AUSTRALIA 2017: AUSTRALIAN VISA TIPS. How It Came To Be, and How It Can Be For You Too

Travel

Australia has never been in our travel plans, personally, and as a family. Not that we have anything against it, it’s just that Australia never really crossed our minds.

Traveling to Australia was a far-fetched idea because budget-wise, it was somehow impossible. Airfare, visa, etc., and cost of living(!), which is just one of the things to consider since Sydney’s one of the most expensive cities in the world. But thanks to Cebu Pacific Air, they’re really the reason everyone flies! And no, this is not a paid article. I wish it were. *ehem #CEBtravels #CebuPacificAir 🙂


AIRFARE:

Last September 2016, some friends of ours notified us that Cebupac Manila (MNL) – Sydney (SYD) flights on February 2017 were on sale. How much? 7,000php. ONLY 7 GRAND!! And it wasn’t even a major sale, just a random one. Regular fares (from different airline companies) to Australia would normally cost not less than 25k. It was very tempting. But again, we really didn’t have any plans of going to Australia, so we just let it pass. Our friends went on to book theirs. Then two weeks later, the seat sale came back, but for 9k+ this time. Without much thinking, we just took it! haha

Piece of advice, keep randomly looking into Cebu Pacific Air, or download their mobile application, to check for ticket prices. Even without a major sale, you just might be able to score to-die-for deals.

Net airfare:

63,598.76php (6 pax)
-4,400php (baggage allowance. *We only got one 15kg baggage allowance)

59,198.76php (divided by 6pax)

= 9,866.46php (MNL-SYD roundtrip per pax)

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VISA:

As a family of six, we risked booking tickets without visas yet (a very common practice in the Philippines, because of seat sales). We had already shelled out a good amount of money even without the assurance of getting a visa.

One can opt to apply online, but since it was our first time to travel to Australia, we chose to take the services of VFS Global here in Cebu. To our surprise, the Australian visa application requirements were so easy. Well, the requirements are pretty standard, almost the same with any other visa. But the great thing is, only photocopies of ALL your papers are needed. The usual (incomplete and not detailed):

-Bank Certificate
-Bank Statement
-Photocopies of bio pages and previous travels of all passports (current and previous)
-Certificate of Employment (if applicable)
-Income Tax Return (ITR)
-Business permit and all other business papers to show proof of business (if applicable)
-Invitation letter (if applicable)
-Visa fee payment appropriate to your visa category will be in the form of a Manager’s Cheque, payable to “Australian Embassy.” Other forms of payment will not be accepted.

What I submitted (all in photocopy):

-Visa application checklist (check with VFS or online)
-Visa application form (check with VFS or online)
-Photocopies of bio pages and previous travels of all passports (current and previous)
-Bank Certificate with bank statement
-Professional Tax Receipt/permit (self-employed)
-Income Tax Return (ITR)
-Personal life insurance w/ critical illness & accident rider policy
-Airline booking
-Sample tour itinerary

I assume all of us have the idea that one needs an invitation letter to apply for an Australian visa. But no, we didn’t make use of an invitation letter from a host/friend/relative in Australia in our application. We applied for a Subclass 600 visa. If applying online, you only have to submit scanned copies of your papers.

Some people have mentioned to us that the processing time for an Australian tourist visa application takes a long time. I’ve also read some blogs saying it would take around 15-40 working days, so we were a bit worried. Knowing that, we lodged our application (via VFS Global) early, on December 23, with our travel date on February 23 yet. But we were informed that it was already the last working day of the year, and that they could only start to process our application on January 3. Anyway, just to encourage you, our visas were granted in only two days (January 5), while our friends were given 2-year multiple entry visas on the same day they lodged their application. We were sent confirmation emails, which we were to print to serve as our visas. Australia actually doesn’t have a visa stamped on your passport. I heard, you just have to pay an extra fee if you want the stamp. The visa fee is already so expensive in itself, so we didn’t want any more of that expense!

The biggest factor I think we all worry about is the money we need to have in the bank. Honestly, I really don’t know. Some say, you need at least 200-400k. But one of our friends who went on the trip with us, has never previously traveled abroad and only had 100k in the bank, yet she still was granted a visa. So yeah. I guess it really depends on your planned itinerary and length of stay, if it adds up to the amount of money you have.

5,000php (visa fee)(5,300php effective January 2017)
+636php (VFS Global fee)

TOTAL: 5,636php


So I hope I was able to convince you to go and give Australia a try. I’ve just arrived from the trip, and I’m already dying to go back! Australia’s just so awesome like that.

For more details on visa application, see www.immi.gov.au or VFS Global.

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