I almost gave up on travelling to Australia. That’s because I got all my documents ready less than a week before my scheduled date of travel. In its website, the Australian Embassy in Manila says processing time for tourist visas is five to seven working days (emphasis on working). I thought to myself ” how can I possibly do this?” But my sponsor encouraged me to just try. And so I did! 😀
Let me say I had a very good experience dealing with the Australian Embassy (as opposed to the US Embassy Manila where horror stories abound). I did not meet anybody from the Australian embassy per se, but I liked how the whole process went and somebody even replied to an email inquiry I sent. This way, I felt that I was getting my money’s worth and they were judging my application based on its merits
At 4700 pesos visa processing fee (issued through manager’s check)plus 600 pesos for the courier , applying for an Australian tourist visa isn’t cheap. You will also not know whether they approved you for a visa or not until the courier delivers your passport after an average of five working days processing.
Documents needed for one’s Australian visa application are accepted at the VIA Centre in Pasay Road, Makati City. Look for this building… it is just walking distance from landmarks like Makati Cinema Square, Greenbelt 1 and Milky Way Restaurant.
VIA Centre is a third party processing service maintained by Philippine Audiotext Services Inc. They also process New Zealand visas. I found their personnel to be very courteous and pleasant. It was also a bonus that there were hardly any long lines when I applied. My only complaint is the old building and very slow elevator 😀
I actually got hold of the documents needed from Rajah Travel because they’re near my office. I would advise that you get your checklist of requirements from a similar travel agency. This saves you the trouble of downloading the application form which they give out for free anyway. Just take note that if you course your application through a travel agency, it would cost you two thousand pesos more in “service fees.”
If you’re working, Australian tourist visa requirements include your job certification, tax forms, birth certificate and/or marriage contract, 2 x 2 passport size picture, airline/hotel booking and bank certificate (it is advisable that you have a minimum of from P300,000 to P500,000 in your bank account)
Prior to applying, it is best to consult the Visa Wizard available online to see which visa applies to your situation. I was surprised to find that if you’re being sponsored by a relative who lives in Australia, it is possible that the relative or family member will be required to post a bond ranging from AUD$5,000 to AUD$15,000
VIA Center locations:
Unit 901, 9/F One Corporate Plaza
845 Antonio Arnaiz Ave (Pasay Rd)
Unit 1004-B, 10/F Keppel Center
Samar Loop cor Cardinal Rosales Ave
Cebu Business Park,Cebu City
8:30am – 4pm, Monday to Friday – For lodging applications
8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday – For general information
8am to 11:30am, Saturday – For lodging applications and general information.
The Centres are closed on a majority of Philippine public holidays.