The criteria for approval of tourist visa (subclass 676 visa) are set by law. This visa is specifically intended for tourism, for spending holidays and/or to visit relatives or friends in Australia. Applications from most visitors are denied because documents and evidence submitted are inadequate for the grant of a tourist or visitor’s visa.
The applicant must show that the intended visit is genuine which can be proved by submitting the following documents:
• Employment certificate which states your income, period of employment, that you have been granted leave of absence from work to visit Australia as a tourist or to visit family, relatives or friends, and that you will continue to be employed in the job upon your return;
• Hotel booking and travel itinerary;
• Bank statement or bank certificate or bank passbook or tax records to prove that you have enough funds to access during your stay in Australia;
• Travel insurance.
For elderly visitors, the Australian Embassy in Manila usually requires a medical certificate from a doctor which states that the applicant is fit to travel. For an intended stay of 6-12 months, the Embassy usually requires medical and X-ray examinations with an Australian panel doctor.
The following additional documents are also required of the applicant:
• Completed form 48R. Download the form at: www.immi.gov.au. Each person with a passport must complete one application, except dependent children travelling with their parents, in which case, the children’s application can be included in the parents’ application;
• Birth certificate and if applicable, marriage contract;
• Notarized copy of passport;
• 2 recent passport pictures with name at the back;
• Manager’s cheque payable to ‘Australian Embassy’ for 4,700.00 pesos.
If you have been invited by your relative or friend in Australia, s/he has to send you the following:
• Invitation which can be in a form of a Statutory Declaration which states the purpose of the visit. If the visit is to attend a wedding, birthday, reunion or to visit a sick relative or to tour Australia, the purpose has to be specified in the invitation with a statement that your relative or friend will provide the accommodation for the whole duration of the visit, in case you have agreed on such an arrangement;
• Employment certificate of you sponsor friend or relative, proof of Australian citizenship or his/her passport with Australian permanent visa label, or birth certificate of the sponsor if s/he is a relative of the applicant;
• Bank records;
• A copy of the invitation card, if the purpose is to attend an important function.
A word of caveat: for first time travellers with no relatives in Australia, make sure you have other proofs of identification apart from your passport. However, do not bring documents like educational records which can be interpreted that your purpose is not a holiday or family visit but to work. You also need to have enough funds to cover your travel.
For applicants in the Visayas and Mindanao, you can personally submit your application at: VIA Centre, Unit 1004-B, 10F/Keppel Centre, Samar Loop cor. Cardinal Rosales
Avenue, Cebu Business Park, Cebu City.
For Luzon applicants, you can personally submit your application at: VIA Centre, Unit 901, 9/F One Corporate Plaza, 845 Antonio Arnaiz Avenue (Pasay Road), Makati City.
You can also send the documents direct to the Australian Embassy at Level 23, Tower
2, RCBC Plaza, Ayala Avenue, Makati City, by arranging with a courier through telephone numbers: 1909 3632779 or 1900 3632779 or 1903 3622779.
For those who require additional information, this writer provides free initial telephone consultation and can be contacted at 0412 269 439.
Mr. Jessie Icao is a practising solicitor in New South Wales and registered migration agent since 1993 (MARN 9367993). He is also admitted as lawyer in the Philippines. The answer provided in this column is of general nature and cannot be relied in its entirety. I suggest that you consult a registered migration agent for complete advice or refer to the relevant law.