How to apply for an Australian tourist visa online

Happy 2018! What a rush! How have you been spending the first week of the new year so far?

Ours was spent in the beautiful Down Under. On our very first day, I fell in love with Sydney. It felt both vibrant and yet laid-back, exciting and peaceful. If you’ve been planning to go to Australia too, I hope this guide helps!

We filed our application on October 31, but we have been preparing our documents all month. Preparation time can take less than a week, but we were so busy with work so we couldn’t process our documentation earlier. Applying so late meant we spent more for plane fares and had less options for accommodations because we didn’t want to book anything without an Australian visa.

Tip: Apply earlier than November if you’re going to Australia in December. The cheaper accommodations and flights get snapped up pretty fast.

The Immigration Australia website accepts files in various formats but I saved all our files in either JPG or PDF. Every file must be less than 5MB. I have a scanner at home but if you don’t have one, there are numerous scanning apps available for mobile phones.

Application steps

1) Prepare all your documents at least a week before you file your application.

If you just want to just fill out the form early without submitting the application yet, you can also do so. However, we wanted to finish the application in one go.

2) Register for an IMMIAccount on the IMMI website.

Make sure your email address is valid and that you have access to it everyday because they will only contact you via the email you provide.

3) Answer all the questions and upload the documents when prompted.

Sometimes, the website would crash, and I had to log-in again, so it’s important to save your answers. Clicking Save won’t submit your application. Don’t click Submit if you’re not done answering all the questions.

My sister and I applied as a group (Franca Sisters), which I created when I started the application.

4) Pay the application fee (via credit card).

The credit card doesn’t have to be in your name; I paid for my sister’s application on my card too.

5) Upload your additional documents (i.e. Passport photo)

You are only allowed to upload 60 files. I grouped all my files per category, i.e. all passport immigration stamps in one PDF file, all bank account statements in another PDF file, etc.

I labeled all my documents with my name and per category e.g. Maria Haeja Franca – financial – bank savings or Maria Haeja Franca – old passport and immigration stamps


1) Application form tourist visa subclass 600

This is not needed if you’re applying online because it contains the same questions as the online questionnaire. However, refer to #4 in my Other Documents submitted.

2) Visa application charge

We were charged AU$140 plus credit card fees. The actual cost in Peso depends on the conversion rate for the day and your credit card fees (BPI charges the lowest).

3) Passport

You will need to save the following in separate files because they are asked for separately:

  • Biography page of your current and valid passport
  • Visas (valid or expired) and entry and exit immigration stamps of your current and valid passport
  • Visas (valid or expired) and entry and exit immigration stamps of your expired passport(s)

Some blogs state they had their documents notarized but we didn’t; we just scanned our papers.

4) Passport photo

During the initial application process (about 20 pages), you will not be asked for a passport photo. Once you pay the visa application fee, you can upload additional documents such as your passport photo.

This must be recent and passport-photo size.

5) Financial documents

a. Copy of your bank deposit books/bank statements

I asked BPI Direct for a certification of 2 bank accounts. If you have a BPI Direct account, it will take 3 business days before you get the certificate. If you have a BPI or BPI Family account, you will get it within the day. They charge P100 per certification; however, since they combined my 2 bank accounts in one certificate, I was only charged P100.

Other banks may take 2-3 business days, such as with my dad’s experience when we went to Europe.

This was actually the part I was most nervous about because I had less than P100,000 in the bank at the time of application. My trip was going to be funded by my next salary for 3 months. To further support my application, I submitted a certification of my stocks investments as well. Others submit copies of mutual funds and other investments like real estate.

Since the certification doesn’t include the movement of my accounts, I printed out our bank statements through our online access going as far back as 3 months up to the date our bank accounts were certified.

b. Payslips

Since I am self-employed, I don’t have payslips. I submitted a copy of my ITR for 2016.

My sister submitted her payslips for 3 months. However, she couldn’t find her October payslips so she submitted the ones from July to September.

c. Credit card statements and limits

My sister doesn’t use her credit card, but she had enough in the bank to cover her trip.

I submitted credit card statements for the past 3 months. The first page of my cc statements clearly show my credit limit, but I included the pages that showed the purchases/charges for all 3 months.

d. Letter of support from Australian contact with evidence of financial capability

Since we weren’t going to be sponsored by anyone, we didn’t submit anything under this. However, Nina Fuentes in Just Wandering has an informative post about this.

While we do have friends there, we weren’t going to Australia upon their invitation or sponsorship.

e. Evidence of current employment or documents supporting business ownership

My sister submitted a Certificate of Employment, which clearly stated the year she started working, her current position, and her annual salary. She also submitted a Leave of Absence document, which stated the date she was expected back at work.

I submitted a copy of my Certificate of Registration as a self-employed taxpayer.

6) Evidence of intended purpose of travel/planned tourism activities

We submitted an outline of the date and daily itinerary plus a total of the number of days we’ll be in Australia.

We also uploaded our cover letter, which is not required, but we wanted to introduce ourselves. I stated that I’m traveling with my sister, Mariko. Since I feel that I may not present a very strong reason to return to the Philippines, I mentioned that I write about my travels in my website and that I have another trip after Australia.

I signed off with my name, mobile number, and email address.

Tip: If you need to sign documents without printing them, you can sign them using the free Adobe Reader app on mobile phones. Save trees!
Revisiting Australia’s convict history in Cockatoo Island

Other documents we submitted

1) Travel Document > Other

Under the description, I wrote Travel plans 2018 and uploaded my plane ticket for my trip after Australia.

I also uploaded my Travel Insurance for Australia, which I purchased through MAPFRE. We bought our travel insurance from them for our Eurotrip, so I trusted them. They were quick to respond and more affordable than other travel insurances I looked up. They also do free delivery and you can pay upon delivery. However, they got my name spelled wrong and misspelled Village to Cillage. I quickly contacted them, and they sent me a soft copy of the revised policy the same day, and sent me the revised printed policy on the next business day.

2) Birth or Age, Evidence of

I uploaded my birth certificate, which I got from NSO.

3) Photograph – Other

To show my relationship to my sister and that we have a history of traveling around the world, we each uploaded a picture of just the two of us and a picture of us with our parents.

4) Other documents

I read from Just Wandering that she was contacted the next day to fill out the Subclass 600 Tourist Stream checklist (Philippines). I wanted to lessen any delays since we were hurrying to snap up affordable accommodations in Sydney, so I filled out this form and uploaded it.

Even though I wasn’t attaching Form 1419 (Application Form), I still marked it with an X since I was answering the same questions in the online application.

Ate Koku at the Blue Mountains

As soon as we submitted our application, we just received an acknowledgement email. We filed our application on the evening of October 31 and received a Grant Notice email and the visa in PDF form on November 6. Since October 31 and November 1 were holidays, it only took 2 business days to process our visa. However, some applications take longer while some applications are approved the next day.

Our visa is 5 pages long. The first page is a Notification of grant of a Visitor (subclass 600) visa, and the second page is the Visa Grant Notice. Pages 3 to 5 contained a Visa Grant Fact Sheet, which I did not print. It does not need to be attached to your passport, but I brought a copy with me everywhere I went. Whenever we passed through immigration, no one asked for a print copy of our visa, however, because I think they have a copy in their computer.

I was so excited to receive my visa, because I was so nervous that I wasn’t showing strong reasons to go back to the Philippines. As a self-employed freelancer and less than P100,000 in the bank, I really thought I was going to be denied. Trying to explain my employment status in the Philippines takes a few minutes because the “registered freelancer” seems to be a new thing. The only other visa I have is from Schengen, and all my other trips are around Southeast Asia, so I only had immigration stamps.

Goodluck with your Australian visa application! Australia was more vibrant and exciting than I expected and even days after I’ve gone home, I’m wishing I can go back for more. Sigh Red Heart on Google Android 8.1

Read the other posts in my Sydney series!

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