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A SIMPLE Visa Application from the Philippines to Australia


Simple visa applications from the Philippines to Australia

Simple? My @r$# it’s simple!



Is it your “right” as an Australian to get a visa from the Philippines to Australia for your Filipina sweetheart (or your Filipino sweetheart)? Is it your right to invite anyone you want and you will get it by birthright? Getting a Tourist Visa or Partner Visa from the Philippines to Australia should be a very easy process, right? We’re used to expecting official things readily when we’re Australians. Go renew your drivers license and you get it. Get the electricity turned on at your new house and they do it. Get your mail redirected. Enroll your kids in school. Get a license for the dog from the local council. It HAPPENS! The question is “when” and not “if”!

So we expect that getting a visa for the Filipina girlfriend from the Philippines to Australia will be an easy process. Fill out the form. Tick the right boxes. Toss in a bank statement and a few photos of the couple with cheeks pressed together? Should get the rubber stamp any day!



Australian Visa from the Philippines to Australia. Why is it NOT simple and easy?


Why is this Australian visa application not like enrolling your kid in school? Why is it they can actually say NO?  Because the application is NOT for you…..not for Mr Aussie! It’s for Miss Not-Aussie! Miss Not-A-Citizen! Miss Has-No-Rights-At-All! The visa applicant is not you! The visa application is Maribel from Mindanao, who is a “foreigner”. They use the word “foreigner” freely in the Philippines. Yes I know it’s offensive in Australia to use it, and even now it makes me cringe. But I’m making a point. Every country extends birthright rights to its citizens, and the Government is duty-bound to make policies and to put systems in place to make life easy and fair for their own citizens.

They have no such mandate to do so for citizens of other countries. And that includes the love of your life from the Philippines. This is why they can say YES……or NO!  


The myth of the Simple Tourist Visa Application


Down Under Visa do 250-300 tourist visa applications per year, mostly from the Philippines to Australia. And we set a high standard for documents and evidence to present your case strongly and to get you a visa grant. We’ve done literally thousands of them over the years. Even then we still get a few refusals! And our job is to do all we can to prevent this happening. You’ve entrusted your case to us, and we take this trust very seriously and will do everything we can not to let you down.

We HATE refusals!

Every single time it happens I discuss it with the staff and we ask ourselves if there was anything we could have done better to avoid this. We invariably find it’s one of two things:  


  1. The Case Officer appeared to be excessively harsh in our view, or
  2. The clients did not give us all we asked for!


We can’t do anything about excessive toughness, however we CAN try to set the highest possible standards. They ask for two? We give them four! Get what I mean? What is hard to deal with is clients from whom getting necessary documents and relationship evidence is like pulling teeth out!  Lots of comments like this:  


  • Why do you need xxxxxx and xxxxxx when it’s “just a simple tourist visa”?
  • I’ve given you my word she will return to the Philippines at the end. Why isn’t that good enough?
  • I’m not very good with computers. This is too hard!
  • I know someone who lodged an application with a bank statement and two photos and THEY got a grant in three days!


Three facts!  


  1. We have an office full of staff who check documents for accuracy and suitability and quantity! IF we could prepare “simple” applications with just a bank statement and three photos, I could reduce my monthly payroll quite significantly and maybe take up playing golf!
  2. EVERYONE seems to know someone who slapped an application together and was lucky to get a grant. Guess what? Those who do that and fail? They don’t talk about it! They don’t say “Well, I guess I stuffed THAT one up!”, do they?
  3. Around 1:4 tourist visa applications get refused. We don’t want our clients to BE 1:4’s!


I remember something that happened years ago……this was before we ever had a refusal! And I had a client (for a Partner Visa from the Philippines to Australia in this case) visiting our office. He had previously told me in email exchanges about how “ridiculous” all of this was, and how they (the Department) had “no right” to ask for all this “rubbish”, and how they weren’t going to do it.  Well, they met me in the office. He continued his line about how unnecessary all this was, with his fiancee nodding in agreement. Me? I pride myself in my bluntness!

I said “Well, it looks like you’re going to be our first refusal then??”

The faces dropped! “What do you mean?” I told them bluntly again that the Department don’t KNOW either of them, and that if they are not convinced then they have no difficulty in refusing the application. I said that we ask for nothing more than what we have found from experience is absolutely necessary.

We do NOT invent tasks for clients because we have free time just to torture our poor clients! Fifteen years later? I stand by that today no less!  


Another juicy fact about Australian Tourist Visas


I think everyone who follows the news has heard rumblings from Canberra about Australian visa grant numbers being cut back.  There appear to be NO issues regarding Partner Visas! Their issues are with those who apply for temporary visas… student visas and tourist visas…..and stay in Australia longer than they should. Most countries allow visitors to stay for a month. Sometimes less. Australia allows 3 months! LONG time for a holiday, right? I wish I could take a three month holiday somewhere! Long holidays from the Philippines to Australia? Even less likely than from richer countries.

But people ask for 6 months! Even 1 year! And people want to stay longer when the 3 months comes to an end. In previous years it was fairly easy to get another 3 month stay (Onshore Tourist Visa) to extend that stay. Sometimes another 6 months. Then people want to leave at the end of 9 months and want to immediately apply for another one.

Hey, we’re on your side! 

We know you want to spend time with your sweetheart! You’re not there for the koalas and the beaches! But you are still just “visitors”, and the longer you stay….the less you will feel like leaving!  Australia is The Good Life after all. The Lucky Country! And there you are in the arms of someone sweet and cuddly. Who wants to leave? I wouldn’t!

Well, the Australian Government doesn’t want you there too long on a visa designed for short visits! So what it means is there is pressure on to crack down on what they consider to be abuses of the system. There are 70 or 80 different types of visa, each with its own purpose. Student visa means you want to come to Australia for the purposes of studying. Partner visa means you want to live with your lifelong partner. Work visa means you’re there to do a specific job.

Tourist visa? Means you wish to temporarily visit Australia to visit friends and family and for general tourism purposes. Not so you can live together with your spouse or partner. Visit and return? Sure! Settle in and make yourself at home? No!


NOTE: This does NOT mean you cannot apply for another visa for which you are entitled to apply-for, ie. if you marry and want to apply for a partner visa? Perfectly OK! Just don’t lie about it and follow the rules!   


What does this 2024 visa situation mean?


It means they are stricter when assessing applications! If they think you intend to break the rules and overstay or keep extending your stay over and over? They will refuse you.  And again, they do NOT know you! They know your Filipina lady even less. If they are not convinced by a strong application, they will refuse you in a heartbeat. 

So no, its not simple or easy and it’s not an inherent right for an Australian to invite anyone they like. You may invite anyone you like into your HOUSE, but you share Australia with a whole lot of people which is why we have our brilliant representatives in Canberra to make laws that are intended to be just and fair to all. And sometimes the behavior of others (such as those who want to overstay, OR their relatives in Australia who HELP them to overstay) means the rules are tougher for everyone.  


Best advice?


Use experts like Down Under Visa who’ve been doing this for a long time and specialist in visas from this part of the world. Give yourselves the best chance. Oh, and listen to their instructions. They know what they’re talking about, which is why Down Under Visa remains the biggest and busiest RMA practice in the Philippines!

AND……. IF you are committed to each other and want to spend the rest of your lives together? Bite the bullet and ask us about a partner visa!   



Free online visa assessment form from Down Under Visa



Jeff Harvie is a Registered Migration Agent from Australia, but resident in Philippines since 2010 with his Filipina wife Mila and large extended family. Experienced with the Philippines culture, cross-cultural relationships and bureaucracy as well as Australian visas and Australian Migration Law, he writes with authority and fortunately with enough informality and humour that the average Aussie gets it! Down Under Visa specialises in visas for Australians in relationships with ladies and gents from Philippines, Thailand, China and Vietnam. Read MORE


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