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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Page
Before applying for a Visa
1. How do I know which type of visa to apply for?
To assist you in determining which visa types may meet your needs, “Find a Visa” is an excellent tool to assist you in your search. The Visa Wizard is a client self-service tool that will step you through a series of questions and present a visa summary sheet which includes information on visa options, how to apply, fees and charges, duration of stay and any skills requirements.
Australian visas are organised into subclasses denoted by a 3-digit number, e.g. sub-class 676 (Tourist Visa). The Visa Wizard supports 57 of the most common visa sub-classes, ranging from general skilled migration, students, family migration, visitor and other temporary entry visas.
Unfortunately, we are not in the position to provide immigration advice, as such, we are unable to advise what visa you should apply for, as options will vary depending on your purpose of travel to Australia and your personal circumstances in meeting the relevant legislative requirements.
2. Where can I get an application form?
Application forms can be downloaded from the Department’s website. You may also visit the VFS Global Australian Visa Application Centre to obtain an application form. Further information can be obtained at http://www.vfsglobal.com/australia/philippines/.
More detailed information is available on our website, See: information booklets
3. How much is the visa application charge (VAC) or fee? Are there any other fees for my application?
The Visa Application Charge will vary depending on the type of visa you intend to apply for.
The only accepted form of payment for visa applications in the Manila Visa Office is a local bank’s cheque (manager’s cheque) that is payable to the “Australian Embassy” and made out in Philippine peso. Unfortunately, the Manila Visa Office currently does not have a facility for credit card payments.
Alternatively, the visa application charge can be paid at a DIBP Office in Australia where the payer will have the option to use a credit/debit card to pay the visa fee. The DIBP Office will issue you with a receipt which you are then responsible to submit (either an original pink receipt or new A4 version) along with the application form as evidence of payment of the visa application charge.
Applications submitted without a complete fee will be deemed invalid and returned to you. Please ensure you have the most up to date, see: Fees and Charges
4. How do I send/submit my visa application?
Visa applications in the Philippines are submitted through our Service Delivery Partner using one of their two Australian Visa Applications Centres (AVAC) or by calling their Call Centre numbers to arrange for courier pick-up of your application from anywhere in the Philippines.
When submitting an application with our service delivery partner at one of the VFS AVAC’s or through their courier pickup service, you will be charged a service charge. A list of these charges may be found on their website.
Payments for the services of the VFS AVAC can be made in cash and must not be included in the Visa Application Charge cheque.
5. Can I make an appointment to submit my application directly at the Manila Visa Office?
Direct applications at the Manila Visa Office are only allowed for emergency cases such as medical emergencies, death/funerals, or urgent business travels. For all other cases, the application must be made through our service delivery partner channels.
If you believe you meet any of the emergency case circumstances, please send an email and put the nature of your emergency on the subject line. See, Contact the Australian Embassy (Manila)
6. What are the requirements for applying for a visa and the documents
you need to support my application?
The requirements vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for. See: Requirements for the different visa types processed in the Philippines.
Supporting documents will vary depending on your personal circumstances and the type of visa you are applying for.
For migration applications, your personal circumstances may require additional supporting documents. If additional documents will support a positive outcome, you will be asked to provide them after being assessed by your case officer. Your circumstances will not be assessed prior to submitting your application. Please ensure your application is as complete as possible to avoid any unnecessary delays or an undesired outcome.
For transit, visitor, student and temporary residence visas, your application will be assessed based on the information you provide. If you do not provide sufficient information to show you meet the relevant criteria, your visa application may be refused. Please ensure your application is as complete as possible to avoid this kind of disappointment.
For visa types that are submitted and assessed in Australia, please refer to the DIBP website for detailed information.
7. Do I need to submit my original passport with my application?
No. You only need to submit a certified copy of the main page (called the bio-page) of your passport. If your application is approved / granted, a grant letter will be provided. During the processing of your application however, your case officer may request that you submit your original passport.
8. My passport has less than 6-months validity, can I still use this or
should I apply for a new passport before I make an application?
Australian Migration Regulations does not prescribe a period within which the passport should be valid in order to travel to Australia. However, some airlines prescribe a “must be valid for at least 6 months” policy as many other countries require this. You should discuss this with your airline or travel agent.
It may be to your advantage however, to have a passport with a longer validity to avoid any inconveniences in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
After you submit your visa application with DIBP
9. How do I know you have received my application and who my case officer is?
Under our Client Service Charter, we endeavour to acknowledge applications received by this office within seven (7) working days, usually by e-mail.
If you provide your e-mail address when submitting your application and authorise us to use it in your application form, an acknowledgement of your application can be made easier. If you provide your e-mail address when you submit a visitor visa application with our service delivery partner, an email acknowledgement of your application will be sent when we receive the application.
If you do not provide a valid e-mail address when applying for a Visitor Visa application however, no acknowledgment will be sent as the average processing time is about fifteen (15) working days. Only in cases where the application will be processed beyond 15 working days will an acknowledgement letter be sent.
The acknowledgement letter will either include the name and contact details of your case officer, or the section which is processing your application if we are not yet assessing applications submitted at this date yet – see: How long does it take for my visa to be granted? In some instances, this will also include some information required by your case officer in support of your application.
If you have provided an invalid email address, an acknowledgement letter will be sent to you via postal mail. This would include Form 929 which you need to complete and return to us to notify us of your correct email address and other contact details.
10. How long does it take for my visa to be processed?
There is no prescribed period when an application should be made. However, we encourage applicants to submit their application with ample time for visa processing by taking into consideration our average visa processing times for each visa sub-class.
Applicants are encouraged to submit complete applications which provide all necessary requirements at the time of submission, as this can assist in delivering a more efficient service.
Please note that this is indicative only and individual applications can be decided shorter or longer than our average processing times depending on the circumstances of the application.
Delays can be reduced by ensuring you respond in a timely manner to requests for additional documentation, police clearance certificates, original copies of documents, or completed medical assessments.
We strongly discourage applicants from making flight bookings/reservations until such time that their passport and valid visa has been returned to them. This prevents unnecessary cancellation and rebooking of flights and other airline and accommodation related costs.
11. Where can I take my medical examination? Can I use a different doctor to certify that I am fit to travel?
If a medical and/or x-ray examination is required, we will notify you after your application is lodged with the Manila Visa Office and issue a Health Assessment (HAP) letter. You will then need to make arrangements to attend an approved immigration panel doctor.
You will need to arrange an appointment with a panel doctor of your choice - see List of panel doctors in Philippines:
Please ensure that you take the following with you to the examination:
• Health ID number provided by our office
• A copy of the details page of your passport
You should be aware of what type of visa you are applying for, as the panel doctor will need this information in order to complete the health examination forms.
Most clear medical results have a validity of 12 months, so you may also wish to take this into consideration as a visa may only be granted while any required medical assessments are valid. Health clearances may sometimes expire during the processing of an application. If health clearance expires prior to decision, it is the responsibility of the applicant to undertake another examination and pay associated costs.
If you were required to undertake further medical examinations or referred to a specialist, you will be required to provide the letter issued by our office indicating what further examination must be taken.
The Manila Visa Office has no liability or responsibility for the costs of medical examinations, even if the application is refused on other requirements after meeting the health requirement.
12. Should I get certified copies of my documents? Where can I have my copies of original documents certified?
Our checklists would indicate whether the documents must be certified or not (see: What are the documents you need to support my application?) If copies of documents are acceptable and they must be certified, you must either:
For documents certified in the Philippines – have it certified by a Notary Public
For documents certified in Australia - have it certified by a Justice of the Peace, Commissioner for Declarations or by a person before whom a statutory declaration may be made.
If the checklist specifies that the document must be certified by an Australian officer, please contact the Consular Section of the Australian Embassy .
13. My case officer requires further evidence and documents from me, how do I submit them to the Manila Visa Office?
Additional supporting documents can be submitted also through our Service Delivery Partner either in person at the AVAC or by arranging for courier pick-up through their Call Centre. See: How do I send/submit/submit my application?
Due to the large volume of documents we handle, we do not acknowledge receipt of additional documents.
You may also enquire with your case officer the possibility of submitting the required documents via fax or scanned in an email. Your case officer, however, reserves the right to request for the original documents to be submitted based on the assessment of the case or document.
Please note that we are unable to accept emails with a total file size larger than 5mb. Neither this office nor the sender will be notified that the email is blocked. If you need to send large emails, you will need to send as several, smaller documents.
14. How do I contact my case officer?
Your case officer’s contact details will be indicated on correspondence sent regarding your application as soon as a case officer is allocated. Please note that the Manila Visa Office has a Communications Unit responsible for answering routine phone and e-mail enquiries regarding current visa applications.
Depending on the type of visa you are applying for, all email enquiries should be sent to the email address indicated in your acknowledgement letter and they will be directed to a relevant officer to ensure e-mails aren’t missed during times of absence.
When contacting us in relation to your application, please include your file reference number provided to you by this office, if applicable. Please also include your full name, date of birth, passport number and the type of visa you are applying for.
DIBPClient Service Standards however, also expect you to keep your contact with the case officer or section processing your application to a minimum, to allow processing of your own and other applications to proceed as quickly as possible.
In view of Australia’s Privacy Act 1998, we are only able to provide information to you as the applicant, your migration agent or your authorised representative. Please see the corresponding forms to be submitted with your application if you choose a representative to receive information in your behalf:
• Registered Migration Agent: Form 956
• All others: Form 956A
See: Download 956 forms.
If you are not the applicant, please note that we will not be able to provide you with any case specific information without any appropriate authorisation.
15. How will I find out the decision on my application?
Your case officer will notify you of the decision on your application.
If your application is successful, a Visa Grant Notice will be sent to you. You are strongly advised to bring the Visa Grant Notice with you when you depart for Australia.
If your application was refused, a Decision Record will be provided and any avenues for appeal if applicable. This would also detail the reason for the decision and what legislative requirement you failed to meet.
Decisions will be sent to you in the method you indicate in the application form. If you indicate you authorise e-mail contact and provide a valid e-mail address, we can quickly get your decision to you on the day it is made.
If you do not provide an e-mail address, we will send your decision back to you via a courier at your expense to the address you authorise in your application. This may take between two days and two weeks, depending on the location of your authorised address in the Philippines or in Australia.
If you are using a Registered Migration Agent or an authorised recipient , your decision will be sent directly to them and will be sent in the method they indicated they authorise in the corresponding forms.
Original documents will be returned to you by courier at your expense.
After a decision on your application is made
16. I have received the decision on my application and I would like it to be reconsidered or reviewed, how do I apply for a reconsideration of the decision?
If your application was refused, the letter and/or Decision Record would include information whether the decision can be submitted for review by a tribunal. If the decision can be reviewed as authorised by Australian migration law, an application for review must be made with the relevant tribunal within the prescribed time period indicated in the decision letter or record. This should be submitted by the person eligible to apply for a review on the decision.
17. If the decision on my application cannot be reviewed, how soon can I re-apply?
There is no prescribed period within which you can re-apply, provided you are not covered by any application bar (or a prohibition for you to submit another application within a certain period). The decision record will indicate if you are covered by any application bar.
18. Can I get a refund of the visa application fee I paid?
If the decision on your application has been finalised, or you decided to withdraw your application before a decision is made, you are not eligible for a mandatory refund on the visa application charge that you paid.
For more information see: circumstances in which a refund or repayment of a visa application charge
19. My visa is still valid but the passport has expired. I now have a new passport. Do I have to apply for a new visa or can I still use the one on my old passport?
Please ensure you complete and submit Form 929 – “Change of address and/or passport details”. Please either:
a) Scan the biodata page from your old and new passport, together with a scanned image of the visa label, and email scanned copy of Form 929 to email@example.com
b) Submit your old and new passport with completed Form 929 to our service delivery partner (with ample time before your intended travel) and your new passport will be returned with a new visa label if necessary.
It is not necessary for you to have a copy of your old valid visa label in your new passport, as long as Form 929 has been completed and submitted with evidence of your old and new passport. This allows us to update our electronic record and ensure airlines are aware that your new passport is valid for travel to Australia.