How to apply for Australian visa online.

It all started when Cebu Pacific announced a seat sale last year for select international destinations. Normally airline seat sales don’t appeal much to me because I don’t travel outside the country a lot (I’m a bit stingy, even for travel), but a good friend at Sydney have been inviting me to visit him, so this might be the best chance to do so. To be fair, I really did save a lot from the seat sale, as I only spent around Php 13K inclusive of taxes for my flights back and forth. Not to mention that my accommodation is going to be for free, thanks to my Aussie buddy. Not bad for an Australian trip, yeah?
Thing is, my purchase was risky because I bought my tickets even before I applied for a visa. If I don’t get approved, that’s 13K down the drain. But then again, having plane tickets may improve my chance at getting approved, since it shows my intent to travel at certain dates, and supports the fact that I will be going back to the Philippines. With fingers crossed, I decided to take the risk and buy the tickets ahead of time.
How to apply for Australian visa online
Image credits: https://unsplash.com/@joshnh
Lo and behold, I was approved for an Australian visa! The best part is that I was approved in one day! What an awesome start for 2017!

There are friends who have been asking how I applied, and which documents I submitted when I applied for an Australian visa, hence this blog post. There are two ways to apply:

  • Apply through VFS Global (Australian Visa Application Centre)
  • Apply Online
 
Applying through VFS Global would mean that you’d have to submit scanned copies of the documentary requirements to the VFS Global office at Makati City. You may schedule an appointment, although walk-in applicants are also allowed.

The Australian Embassy though strongly encourages applicants to lodge their applications online since it’s supposedly the faster option. According to the VFS Global representative I talked to over the phone, applying online would mean that your documents are sent directly to the Australian embassy, whereas documents sent to the VFS Global office are forwarded to the embassy the following working day.

How to apply for Australian visa online:

1. Find out what type of visa you need. You may learn about the different kinds of Australian visa you may apply for here. In my case, since I’m visiting as a tourist for only one week, I applied for the Visitor visa (subclass 600).
2. Gather and complete the documentary requirements. You can see the checklist of Australian visa requirements for Visitor visa (subclass 600) here.
3. Create an ImmiAccount (learn more about making an ImmiAccount here). You’ll need an ImmiAccount to be able to upload the documentary requirements online and send them to the embassy for approval.
4. Fill out the online form / questionnaire provided when you’re creating your ImmiAccount. Make sure you fill in all the required fields. Be sure to provide an email address so you can get updates over email about the status of your application.
5. Create an application for Australian visa in your ImmiAccount, and upload the documents indicated. Lemme give you a heads-up that the site may be experiencing some issues with the uploading of documents (at least during the time when I tried it myself). I had to re-upload and submit the file several times before they were accepted by the system. Here are the type of files that I submitted:
  • Scanned copy of my passport (photo page as well as pages showing details of previous travels)
  • Copy of my plane ticket
  • Scanned copy of the passport of my contact in Australia
  • Letter of Support from my Australian contact
  • Bank Certificate
  • Bank Transaction History
  • BIR Form 2316 (ITR)
  • Certificate of Employment
  • Certification of Promotion and Salary Adjustment
  • Credit Card Statement
  • Scanned copy of my birth certificate
  • Scanned copy of the Contract to Sell of my condo unit.
  • Travel Itinerary (daily itinerary with estimated costs of expenses)
  • Accomplished Visitor Visa Form 1419 (with passport-size picture attached. You may download the form here).
  • Accomplished Subclass 600 Tourist Stream checklist (refer to Step 2 for requirements checklist).

 

Important: There are guidelines to attaching your files. Read the guidelines here.

6. After uploading the requirements, make sure to pay the visa application charge (more details about the charges here. Your application won’t be processed unless you have made your payment, although you can save the progress and come back finish it afterwards.
Please note that you must not submit original documents. Scanned copies will do. Also, you’ll notice that I sent several documents as proof of my financial capacity to support my stay in Australia.
When applying online, the section where you upload the documents doesn’t really ask for the Form 1419 and Subclass 600 Checklist, but I uploaded them anyways to be sure. Another advantage of applying online is that you can pay for the visa application charge through credit card, unlike when you’re applying through the center where you’ll have to request for a manager’s check to be able to pay.
After you’ve made your payment, the only thing you can do is to cross your fingers and pray that you get approved. Even though my application was approved the day after I submitted my documents, it’s advisable to apply at least 1-2 months before your travel dates. My situation may have been a special, isolated case, and I’m guessing that it helped that I have a contact in Australia who is also an Australian citizen.
I know it sounds overwhelming and complicated but it should be a breeze once you’ve gathered the requirements. The good thing is that you can check the status of your application anytime by logging in to your ImmiAccount. So you can just check it in there when you need updates.
It’s hard to cover everything in one post so if you have questions, please leave them in the comments section below, and I’ll give you the answers if I have ‘em.
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