: Guide for Filipinos

Australia is a vast and diverse country filled with natural wonders. Apart from its unique wildlife, I love its laid-back atmosphere and epic hiking trails. Fortunately, applying for an Australian tourist visa is easy. This is my first Australian tourist visa application and I was granted a multiple-entry visa!

The process may appear daunting at first, but once you've gathered all the necessary documents and filled out the application form, the process becomes much more manageable. Apart from the biometrics requirement, everything else can be done online. No interviews. Of course, you can still seek assistance from travel agencies, but it's possible to apply for the visa yourself. 

Here's a complete guide on applying for an Australian tourist visa, including step-by-step instructions and important tips to help you navigate the entire process smoothly.

Table of Contents

Who is this guide for?


Before anything else, this guide is for individuals who are seeking to apply for an Australian Visitor Visa (subclass 600) online. There are two main streams under this visa: Tourist and Business.


1. Tourist Stream - is suitable for Filipinos who want to visit Australia for a holiday, or recreation, or to visit family and friends. This stream also covers people who are planning to go to Australia for short-term non-work purposes or engage in a short-term study course for less than 3 months. 


You belong in this category if you're visiting a friend or a relative but you will shoulder your travel expenses. However, if you're sponsored by someone in Australia, there is a separate category for that which is Sponsored Family Stream.

In my case, a friend of mine who lives in Australia offered to let me stay in her home. However, besides that, I shouldered all the travel expenses, so I still fall under the Tourist Stream.


2. Business Stream - This is for those traveling to Australia for business-related activities such as meeting a client or attending a business conference. Please note that this is entirely different from a Work Visa so if you are planning to go to Australia for work, residency, or long-term study, this guide does not apply to you. Make sure to check the specific visa requirements for your situation before applying.


Australian Visa Requirements


Keep in mind that NOT ALL of the requirements listed below are mandatory. In the application form, some are marked as REQUIRED and some as RECOMMENDED. Although not all of these documents are mandatory, it's highly advisable to submit AS MANY of the listed documents as possible. But of course, documents that apply to you.

You are allowed to attach up to 60 documents. I submitted 42 documents myself. Nevertheless, make sure that the documents you upload are relevant to increase the chances of your visa application being approved.
  • ACCOMPLISHED ONLINE APPLICATION FORM
The form consists of 19 pages. It may take some time to complete, but the questions are pretty straightforward.
  • PASSPORT-SIZE PHOTO (SOFT COPY)
Personally, I chose not to submit this because my friend mentioned that her sister also didn't submit one but still got her visa granted. However, if you already have a passport-size photo, feel free to include it.
  • SCANNED COPY OF PASSPORT BIO PAGE
Ensure that the scanned copy is clear and includes Page 3 where your signature is affixed. 
  • EVIDENCE OF FINANCIAL STATUS AND FUNDING FOR THE VISIT
For this, you can submit any of the following. Much better, if you could provide all or more.
  • Payslips
  • Personal bank statement
  • Credit card statements
  • ITR or tax document
  • Title deed
  • Retirement pension book
These are the documents I submitted:
  • Latest ITR with BIR stamp
  • Quarterly ITR (to show how much I earned for that quarter)
  • Quarterly Percentage Tax Return
  • PDF copy with compilation of all my Manulife Insurance Payment Receipts for the last 12 months
  • PDF copy of my Etiqa HMO Policy Details (I just took a screenshot of my HMO policy details)
  • Scanned copy of my LTO Motorcycle Certificate of Registration
  • Scanned copy of my Manulife Life Insurance Policy
  • BPI Bank Statements (I only submitted the latest statement)
Remember, the point of these requirements is to show you have sufficient financial means to support yourself during your visit. Providing additional documents like your insurance policy or title deed will also show that you have assets in the Philippines and can provide evidence of your financial stability. 
  • EVIDENCE OF APPLICANT'S PREVIOUS TRAVEL
Provide any or all of the following documents to provide proof of your previous travels.
  • Entry/exit stamped pages of your OLD and CURRENT passports
  • Visa documentation (scanned copies of all visas that you had in your previous travel)
As additional proof, I also created PDF files with compilations of the following:
  • Hotel Booking Confirmations of previous local and international trips
  • Old Flight Itineraries/Boarding Passes 
  • Travel Insurance from previous trips
  • Travel photos with friends (to show my relationship with my travel companions and our friend who is in Australia)
Note: You don't have to create photo compilations or submit these other documents. But personally, it's always better to provide as much evidence as possible to strengthen your application.
  • EVIDENCE OF CURRENT EMPLOYMENT OR SELF-EMPLOYMENT
Employees: 
  • Certificate of employment, explaining your role in the company
  • Evidence of leave
Self-employed or business owners:
  • Business registration documents
  • Finance sheets (profits and losses)
Students:
  • Certificate of enrolment
I am a self-employed professional and these are the documents I submitted:
  • BIR Certificate of Registration
  • Copies of payments I received from Paypal and Wise (last 3 months)
  • Copies of income generated from my blog and affiliate accounts
  • Mayor's Permit (I included this because it contains information that I am a freelance writer)
Note: If you are a freelancer and you're still not BIR-registered, you can also provide other documents like Upwork contracts, etc.
  • FAMILY REGISTER AND COMPOSITION FORM (if applicable)
This information is used to establish your family connections in the Philippines and abroad (if applicable). 
  • PSA Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate ( if you are married and your current last name differs from the last name on your birth certificate.)
  • Form 54 (Family Composition)
For this section, I only submitted my PSA Birth Certificate since I have submitted a document with a compilation of photos of my family and dogs.
  • EVIDENCE OF PLANNED TOURISM ACTIVITIES IN AUSTRALIA
Your itinerary should include a daily schedule detailing the places you will visit and activities you will engage in. Check my sample itinerary here.

Since my friends and I were attending The Eras Tour in Melbourne, I also attached these additional documents:
  • The Eras Tour Ticketek Purchase Confirmation
  • PDF copy of an essay I wrote about my ticket purchase journey (As some of you may already know, it's quite a challenge to get tickets for a Taylor Swift concert. My friend in Australia suggested that I share this to explain why this trip is so meaningful to me and why we've selected Melbourne to attend this concert.)
  • Cover Letter
If you're traveling for business, you can submit any or all of the following:
  • Your employment contract. 
  • Conference registration details
  • A letter from your employer stating the reasons for your visit 
  • Itinerary, with contact details of the business parties involved
  • A letter of invitation from the host organization/company in Australia 
If you’re visiting Australia as part of a group tour, submit any or all of the following:
  • Group Itinerary
  • Letter from the company organizing the tour
  • Group tour participants list
  • NATIONAL IDENTITY DOCUMENT (other than Passport)
I attached a soft copy of my National ID for this section. This is not a required document, but if you already have your National ID, I suggest adding it for additional proof of identity.
  • INVITATIONS FROM FAMILY, FRIENDS, OR ORGANISATIONS
Since my friend invited me to stay at her residence, here are the documents I attached:
  • My friend's Certified Passport Copy
  • PDF copy of her VEVO Visa Details Check
  • Invitation Letter/Statement from her
  • OTHER DOCUMENTS
Below are additional documents that I provided just to add more proof of socio-economic ties in the Philippines.
  • Driver's License
  • Photo compilation with my family and my dogs (I just added this for additional proof of family ties in the Philippines)
Note: The size of each file must not exceed 5MB. The accepted file types include jpg, png, bmp, PDF. Make sure that your PDF files are not encrypted.

Additional tips regarding Australian tourist visa requirements

  • Write a cover letter. It's not a required document, but I strongly suggest making one to explain your visit. Make sure your cover letter supports every document you are submitting. Check my Australian Visa Cover Letter here.
  • Have your document notarized/authenticated. This is not mandatory. I know a lot of people who didn't have their documents notarized but their visas still got granted. But my friend suggested we do it so I had everything notarized - cover letter, ID's, old visas, as well as my entry and exit stamps.
  • Attach roundtrip flight and hotel booking. Please note that you are discouraged from booking flights and hotels before you are granted a visa, but if you already have one, then just attach it to your visa application. 

Step-by-step Guide on How to Apply for an Australian Tourist Visa Online

1. Sign up for an ImmiAccount.

Visit this website to register.  ImmiAccount is the Australian government's official Immigration website. You have to create an account here since the entire process will be done on this website.


Note: Use a working email address as any update about your application will be sent to this email.


2. Accomplish the application form.


Confirm your account creation in your email and once confirmed, do these next steps:


I. Click on NEW APPLICATION.

II. Click on VISITOR. Then, select Visitor Visa (subclass 600).

III. Fill out all 19 pages of the application form. 


You don't have to complete the form in one go, especially since it takes time to compile all the documents and information required. You can simply save the changes and continue later on when you have time. 


Note: DO NOT SUBMIT THE FORM if you are not done editing it.


3. Upload your supporting documents.


On the application dashboard, you will find a field where you can upload the supporting documents. Like I said, submit as many documents as you can.

4. Submit your application.


Double-check everything before submitting your application. Once you have submitted it, you should receive an Acknowledgement of Application Receipt in your email.

5. Pay the application fee.


I was informed that online payments could only be made through credit cards. However, I was able to successfully use my BPI debit card for the transaction. You can also use Paypal and Unionpay. Otherwise, you can ask a family member or a friend who has a credit card. As of this writing (June 2024), the fee is AUD 190 (roughly PHP 7400)


5. Schedule your appointment at the nearest Biometrics Collection Center.


After submitting your application, you will also receive an email stating the requirements to get your biometrics taken. The nearest biometrics collection center in my area is VFS Global Visa Application Center Cebu.


1. Visit VFS Global's website to book an appointment. 

2. Once you've booked your appointment, you will receive an Appointment Letter in your email. Bring a soft copy of this letter to your scheduled appointment.

3. Arrive at the collection center at least 15-30 minutes before your schedule.


The fee is 892 pesos and the mode of payment is CASH ONLY.


Note: You will be asked to remove all earrings before your picture is taken. To save time, remove them in advance, especially if you have multiple piercings.


And that's it! Once you are done with biometrics, you just need to wait for further updates regarding the processing of your visa application. 

Australian Tourist Visa Frequently Asked Questions

What is the processing time for an Australian tourist visa?

The processing time will depend on your case. It can take as short as 30 minutes after biometrics submission to 2-3 months. I received my visa grant notification letter 11 days after my biometrics. Others took a month or two. Some fortunate individuals received theirs just 30 minutes after their biometrics!

How early should I apply for an Australian visa?

I recommend at least 4 months before your planned travel date but not more than 6 months. I will explain in the next question why it should be at least 4 months.

Allocate ample time to account for any possible delays in processing and to avoid last-minute stress. It's always best to submit your visa application well in advance of your planned travel dates to allow for any unexpected processing times.

What possible scenarios could cause any delays in processing an Australian tourist visa?

Multiple factors can potentially cause delays in processing an Australian tourist visa, including but not limited to incomplete documentation, a large volume of applications, changes in immigration policies, and additional processing time for security and health checks. 

An example scenario is if you had previously been diagnosed with an infectious disease, such as tuberculosis, but have since recovered, the Australian government will require you to undergo a series of medical examinations to prove you are no longer a public health concern. This series of tests could take 4 months or even more.

You might be thinking, what if I don't disclose my previous illness since it's just for a tourist visa and I've already recovered anyway? 

I strongly advise against lying on your visa application, as it could harm your chances of being approved in the future. For example, suppose you don't disclose your previous illness this time and you are granted a tourist visa, but later decide to apply for a student visa or a work visa to Australia. In that case, you must undergo a medical examination as part of the application process. If any signs of a previous illness, such as a scar in your lungs from a past TB diagnosis, are found, it will become evident that you were not honest in your previous visa application. It's not worth risking potential consequences in the future.

How much money should I have in the bank for my Australian visa to get approved?

Unlike other countries, Australia doesn't provide an exact amount. But my personal rule is to calculate the average daily cost of accommodations, food, and transportation in the country, then multiply the total by the number of days I plan to stay there. Don't forget to add the cost of airfare.

How long is the validity of an Australian tourist visa?

I was issued a multiple-entry visa valid for 1 year with each stay being up to 3 months from the date of arrival. I cannot confirm for single-entry visas, but the standard stay is usually 3 months.

How to increase the chances of getting a multiple-entry visa to Australia?

There's no specific trick to obtaining a multiple-entry tourist visa in any country in the world. The outcome depends on individual circumstances, and it is your responsibility to demonstrate your genuine intentions. 

On the application form, there is a question, "Does the applicant intend to enter Australia on more than one occasion?" I answered No to this question but I still got a multiple-entry visa. If you want a multiple-entry visa, select the YES option, and be prepared to provide proof.

Providing as much supporting documentation as possible, such as proof of ties to your home country, travel itinerary, financial stability, and a well-drafted cover letter explaining the purpose of your visit and your intention to abide by the visa requirements, can significantly increase your chances of obtaining a visa to Australia, but at the end of the day, it is up to them if they will grant you a single or multiple-entry.

Can I indicate in the application form if there are significant dates when I need to be in Australia?

Yes, there is a section in the application form where you can specify the exact dates of your visit to Australia. In this application, I indicated the date of The Eras Tour concert in Melbourne. 

If you are only touring or sightseeing in Australia without any specific dates in mind, you can skip this section.

Is it possible to submit a group application for an Australian tourist visa?

Yes, you can create a group on the application form. Provide a group name and type for the group, and make sure to note down the group code. When you are filling out the application form for your friends or family, remember to input the group code.


It's crucial to keep in mind that even if you are applying as part of a group, each visa application will be evaluated individually.

What possible reasons why my visa application would be denied?

Some possible reasons for an Australian visa application being denied include:
  • Providing false information
  • Insufficient supporting documentation
  • Not meeting health or character requirements
  • The purpose of your visit is unclear
  • You can't prove your intention to return to the Philippines
It's important to carefully review the visa requirements and ensure that all the necessary documentation is provided to avoid a denial.

How do I know if a medical or health exam is required on my application?

You will receive an email after submission if a medical exam is required. You can also easily check on your ImmiAccount. On your Application Home dashboard, check for a health assessment requirement under the 'Actions' section. If there is none, then there's no need to have a medical exam.

Where do I upload my cover letter?

I uploaded my cover letter under Evidence of Planned Tourism Activities > Other.

That's it! This Australian tourist visa guide may seem overwhelming at first due to the abundance of details. I know. I hope that the visa processing becomes easier for Filipinos in the future. But for now, we need to ensure that we follow all the requirements and provide the necessary documentation to improve our chances of approval. It's important to be well-prepared and thorough in our application.

Good luck with your Australian adventure!
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