[Update as of May 13, 2017] I have been granted a 3 month single entry visa valid until November 13, 2017.
A month ago, I got my letter of acceptance from the Apple Distinguished Educators program, April 3, 2017 to be exact. I was super excited because the program is quite competitive and there have been a lot of blog posts of candidates who got in the program on their second or third try. One of the requirements of the program is to attend the ADE Academy and for the Asia-Pacific region there are two locations: Osaka/Kyoto, Japan and Melbourne, Australia. Since I am from the Philippines, all SE Asia candidates will be heading to Melbourne. With another trip looming, it’s that time to once again bring out/request/ask for files to apply for an Australian visa.
In my experience applying for visas: South Korea and Japan, I would end up downloading files from the local Australian embassy website and filling these up. However, I stumbled upon a link on their site that directed me to their online visa application system, where I didn’t have to download any application form or go to the Australian Embassy for filing.
Steps for filing a visa
- Visit VFS global to find out what visa stream you fall under (e.g. Tourist, Business, etc…). In my case, I fall under the Business Tourist category, because of the ADE Academy.
- Create an Australian immigration account.
- Fill up the application form by clicking the appropriate boxes or filling out personal information on the spaces provided. This part of the application process has a good 20 pages in it, read each item carefully.
- After filling up the application form, you will be directed to the attachments page. The requirements will depend on your chosen visa stream, to learn more, check this page out.
- When you have attached all the necessary documents, the last part of the application process is payment. You have the option to pay via debit/credit card or PayPal. The application charge can range anywhere from AUD135 to 1,000, there is a surcharge though of AUD 1.36 when paying. Expect to pay around Php. 5,000 for the visa.
What documents do I need?
- Photocopy of the first page of your passport, otherwise known as the bio page.
- Photocopies of your entry and exit stamps from other countries, especially if you declared that you have visas from other countries. You can also include photocopies from your old passport, don’t forget to include the bio page as well.
- Birth certificate, you can apply for one here.
- Evidence of financial support. This would be your bank and credit card statement, I also attached my income tax return as well for good measure.
- Visa letter, because I would be going to Australia for a conference, I had to request from Apple a visa letter from them.
- Letter of Assurance and support, once again I asked Apple to provide me a letter stating the total amount they would be shouldering while in Melbourne.
- Certificate of employment, once again you can request this from your friendly HR officer/manager. There is also an option to include your pay slip and letter of official leave as well.
After paying the visa fee, the next step is to wait for official word from the Australian Embassy regarding your application, which is what is happening to me right now. Here’s to us and our waiting game, cheers!
[Update as of May 13, 2017]
Once you have been granted a visa, you will receive an email containing the visa letter. According to a reliable source (my sister-in-law), the Australian embassy does not issue visa stickers but provides each successful applicant with a letter containing the visa to show to immigration.