1. Call the Australia Visa Service Desk at telephone no. +63 (2) 790 4900 and request for the latest Checklist for Tourist Visa. Note that the checklist and application form change quite often. And it's important for you to get the latest versions.
2. The good thing about applying for an Australian visa is that you do not need to submit your passport. Photocopy the information page and any stamps from previous travel. Do not include original documents as well. Should original documents be required, you may be requested to provide them at a later date.
3. Remember that visa processing takes at least one month for most cases. Mine was processed in two weeks. Here is more information on the Visitors visa.
4. Make sure you submit copies of all the documents stated in the checklist. The decision on your visa application may be decided based on the information and documentation included with your application at time of submission. Submitting incomplete documents may cause delay or denial of visa. The checklist (as of this writing) asks for the following requirements:
A. Application Form 1419 or the Application for a Visitor visa – Tourist stream completed in English which you can download here. You can type your answers in the .pdf form.
B. Visa application charge of AUD130 in Philippine pesos via a manager's cheque payable to: Australian Embassy. The exact fee will depend on prevailing exchange rates and you will need to confirm this when you call. Even if I called, I was unfortunate that the fee increased by Php100 while my application was in transit. So it delayed my application by a week. As a result, I was required to submit an additional manager's check for Php100 for the papers to move.
C. Copy of your passport – This includes the photo page of your passport and any pages with amendments, endorsements, visas and entry / exit stamps
D. One (1) passport sized photo attached to the front of the application form
E. Evidence of your financial status and capacity to support yourself during your intended stay in Australia, such as: (a) copies of your bank deposit books showing your history of savings or salary; (b) copies of bank statements or payslips over a period of time; (c) credit card statements and limits; (d) letter of support from Australian contact with the above evidence of financial capability; or (e) evidence of current employment or documents supporting business ownership.
F. Evidence of intended purpose of travel (this can include airline, hotel and tour bookings, etc.)
G. Invitation letter from Australian contact (if applicable). If supported by Australian contact, evidence of relationship to Australian contact i.e. birth certificate, marriage certificate etc. and a copy of the photo page of their passport.
H. For applicants below the age of 18, copy of the child’s birth certificate, showing names of the child and both parents.
I. For children traveling without one or both parents or legal guardians, provide: (1) copy of each non-traveling parent’s ID; and (2) signed written authorization (or form 1229) by non-traveling parent(s) stating their agreement to permit their child to travel, the approximate date and duration of travel, whether a single visit or multiple trips are permitted and their contact information.
5. Once you've completed the checklist, you can call the Australia Visa Service Desk at telephone no. +63 (2) 790 4900 to set an appointment or have your documents picked up by courier for a fee. I chose to have my documents picked up by courier and was required to include a manager's check for Php1220 payable to VFS Services Philippines Private, Inc.
6. From the time of submission or pick-up, you just have to wait for the Visa Grant Notice to arrive. The reason they no longer ask for your passport is because they do not place visa labels on them. Instead, the Visa Grant Notice is printed on bond paper informing you that you've been granted a visa. If you need a visa label on your passport, you can get one for an additional fee of AUD150.
7. When you arrive at Australian Immigration, you simply need to present your passport (but make sure you bring the Visa Grant Notice just in case). Here's a tip, upon exiting Australia, they no longer stamp your passport. But you can request for an exit stamp as a souvenir, which is what I did.
VFS Services Philippines Private, Inc.
Mezzanine Floor Ecoplaza Building
2305 Chino Roces Ave. Ext. Makati City 1231
Phone No. +63 (2) 790 4900