It’s a long weekend and it’s the perfect time to get some work done. But here I am, it’s almost night and I haven’t done anything except lie down and watch TV. Laziness and combine that with indecision and you get nowhere. Indecision or just the mere fact that I can’t focus on anything or I’m just overwhelmed with everything. Really, I’m just rambling here while MG doodles in the corner, again with the TV on but both of us not really watching. I guess she’s also unsure on what to do with her free time. Anyway…
I had been busy these past two weeks working on our visa to Australia. You see, a friend of mine just happened to be online one night and bought tickets to Australia for us on an impulse. She just thought it would be awesome to visit our friend who now lives in Sydney with her family. Of course, who wouldn’t want to see a close friend you haven’t seen in a long, long time? The only problem was we didn’t have visas.
Fast forward to yesterday, we got an email notifying us our visas have been granted. That was fast. We lodged our application online on August 24 and we got the decision yesterday. Just two days. I don’t know if it’s a slow season for the Australian Embassy or we were just lucky. Or we just provided everything they needed and we qualified. In any case, it is definitely good news. I’ve always wanted to see Melbourne and do this street art tour and coffee crawl which I’m kind of into now. So thanks to my nocturnal friend, we’re going to Australia this October!
I was actually prepared for it to go the other way. I’d be fine without it in all honesty. Less expenses for me as we all know that a visit to Australia can be very expensive. At the back of my mind, there are still a lot of places I can go to without a visa or where visa application is lenient like in Taiwan and Japan…and without breaking the bank. Do you know what I mean? But we’re finally doing this and I can’t wait to see my friend and her daughter who I haven’t seen and who also happens to be my inaanak.
Ok, some tips. Register for an IMMI account. There you’ll find application forms and links to attach your supporting documents. For a checklist of documents, go here. For more information on Australia visa application, visit this site.
Actually, just prepare all the requirements before online lodgement. We decided to send in our applications online which is more convenient, cheaper and faster. You may also lodge your application in person at the Australian Embassy in Makati but since the Philippines is one of the countries eligible for online lodgement of visitor visa applications, we took advantage of it. Together with the completely filled out application form 1419 (tourist stream visa), I submitted the following:
- A copy of my passport
- Birth certificate as evidence of birth or age
- Income Tax Return as evidence of work experience
- Bank statements and a statement of account for the last 3 years as evidence of financial capacity. I just scanned the pages of my bank book and requested a bank certificate from my bank.
- Our 2-week travel itinerary in Australia covering Sydney and Melbourne as evidence of temporary stay
- Current passport and stamps
- Previous passport and stamps as evidence of travel history
- Land title and car OR as evidence of properties and assets
- An invitation letter from my friend along with a copy of her passport and a statutory declaration that states that they (friend and her husband) unequivocally guarantee that we will not be permitted to become a public charge while in Australia and that we will return to our permanent residence in the Philippines at the termination of our visit.
With regards to my kid, I attached everything stated above to her application and added a Certificate of Enrolment which we requested from her school.
I paid AUD 135 via credit card for each application. That was it. I thought we would have to wait a month or so for a decision but I didn’t expect to get the decision in two days. By the way, this was our first attempt at a visa application. I have never in my 45 years applied for a visa to any country. I avoided countries that require visas before entry but Australia was inevitable all because my friend got us tickets. Sayang naman. ;=)
If you’re interested in our itinerary, here it is!
Sydney & Melbourne Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrival
- YumCha and Chinatown and Darling Harbour.
- Sydney Opera House.
- Sydney Museum.
- Lunch at Harry’s Café.
- Sydney Art Museum.
- The Domain Park and Mrs Macquarie’s Chair.
- Mary’s Cathedral mass.
- Sydney Aquarium.
- Sydney Wildlife Park.
- Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.
- Sydney Tower.
- Bondi Beach.
- Kebabs Lunch at Bondi Beach.
- The Gap.
- Hornby Lighthouse and Lady Bay Beach and Sydney Cove.
- Jeffrey Street Wharf and Blues Point Harbour Bridge.
- Blue Mountains.
- Jenolan Caves.
- Town Hall/ Queen Victoria Building.
- Sydney City walkabout.
- Souvenir Shopping Paddys Market.
- Sydney Casino and Star Buffet dinner.
- Parliament House.
- Australian War Memorial.
- Lunch at Nando’s Portuguese Chickens Canberra.
- Cockington Green Miniature Town.
- Telecom Tower.
- Drive to Melbourne 10 hours.
- Hop-On Hop-Off bus Melbourne day tour.
- Great Ocean Road/ 12 Apostles Trip.
- Melbourne Casino.
- Fairy Penguin Colony.
- Drive back to Sydney 10 hours.
- Free time (nothing planned)
- Flight back to Manila 12:35 PM
If you have questions regarding visa application or suggestions on where to go or what best to do in Australia, let me know. I would love to hear what you think.
Not fond of DIY tours? You can join one of these tours, and don’t forget to compare hotels, vacation rentals, rooms, or even homes for your trip before you go. And never leave home without Travel Insurance!