My-Step-by-Step Guide on How to Apply for an Australia Tourist Visa Online

July 31, 2018

Image result for australia flag


My-Step-by-Step Guide
on How to Apply for an Australia Tourist Visa Online
Without Appearance

What I realized while applying for an Australia Tourist Visa online:

1. You can apply for a tourist visa purely online.

This means you can execute everything online: from the application, to the payment, until receipt of visa grant. You don't need to personally submit your application and documents, appear for biometrics scan or submit your passport for stamping of the visa. The visa grant is emailed to you.

2. If your documents are complete, your visa may be issued as early as 3 days from submitting your application.

I submitted the visa application on a Monday, we received the grant letter by email 3 days after, which is on a Thursday.

3. If you answered yes to any medical question, you will be required to undergo a health assessment in any of the panel of physicians accredited by the embassy of Australia.

If you are located in the Philippines, you can check out the accredited panel of physicians here:

I underwent my health assessment at St. Lukes Global City. The results was uploaded to my account a week after completing my health assessment. The visa officer issued my visa grant next day.

4. Depending on your circumstances, the Australia embassy can give a multiple entry tourist visa valid for one year from date of issuance.

From other blogs, I read that the Australia embassy usually issue a 6 month multiple entry tourist visa. So they usually advise you not to apply for a tourist visa earlier than 6 months from the date your tour ends. But if you have sufficient documents to justify giving you a one year tourist visa, they do give out a one year tourist visa.

My advice, therefore, is to furnish them as much evidence as you can to show that you are a legitimate tourist, that you have sufficient ties to your country that will make you return, and that you have enough funds to visit Australia multiple times. After completing the application form, they only tell you to that the required documents to be uploaded are: (1) passport data page (where you have your name and other information displayed), (2) passport photo, (3) proof of travels to other countries such as visa and stamped pages of expired and valid passports. But i furnished them with other documents too, especially financial documents.


My-Step-by-Step Guide on How to Apply for an Australia Tourist Visa Online

STEP 1. Identify the visa class you are applying for.

If you are going to Australia as a tourist, you should be applying for Visitor Visa (subclass 600).

STEP 2. Get an email address.

You need have an email address. This is where the visa officer will send all communications and the visa grant letter if and when they issue you a visa.

STEP 3. Open an ImmiAccount.

An Immiaccount is your online account with the Department of Home Affairs where you can apply for a visa online. It allows you to fill up the application form online, upload the documents to support your application, pay the visa fee and track the progress of your application.

You can open an Immiaccount at https://online.immi.gov.au/lusc/login.

If you will travel together in a group, such as a family or friends, you can process your application together by indicating that you wish to have group processing. This means you can log in at one account and submit your application through that one account.




STEP 4. Fill up the application form.

The application form is around 14 pages long so you can do it in a span of several days. Just remember to save what has been filled. You can edit any information that you placed in the online application form as long as you don't click SUBMIT.

Since I plan to travel to Australia multiple times, I placed 2 travel dates: one 2-week visit in Melbourne and on a different date, another 2-week visit to Sydney.

STEP 5. Gather your documents.




What I submitted from the REQUIRED documents are:

a. Passport photo

I requested a soft copy from Great Image so I can upload it to my Immi account.

b. Travel Document

Scanned copy of the passport data page (the page where your photo is and where your personal information is written)

c. Evidence of previous compliant travel

  • Visas issued (I submitted a scanned copy of ALL visas issued to me, valid and expired.) 
  • Arrival and departure stamps in valid passport (I submitted a scanned copy of departure and arrival stamps of the past 5 years. But it's recommended that you submit departure and arrival stamps in relation to the visas issued to you.)
  • Arrival and departure stamps in expired passports (It's recommended that you submit departure and arrival stamps in relation to the visas issued to you) 
  • Travel history (I made a list showing arrival and departure dates of all countries I visited just to make it easier for the visa officer to understand my travel history; the list is in table form: in the first column is the country, and the second column are the arrival and departure dates. Then I uploaded it as a word file)

Although just RECOMMENDED I still submitted the ff. documents:

a. Evidence of planned tourism activities

Travel itinerary (Since I plan to travel in 2 different dates, I submitted 2 itineraries: one for Melbourne and another for Sydney.)

b. Evidence of personal financial capacity

As you can see from the photo above, there is no list as to what evidence should be given. It is up to you to decide what evidence to give to show personal financial capacity. These are my suggestions:

  • Certificate of employment, or your husband or wife's certificate of employment if you are unemployed. If you're submitting your husband or wife's certificate of employment, you need to submit a copy of your marriage contract. 
  • Other evidence to show where your income is coming from.  
  • Income Tax Return 
  • Bank certificates from the bank containing the ff. information: account type, current balance, account opening date, 6 months average daily balance
  • Time deposit certificates 
  • Credit card statements 
  • Land title
  • Car registration

STEP 6. Scan your documents and give it a title.

You need to give your documents a name like bankstatement.jpg instead of sticking with the number it is automatically assigned after scanning like 2024.jpg. It will be easier for the visa officer to make sense of your documents if it's already described in the title of the file.

STEP 5. Upload your documents under the appropriate heading or category, as shown in the photo above.

You are limited to uploading only 60 documents.

STEP 5. Read your application again before submitting.

Remember that when you click SUBMIT, you cannot edit your application form anymore.

STEP 6. Submit and pay the fee online.

The fee is 140 AUD + 1.37 credit card surcharge.

STEP 6. Wait for the results by email.

If the visa officer does not request further information, he will email the result 3 days after submission of the application. In our case, my husband received a visa grant 3 days after submission of the application form. He was given a 1 year multiple entry visa.

In my case, I was required to get a health assessment, which I immediately did, so that a week after my husband received his visa, I received mine too.

COMELEC NEW VOTER REGISTRATION: My Guide and Tips

July 24, 2018



COMELEC NEW VOTER REGISTRATION:
My Guide and Tips


The Comelec Voter Registration started again last July 2, 2018 and my advice is to register early.  Yesterday,  I brought my daughter to the Comelec thinking that the line will be short since the next elections will be held next year but I was mistaken. A lot of people are already registering to vote. But unlike the last time I brought my elder kids to Comelec for voter registration where the whole process took us 2 hours to finish, this time it took us only 40 minutes. So you still save time when you register early.


Comelec Resolution on Voter Registration:

So here are MY TIPS to help you save time:


1. Download the application form at the Comelec site so you can fill up the 3 copies in advance before you arrive at COMELEC.

Make sure to print it BACK TO BACK. The form I downloaded online was not printed back to back so my daughter filled up a new application form at the Comelec office.

Application form download: 
http://www.comelec.gov.ph/php-tpls-attachments/VoterRegistration/ApplicationsForms/CEF1_Revised.pdf

2. Photocopy the required documents for registration prior to arriving at the Comelec office.

In my daughter's case, the documents she presented are her birth certificate and school ID. They attach the photocopy of these documents to the application form before submitting it to the election officer.

To those who didn't download the application form online, the Comelec do not give you the application form until after you give them a photocopy of the required documents. So there will be additional delay while you find a xerox machine to photocopy the documents if you don't photocopy the documents before you arrive at the Comelec office

3. Bring a ballpen.

You might need it in case you miss filling up some items in the application form. It will save time looking for one when you need it.

PROCEDURE AND REQUIREMENTS:

This is at Comelec Antipolo. But I presume it's almost the same in all other Comelec locations.

In my daughter's case, they didn't ask for proof of billing.
But I brought a PLDT bill in my name just in case.
The purpose of this requirement is to prove residence in the area.
Since the bill is in my name and my name is in my daughter's birth certificate, I would think that they will conclude that my daughter lives in the same place I live.
But, as I said  they didn't ask for proof of billing  







STEP 2. This is where you present the photocopy of your documents.
They need to verify if your name is found in the database.
Then they give you the application form, which you need to accomplish in 3 copies.


STEP 3. This is where you present your filled up application form.
They check if all items have been filled up and then they forward it to the Office of the Election Officer.


STEP 4-7. These steps are accomplished inside the Office of the Election Officer
You wait until your name is called before you enter.

You receive an acknowledgment receipt after accomplishing all steps.


This is the flow of registration


SM NORTH EDSA TRAVEL TAX PAYMENT COUNTER: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

July 20, 2018


SM NORTH EDSA TRAVEL TAX PAYMENT COUNTER: 
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

Filipinos traveling abroad are required to pay travel tax. To avoid long lines at the travel tax counter inside the airport, you can choose to do the ff:

1. Pay online and incur an additional 78.35 pesos fee per person as web admin fee and credit card surcharge

Check out my post:

OR

2. Pay at one of the government's travel tax counters. 

I chose to visit the SM North EDSA travel tax counter because they don't charge a processing fee in addition to the tax, unlike when you pay online. 

WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING:

1. The original passport of the traveler

I didn't ask if a photocopy is accepted. I just brought the original passport just to be safe. In case you can't bring the original passport of the traveler for various reasons, you can ask them at this phone number: (632)533-5026 whether they will accept a photocopy. 

2. A printout of your ticket.

They need the printout because the receipt must indicate the flight number and ticket number/booking reference number.

3. Cash

They say they accept credit cards. But when I paid at the counter, the credit card machine is offline. So I think it's better to bring cash. 


Travel tax rates


OPERATING HOURS:

Mon to Fri: 10:00 AM to 6pm


LOCATION:

At the basement of SM North EDSA Annex, beside the bowling center. 

The entrance of the travel tax counter is at the right. 


The TIEZA travel tax counter is within the SM government service express center. 

The travel tax counter is at the right near the door or entrance of the center. 

The Government Express Service Center offers other services like LTO driver's license renewal, SSS payment  etc. 

HANOI: 10 Reasons Why I Love this Halong Bay Luxury Day Tour

July 14, 2018


HANOI: 10 Reasons Why I Love this Halong Bay Luxury Day Tour



If you don't have time to stay overnight in Halong Bay, this is a day tour I highly recommend. The cheapest day tour I could find is only half the price of this tour but they have a lot of problems like cramped vans, overbooked boats, a long and bumpy van ride, hanging out too long in souvenir shops instead of a longer stay at Halong Bay. Since it's only a day, comfort and maximized time is essential. Comfort is essential because if you don't feel well after the 3 hour van ride, you end up not enjoying the short stay at Halong Bay. It's also important to maximize time by avoiding long wait times in boats and in souvenir shops because as I said, it takes away time spent at Halong Bay if you spend it on these unimportant  activities that can be avoided.


Here are 10 reasons why I love the Halong Bay Luxury Day Tour

1. Late hotel pick-up time

We were picked up 9:00 AM so we need not wake up too early (We're on vacation, right? 😊). We were also able to enjoy a long and hearty breakfast.


Despite the late pick up time, we arrived ahead of a lot of tourists. I will explain later.


2. The luxury van is spacious and is limited to a comfortable number of passengers.

The luxury van is very spacious and comfortable, it has spacious leather seats that can be reclined, has free WiFi, charging port and complimentary bottled water. The 3 hour ride was fast and comfortable. We were able to rest well so we were able to enjoy cruising Halong Bay.








3. Our guide, Choung, is very well-informed, attentive and entertaining.

Our guide, Chuong took care of us very well. He was very attentive to our needs. He is well informed and shared with us a wealth of information about Vietnamese life and culture from a personal perspective which gave us an insider's view of Hanoi life.





4. The route of this tour uses the highway so travel time is faster.

They picked us up 9 am but we were able to arrive ahead of the other tours. We rode the boat immediately and visit the caves without the crowd of tourists because we arrived ahead of them because our van used the faster route.

Other cheaper tour groups avoid paying the toll for the highway, so they use the longer, less paved route.


5. We stopped briefly to use the toilet and weren't brought to any souvenir shops.

We liked that we stopped just a few minutes to use the toilet so we were able to save time and maximize our stay at Halong Bay. 

This is the toilet stop


6. They limit the number of passengers riding the van and the boat. So we weren't crowded.

Inside the van

Inside the boat 

7. Waiting time to board the boat is only brief. 











8. Food is delicious. Drinks are included in the rate. 













9. The bamboo boat or kayak ride (you have a choice between the two) used to explore the inner islands of Halong Bay is included in the rate.










10. The tour's pace is perfect and not tiring but we loved that it included the right combination of highlights on the must see and experience at Halong Bay. 


MAJOR HIGHLIGHTS:

A cruise along Halong bay


Bamboo boat ride or Kayak to the inner islands of Halong Bay




Dau Go Cave Tour 






In conclusion:

Despite it being more expensive than other day tours, I consider it value for money and will highly recommend it to others. The additional expense is worth it because it gave us a very enjoyable, comfortable and comprehensive day tour of Halong Bay and a quick peek on Vietnamese life and culture through the personal perspective of our guide, Chuong.


THIS  IS  A  VIDEO  OF  US  CRUISING  HALONG  BAY