Save time and effort by applying for an Australian tourist visa online! All you have to do is create an account, fill out the application form, upload your requirements, and pay the corresponding fee. This guide provides the detailed steps for Filipinos, as well as a sample cover letter and itinerary template.
- If you are a Philippine passport-holder who wants to travel to Australia for leisure, you must apply for a tourist visa.
- The Australian Embassy strongly encourages online applications, but you may also submit your documents at VFS Global in Makati or Cebu.
- To apply online, create an ImmiAccount. This will give you access to the self-service visa portal that’s operated by Australia’s Department of Home Affairs.
- Fill out the Australian tourist visa application form and attach the required and supporting documents. These include your birth certificate, daily itinerary, bank certificate, bank statements, and documents that prove your occupation, i.e. COE for employees.
- If you would like to expound on your travel plans or personal background, you may also write a cover letter. A sample is provided below.
- If you plan to travel with family members, submit your applications together using only one ImmiAccount. (Multiple applicant profiles can be created under one account.)
- Pay the Australian tourist visa processing fee of A$145 via credit card, select debit cards, PayPal, or Unionpay. The rate is as of February 2020 and does not include applicable surcharges.
- Processing of visa applications may take 2 to 28 days.
- If granted a visa, you will be sent a notice. It should inform you if you were issued a single-entry or a multiple-entry Australian visa, as well as your allowable period of stay.
- If, at this point, you feel overwhelmed by all the information, keep calm! You’ll get through this. Meanwhile, start checking out the activities in Sydney and Gold Coast that you can easily book from WAUG — the #1 travel activity booking platform from South Korea! Download the app here to start browsing.
Explore more: Top Things to Do in Sydney
1. How to Determine the Australian Visa to Apply For
If this is your first time to apply for a visa to Australia, a good place to start is the Visa Finder. This is a simple online tool that will let you explore the visa options that are avilable to you depending on your purpose.
The Visa Finder will ask your primary intention for traveling. As you can see below, acceptable responses (for temporary stay) include: visiting a family member, attending an event, transiting through Australia, or undergoing medical treatment, among others.
Since I intend to engage in sightseeing activities, I ticked a holiday or the topmost selection. After providing my country of passport, the Visa Finder gave me this recommendation: Tourist Stream under Visitor Visa (Subclass 600).
The Tourist Stream (application from outside Australia) is what I will cover in this guide. If we have the same primary purpose, i.e. you want to take a (much-needed and well-deserved) vacation, read on further for the steps to take. However, if you have a different reason for traveling, go to the Visa Finder and confirm the Australian visa type/s that are recommended for you.
2. Ways to Apply for an Australian Tourist Visa
Filipinos may consider two options: online via an ImmiAccount or offline via the Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC) that’s operated by VFS Global. Let’s look at the overview for each approach:
Paper Application via VFS Global
Here are the steps if you want to apply for a tourist visa via VFS Global (AVAC):
- Accomplish, print, and sign the Form 1419 (Application for a Visitor Visa – Tourist Stream).
- Gather supporting documents.
- Prepare a Manager’s Cheque that’s payable to “Australian Embassy”.
- Schedule an appointment to submit your requirements at the Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC).
- Collect your Visa Letter from the AVAC.
For the Manager’s Cheque: Must be drawn from any bank in the Philippines, except rural banks. The amount should be in Philippine Peso. Moreover, no other method of payment will be accepted.
For Scheduling an Appointment with AVAC: An appointment is necessary to submit your Australian visa application requirements. You or a representative may submit the documents at the VFS Global office in Makati or Cebu, which are open on weekdays (Monday-Friday) from 7am-2pm, except public holidays. Alternatively, you may also request for a one-way or two-way courier delivery.
For the Visa Letter from AVAC: This contains the result of your application. You may check your email or wait for courier delivery.
The other way to apply for an Australian tourist visa is online via an ImmiAccount. Personally, I think this is more efficient and convenient compared to the Paper Application because there’s no third party involved. This means that you can have your application processed as soon as you have the documents uploaded and fees paid. There’s no more waiting on your appointment slot or your courier, which, at times, can be frustrating. We’ll look at this approach in detail in the succeeding sections.
3. Steps to Apply for an Australian Tourist Visa Online
Once you’ve confirmed that the Tourist Stream is the right visa for you and decided that you’ll proceed with an Australian visa online application, take note of the following steps:
- Create an ImmiAccount.
- Fill out the application form.
- Attach your supporting documents.
- Pay the fee using a credit card or PayPal.
Yes, the online process is more straightforward and, as you may realize later on, pretty enjoyable!
4. How to Create an ImmiAccount for Your Australian Visa Application
Signing up for an ImmiAccount lets you access the self-service portal where you, a family member, or a friend can do the following:
- Create and complete an Australian tourist visa application (personal and group)
- Check the status of an application
- Update passport details
- Change the provided email and address
To get started, register for an ImmiAccount here. You will be asked for your name, mobile number, phone number, and a valid email address. Since the email that you’ll provide will be used to communicate updates that pertain to your application (and your group members’, if applicable), it is best to nominate one that you always check.
Once you’ve signed up, you will receive a confirmation email. Follow the link so you can create a New Application for Visitor Visa (Subclass 600). You’ll then be asked to fill out a 20-page visa application form.
If you have not received an email after signing up, try to do the following steps: add homeaffairs.gov.au to your safe or trusted senders list, check your application to see if you typed the right email address, and check your Junk or Spam folder.
5. How to Fill Out the Online Australian Tourist Visa Application Form
In case you missed it, the visa application form has 20 pages. It may sound a bit tedious, but it’s actually pretty manageable. It will inquire of your personal details, travel plans to Australia, family background, health, character, occupation, and funding, among others. The good thing is that it’s not meant to be filled out in one sitting, so you can stop and save as you go. (Take your time when accomplishing the form and reviewing your responses.)
To help you prepare for this step, we’ve listed some questions that will be asked in the online Australian tourist visa application form (similar to the Form 1419 that I mentioned under Paper Application):
5.1 How long do you wish to stay in Australia?
Choices will include Up to 3 months, Up to 6 months, and Up to 12 months.
5.2 Do you hold an identity card or identity number issued to you by your government (e.g. National Identity Card)?
As of writing time, the National Identity Card system is on a dry-run phase in the Philippines. Hence, you can tick No.
However, if you happen to have a National Identity Number already, supply the details.
5.3 Are you traveling to or are you currently in Australia with any family members?
If your answer is Yes, you will need to provide the details of each of your family members in this part of the Australian tourist visa application form.
5.4 Do you have a partner, any children, or fiancé who will NOT be traveling (or has not traveled) to Australia with you?
This one seems to check your social ties in the Philippines. You will have to provide the full name, date of birth, and the person’s address if your response is Yes.
5.5 Why do you want to visit Australia?
Include details of any dates that are of special significance to your visit. For example, if you or someone in your group will celebrate a birthday or anniversary in Australia, indicate it in the spaces provided.
5.6 In the last 5 years, have you visited or lived outside your country of passport for more than 3 consecutive months?
If your answer is Yes, provide the country(s) and dates. This question actually falls under Health Details, so, subsequently, you will be asked if you expect to incur any medical costs during your trip or have had (or currently have) tuberculosis.
5.7 What is your employment status?
You’ll be asked to give the details of your employer, business, or school, whichever is applicable.
5.8 Explain why you are unemployed and give details of your last employment, if applicable.
Share the details. If you have been invited to or have attended job interviews already, it might be good to highlight that as well.
5.9 Give details of how you will maintain yourself financially while you are in Australia.
This part of the Australian tourist visa application form seeks to know how you plan to cover all costs that are associated with your visit. You must be able to demonstrate that you have adequate source/s of funds.
5.10 Is your sponsor or someone else providing support for your visit to Australia?
If your response is in the affirmative, you will have to specify their details and type of support that they’ll give, i.e. financial, accommodation, and others.
To continue a saved application in your ImmiAccount
Select the application from the list and click Edit.
To copy an Australian visa application
For group applicants, you may copy a visa application of the same type for a family member and a friend to save time. Here are the steps:
- Select the checkbox for the application you want to copy.
- Select Actions.
- Select Copy from the drop-down list.
- Choose Confirm.
- Read and agree to the terms and conditions.
- Choose Next.
- The duplicate copy of the application will then show in your ImmiAccount.
Information of the original Australian visa applicant is not copied across. The added person can write over any of the copied information.
To change an address
If you need to update your residential or postal address, i.e. you will be living at a different residential address for more than 14 days or your postal address has changed, do the following steps so the Australian government can contact you, if needed:
- Log in to ImmiAccount.
- Select Update details.
- Choose Change of address details.
- Select the applicant.
- Select the checkbox for Residential address or postal address.
- Enter the new details.
- Hit Submit form.
To change an email address
Do the following steps if you need to update your email:
- Log in to ImmiAccount.
- Choose Update details.
- Select the applicant.
- Select Change of email address details.
- Enter your new email address.
- Click Next and expect to receive a new confirmation link.
6. Australian Tourist Visa Requirements & Supporting Documents for Filipinos
Here are the requirements to apply for an Australian tourist visa, as taken from this list provided by the Australian Embassy in the Philippines (note that your application dashboard will also tell you what documents to attach!):
6.1 Passport Bio Page
Scan the page 2 of your current passport, which contains your photo, basic information, and passport info.
6.2 Passport Pages with Visas, Entry & Exit Stamps, Amendments, and Endorsements, if applicable
Aside from visas and stamps in your current passport, also scan those that are found in your old passport/s. These will serve as evidence of your travel history.
6.3 One (1) Passport-Size Photo
Your Australian tourist visa application picture must show your head and shoulders against a plain background.
6.4 PSA Birth certificate
Prepare a scanned copy of your certificate of birth that’s issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority or PSA (formerly NSO).
If the Birth Certificate is late registered: A certified copy of hospital records where the applicant was born is required, according to the Australian Embassy in the Philippines.
6.5 Occupation-specific documents
Submit documents that best demonstrate your present engagement. The following lists contain the most commonly submitted requirements and some suggestions that you may consider. Of course, if you feel like you have other documents that may serve as strong evidence to your present occupation, do not hesitate to attach them.
If you are a Filipino employee, submit any or all of the following:
- Certificate of Employment or COE, which indicates your role, hiring date, length of employment, and annual salary. If possible, have your COE show that you intend to return to your job (for example, He or she will resume work on…).
- Pay slips
- Company ID
- Business Card
- Bank statements showing salary credits for the last three (3) months
- Evidence of leave, such as an approved request
For BUSINESS OWNERS
Likewise, those who own a business or are self-employed may want to submit all or any of the following:
- DTI/SEC Registration
- Business permit
- Business tax return for the last two (2) Years
- Bank deposit slip as evidence of tax payments
Australian tourist visa applicants who are still studying may submit their Certificate of Enrollment. It may also help to submit a copy of the front and back side of the School ID.
6.6 Financial Documents
To prove your financial capacity, you must submit these requirements as per the Embassy:
- Bank Certificate showing the average daily balance for the last three (3) months
- Bank statements showing account transactions for the last three (3) months
To strengthen your Australian visa application, you may also consider submitting your Income Tax Return or ITR, audited accounts, and documents that show that you own a house or other major assets in the Philippines.
6.7 Daily Itinerary in Australia (Travel Plans)
A personalized travel itinerary will serve as a strong evidence of your intentions as a tourist. Create a detailed one even if you have not booked your flights, accommodation, travel essentials, and tours yet. If you have already done so, then attach your booking confirmation/s (roundtrip tickets, for example) to show that you will return to the Philippines (but do this at your own risk — ideally, you should make any purchase after receiving the visa!). Keep in mind that the ultimate goal of this exercise is to demonstrate your planned activities as a tourist.
SAMPLE ITINERARY for Australian Visa Applicants
There’s no standard template provided for the daily itinerary requirement, so you are free to create your own or use a template, like what I have below. The sample contains my personal information, accommodation, and planned activities in Australia.
You can access my Australian tourist visa itinerary template here. If you want, you may also add tabs for your flights and car rentals.
Also, if you have yet to finalize the tours, attractions, and activities for your trip, do consider the following:
Things to do in SYDNEY for your Itinerary
- Sydney Tower Eye – enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view from the highest observatory tower in Sydney.
- Sydney Harbour Bridge – have a thrilling experience by climbing up the most popular bridge in the world!
- Sydney Skydive – enjoy and soak in the great coastal views, Blue Mountains, and the Sydney skyline from up 14,000 feet.
Things to do in GOLD COAST & BRISBANE for your Itinerary
- WhiteWater World – this water park is popular among locals as it offers a fantastic range of water slides to be enjoyed by all ages!
- Warner Bros. Movie World – say hello to some of the iconic Looney Tunes characters and ride the Superman Escape that speeds up to 100 kph!
- Surf Lesson on the Gold Coast – grab the opportunity to surf at the beautiful Surfers Paradise Beach with qualified instructors.
Things to do in MELBOURNE for your Itinerary
- Eureka Skydeck 88 – spend a romantic night at this world-class lookout with your partner!
- Werribee Open Range Zoo – spot rhinos, giraffes, and zebras when you embark on this safari adventure across an open-range savannah!
- Melbourne City Sightseeing Bus Tour – hop on and off at any of the key landmarks of Melbourne — from the Federation Square to Harbour Town and Queen Victoria Market!
Things to do in CAIRNS for your Itinerary
- Cairns Reef Magic Cruise Tour – a semi-submersible tour that’ll let you and your friends enjoy the Great Barrier Reef!
- Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park Ticket – watch Australia’s Aboriginals portray their traditions through dance and music.
- Butterfly Sanctuary in Cairns – take a leisurely stroll through the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary and spend an informative day with your loved ones.
6.8 Other documents, if applicable
Submit these documents only if they are relevant to your application:
For those who have had a CHANGE OF NAME:
- Submit a Marriage Certificate from PSA or annulment documents
- Documents that show other names you have been known by
If you will VISIT RELATIVES or FRIENDS in Australia
Submit the following requirements, as per the Embassy’s guidelines:
- Letter of invitation from your relative or friend in Australia
- A copy of the biopage of their passport
- Evidence of your relationship to your relative or friend
- Evidence that they have the necessary funds to support your intended stay
For CHILDREN TRAVELING with ONE PARENT
Submit the Form 1229 that is accomplished by the non-travelling parent, together with the parent’s contact information and valid government-issued ID with signature.
For CHILDREN TRAVELING with SOMEONE OTHER THAN A PARENT
Submit a duly accomplished Form 1229 by both parents, together with their contact information and valid government-issued IDs with signature. You must also submit a duly accomplished Form 1257 by the person responsible for the child in Australia and their valid government ID.
When you prepare documents to submit
Provide as much proof as you can to show that you will visit Australia as a temporary visitor. (You have strong ties in the Philippines.)
When you scan or photograph documents
Scan or photograph all of your requirements and documents. The scans and photos must be colored, clear, and legible. If a document is more than one page, you must save it all as one file.
How to attach documents to your Australian tourist visa application
Follow these steps:
- Select who you are attaching a document for.
- Select why you want to attach the document.
- Choose the document type from the drop-down list.
- Select Browse and the document file name.
- You can attach a group of documents that are of the same type. For example, you can attach bank statements for different bank accounts.
- Click Attach to upload
- ImmiAccount will delete your documents if you do not submit your application in 30 days. If your documents are removed, make sure to attach them again before you submit.
You may attach up to 60 documents for each Australian tourist visa application created in ImmiAccount. Identity documents (such as your passport pages, photo, and PSA birth certificate) can be up to 500KB each. Other documents can be up to 5MB each. You may view the official instructions here.
If you have a non-English document
You must translate your document/s to English. Translators outside Australia do not have to be accredited, but on each translated document, they must include their full name, address, telephone number, qualifications, and experience in the language they are translating. You do not need to have translated documents certified.
7. How to Write a Cover Letter for your Australian Visa Application
Writing a cover letter is OPTIONAL for Australian tourist visa applicants in the Philippines. You may consider writing one if you want to emphasize your purpose of travel, explain something about your personal or professional background, inform why you’re submitting a particular document, expound on how you will fund your travel costs, and others.
Here’s a cover letter that you may want to use as reference:
The sample above specifically emphasizes my personal intent, which is to make use of the long weekends in August. To customize this letter to your own purpose, refer to the following breakdown of the cover letter:
7.1 Date, Address, & Salutation
In the first few parts of your letter, indicate the date when you plan to submit your application, the address of the Australian Embassy, and the salutation:
June 15, 2020
Australian Embassy in The Philippines
Level 23 Tower 2, RCBC Plaza Tower 2
6819 Ayala Avenue, Makati City 1200
Directly state what you are writing about so that the reviewing officer will know your purpose of writing straight away. Keep your introduction 1-2 sentences short, like the following sample:
Good day! As part of my application to the Visitor Visa (Tourist Stream), I am writing this letter to provide more personal details about my reason for travel.
The next part of your cover letter is where you can provide a detailed explanation or backgrounder:
As I’ve shared in my application and itinerary, I intend to travel to Australia from August 21-31, 2020. I chose these dates because I would like to make good use of the holidays that fall on August 21st (special non-working holiday) and August 31st (regular holiday). Last year, I had a leisurely trip in South Korea and Taiwan that covers the same days.
7.4 Supporting Documents, if applicable
After providing your reason/s, let the visa officer know that you have prepared supporting documents that they can refer to, if any.
For reference, I attached my approved leave request from my employer. I also included
my approved leave request from my trip to East Asia last year.
7.5 Reinforcement of Intention to Travel for Tourism
The final part of your cover letter is where you want to demonstrate your travel plans and, perhaps, what you expect to get from the trip.
If granted a visa, I shall push through with my trip and enjoy the tailend of the winter
season. While I’ll be traveling alone, I know that I will delight in the attractions, markets,
and museums in Sydney and Melbourne.
7.6 Closing & Name Block
End your cover letter by thanking the Australian visa officer and adding a complimentary close.
Thank you for reviewing my application.
Ryan Juancho Diocson
Don’t forget to sign above your name.
You may upload your scanned cover letter under Evidence of Planned Tourism Activities.
8. Australian Tourist Visa Fees & Methods of Payment
After you share your details in the form and attach your requirements, go ahead and take that final step: pay the Australian tourist visa fee! As of February 2020, the cost to apply is A$145 or around ₱5,000 per person, as shown below:
To confirm the application fee for future dates, use the Visa Pricing Estimator.
However, do note that there will be additional fees, depending on how you would like to pay:
Payment of Australian Visa Fee using CREDIT or DEBIT CARD
Here are the surcharges for card transactions, as of writing time:
- MasterCard (including debit MasterCard): 1.32%
- VISA (including VISA debit Card): 1.32%
- American Express (AMEX): 1.40%
- Diners Club: 1.99%
- JCB: 1.40%
Payment of Australian Visa Fee using PAYPAL
Surcharge of 1% applies.
Payment of Australian Visa Fee using UNIONPAY
If you have UnionPay and will use it to settle the processing costs, a surcharge of 1.90% applies.
9. Australian Tourist Visa Processing Time
After settling the fee, you should get an email that acknowledges receipt of your application. Now all that’s left to do is track the progress and wait for the result! If you used the Visa Finder tool, you might have seen the following information and timelines given by the Home Affairs:
- 75% of Australian tourist visa applications take 17 days to process.
- 90% of applications take 28 days.
This may have changed already, but don’t be surprised if you were able to receive a result or a Notice of Visa Grant in less than a week (or even in a matter of hours!)! It’s happened to many Filipinos, so check your ImmiAccount and email inbox for status updates from time to time. (But, hey, don’t stress!)
If you check the status of your visa application and find that you are asked to undergo a medical examination: Do it as soon as possible. However, note that NOT all tourist visa applicants will be required to undergo a health exam. Only do this step if you were instructed to in your application dashboard.
Moreover, if any other changes on your situation occur, i.e. birth, divorce, separation, marriage, de facto relationship, or death in your family, update the details BEFORE the Australian government finalizes your tourist visa application.
10. What is the maximum duration of stay for an Australian tourist visa?
It will depend on your purpose of travel and application, but it can be 3, 6, or 12 months.
11. If your Australian tourist visa application is APPROVED
Well done! Check your visa grant number, the date when your visa starts, and your visa conditions so you can plan your trip accordingly. The notice will also tell you if you were issued a multiple-entry Australian visa.
Print the decision and keep a copy with you when you travel to Australia.
For Group Applicants: The assessment is done individually, so there is a possibility that not all family or group members who lodged an online visa application together will get a visa.
For the Visa Grant Number: The next time that you apply for a visa, you’ll have to provide this number.
To get the most out of your Aussie trip: Download WAUG on your phone by clicking here. Discounts on the first booking await new users!
12. If your Australian tourist visa application is DENIED
The notice that you’ll receive will have the reason for rejection. It’ll also tell you if you have the right to a review of the decision.
13. Tips from Successful Tourist Visa Applicants
To provide more information (and hopefully inspiration!), we’ve provided some posts from this Facebook group that tackles Australian visa applications and DIY-style of traveling, among others. Since the group is set to private, I am only able to share screenshots from members who are kind enough and willing to share their experiences and thoughts (personally identifiable information blurred for privacy). Please do note that the following tips and responses may not be official, so while it may have worked for other applicants, it may or may not be beneficial or true for your application:
13.1 Apply for an Australian visa online or via a travel agency?
The post reads: Sino kaya [pwede] tumulong sa akin [para mag-apply ng visa pa-Australia online?] PM naman ako. Magbigay na lang ako. 20k kasi sa agency na na-ask ko. PM na lang [po. Salamat.]
The commenters were one in saying that the online self-service portal is easy-to-use, as shown below:
Comment 1: Madali [lang. Mag-sign-up] ka for ImmiAccount
Comment 3: Mabilis lang [mag-apply ng visa sa Australia. Hindi] mo na need [ng] physical appearance. Basta complete ang i-u-upload mong documents.
Comment 4: Super dali lang mag-apply. Ready mo lang mga documents mo, then go sa website ng AU…
13.2 Is COE required?
Post: Hello. Any tips po for tourist visa application to Australia for somebody [working from home]? Do I really need to submit a COE?
Comment 1: If you are an employee — yes, of course.
Comment 2: Just recently submitted my visa application and still waiting for the Embassy. But for the requirements, recommended lang ang COE.
13.3 Do I really need to submit an itinerary for my visa application?
Post: Anyone [applied for an Australian visa online?] Need ba talaga maglagay ng itinerary? Nakalagay naman kasi [na] recommended, not required. May bearing ba? Picture for attention only.
Comment 3: Yes, kahit draft lang. Para may idea ang consul sa mga places na pupuntahan. Hindi kailangan sundin ang itinerary. Pwede naman kasi mag-iba iyon pagdating mo doon. Mabuting kumpleto ang documents kaysa kulang. It is still up to you, though.
13.4 Application is taking long to process
Post: Good afternoon, guys. Ask ko lang sana: gaano katagal ba talaga bago lumabas ang visa sa Australia? Nag-apply po kasi kami last September 5. Hanggang ngayon wala pa ang results. Nakakakaba tuloy. May pag-asa pa kaya?
The post is dated September 29, 2019, so the member who posted this was already waiting for 24 days.
Comment: Hi. It really depends sa volume din ng applicants. Some visas are granted after 5-9 days. Sa iba, from 15-30 working days.
13.5 Multiple-Entry Australian Tourist Visa APPROVED!
The post reads: My 3rd visit visa in Australia. No job, no ITR, little amount sa bank (6 years na ang bank account ko.). May multiple properties — edge siguro iyon. [Sa previous application] ko, may job ako. I applied for single-entry lang (kasal kasi ng friend ko). 5 days lang talaga plano ko.
They gave me multiple-entry. Nanibago lang ako kasi ang tagal ng waiting sa result. At least makakatulog na ako.
The post also shows the applicant’s Notice of Visa Grant, which indicates that she was given a multiple-entry visa to Australia.
All the best!
We hope your Australian visa application turns out successful! If you have any questions, comment below so other Filipino travelers may help.