Here are the 7 easy steps to guide you on getting your visitor visa for Australia. I will also share here the requirements, sample travel itinerary, and some travel tips to make your travel to the land down under more enjoyable.
We are a family of 3 with a 10-year-old boy, and currently staying in Singapore. We also lodge our Australian visa application online (visitor visa subclass 600) while here in SG through https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/. Fortunately, our application got approved within 5 working days.
Australian Visitor Visa (Subclass 600) approved applicants are granted 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months multiple entries to Australia. In our case, each of us was granted multiple entry visa in Australia for 1 year, and each arrival enables us to stay for a period of 1 month. The process is probably the same even when you are in the Philippines since the application are done online or through VFS Global (www.vfsglobal.com/australia/philippines/how_to_apply.html).
What I am going to share here is our experience in applying online for Australian tourist visa, application cost per head, prepared scanned documents, 9D8N sample itinerary, Australia tourist visa cover letter sample, the budget airline company where we bought our tickets, hotel where we stayed for 9 days and 8 nights, and the step-by-step application process.
Aside from the aforementioned, I will also share here some cost-saving tips which we have utilized during our tour around Sydney, Blue Mountains, and other cities in Australia. Hopefully, this post would help lessen the stress (if there is any) which you might encounter during the processing of your application.
Table of Contents
How to Apply for Australian Tourist Visa Online in 7 Easy Steps
Step 1: Visit the online.immi.gov.au/lusc/login to Create an Australian visa application Account
Supply the needed information such as surname, given name, phone numbers, and valid email address. The immi.gov.au website will send a verification link to your given email address. Check your email to verify your account.
Step 2: Login to your ImmiAccount
After the verification of your email, you can now login to your immi account. Type in your username and password that you have given when you created your immi account
Step 3: Go to the New Application link to start with your Visa application process
Supply all the information as honest and as complete as possible. Your personal details should be entered the same way as it appeared on your passport. Your first name should include your middle name.
Note: If traveling in a group and you are the main applicant, you only need to login to your IMMI account. Next is go to the new application link to lodge another application for each group member. Under ‘Group Processing’ you need to supply the Group ID and Group name also for each application.
So for example, you are family of 3 or more, you only need to create one immi account for your group. Complete first the application of the main applicant, then lodge 2 more application for the remaining family members or dependents.
Step 4: Upload all scanned copies of your supporting documents
After you have type in all the needed information. Upload all the scanned copies of needed documents (supporting evidence). Our documents were neither notarized nor certified true copy when we upload it online.
The needed documents include the scanned copy of your Philippine passport information pages, birth certificate, marriage certificate, bank statement, employment certificate, and letter from the school of your son.
Step 5: Pay the Visa Online Application Fee per Applicant
You can pay using a credit/debit card online. The cost of application per applicant is 135 AUD plus surcharge or roughly 5,033 in Philippine Peso plus a surcharge. Payments are made after you have completed filling up all the needed information.
Other costs which you need to consider aside from visa processing fees are the following:
- NSO birth certificate acquisition fee
- NSO marriage certificate acquisition fee
- bank charges when you request for bank statement copies
- cost per page of acquiring scanned copies of all your documents
Step 6: Biometrics Collection
For Filipinos staying in Singapore, you can schedule an appointment at VFS Global for your biometrics collection. Take note that VFS Global collects service fees.
For those who are applying for an Australian tourist visa in the Philippines, they should inquire to VFS Global if they need to schedule appoint for biometrics collection. Here is their website www.vfsglobal.com/Australia/Philippines/. To know more details you can also visit Australian Embassy in the Philippines website.
Step 7: Check your email for updates on your Tourist Visa Application
I think the supplied documents are being screened manually by a representative from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Australian High Commission. I got contacted by their representative twice thru email because they are asking for additional scanned documents which I have to upload on my application
After uploading any additional documents asked, all you have to do next is wait. If the Visa application is lodged outside Australia the maximum processing time is 1 month from the time you completed your application and paid the needed fees.
In our case, we were approved in a matter of 5 working days. We received the visa thru email. Basically, it is an electronic -Visa. We printed it and bring it with us in case the airline company staff asked for a physical copy of our tourist visa for Australia.
How to Apply for Australian Visa Online as a Group
For family and relatives traveling together to Australia, you can apply for a visa as a group. In this way, your applications will be assessed based on the documents submitted by each member of the group. You only need to create one immi account.
On page 2 of your online application form, there is a question under Group Processing, “Is this application being lodge as part of a group of applications?” Choose “Yes”
You will be asked to Create a Group name for your applications and indicate the group type. Key in the name of your group. You can use your family name to make it a little formal. You also need to select the group type which applies to your application. Example: Family
Keep in mind of the Group ID as it will be used by the remaining members of your group. They need to indicate it when it’s time to fill up their own visa application.
When you are done with this part, then proceed filling up the remaining page of your application.
Australian Visa Online Application Requirements
- Your new and old Philippines passport which shows your previous travel
- scanned copy of your passport’s information page
- Cover letter and sample itinerary
- NSO Birth certificate
- Evidence of funds (personal bank statements / savings account, payslip, credit / debit card statements)
- NSO Marriage Certificate (if married)
- Certification Letter from school for your son / daughter (if they are studying)
- Certificate of Employment (if employed)
- Accomplished online application form in your immi account
All scanned documents are in JPEG format. Before you upload all your documents, I suggest that you organize the file name for each scanned copy so the assessor can easily track the arrangement of your documents.
- Juan dela Cruz old passport page 1, Juan dela Cruz old passport page 2, Juan dela Cruz old passport Nth page
- Emma dela Cruz new passport page 1, Emma dela Cruz new passport page 2, Emma dela Cruz new passport Nth page
- Juan and Emma dela Cruz Marriage certificate page 1, Juan and Emma dela Cruz married certificate page 2
- Evidence of funds page 1, evidence of funds page 2, evidence of funds page 3
- Bank statement month 1, bank statement month 2, bank statement month 3
You can read the complete checklist here https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/600-/Visitor-visa-(subclass-600)-Tourist-Stream-document-checklist.
Sample Cover Letter and Sample Itinerary for Australia
This is our sample cover letter with our sample itinerary when we applied for our tourist visa for Australia. You can use this as a pattern when you make your own cover letter. I just alter the details for our privacy.
12 August 2020
Australian High Commission
Address of the embassy here
To The Honorable Consul:
I am Juan Dela Cruz, 41 years old, Filipino with passport number JD1234567 and currently residing in Singapore. I work as an Astronaut at National Aeronautics and Space Administration Sentosa Island Singapore. Accompanying me with this visit are the following:
1. Maria Clara Sangria – my wife, 40 years old, unemployed, passport number: MC1234567
2. Juan Chrisostomo Ibarra – my son, 12 years old, student, passport number: JC7654321
Both of them are living in Singapore and holding a dependent pass.
I wish to express my intent to visit Australia this November 2020. The main purpose of this trip is to go for a 10-day holiday to explore Sydney, Australia from 20 November to 30 November 2020.
The reason is that my son’s school holiday will start in November and I will also be taking a short break from work for a holiday before starting my Zero Gravity Space Training (funded by NASA) that will commence this 1st week of December.
Hence, even if the preparation for this tourist visit is short of a notice I and my family are humbly requesting your good office for a tourist visa to make our travel plans possible.
Below is the list of our itinerary:
Day 1: 21 November 2020: Arrived at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport from Singapore
Day 2: 22 November 2020: Start the day with a complimentary breakfast in the hotel.
Explore the surroundings of Darling Harbour. Visit Wild Life Sydney Zoo and Sea Life Aquarium. Go for a lunch cruise at the Sydney Tall Ships and experience the exciting Mast Climb. Spend the rest of the afternoon at the Australian National Maritime Museum.
Day 3: 23 November 2020: Aboard Captain Cook Cruise, for the sightseeing of Manly Bay, Watson Bay, Fort Denison and alight at Taronga Park Zoo stop. Spend the entire day at the Taronga Zoo. Visit the Royal Botanic Garden before going back to the hotel.
Day 4 and 5: 24 – 25 November 2020: Explore Sydney by Sydney and Bondi Hop –on and Hop – off Bus Tour
Day 6: 26 November 2020: Join the Blue Mountains and Wildlife Day tour
Day 7: 27 November 2020: Attend mass in the morning at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Join the tour group to explore the Sydney Opera House. Go to the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Tower Eye.
Day 8: 28 November 2020: Stay at Hunter Valley for 2 days and 1 night
Day 9: 29 November 2020: Back to Sydney in the afternoon
Day 10: 30 November 2016: Departure from Sydney and going back to Singapore
Thank you for your kind consideration.
Juan Dela Cruz
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Australia Visa Processing Time for Visitor Subclass 600 Tourist Stream
According to immi.homeaffairs.gov.au, the visa processing times for visitor subclass 600 or tourist visa range from 2 days (48 hours) to up to 20 days. These depend on different factors including but not limited to peak processing periods in a certain location.
Do I need to Notarize or Certify the documents Before Uploading It?
We did not notarized / certified all our documents. We just scanned it as it is and upload it in our application. Certified true copy of your documents is NOT needed.
You just make sure that we follow the specific formatting and quality requirements during the scanning of our documents.
How Much is the Australian Visa Fee?
You need to pay roughly 135 AUD or 5033 Philippine Peso plus a surcharge. You can pay it with your debit or credit card online after you have completed filling out the application form and uploading all the requested documents in the immi website.
Should I Book a Return Flight Before I apply for Visa?
No, it is NOT required to get an air ticket or book a flight prior to your visa application. It is stated in the Visitor Visa (Tourist Stream) subclass 600 checklist that it is not recommended to purchase an air ticket.
Instead, purchase the ticket after you received the Australian Visa grant document online in your registered email account.
Where to Upload my Travel Itinerary
Alright, so you prepared your travel itinerary. Normally, this includes the date of your arrival and departure, the list of places you will be visiting and if possible, its specific date. Your next question probably is where to upload it.
After you have filled up the Australian visa application form online in your IMMIaccount. You will be redirected to “attached documents” page where you need to upload all the supporting documents.
If you were requested to upload your itinerary then upload it at the “Evidence of Planned Tourism Activities in Australia” slot.
However, there are times when the immi website does not ask for the travel itinerary of the visa applicant. Therefore, the “Evidence of Planned Tourism Activities in Australia” slot will not appear. This only means that you do not need the travel itinerary as a supporting document.
In my opinion is, based on your answers in the form, the immi website decided that a travel itinerary is not necessary during your visit to Australia. Because they are satisfied with your answers and they are sure that you will be coming back to your home country after your visit.
How much should I budget per day for my Australia Tour?
The cost per day will depend on what kind of meal you want to eat, hotel where you want to stay, the mode of transportation, and extras like mobile data. Anyway, you can use this as a reference then just add some leeway on it as the cost really varies depending on how you want to enjoy your tour.
- Meal – 45 AUD per day per person minimum or roughly 15 Australian dollars if you plan to eat McDonald’s combo meal for breakfast, launch, and dinner
- Hotel – 150 per night
- backpackers hostel – 40 per night for solo traveler
- Opal Card – 40 AUD per week for adult and 20 Australian Dollars per week for child
- Prepaid sim card with data bundle – 30 AUD for 28 days
Roughly, the total cost per adult is 93 Australian dollars per day if you choose to stay in a backpacker hostel, and 202 AUD per day if you choose to stay in a hotel. You can still reduce this cost if you will be traveling as a group since you can share hotel rooms with your friends and relatives.
The list does not include airfare per person as it varies depending on the airline company and your country of location.
How to Fill Out Form 956 for Tourist Visa
This is based on our experience only. In this part, I will share with you how we fill out Form 956. This form is needed if the person applying for a tourist visa to Australia needs an authorized representative to communicate with the department of immigration through different medium such as fax, email, or other electronic means.
We need to fill up this form for our son which at the time is a minor and has no capability to apply for his own visa to travel with us to Sydney.
The form has 3 parts and composed of 3 pages. Part A is for the details of the migration agent or an authorized representative of the applicant, Part B the ending appointment, and Part C is the Declarations. We only filled out the details and ticked boxes which we think is necessary. If you look at the image, you will see the checkmark on boxes, and the details were in red characters.
What does the VISA Grant Look like
Basically, your Australian visa will show, your full name, type of your visa, grant date, application ID, date of visa application, stay period, and visa condition.
Sydney, Australia Travel Tips
Assuming your Australian visa online application is approved and you are now planning your travel to the land down under. Here are some of the tips and suggestions based on my experience when we visited Australia.
Suggested Budget Airline Company
We booked a return flight from Scoot Airlines here in Singapore. It costs us around 1600SGD or roughly Php 60,000 for 3 passengers (2 adults and 1 child). We were able to avail a promo during our booking time.
Where to Buy Opal Card and How much to top up
Assuming Australia immigration has granted you a tourist visa, and you have arrived at Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport. The first thing you need to do is purchase an OPAL card at the news agency inside the airport. There are two types of opal card: for adult, and for child. The card is similar to EZ-link in Singapore, and LRT-MRT Beep Card in the Metro Manila, Philippines.
You can use OPAL card to pay for all kinds of transportation available in NEW SOUTH WALES Australia such as bus, train, tram, and ferry. Inquire to the staff at the news agency, they know how much to topped-up depending on your duration of stay in AUS. Since we stayed in Sydney for 9 days and 8 nights, we topped-up 40AUD per adult and 20AUD for kid.
From Sydney Airport, you can ride the train to reach the central business district (CBD) area and you can use your OPAL card to pay for the fare. Although I suggest that you ride a taxi for comfort since for sure, you have heavy luggage with you. During our time the taxi rate is around 50 Australian dollars from the international airport to Central Bussiness District (CBD). From the domestic airport, the cost is around 36 Australian dollars.
Affordable Prepaid Sim Card with Data Bundle
If you want to stay connected online even when you are on tour, the second thing you need to purchase is a prepaid SIM card with data bundle. During our visit, I purchased an Optus Yes prepaid SIM card for 30AUD.
In my opinion, it offers the cheapest because I was able to avail their promo of unlimited local text, local calls, and 6GB data which has 28 days expiry. It is much cheaper if compared to data roaming charges which are usually on pay-per-use terms.
If you need an online map, but you want to save cost on data. Getting a prepaid sim with data is a must.
Recommended Hotel in Sydney, Australia
If you will be staying in Sydney, you can check out Cambridge Hotel and Hotel Abey in Surry Hills. We stayed in Abey Hotel for 5 nights, and 3 nights in the Cambridge Hotel. I can say that we had a good experience during our stay in both hotels. Our room was clean, although, they should have better soundproofing in between rooms because sometimes we can hear guests’ conversations from rooms next to ours.
The location is OK for us since a bus stop is probably 2 minutes walk and the central train station is 10 minutes walk from the hotel. I recommended that you booked a room through agoda.com or booking.com for cheaper rates.
Book a hotel, maybe 1 month prior to your arrival so the cost per night is still low. Anyway, there are promotions where booking cancellation is free of charge. Just keep in mind of the cancellation deadline to avoid extra charges for some minor mistakes such as forgetting to cancel your booking.
Foreign Exchange Suggestion
Based on our experience, we suggest that you do not change your local currency in shops inside Sydney airport, because I think it is not value for your money. Aside from the exchange rate when you buy Au dollar, they also charge you with service fee which ranges from 8 to 12AUD per transaction.
As much as possible change your currency from the airport where you are coming from. If you are flying from NAIA Philippines, change your peso to a dollar in banks at the airport.
Another suggestion is you change your local currency when you are already OUTSIDE of Sydney airport. The reason is that foreign exchange stalls outside charge lower service fees.
Purchase an I-Venture Card (Optional)
If you plan to try every attraction in Sydney, or in other cities, I suggest that you purchase an I-Venture card.
The card allows you to enjoy single entry to all of Sydney’s top attractions. It offers up to 40% savings on entry fees to tours (like Sydney sightseeing tour, Blue Mountains explorer bus), guided walks (The Rocks Walking Tour), museums, cruises (like Captain Cook Hop-on Hop-off) and wildlife attractions (Sydney Sea Life Aquarium), Sydney Opera House Tour, and much more.
Here is one of the attractions in Sydney that we enjoyed when we availed of the I-Venture card:
That’s all! I hope this post helps during the online processing of your Australian tourist visa application whether you are in the Philippines, India, or Singapore, and also when you are already touring in Australia.